Just as you’re never too old to rock ‘n’ roll, you’re never too old for a stocking from Santa. Chances are your stocking was the first thing you saw when you came into the living room on Christmas morning when you were a child, and now it can bring back warm holiday memories.
While receiving a stocking as an adult can be a lot of fun, stuffing one for someone else can be a real budget-buster. You shopped the sales, braved the crowds on Black Friday and saved a bundle, but you could easily blow your savings on filling that little red piece of felt.
If you’re going to spend the money to brighten someone’s day with a stocking, make it count; stuff it with practical things you know the recipient will use, not useless clutter. Here are some favorites that make good stocking stuffers for grown-ups. And don’t forget to buy the stockings.
- Travel-sized toiletries. These are great stocking stuffers because anyone who travels needs toiletries in small sizes. You can often get them for a buck at the dollar store, Target or Walgreen’s. Don’t forget a toothbrush and a cover or case for it.
- Magazines. Hit your favorite bookstore or magazine section in the grocery store and pick out a magazine or two that meets the recipient’s interest, whether it’s music, scrapbooking, woodworking, whatever. Or order a magazine subscription and keep the gift coming all year.
- Earbuds. These darn things pick the worse time to stop working so most cell phone/iPod users would appreciate an extra set to have on hand when that happens. You can find them at a lot of places. We like Yurbuds because they come in different sizes.
- Disposable razors. Visit your local dollar store or discount store for these. Be sure you know the recipient’s preferences as there are many options.
- Nail clippers/nail files/emery boards/tweezers. Most people already have these but it’s always handy to have extras for your purse or backpack — or when you can’t put your hands on the one at home. This is another item you can find at the dollar store, Target or Walgreen’s.
- Gift cards. Some gift cards can be purchased in increments as low as $5. Throw in a few for their favorite coffee shop or fast food restaurant, and they’ll be thankful when they need a pick-me-up or a bite to eat.
- Lottery tickets. While they’re unlikely to get rich, scratch-off lottery tickets are a fun option for a stocking.
- Measuring tape. I know this sounds silly, but measuring tapes are one of the most used tools in my house, yet one of the least likely to be put away. Pick up a small one so he or she can keep on in a car or purse to measure things while shopping. You can usually find these in a dollar store.
- Thumb drive aka flash drive. If you’ve got a computer user on your list (and who doesn’t use a computer these days), chances are sooner or later he’ll need extra storage or to move a file. You can find these virtually everywhere today, including on Amazon.
- Roll of quarters. Even if you’re not feeding washers and dryers when you do the laundry, everyone has scrambled to find quarters for a parking meter from time to time. To go easier on your stocking budget, give half rolls.
- Hubman. This gadget looks like a funny little guy but Hubman’s a lifesaver when you need more ports than you have on your computer.
- Phone grip. PopSockets and other phone grips make it easier to hold your phone or tablet with one hand, or prop it up on a table.
- Portable cell phone charger. Anyone who’s ever had a cell phone run out of juice at a critical moment will appreciate a portable charger that provides an extra boost of power.
- Cell phone charger cord. While we’re on the topic, phone charger cords wear out and get misplaced (especially in home with teenagers). Throw in a new charger cord that they can use in a different part of the house, or to replace a worn or missing cord.
- Disposable hand warmers. This is a great stocking stuffer for the sportsperson or someone who has to wait for a bus to get to school or work. You can find them in the sporting goods departments of many discount stores and at Dick’s and Cabelas or online.
- Hand cream. Drier winter weather can be brutal on hands. O’Keefe’s Working Hands is amazing for men or women, or pick up a small tube of lotion from the dollar store.
- Batteries. In a world that runs on mini-packets of power, who couldn’t use more batteries? If you’re feeling particularly generous, opt for the rechargeable kind. The recipient will thank you many times over.
- iCloths. Anyone who has a screen — and most people have more than one these days — will love this handy little cloth to clean it.
- Maglite. These tiny but powerful flashlights come in handy on many occasions. We carry one in our luggage when we travel because you never know when the lights will go out.
- Small stapler. Sure, your recipient may have a big version on his or her desk, but you’d be surprised how useful a small stapler in your backpack or briefcase can be. Staples has them in assorted colors.
- Lip balm/lip gloss. Opt for unscented, flavor-free unless you know the recipient’s preferences. Another item best bought at the dollar store, Target or Walgreen’s. Or opt for Burt’s Bees.
- Socks. Socks are actually a great stuffer — and not only because they take up a lot of space in the stocking. Nobody ever seems to have enough socks. And, you can find sock in all kinds colors, fabrics, designs and lengths.
- Playing cards. With electronic games on your computer and cell phone, playing cards may seem like an anachronism, but a deck comes in handy when you’re out of power or trying to save it while you need to kill some time.
- Books and DVD’s. If you know their preferences, a good book or DVD is a wonderful gift to give. Pick one up at a used bookstore, or opt for a digital book, and spend just a few dollars.
- Mini liquor bottles, or mini champagne bottles. If the recipient consumes alcohol, an airline-sized bottle of liquor can be a fun treat. You can typically find these at liquor stores near the register for just $2-$3. Baileys, kahlua, or other type of rum are great options if you don’t know their favorite. My husband usually puts a mini-bottle of champagne in my stocking so I can enjoy a mimosa without worrying about a whole bottle of champagne going flat.
Of course, you’ll want to fill out the stocking with some edible goodies: chocolate, nuts and maybe individual packets of cookies or specialty crackers. Half the fun of getting a stocking is the shower of candy a recipient gets when spilling its contents.
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