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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Creative Ideas: Stocking Stuffers

Growing up, most of my friends received socks, tighty whities, and candy in their Christmas stockings. Needless to say stockings weren't the most thrilling thing for them. In my family, though, stockings stuffers are the best part of Christmas.

My mom elevated stocking stuffer shopping to an art form. My childhood stocking always contained treasures like brightly colored gel pens, butterfly hairclips, and fruit-flavored glittery chapsticks (it was the 1990s...that was the height of pre-teen cool). As an adult, my mom makes sure that the treasures I find each year in my stocking are no less magical, though considerably less fruity smelling. After my father passed away I took over the job of filling my mother's Christmas stocking and it is a task that I cherish.

In truth the key to stocking stuffer shopping is patience: ideally it's a marathon rather than a sprint. I space out my stocking stuffer purchases throughout the year, often picking up little items during my travels. This spreads out the cost (which is key for me) while also producing a carefully curated collection of items rather than a frantic assortment of last-minute stuff.

However, with only 8 days until Christmas the time for marathons has passed and you may find yourself struggling to find last-minute stocking-friendly goodies. Before you panic and fill your loved ones' stockings with Q-tips and old Halloween candy, take a deep breath and check out this list.

I geared it specifically towards adults, but there are some child/teen friendly items too. Remember, not every stocking stuffer has to be thrilling but it should be something the recipient will actually appreciate and use.

For the foodie:
Cutting board oil: keep wooden cutting boards from cracking with mineral oil or a specially formulated cutting board oil
Silicone food savers: reduce food waste and plastic waste with these reusable gems!
Wine journal: these slim little journals help you remember what you liked or didn't like about each bottle you buy
Pretty potholder or hand towel
Fun spice blends
Fun fridge magnets or fridge poetry set

Magnetic poetry sets: use responsibly
Household items:
Home scents: mini reed diffuser, pretty plug-in, or car air vent freshener
Scented sachets for dresser drawers
Microfiber dusting mit: I keep mine in my car to battle dashboard dust
Reusable dryer balls or DIY sachets: use these instead of disposable dryer sheets to cut back on waste! Extra points if they are made in cute shapes or colors.

General items:
Notecards and/or wax stamp/seal: tis the season for thank you notes!
Essential oils: pick a classic scent like lavender or opt for a multi-scent kit (TJ Maxx often has essential oil travel kits)
Mini bottles of booze: a fun way to try new things without committing to a full bottle
Bananagrams or other small games
Collapsable reusable shopping bag
Fun sunglasses case
Night time toilet light: no more choosing between stumbling around in the dark or blinding yourself with the bathroom light when nature calls in the middle of the night!
Nocturnal relief has never been so much fun!
Sartorial items:
Shoe shine sponge
Jewelry or cufflinks/tie clip
Nail polish
Makeup: Elf brand has great cruelty free products for $1-$4 and is available at Target and Walmart
Tocca mini perfumes: I'm partial to the orange blossom inspired "Stella" scent.
Fun patterned stockings
Emergency beauty kit: buy a little pouch and fill it with mini nail files, extra earring backs, tweezers, handiwipes, and bobby pins

Support their interests! My husband's pride and joy is our record player, so this year his stocking will include record cleaner and a new record brush. Do a little research and find out what hobby accoutrements would be appropriate: guitar picks, bow rosin, valve oil, special brushes or paints, etc.

While I have included handy links for online purchase, all of these items are available at local stores as well. So forget the bland stocking items and raise the bar. Your loved ones will thank you.

Merry Christmas and happy hunting!