21 July 2021 (updated)

50+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids and Adults

Ready for your loved ones to run down the stairs on Christmas morning and examine their stockings with a gleam in their eyes? Here are some great stocking stuffer ideas for kids and adults from Josie Ortega.

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Stocking Stuffer Origins

If I’m being honest, I have to confess that stockings are usually the last items pulled from the box of Christmas decorations at our house. I’m happy if they’re "hung by the chimney with care" just in time for Christmas Eve — and that’s assuming we’ve figured out the Command Strips on the mantel.

Hanging stockings was memorialized in the classic poem The Night Before Christmas. The tradition evolved from leaving out shoes for Saint Nicholas... and anyone who hasn’t behaved might find a stocking full of coal!

stocking stuffer ideas for kids

Traditions For Stocking Stuffers

I know families who hang their stockings at the foot of the bed. On Christmas morning, the goodies inside serve as a little preview, a foretaste of the bounty waiting beneath the Christmas tree.

For some, stockings hold all the gifts. (We learn as we grow older that the best gifts may be the smallest in size!)

Still other families use stockings mostly for candy and other tasty treats, like the small boxes of sugary cereal that we’re usually not allowed to choose at the grocery store.

Last year at our house, our enormous stockings looked really sad after they’d been filled a quarter of the way full with the stocking stuffers that we’d planned. More saggy than stuffed, really. They certainly did not perform the duty for which all stockings exist, which is to convey a sense of abundance.

So, last Christmas Eve, I helped Santa out by taking a last-minute trip to the drugstore. This year, I’m thinking ahead. Let’s brainstorm about good stocking stuffers!

General Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Kids

There are plenty of items you will buy for your kids anyway that you can use as stocking stuffers. What comes immediately to mind are:

  • band-aids with fun designs
  • toothbrushes
  • the toothpaste in the weird flavor they like
  • cute cozy socks
  • hair brush
  • hair ties
  • lotion
  • chapstick
  • mittens
  • scarves
  • hats

These day-to-day items don’t need to be the only type of things in the stocking, but they’ll help bulk it up. Our middle child once really wanted an electric toothbrush for Christmas. Reader, she received it. Let’s ride this train of modest expectations to the end of the line.

Fresh Art Supplies As Stocking Stuffers

If your little ones love to draw or do crafts, they'll certainly be excited about new supplies. There are plenty of ideas, depending on the age and interests of your kid. Some all-time-favorite stocking stuffers in our household are:

No Stocking Complete Without Food Treats

In many families, Christmas is the time of year to relax and kick back a little — even with limitations and boundaries. So if your children are allowed a little more sweets during the holiday season, add some of these treats to their stockings:

  • sugary cereal
  • an orange (which is traditional!)
  • an apple
  • candy canes (One year, candy canes were at the top of my preschooler’s wish list. And my heart shouted, "YES, I CAN DO THAT. THERE WILL BE CANDY CANES!")
  • gum
  • mints
  • chocolate

Toy Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

Still got room in your stockings? Here are more ideas to fill them up: go for a few small toys instead of one

woman stocking stuffer gifts

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Adults

Do grown-ups find full stockings too? Sure! We may need to be a little more creative, however. And I like to think that the kids will experience the joy of watching others find their surprises.

Many of the same ideas apply:

  • Normal day-to-day items and whatever you’ve been meaning to freshen up for yourself or your spouse; gloves, socks, etc. Go ahead and buy those things, just put them aside until Christmas.
  • I like some new makeup in my stocking, as well as nice chocolate, Korean sheet masks, and maybe a LaCroix way down in the toe. It's also the perfect spot for "a tasteful but expensive piece of jewelry," as my grandmother would say.
  • It’s extremely likely that my husband will discover LOTS of gum, mints, and a craft beer in his stocking, or another top-shelf liquor selection, if he has made the Nice List.
  • Fresh art or office supplies, like new pens or cool paperclips, or a fun new phone case.
  • Food and drink, like coffee beans, tea, or my favorite stocking stuffer of all: charcoal crackers.
  • Ornaments for the Christmas tree are a widely loved stocking stuffer, as you can make or buy them for each individual family member.
  • The head of decoration in your house will surely appreciate some high-class candles.
  • A bottle of your spouse's favorite scent will always be a nice highlight on top of other stocking stuffers.
  • Personalized accessory or jewelery also make great gift ideas - maybe you even want to put an engagement ring there...

Whether or not you discover charcoal in your stockings, I hope you experience a sense of great abundance on Christmas morning. What are your favorite stocking stuffer ideas?

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