Thrifty Gifts for a Child's Christmas Stocking

Updated on December 16, 2017
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Christmas is a month-long state-of-mind for me. This festive time of loved ones, parties, gifts, and religious celebrations is so special.

Fancy or simple, a holiday stocking can be a challenge to fill.
Fancy or simple, a holiday stocking can be a challenge to fill. | Source

Spending money on stocking stuffers for children might seem wasteful, especially if the budget is tight. Buying lots of small things just to fill a stocking up feels like throwing money away on junk.

Kids often have too much STUFF already and consequently, their rooms are a mess. Adding more little stuff- just for the sake of filling a stocking, especially if there's already not enough money to stretch to the end of the month, would be foolish.

Need some ideas for stockings? As you wander through the stores, everything may seem like "wasteful, earth damaging, space taking, money draining junk." Here are some useful suggestions that you'll find affordable but still fun for the kids when Christmas morning comes.

Look for consumables, things you already need, things that will be used up.

Putting an orange or an apple in the bottom of the stocking is an old-fashioned filler.
Putting an orange or an apple in the bottom of the stocking is an old-fashioned filler. | Source

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One of my favorite Christmas memories is reaching my hand down in that stocking and the long journey up to see what surprise awaited me! It was never anything grand or expensive but it was exciting all the same.

— Sarah L.
Source

Ideas for Inexpensive, But Not Junky Stocking Stuffers

  • Small value gift cards for a frosty or an ice cream cone at a fast food place
  • Lip balm or bubble bath
  • An apple, orange, or some nuts in the shell, like walnuts
  • Bandaids with a fun design
  • Hair accessories
  • Bubblegum
  • New box of crayons
  • A jump rope
  • Bath crayons

Put a Baking Mix in the Stocking

A good activity for Christmas Day for children is making a simple baking mix to add to the dessert table. Get the kind in a pouch rather than a box so it will fit in the stocking.
A good activity for Christmas Day for children is making a simple baking mix to add to the dessert table. Get the kind in a pouch rather than a box so it will fit in the stocking. | Source

Even More Ideas for a Child's Christmas Stocking

  • A small flashlight
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Inexpensive gloves or mittens
  • Cute socks for school
  • Snack-sized bag of chips
  • Card games
  • A card promising an activity like a visit to the library or to the zoo
  • Make a coupon...stuff like: mom or dad will do one chore for you, stay up 30 minutes later, you pick dinner on Friday night (at home), you choose the movie, etc. You can even do multiple coupons and staple it into a little booklet.
  • Food items that they might not get often that seem like a luxury (a clementine, an apple, and instant oatmeal, granola bars, and a juice box)

Stocking Stuffers - Not Junk

Additional Ideas for a Kid's Christmas Stocking

  • Simple art supplies like chalk or paint, an eraser, or colored pencils. Add rolled up printables from the Internet to color
  • Batteries (to go with some gift they are getting or something they already have)
  • Scratch-off lottery tickets
  • Underwear
  • Hair brushes, combs
  • Fancy hot cocoa packets
  • Little notebooks
  • Unfamiliar candies or snacks from ethnic grocery stores
  • A coupon for an outing or activity of their choice for a one-on-one date with each parent.
  • Coupons for a meal of their choice, or an hour of gameplay of their choice, or a living room picnic on a rainy day, or a popcorn and chocolate milk for dinner plus a movie night.
  • A letter from Santa in an envelope letting your children know how wonderful they are or a letter from you telling them how proud you are of them
  • A Betty Crocker cookie mix-- sugar, choc chip, and snickerdoodle with a cookie cutter.

Put Together an Easy Activity Kit

Find some smooth river rocks and buy very cheap paint and brush from the dollar store. Instant rock painting kit.
Find some smooth river rocks and buy very cheap paint and brush from the dollar store. Instant rock painting kit. | Source

Stockings were always one of my favorites too. My parents felt that if we were up early we were allowed to open our stocking without them. And my mom wrapped every single thing in the stocking, I think to buy herself a little extra sleep time, LOL. I remember my sister and I getting up early, grabbing our stockings and bringing them back to our beds (we shared a room) and opening them together. I loved it.

— Elizabeth E.

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We fill each other’s stockings with slips of paper with words of encouragement, appreciation, and memories. Then on Christmas morning, we read them and create a paper chain that sticks around through the new year. It has become a pretty special tradition!

— Alex Jacobson

© 2017 Virginia Allain

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 months ago

      I like your approach to Christmas: make it last for a whole month! And the best presents are thoughtful, inexpensive ones sometimes. One of my children gets popcorn kernels and the other marshmallow in their stocking. They loved those as children, so I made it stick.

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