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Be a Stocking-Stuffer Pro This Christmas

Fill your family's stockings with thoughtful little gifts without spending your whole holiday budget.

My parents are stocking-stuffer experts. Every item in our stockings is perfectly personalized and tailored for its recipient. Some are sweet, some are thoughtful, some are silly, some are useful. They work together to pick up things here and there throughout the year.

We always save our stockings to open last, and it’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love to be handed a big, fat stocking, brimming with possibilities! (Our stockings usually come with an annex, a pile on the mantel or an extra bag full of all the goodies that didn’t fit in the stockings. My parents don’t stop filling the stocking just because the stocking is full.) 

Reaching in and pulling out small things, one by one, and appreciating the level of thought my parents put into each gift, makes me slow down and appreciate the holiday – and my parents – on a day which is famous for going too quickly and with too little appreciation and self-reflection.

If you want your stockings to have this kind of impact, here are some stocking-stuffer ideas:

For kids – Stickers, cute socks, crayons, markers, lip gloss or lip balm, card games, toothbrush, small stuffed animals, bubble bath, Matchbox cars, play jewelry, notepads, temporary tattoos, marbles, finger puppets, nail polish, small books, harmonica, puzzles, crazy straws.

For teens – Scented markers, a calendar with important dates marked, favorite cereal from childhood, lip gloss or lip balm, Vitamin Water in their favorite flavor, thank you notes, family recipes written on recipe cards, bubblegum, cute keychain or car air freshener, hand sanitizer, mascara, nuts, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, razors, clothespins, a magazine, Post-It Notes.

For wives – Gum, chocolate, a new Christmas ornament, homemade CD mixtape, batteries, kitchen gadgets, note cards, wine stopper, seeds for planting in spring, a handwritten love note, nail polish, wine stopper, cozy socks, IOUs for a massage or breakfast in bed, travel mug, personalized stationery or recipe cards, cookie cutters, spices. 

For husbands – Soap, deodorant, cologne, cookies, anything bacon-flavored or scented, gum, gift cards, seasonings, golf balls, Duct tape, batteries, lottery tickets, toothbrush, IOUs for a car wash or control of the remote, socks, snacks, candies, gift cards, notebooks, a special pen, razors, gum or mints, magazine, car air freshener, Swiss Army knife.

For pets - Snacks and toys (duh!), tennis balls, a new collar, ID tags, a new leash, poo bags, a sweater, special treats like doggie ice cream, cupcakes or gourmet snacks.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received in your stocking? What is the best one you’ve given? Tell us in the comments below.

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