10 Frugal and Practical Ideas for Christmas Stocking Fillers for Children and Adults

Stockings are my favorite part of gift giving during Christmas. I have so much fun filling them up with little things I find here and there! I get more excited than my two-year old when she pulls out each piece. But, some people have a hard time trying to find things to fill stockings up. I’ve never suffered from that malady. I tend to give frugal, purposeful gifts instead of things that need batteries or items that have to be dusted (because frankly, I don’t dust).  When you’re an adult, frugal and useful things are fun to get in your stocking – actually, they’re just fun to get, PERIOD. You know you’ve grown up when you get super excited over new underwear. Because, when you’re young, new underwear is like a curse. “Oh man! Underwear again?!” And then you spend the rest of the day in embarrassment because everyone saw your panties. These days, I show everyone my new panties…..because, well – I didn’t have to buy them myself so that’s good enough for me.

If you’re struggling this season with what to put in your child’s or your spouse’s stocking, then here are 10 options for you. Keep in mind, they’re pretty frugal – because breaking the bank is against my religion.

10 ideas for your children’s stockings:

1. Small books – Annie loves having small books. I love them too because it gives her something to do in the car. These little gems are easy to find at Target in the $1 section and perhaps even at your local Dollar Tree.  Not only is she occupied, but she’s also learning. Win-win.

2. Stickers – These little boogers can keep your child occupied for a long time. Not only that, but they don’t stay around long so you don’t have to make space for them. If you do buy stickers, it might be a good idea to also invest in a full length mirror – to insure that Mommy doesn’t leave the house with a smiley face sticker on her behind…..not that I’ve done that or anything. *Cough*

3. Crayons – Please, please buy Crayola. Because the cheapo crayons aren’t worth the money. Yes, they might only cost $1, but splurge and spend $2 instead. It will save you a lot of grief when you (I mean, your child) is coloring. Crayons bring hours of pleasure. I still love my crayons and I’m a Mommy.

4. Little boxes of raisins – We don’t eat white sugar around the Myers house, but I still want my baby to get something sweet in her stocking. I feel much better giving her raisins than a Milky Way…although there’s nothing wrong with a Milky Way once in a while. Also, another excellent time to check the full length mirror – those raisins stick to behinds just as easily as stickers.

5.  Ornaments – I love that my mother gives Annie an ornament every year. I love looking through the ornaments from when I was little, so I hope to pass this tradition on with Annie. Plus, when she gets married and moves out (when she’s 40) then she can take her ornaments with her and have a fully furnished tree.

6. Utensils – What child doesn’t love having their own utensils? Heck, I’m an adult and I like having my own utensils. Another easy find in the Target $1 section.

7. Toothbrushes – Around here, toothbrushes don’t seem to last long. It’s sad but true. Pick out some cute toothbrushes for your child and maybe they’ll enjoy brushing their teeth – if you can get them to stand still long enough. Bonus points if you get the toothbrushes that stand up because they have suction cups on the “feet.”

8. Mittens – I see these every year in the Target $1 section. There are so many colors to choose from! And since children grow like weeds (children and weeds are the only thing I CAN grow…except mold) you’ll likely need new mittens each year.

9. Socks – Yes, I know children don’t like to get socks in their stockings….but make it fun. Buy some Charlie Brown socks or some knee highs in neon pink. Give them some fun socks and they will likely forget it’s an old fogey present. And besides, doesn’t it make sense to get SOCKS in your STOCKING? Yes, I think so. You can quote me on that.

10. Underwear – Okay, come on….you knew this was coming. If they’re growing enough to need new mittens, then they’re growing enough to need new underwear. Make it fun – avoid white. White seems to bring embarrassment. Hello Kitty or Superman might be a better bet.

And now for the man in your life.

1. Tissues – Yes, this is super boring. But what person doesn’t need tissues? I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t blow their nose. Buy tissues. Tell them to keep them in the car for emergencies.

2. Gum – This might be excluded if your spouse sounds like a cow chewing cud when they chew gum. Otherwise, this is a good pick. Also good to keep in the car for those times when you need to tell the hubby that his breath isn’t stellar.

3. Tweezers – Really, does this need explaining? As we grow older, we have things to pluck. It’s a lot easier to use tweezers than to try to grab those hairs with your bare hands.

4. Socks – Yep, a repeat. My mom has to do this for my dad. For some reason, his socks always have holes in them. They are holy, so he can only wear them to church. Everyone can use new socks once a year.

5. Nuts – We eat a lot of nuts around this house. You are what you eat. Find the little small packs so you can store them in your car…..and by now you probably think we live in our car.

6. Chapstick – My aim is for us to get enough chapstick in our stockings at Christmas so that I don’t have to buy it the rest of the year. It really frees up my budget.

7. Card games – I’m always enamored with the card game selection at Target. They all look so fun! Pick one each year for a stocking….and then spend all year saying “We really should play a game.” Then get too tired and go to bed.

8. Books – Depending on how big your stockings are, you can easily fit a small book in there. Of course, buy used off Amazon. It’s the only way to go.

9. Pens – Have you seen the pen selection recently? There’s like 40 million types. Pick one cool one. Everyone wants to be the cool dude writing his check with the awesome pen. This really helps males out, especially if the checks are the “playful kitten” motif. Gives him back some masculinity.

10. Underwear – You KNEW this was coming. Admit it. All adults should be tickled pink to get underwear for Christmas. It’s the gift that keeps on giving because you wash and reuse. No ironing or dusting required – and that makes a Mama happy.

So, tell me…what do you stuff in your stockings?

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Stacy is a stay-at-home mom to her first child, Annie (2). After an "awakening" in March, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you'll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Make sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her daily antics.

33 replies on “10 Frugal and Practical Ideas for Christmas Stocking Fillers for Children and Adults
  1. Jenni says:

    Wonderful list of ideas, Stacy!  My husband enjoys listening to music on his commute, so  CDs are great for his stocking.  Maybe not the most practical, but he does use them quite a bit! :)

  2. Thanks for a great list of ideas, Stacy!  My boys also love new tools and flashlights- anything that they can work with their hands. They are really into rocks, so books, polished rocks, or anything to rock hunt with makes them happy. Basically anything to encourage their “warrior hearts” is always a winnner. :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great suggestions! I try to keep the items cost down to the bare minimum for stockings, so one year I collected samples to use as fillers.  My 17 yo-d says she LOVES chapstick in hers, and we’ve repeatedly done flashlights – all ages seem to think this is a hit!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Our stockings look very similar! Minus the underwear, lol. That doesn’t go over very well, haha! I always get toiletry products cheap or free using coupons (like shampoo, shower gel, etc.) for both guys and girls. Fills up a lot of space in the stocking!

  5. I give the kids a new ornament in their stocking each year (usually bought on clearance the year before, though last year I made them ornaments).  They get to open these on St. Nicholas day… December 6… and put them on the tree.  Then the stockings stay up as decoration.

  6. Ruth says:

    Bandaids (especially fun character ones) and Straws (my 3 year old loves using straws but they are a treat because of the extra expense so getting a package in his stocking is a big deal) 

  7. [...] stockings, today I’ve got you covered! Head on over to Homemakers Challenge where I share 10 frugal ideas for stocking stuffers for children AND adults…..beware, I do say the word “underwear” on multiple occasions. Hey – by now [...]

  8. Dawn00 says:

    Underwear and chapstick are favorites at my house. So are handwarmers for those mittens and the snow fun. Small notepads or post it notes in fun shapes and colors are a hit with all ages. My teens like special soap and deoderant “flavors” as they call them. Never mind that they are on the grocery list anyway… so actually you are not spending money on something because you would buy it anyway!!!! This works well for college students to have a fresh supply for going back to school. And college students also love stain sticks or spot removers, air fresheners, and fingernail clippers (because my boys can never keep up with them).

  9. Agarland_37640 says:

    Stacy,
    Our tween girls love getting magazines in their stockings…Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, etc! Loved the post and got some more good frugal ideas from you!!!Thanks

  10. Allison says:

    Chapstick is a good one for us…and i usually pick up one of those $5 universal remotes from target or dollar general because we go through them moreo ften then I like to admit since hubby leaves them laying around for the dogs to use as a chew toy.

  11. I do the five senses in the stockings so each person gets a gift related to each of the 5 senses, Seeing, Hearing, Taste, Touch, and Smell. A seeing gift may be a book, while hearing may be an i-tunes gift card. Touch gifts are fun because you can give a small stuffed animal for a little kid or a soft socks even scarves qualify, Taste is always fun and usually involved a favorite food item for the recipient, we have had everything from coffee to fruit to special chocolates in the stocking.  Smell(y) gifts have included incense, deodorants, even lip balm. 

  12. ms.discoverytoys says:

    Here we are about the same! For the man he gets A bottle or two of shampoo and body wash, deodorant (he always asks as he opens them if i think he stinks LOL no, i just get them for free with coupons) always a flash drive (hes a student, again, so he goes through them) For our 4 year old he gets toothpaste but not the plain boring stuff (as he says) like all year round…he gets the fun stuff! Target always seems to have Halloween toothpaste on clearance by the third week in Nov so i buy one and put it in his stocking! A small travel game or coloring/sticker book. Hat and gloves and organic fruit leather instead of candy!! If there is room he always gets at least one new book, and if there is even more room lol maybe a How Wheels car or a dino for his collection.

  13. Ksebnerfamily says:

    I am happy with my “frugal” stockings this year! I bought a pack of 10 dinosaurs at the dollar store and split them between the advent calendar and both the kids’ stockings (yes my daughter loves dinos too), toothbrushes, a couple tools i got free at harbor frieght when i bought hubby’s christmas presents there, coffee for my father in law that i found in target’s dollar section, lotion from bath and body works i got for free (without having to buy anything), chapsticks, hand towels with an initial embrodiered on them that i picked up at walmart on clearance for $1 for a 2 pack-one towel in each of the inlaws stockings so together they have the set, $1 section puzzles at target (doesn’t matters who stocking it goes in-it ends up being an entire family event so i use that as filler lol), hair “pretties” (barettes, pony tail holders, clips, etc) for my daughter, nail polish i’ve picked up at target through out the year for free or under $1 for each of us girls, and hot pot holders for my mother in law…my son was a little harder since he’s only a year old but i put a ball and a baseball piggy bank (his first piggy bank-every kid needs one), a stuffed doggy and hot wheels cars in his stocking, as well as one of the toothbrushes because he LOVES brushing his teeth more than any of the rest of us lol.

  14. I LOVE to make coupons books for my hubby Free night out, cars wash, massage you can let your imagination roam with this one, I have 4 kids so I put a coupon for a movie night with just one on one or a park day to go hiking  with just my oldest so we can really go exploring I have a 4 yr old sometime you just can’t do what you could if the little on wasn’t there ya know, love making a pedi or mani set from the dollar store stuff for like 5 dollars you can get polish,clippers, some of those toes separators, pumice stone, and some foot lotion. Cheap is sheik  

  15. Jessica says:

    My mom has always bought the Lifesavers Christmas storybooks for us every year & Sim Jim beef jerky for my brother. 

  16. jamie says:

    I buy seasonal fruit and nuts for our kids stockings.  It changes every year.  Most years it is pineapples, or clementines but asian pears are known to show up now and then.  Hazel nuts, brazil nuts, pistacios and cashews are favorites.   Date coupons are another favorite.  This year I want to make personal items for my teens (deoderant, lotion, chapstick, etc.

    • Stacy says:

      We’re a nutty family, so that would totally work around here – my problem is that I’m sometimes too cheap to buy them. ;-)

  17. Nikki says:

    Ok, this list is priceless. I agree on the raisins, crayons, stickers and small books. They are great ideas. The rest is just hilarious fresh ideas for stocking stuffers. I love you Stacy!

  18. LOVE IT!  These were many of the things we had in our stockings growing up.  I LOVE going to the dollar section for stockings.
    I pretty much finished our Christmas shopping before 2010 was over, so honestly I cannot remember what all I got.  It’ll be like Christmas for me when I go up to wrap everything!

  19. Ha ha.  You said “underwear” in public…a lot.  Ha ha.

    Okay, growing up now.  Thanks for the great ideas and the “what on earth is wrong with Mommy” laugh-out-louds!  

  20. Jenniferkindle says:

    This crackef me up about you know youve grown up when youre excited about new undies!!! Im putting chicken noodle soup in my kids stockings….things they love!

  21. My kids stockings are filled with apples and oranges and nuts (in the shell-cause it’s fun to beat and bang to try and get to the ‘prize’ inside), Christmas themed candy and a few small $0.50-$1.00 toys to keep the occupied while I cook breakfast (they are allowed to open stockings first thing, then have to wait until after breakfast for under the tree gifts) Mine & hubby’s stockings are filled the same just less candy and only one gift (& it’s usually something ultra useful like body wash or deodorant)

  22. Tscee says:

    We always have stuff to eat in the stockings.  Beef jerky or slim jims, cheese sticks, store boght yougurt, chips, etc.  Got the idea from my mom. Our easter baskets were  our breakfast.  So we always had some good protien in it to keep us until dinner after church.
    And a little chocolate never hurt anyone ( for a long time anyway).  The kids are allowed to only open the stockings before mom and dad get up.

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