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 read our articles on how to shop 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. Read our article on how to stuff it with practical things you know the recipient will use, not useless clutter. Here are some favorites that make good stocking stuffers for grownups. And don’t forget to buy the stockings.
Hand cream or revitalizing oil
Drier winter weather can be brutal on hands. O’Keefe’s Working Hands is a good choice for men or women, or pick up a small bottle of Cuccio Naturale Milk & Honey Cuticle Revitalizing Oil for an inexpensive at-home manicure that’s as good as any salon’s. If you’re really strapped for time, you could also tube of lotion from the dollar store.
PopSockets and other phone grips make it easier to hold your phone or tablet with one hand, or prop it up on a table. And you don’t have to stick with generic-looking designs everyone else has – Etsy has unique and very personalized phone grips in every style you can imagine.
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. (You can also turn your own old magazines into beautiful bowls; our article tells you how.)
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, or buy them in bulk very cheaply at Amazon.
Additionally, a good manicure set is a stocking stuffer or small gift that will be appreciated for a long time.
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 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 of colors, fabrics, designs and lengths.
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 this wraparound headset because it’s super comfortable, especially for people who have trouble finding earbuds that fit their ears. Another inexpensive but dependable pair is Skullcandy Jib at Target.
Visit your local dollar store or discount store for these. Be sure you know the recipient’s preferences as there are many options.
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. This time of year, many restaurants offer bonuses when you buy their gift card, so be sure to check out those deals too.
While they’re unlikely to get rich, scratch-off lottery tickets are a fun option for a stocking.
Pocket tape measure
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 retractable 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 or just have some cute, inexpensive ones shipped to you from 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.
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. Or opt for an inexpensive wireless charging pad like the Yootech pictured above from Amazon.
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 hand warmers and toe warmers in the sporting goods departments of many discount stores and at Dick’s, Cabelas or online at Amazon.
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.
Screen cleaning cloths
Anyone who has a screen — and most people have more than one these days —will love this handy little cloth to clean it. Works great on eyewear, too!
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.
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.
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 DVDs
If you know their preferences, a good book or DVD is a wonderful gift. Check out our article on ways to find cheap books.
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. We tell you how to make your own food gifts in this article. Half the fun of getting a stocking is the shower of candy a recipient gets when spilling its contents.
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 travel toothbrush; this clever one folds down to protect the bristles from whatever else is in your bag.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy:
- Last-minute stocking stuffers for kids
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- How to holiday shop for people who have everything
- 35 ways to save money and time during the holidays