angel-clipart6They usually start right around November 1 . . . the ubiquitous annual ads for stocking stuffers. When I was a kid, our stockings were one of the most joyful parts of Christmas morning, opened with squeals of delight as soon as we finished singing “Happy Birthday” to the Baby Jesus. Perhaps kids were easier to impress, once upon a time . . . or maybe my family just lived a simpler life. The thing is, our stocking stuffers were always small gifts. From my mom, we could count on weird things like squishy, overripe oranges, interesting things like rubber duckies, and she also was always good for Hershey’s Kisses® and assorted Christmas candies. My dad, on the other hand, preferred inexpensive fun things like Silly Putty, Play-Doh, and Slinkies.

Could any of us ever have imagined that the stocking stuffer ads of today would pitch items “under $50”?! Isn’t the point of stocking stuffers to allow you to “stuff” the stocking? Let’s get real – there’s no reason to break the bank on your stocking stuffers. Small, inexpensive gifts can be loads of fun . . .  both to receive and to give. Your neighborhood dollar store can be a great place to find fun stocking stuffersbut make sure you go with a budget, because it’s easy to spend a lot of money in a hurry in those places.

Put on your creative thinking cap and you will probably come up with all kinds of wonderful stocking-sized gifts. Here’s a list of 113 ideas to get you started . . .

1. AA or AAA batteries

2. Journal or blank book

3. Shoelaces – fun or practical, depending on the receiver

4. Blank CDs or DVDs

5. Eyeglasses case

6. Decorative bottle opener or cork screw

7. Bubble baths or bath pearls

8. Calculator

9. Bookmark

10. Spare toothbrushes

11. Compact mirror

12. Gum, mints, favorite childhood candy

13. Crayons, colored pencils, or markers

14. Chocolate – or other favorite candy

15. Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce

16. Decorative ice cube tray

17. Barrettes, hair ties, headbands

18. Kitchen gadgets

19. Address book

20. Decorative wine stopper

21. Desk, wall, or pocket calendar

22. Favorite herbs or spices

23. Stuffed animal

24. Flower or vegetable seeds

25. Lipstick or gloss – select fun colors and/or flavors

26. Playing cards

27. Nail clippers or file

28. Book or magazine

29. Gloves, scarf, earmuffs, or hat

30. Magnifying glass or decorative reading glasses

31. Crossword puzzle book

32. Golf balls, tees, glove

33. Greeting cards or stationery

34. Craft supplies

35. Coloring book

36. Hand lotion

37. Hand-crafted picture frame – buy at the craft store and decorate with glitter, stickers, or decorative items to suit recipient’s tastes

38. Candles

39. Decorative tea or hand towels

40. Perfume or aftershave

41. Homemade jam or canned fruit

42. Garden tools

43. Incense

44. Photos from recipient’s childhood

45. Bud vase

46. iTunes gift card

47. Gift certificate for a favorite fast food restaurant

48. Jigsaw puzzle

49. Flavored coffee or gourmet teabags

50. Kaleidoscope

51. Cold facial mask to relieve aches and stress

52. Silly straws

53. Keyring

54. Decorative soap dish or shower curtain rings

55. Postage stamps

56. Decorative scissors or hole punch

57. Back scratcher

58. Shoehorn

59. Kite

60. Oranges, apples, kiwi, or another favorite fruit – make sure they’re not overripe, though!

61. Lottery tickets – Scratchers or Lotto

62. Miniature bottles of liquor or liqueur

63. Model kit

64. Handkerchief

65. Costume jewelry

66. Mouse pad

67. Sports water bottle

68. Christmas ornament

69. Mug or teacup

70. Lanyard or chain for eyeglasses

71. Nail polish in a fun, lively color

72. Fishing lures or hat

73. Baseball, batting glove, or ball cap

74. Nuts or dried fruits

75. Snowglobe

76. Lipstick case

77. Packets of flavored hot chocolate or cider mix

78. Personalized birth chart or horoscope book

79. Wall poster

80. Homemade cookies or brownies

81. Refrigerator magnet

82. Sachet or potpourri, decorated with a silk ribbon in a favorite color

83. Yo-yo

84. Scented soaps

85. Sewing, knitting, needlework, or woodworking patterns

86. Decorative watering can

87. Sheet music

88. Dog/cat toys

89. Wine glass charms/drink markers

90. Sidewalk chalk

91. Silly Putty, Play-Doh, or Slinky . . . all these years later, Dad’s ideas still work!

92. Change purse

93. Stickers or rubber stamps for scrapbooking

94. Flashlight

95. Boxed card set with phrases from a favorite book

96. Movie gift certificates

97. Toy cars

98. Travel map or city guide

99. Decorative tissues

100. Razors

101. Travel mug

102. Napkin rings

103. Trinket box

104. Microwave popcorn

105. Useful tool (e.g., hammer, screwdriver, pliers)

106. Wallet or business card holder

107. Gel pens in a variety of colors

108. Sudoku book

109. Wrist or ankle weights or workout bands

110. Zipper pouch

111. Travel game/toy, like Etch-a-Sketch, Boggle, or Pass the Pigs

112. Rubber duckyOK, Mom, once in a while, you got something right.

113. Christmas accessories (e.g. earrings, socks, pin, vest)