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. 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.
- 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.
- Digital keychain. These key chains are an added way to show off photos. For family members, load it with photos they would enjoy.
- 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.
- Portable cell phone charger. Anyone who’s ever had a cell phone run out of juice at a critical moment will appreciate a portable cell phone charger that provides an extra boost of power.
- 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.
- 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.
- Phone bungee. Never lose track of your cell phone again with a cord that keeps your phone tethered to your purse, belt loop or strap.
- 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.
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,which you bought on sale. Half the fun of getting a stocking is the shower of candy a recipient gets when spilling its contents.