Thrifty and Useful Gifts for a Child's Christmas Stocking - Holidappy - Celebrations
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Thrifty and Useful Gifts for a Child's Christmas Stocking

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

Whether fancy or simple, a holiday stocking can be a challenge to fill.

Whether fancy or simple, a holiday stocking can be a challenge to fill.

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. So how do you fill their stockings with gifts without breaking the bank?

Look for consumables: things they already need that will be used up. For example, an orange or an apple in the bottom of the stocking is a nice, old-fashioned filler. Here are more great, budget-friendly stocking stuffer ideas for the little ones.

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.

Budget-Friendly Stocking Stuffers for Kids

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.

  • 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
  • Bandaids with a fun design
  • Hair accessories
  • Bubblegum
  • New box of crayons
  • A jump rope
  • Bath crayons
  • Baking mix

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

Why not put a pouch of baking mix in a child's stocking? They can use it that day to bake a small treat for the desert table.

Why not put a pouch of baking mix in a child's stocking? They can use it that day to bake a small treat for the desert table.

More Ideas for a Child's Christmas Stocking

  • A small flashlight
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Inexpensive gloves or mittens
  • Cute socks for school
  • Wrap together a tea bag, small packet of honey, and some cookies for their own tea time kit.
  • Snack-sized bag of chips
  • Card games
  • A card promising an activity like a visit to the library or to the zoo
  • A homemade 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, a favorite baked treat, etc.)
  • 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
  • Hairbrushes, 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 game play 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 (e.g. sugar cookie, chocolate chip, or snickerdoodle with a cookie cutter)

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.

Find some smooth river rocks and buy very cheap paint and a brush from the dollar store to make an instant rock painting kit.

Find some smooth river rocks and buy very cheap paint and a brush from the dollar store to make an instant rock painting kit.

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.

Ideas for Inexpensive, Non-Junk 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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is it cheating to get really small Christmas stockings for your children? I'm on a tight budget.

Answer: Sounds like a good solution to me to save costs on filling a child's Christmas stocking. Browse back through my suggestions and you'll find some no-cost ideas for filling a stocking. Also, shop at yard sales and thrift stores for a few 25 cent items to serve as fillers.

© 2017 Virginia Allain

Comments

Rose Jones on December 13, 2017:

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.