Sometime between my childhood and my adulthood stocking stuffers went from inexpensive to extravagant. I’m pretty sure it all has to do with marketing. Suddenly every company that makes a product that could fit in a stocking is marketing their wares as “stocking stuffers.” Nevermind that that gold bracelet costs more than all of the other gifts under the tree!
Let’s resist what the marketers are trying to tell us and get back to what stocking stuffers used to be. Your budget will thank you!
I’m going to share with you some ideas of classic and creative stocking stuffers that are affordable and don’t try to upstage the rest of Christmas morning.
I would LOVE to hear your best ideas for frugal stocking stuffers down in the comments. Let’s all help each other out!
Apples and Oranges
There are plenty of sweet treats around the holidays, so why not encourage a little healthy snacking with an apple or an oragne (or both!)?! Both my husband and I both grew up in families with this tradition, so I’m guessing it’s pretty widespread. It makes me think of the Ingalls children from the Little House series who were delighted with such simple things. Apparently it’s functional too. Having something heavy in the toe of the stocking helps to weigh it down and hold it open.
You can save a lot of money by getting candy that’s not marketed as Christmas candy. Since I have a lot of stockings to fill, I prefer to buy large bags of candy and divide it up myself into little ziplock bags. For example, you get a lot more for your money when you buy a big bag of M&Ms than when you buy a bag of individually wrapped packages (think Halloween candy) or worse yet, when you buy Christmas branded candy (think M&Ms in the clear plastic candy cane container). Your money will go a lot further if you take a few extra mintutes to divide it into smaller portions yourself.
Small puzzles, brain teasers
There are lots of dollar store type toys that I consider just plain junk and definitely don’t want to see all over my house (times 6 kids), but there are a few things that we always seem to get a lot of mileage out of and those are brain teasers and puzzles.
You can squeeze a paperback book into a stocking with no trouble at all. Books are one of the things you can buy used in great condition and no one will know or care. If your kids are like mine, they go through books like candy (almost), so they would read me out of house and home if I bought all new books.
If your girls love bows, bands, and clips for their hair, they make a great stocking stuffer. They’re small, useful, and inexpensive and they can be a lot of fun!
Hot wheels cars
If you have little ones that are into cars (or big ones), Hot Wheels are perfect for stockings. They are cheap, fun, and fit nicely in a stocking.
While it’s not very “fun” necessarily, a new toothbrush is a great stocking stuffer (also great for Easter baskets). For us it’s as traditional as the orange or apple!
Here’s another necessity that goes nicely in Christmas stockings. If you’re opposed to giving “boring” gifts like socks and underwear, you could give a “fun” version rather than just the run-of-the mill. How about a pair of fuzzy socks or a colorful pair with their favorite characters.
My kids would be thrilled with their own individual packages of microwave popcorn that they could have to themselves and eat whenever they want. Or if you want to make a little more effort make some popcorn balls with jello (just google it–it sounds weird but it’s actually really yummy)!
I hope that give you some ideas to stuff your stockings without breaking the bank!
What are your ideas for saving money on stocking stuffers? Share your best frugal stocking stuffer ideas down in the comments.
And don’t forget to sign up for January’s Frugal Fresh Start Challenge! See you back here tomorrow!