Postcards & Passports

How to Fill Up a Christmas Stocking

This post was most recently updated on November 21st, 2023

Christmas is just around the corner, and one of the greatest challenges is how to fill up a Christmas stocking. It’s pretty easy to buy other gifts, wrap them or put them in a gift bag, and place them under the tree. But finding those elusive stocking stuffers that are 1) small enough to fit inside a stocking, 2) interesting enough for your loved one, and 3) something he/she doesn’t already have — THAT can be a challenge!

For the last several years, my husband and I have ONLY exchanged stockings (shhh….don’t read this out loud if there are young children around. I know they still believe stockings are filled by Santa!) For Christmas, we gift each other experiences, such as theatre tickets or mini vacations, rather than buying things we probably don’t really need.

So, why still buy stocking stuffers?

Well, as “grown up” as we are, there is still something magical about receiving a surprise gift. And knowing that someone took the time to find something meaningful makes us feel loved and special. If you’re like me, I really enjoy picking out gifts for my husband’s stocking. It’s a fun challenge, although I occasionally stumble at coming up with new ideas. In fact, the last few years, I have also picked out items for my mother-in-law’s Christmas stocking — and that’s much easier! I keep filling stockings for Christmas because it’s so much fun to give! Keep reading for over 75 stocking stuffer ideas for both men and women.

Is there a key to finding good stocking stuffers?

Yes! Here are some things to consider:

  • SIZE – Make sure it will fit inside the stocking (although we have been known to cheat a little on this rule and lean an item against the outside of the stocking!)
  • NEW – It’s okay to get something for someone who already has it, as long as it’s a new or improved version of it.
  • PRACTICAL – A practical gift is very appreciated. Doesn’t everyone like something they definitely use in their everyday lives? (But we’re not talking toilet paper practical!)
  • BUT NOT TOO PRACTICAL – This may be only a female trait, but a frivolous or luxurious gift is also appreciated, just because it is NOT practical and we would never buy it for ourselves.
  • FUN – If it makes your loved one smile or even laugh, you have scored a great stocking stuffer idea. Don’t go overboard with this and choose off-color humored items. That can go horribly wrong.
  • THEMES – Think of what you know your loved one likes or likes to do. Make a list of several categories or “themes”, such as “camping”, “sports”, “reading”, “make-up”, “technology”, “gadgets”, “kitchen helps”, “being pampered”, “jewelry”, and so on. Now choose an item to go along with each theme, and you can’t miss.
  • TREATS – Don’t forget this category! It’s fun to get a few treats you can indulge in on Christmas Day. Chocolates, nuts, hot cocoa, or foreign treats like Italian panettone or Scottish shortbread are just a delight and help fill up a Christmas stocking.
  • HOMEMADE – Don’t forget the option of making something homemade for your loved one’s stocking. It can be practical, whimsical, or edible. Pinterest is filled with ideas of things nearly anyone can make, often with items you already have around the house.
Here’s my new list of stocking stuffer ideas

Last year, I put together a list of 40+ Stocking Stuffers for Men & Women Who Travel. Go check it out if that appeals to you. This year’s list is not focused on travel. They are items I either already have and really appreciate having OR items I thought my husband or I might enjoy. Or my mother-in-law! They’re definitely focused on how to fill up a Christmas stocking for adults because my kids are grown and I don’t fill the grandchildren’s stockings.

I’ve separated the list into different categories so you can skip to the ones you want. I’ve included links to many of these products on Amazon to make it easier for you to purchase them and save shopping time. I am an authorized Amazon Affiliate so I will earn a small commission if you purchase anything, but at no extra cost to you. This list has over 75 ideas for you…

Techie stocking stuffer ideas
  1. White noise machine to improve sleep
  2. Alarm clock with dimmable light so it’s not too bright at night
  3. Mini power strip or outlet with USB ports (great for bedside or travel!)
  4. Super-thin Clutch power bank with attached cord (I’ve owned several power banks, and this one is my all-time favorite!) Use code: TAMARA93451 for 10% off
  5. Blue-tooth mini speaker (so you can play music from your phone in any room)
  6. Extra charging cables (it’s nice to have back-ups) They never last as long as you want them to, or you can’t find one when you need one.
  7. Flameless rechargeable lighter for candles (I love the one my husband bought me last year!) No more need for matches.
Stocking stuffers to help you stay warm
  1. Fingerless gloves – perfect for typing in a cold room!
  2. Slipper socks, for those cooler evenings
  3. Re-chargeable hand warmers (these double as power banks!) My husband bought me a pair, and it is wonderful to slip them into my pockets to warm up my hands.
  4. Thermal mug to keep hot cocoa or hot apple cider warm
  5. Touchscreen fleece-lined gloves, luxury for the hands
  6. Merino wool headband, lightweight but very warm
Pampering stocking stuffers
  1. Silk pillowcase, (less friction, so less wrinkles!)
  2. Stainless steel foot file (to remove dead skin easily)
  3. Face mask, mud mask, or foot masks
  4. Manicure set (the key is NEW — how old is the one your loved one has been using?
  5. Pocket-sized refillable perfume atomizer
  6. Cetaphil hand lotion in a purse-sized tube (this lotion really keeps your skin moist)
  7. Pretty stud earrings, comfortable enough to sleep in and wear anywhere
  8. Headbands or flat hair clips for easy up-do’s
  9. Favorite chapstick
  10. Scented handsoap; it’s easy to find scented soaps for women, but try this one for men
  11. Aftershave splash
Camping or outdoor use stocking stuffers
  1. Foldable baseball cap that fits in your pocket or daybag
  2. Mini-knife key chain for emergencies
  3. Camping/travel utensils –  we keep two sets of utensils in our car for take-out food
  4. Solar-powered lantern – this lantern can also charge your phone!
  5. Battery-powered lifelike flickering tealights with a remote
  6. Wrist flashlight – it’s even rechargeable and great for runners…or anyone with a task to do!
Fun, but still practical stocking stuffers
  1. Seeds for an herb garden
  2. Flavored water packets – make drinking water fun again
  3. Colorful postcards w/stamps so they’re ready to mail with a quick note
  4. Hooks for hanging jewelry, clothing, or decor
  5. New pens for writing or calligraphy; or this one that doubles as a tool
  6. Bright-colored baggage tags so they’re easy to spot
  7. Re-useable bags for shopping (I’m in love with these that come in a “pod” that clips to your grocery cart. Cashiers always tell me they like how strong they are.)
  8. Pocket journal or calendar – these are purse or pocket size and come with a pen
  9. Socks (warm, compression, hiking, etc.)
  10. Scented room spray
Just for fun stocking stuffers
  1. Favorite craft supplies (paints, markers, glitter, etc.)
  2. Glass drawer knobs – for sprucing up furniture
  3. Water bottle stickers (the latest trend!) – this links to a set of National Park stickers
  4. Scented candles – this vanilla candle also kills odors
  5. Cute stuffed animal – bet  you’ll like this one!
  6. Mini book of brain teasers or crossword puzzles
  7. Frameable art print (roll it up carefully to put in stocking)
  8. Card games – have you tried Skyjo?
  9. Unique refrigerator magnet – love these baby succulent plant magnets!
  10. A keychain that clips to a purse or pocket
  11. DVD to watch during holidays; how about this Christmas classic?
Homemade stocking stuffers
  1. DIY craft kits; here’s a kit for mosaic coasters
  2. Quilted hot pads
  3. Eyeglass holder
  4. Bookmark
  5. Handmade greeting cards
  6. Homemade granola (try this granola recipe)
  7. Chocolate chip cookies (can you ever go wrong with these?)
  8. List of the best podcasts to listen to
Favorite treats for stocking stuffers
  1. Chocolate oranges
  2. Scottish shortbread
  3. Italian Panettone sweetbread
  4. Hersheys chocolate kisses
  5. Red Vines licorice (my personal weakness)
  6. Beef jerky
  7. Vintage brand sodas
  8. Altoid mints
Special or meaningful stocking stuffers 
  1. A hand-written note
  2. Framed photo of yours truly
  3. Special occasion jewelry for her
  4. Monogrammed cufflinks or tie clasp
  5. GPSmyCity annual membership
  6. Tickets to a favorite play or musical
  7. Gift cards to favorite restaurants or bookstores
  8. Special Christmas tree ornament
  9. Tickets for a foodie tour, like this one in La Jolla, CA
Get ready to fill up a Christmas stocking

Hopefully, I’ve given you plenty of ideas to think about. Maybe something has inspired you to go a different route — and that’s great! Because it’s all about putting some thought into what will be special for YOUR loved one. I wish you a very merry Christmas, filled with the Christmas Spirit! Please add some of your favorite stocking stuffer ideas in the comments below. You might have the perfect idea I need for MY husband!

fill up a Christmas stocking

Fill up a Christmas stocking

11 thoughts on “How to Fill Up a Christmas Stocking

  1. Linda (LD Holland)

    We don’t need much anymore for Christmas. But we still love to fill stockings with lots of fun and useful things. We wrap every single thing that goes into the stockings. I went through your post for some good ideas for this year’s stockings. I do love the idea of adding some homemade stocking stuffers too. And anything chocolate is a hit for hubby. Reminds me I need to start shopping.

  2. Ambica Gulati

    I like the idea of stuffing stockings with gifts. In india, we have gift hampers and baskets, but maybe I will try stuffing with some good gifts from your list. I would certainly like the touchscreen gloves and the tripod. Homemade sweets and luggage tags also appeals to me. Going to get down with my gift journal and jot down what I can get from my travels.

  3. Joanna

    These are great idea for filling the Christmas stockings. We don’t do that in my household, as it’s not traditional. Our gifts all go nicely wrapped under the Christmas tree. I have always enjoyed the edible treats, for me, those would be perfect for a Christmas stocking.

  4. Adele

    This post could not be more timely as Christmas is coming and Black Friday will come even sooner. I appreciate the list of ideas to get for a variety of people. I am extremely bad at stuffing stockings with little gifts and go straight for a one-gift present. Still very useful and that white noise machine is a great gift for myself.

  5. Jennifer Prince

    A silk (or satin) pillowcase is a great idea. As are extra charging cables as they always seem to get lost or broken. I really need to put more effort into my Christmas stockings this year!

  6. Bhushavali

    When I think of stocking stuffers, our first thought is always a little handmade, handwritten cards or drawings. But then again, we have a kid in our household for whom handmade cards are the best gifts ever! It’s funny that you mention Mosaic coasters… I just got a little pack of mosaics from Ravenna and thinking of making a photoframe with it. Now coaster is also a good option.

  7. Natascha

    In Germany we do not have the tradition of stuffing stockings. I know this only from movies and I never thought that this is actually something people do. Well, maybe for children. But I like the idea and you provided a very helpful list for people who are looking for presents. Now I am thinking how I can introduce this tradition to my family and friends.

  8. Clarice

    These are great stuffer ideas! I haven’t really started on my holiday shopping so, this is really helpful.

    I am actually planning to give something for the bedroom/home and these silk pillowcases are a great idea.

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