Treat your Christmas stockings as a big gift full of a lot of little surprises! These are my top 15 stocking stuffer ideas to make the holidays special
For as long as I can remember, the highlight of Christmas has always been the stocking. In my family, we’d hang our stockings over the fireplace the night before, each of us with our particular stocking. And when we’d wake in the morning, it was always the first thing we’d see besides the massive bundle of Christmas presents.
Our family tradition always put an outsize emphasis on the Christmas stocking. I can’t say exactly how much went into each of our stockings, but the value of all the gifts is probably well over $100.
The Christmas stockings are always a mix of classic stocking stuffer ideas like candy and socks, but also more meaningful and unique gifts, too. Specific Christmas gifts we might have asked for from Santa always make their way into the stocking!
Holiday Gift Guides
Everyone loves a good Christmas wish list! I’ve shared a number of my favorite gifts I’ve received and/or bought for friends and family over the years. Check out some of my favorite gift guides and wish lists below:
- 10 (Selfish) Gifts to Buy for Yourself this Holiday
- 7 reasons you should send Christmas cards this year
- Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Photo Lovers
- Hipster Fashion Gifts for Travelers
Every family has their own Christmas traditions around the morning, but when, as little kids, we’d turn the corner from the hallway into the living room and see the stockings quite literally overflowing with toys & things, it’s always been the best part of Christmas giving!
Our Christmas morning would start slow as we’d each open up our stockings, slowly dumping the contents out on the floor and going through one-by-one. Some of the more expensive and more meaningful gifts were always wrapped, so the Christmas stocking was always like a BIG gift of a million little gifts!
Santa was always fantastic at curating a fun and meaningful stocking, so I wanted to share some of my favorite stocking stuffer ideas—the things that I always love to see on Christmas morning. And things I think you might appreciate, too.
15 Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas
The Best Stocking Stuffer Gifts to Give for Christmas Holidays
What’s in the gift guide?
Sure, maybe it’s a bit cliché to put a sock in a sock—but it’s cute! And, honestly, socks as a stocking stuffer is probably one of the most classic Christmas stocking gifts!
While, personally, I wear a mix of classic (ie, boring) plain black socks, for a Christmas gift: socks should be special! There are all sorts of fun and funky sock designs—everything from Christmas socks to fun and funky sock designs.
Socks and underwear are pretty much staples of any Christmas stocking gift. Not least because they’re just useful products to have, but because in a fun and quirky Christmas stocking, you can have a lot of fun with these gifts!
Yeah, it’s great to get your basic black briefs (I’m partial to Calvin Klein Men’s Hip Briefs) for Christmas, but what about some fun (or for a lover: sexy) underwear, too.
Personally, I don’t like the ones that are too comical, but do really enjoy cute and sexy underwear designs. There are too many independent underwear designers to list, but for gay men’s underwear, some of my favorite brands are aussieBum, Diesel, JJ Malibu, and 2(X)IST.
In the same realm of beauty products great for gifts, jewelry is always a fun thing to include in the stocking. Necklaces and bracelets are always great gifts and fun items to unwrap first thing Christmas morning.
There are so many handmade jewelry brands and companies making everything from necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings. And whether you prefer black fashion jewelry, stylish gold jewelry designs, classic silver, or something fun and irreverent, jewelry is a great way to make a statement for a friend or loved one.
Some of my recent favorite jewelry brands include:
- Ella Stein – This woman-forward jewelry brand uses all women artisans in Mumbai, India and has a serious commitment to sustainability. All their diamond jewelry is crafted with certified recycled sterling silver and sustainable diamonds (from mindful mining operations). Their necklaces are particularly stunning and affordable.
- All Inclusive+ – Also based out of Mumbai, this hip and inclusive jewelry brand focuses on using recycled metals and zircon crystals for more sustainable jewelry designs. Their brand ethos is one of bright colors that pop for any type of person, style, or identity.
- ElisGiftBoutique – A stylish, minimalist jewelry brand from Slovenia, ElisGiftBoutique is a top Etsy shop and creates simple stud earrings in sharp & bright colors.
A big part of any Christmas stocking stuffer is to receive not just practical gifts, but ones to make you feel good. In that realm, makeup and beauty products are always great items to include on a Christmas shopping list! And a universal, gender-free option is always fragrances: perfumes and colognes.
Some of my personal favorite fragrances include: gender-free options from KIERIN NYC (their sample set is a great gift option), Kenneth Cole’s many different fragrances, and my favorite: Versace Eros.
Makeup and beauty products can be really expensive, but they’re also often very small—so they’re perfect as stocking stuffers (especially in an expensive, upscale Christmas stocking).
Because so many men and women generally have their own makeup brand preferences, if you’re not sure what to buy for a friend or family member, go with the basics: makeup remover, mascara (I like this Sephora Lashcraft travel-size one), nail polish, etc. You can’t go wrong with the basics!
Another great thing to include in a stocking is a container to hold all those beauty products! You can never have enough small, travel-size makeup bags. The “Makes You Happier” Always Ready bag is the perfect size for holding whatever little jewelry or other knick-knacks you need to carry around!
Alongside makeup, another useful beauty product for a Christmas stocking are any type of acne products—especially great for teenagers. The skincare line Banish focuses exclusively on acne and acne scar products such as this fighter gel and the Banisher 2.0.
Face masks are super affordable beauty products and they make for great gifts. Often for $2 or less, they’re simple and great for a Christmas stocking. Give one of your own favorites as a personal gift for friends, or just browse the beauty aisle at any pharmacy.
7th Heaven’s cruelty-free, vegan and EASY peel-off masks are a fun option for any age. And at just $1.99, they’re a bargain. Better to get the variety pack, though, so you can share them with everyone on your Christmas list! I’m also partial to various Dead Sea mask products because they always make my skin feel great.
Money always makes for a great gift! The holiday season can sometimes feel overwhelming and excessive because of all the consumerism, but December also marks the end of the year when everyone starts to think of their savings accounts and personal finance. You can’t really avoid the subject!
Sure, a stocking stuffed with a wad of cash would be nice—but that’s probably not very realistic unless you’re a millionaire. I think including some kind of unique money: like a commemorative coin or a $2 bill is a fun way to add something unique, but also financial.
For those of us living in apartments or at college and having to deal with coin-operated laundry, a roll of quarters can go a long way. It’s cute to unwrap and actually really useful, too!
Scratch off lottery tickets
Yes, money makes for a great gift (see above)—but why not have a little fun with it? In my family, we’d always wake up to a single scratch-off lottery ticket in each of our Christmas stockings.
It was always fun because you never know if you’re going to win or not. A lot of times, though, at least one person will win a $1 or something—that’s exciting for everyone. I’m not sure what the reaction would be if one of the group opening Christmas presents that morning won $10,000, though—could’ve put a damper on everyone else’s Christmas!
Dental hygiene products
With all the sweets and sugar we all eat in the winter—from Christmas cookies to homemade pies and our mom’s banana bread—it just makes good sense to stay healthy when you can. Winter can be tough on your health, especially your teeth!
Any good stocking gift will include some of those basic dental hygiene products. As kids, we’d always get new toothpaste flavors, travel-size mouthwash, and my current favorite dental hygiene product: floss picks! I also always love Marvis toothpaste brand, and Charcoal Teeth Whitening products.
WhitenFresh from EverSmile is another teeth-whitening product you can use on-the-go and its small, travel-friendly size makes it especially perfect for a stocking stuffer!
Other dental gifts good for the stocking include whitening strips like JOY Whitestrips or Lumineux® Whitening Strips. It’s good to have these included in your stocking to offset all the chocolate and Christmas cookies and other baked goods you inevitably end up eating during the holiday season!
I don’t know if it’s just my age, but recently I’ve been really focused on diet, exercise, and just my general health. Since moving to New York City, where unhealthy habits are pervasive, it’s felt great to get back into a healthier lifestyle. Part of that has been taking vitamins and managing my sleep better.
I’ve tried all sorts of sleep habits, but melatonin has been one of my favorites. Melatonin vitamin gummies from Vitafusion are great for sleep—but also for travelers who frequently take long-haul flights!
There are a lot of vitamin gummies out on the market. Vitafusion gummies are my favorite because they’re easy to find online and in shops, and they’re easy to take.
Home & Technology
There’s no question we spend a lot of time on our phones, and as we become more glued to those screens, it makes sense there would be more and more ways to accessorize them.
I’ll let you in on a secret: my favorite phone accessory are these cute animal cable protectors. For about $10, you get a set of cute animal protectors; every time I use them in public, I always get compliments and “ohhhh where’d you get those?” They’re fun, cheap, and funky—the perfect combo for a great stocking stuffer!
Another great stocking stuffer and Christmas gift are those ridiculous phone covers. It’s a lot of fun to personalize your phone (especially when we seemingly all seem to have the same phones). Personally, I feel: the bigger, the better when it comes to a fun phone case!
Go for the ridiculous, toy-sized phone covers like this Pikachu one, or go all-out on the Christmas theme with this gingerbread phone cover. The more fun, the better—like this 3D soft silicone French Fries case or a Pringles design.
I’ve always loved instant cameras, especially my old Polaroid ones (that’s what makes me a hipster). But these are also great gifts for kids and adults alike, and they’re increasingly affordable—depending upon which brand you use.
I use a Fujifilm Instant Camera and always ask for new film for it in my stocking each year. Film isn’t cheap, so it’s a cute gift to get in the stocking. And bonus: if you get the camera and/or film in a stocking, you’ll immediately be tempted to photograph Christmas morning. It’s a lot of fun and any little kids will love the instant photos.
Candles make delightful stocking stuffers. Their warm glow creates a cozy ambiance, enhancing any festive atmosphere, and because there is such a diverse range of seasonal scents (from comforting vanilla to invigorating pine), you can usually find something sweet that’s semi-personal.
And candles are compact and versatile so they easily fit into stockings without overwhelming the space. They’re practical too, providing soft lighting during holiday gatherings or creating a serene environment for self-care. A few options here: I have some friends and family who use unscented tapered candles for ambiance, large pillar candles for large spaces (coffee tables or at the Christmas dinner), or scented candles in stylish glassware to set the mood.
Some of my recent favorite candle brands include Keap BK which capture nature’s most evocative scents (my favorite is the Wood Cabin), BoySmells which has more sensuous smells, Unplug Soy Candles which feature lovely aromatic scents in really pretty vessels, and Birthdate Candles which creates tailored scents for all 365 days of the year.
Postcards make for a great stocking stuffer, especially when you can personalize them with your own photos or greetings on the front. If you get a stack of postcards in your stocking, you can use them right away to fill them out (just remember to include stamps as part of the gift!).
As kids, we used to always get a stack of photo postcards so that we could send notes and letters to our friends and family far away. Check the Happier Place online shop for beautiful nature-themed postcards, cute animals cards, or even fun multiple-choice style postcards.
Or: even better, give a gift card to use MyPostcard.com which allows you to send postcards direct from your phone. If your grandparents aren’t at Christmas this year, just open the MyPostcard app, snap a photo of the family on Christmas morning, and send a customizable postcard right away!
Foods & drinks for stocking stuffers
If you’re like my family on Christmas morning, we start opening gifts early and it can be fun to have little snacks and treats in your stocking to get you through a long morning of family activities. Candy and other little snack treats are good to include, as well as any food accessories. Kitchen accessories like a MagicOpener bottle opener or baking utensils make for great stocking stuffers for the foodies in your life.
For foodies, though, a food-focused stocking might include jars of marmalade, special culinary sauces, or other food surprises. I think it’s fun to include things you might not normally get or receive in a stocking, so go for the more unique food marinades and sauces.
¡Ya Oaxaca! moles are made from a recipe by legendary Oaxaca-based chef and instructor, Susana Trilling, and use local ingredients. It’s a tasty mole sauce of rich flavors that perfectly complements braised meats, root vegetables, and plenty of other recipes.
For the adults only—anything alcohol-related is a fun stocking stuffer! Christmas morning can be stressful when you’re surrounded by family and screaming children—not to mention all the toys, discarded wrapping paper, and just general commotion. For the adults on your Christmas shopping list, it’s a nice idea to include mini bottles of alcohol—little nips.
Papa’s Pilar dark rum is a great option for some winter cocktail options, or go the traditional route with a spiked eggnog drink with a classic Kentucky bourbon such as Angel’s Envy. Or, if you’d rather not provide the alcohol, but just the inspiration for later in the day, Chronicle Books has a great collection of cocktail recipe cards in their Christmas-themed Very Merry Cocktails Deck.
The holidays can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re able to give thoughtful and meaningful gifts to those that you love. Christmas stocking stuffers are a lot of fun to put together and, if you do them right, can really be a fun way to start Christmas morning.
Treat your Christmas stockings as a big gift full of a lot of little surprises!