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Stocking Stuffers 2019 1

Every year in the last few days leading up to Christmas, I go into some sort of stocking-related panic state. I start worrying, “Did we get Carla enough gifts? Is Christmas going to be special enough for her?” It is ridiculous, because – like anyone – Carla is happiest with a few thoughtfully chosen gifts that she really wants. She does not NEED a bunch of junk stacked under the tree and stuffed into her stocking just for the sake of volume.

My husband and I try to stick to the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” guidelines… with maybe a couple of extra goodies tucked in as well. Plus, one set of grandparents typically goes over the top with gifts (I sense a kindred panic-buying spirit). (The other grandparents usually get her one or two gifts to unwrap and then add money to her college fund which, I think, is the BEST gift ever.) So Carla is never lacking in gifts, and often seems more overwhelmed by All! The! Stuff! than anything else.

So this year I am trying to avoid Christmas Stocking Syndrome by plotting out the contents of my family members’ stockings in advance.

By the way, my own stocking philosophy is that stocking gifts need to be not only small, but relatively inexpensive. So these items are all (okay, mostly) right around $10 to $15.

Stocking Kids 2019 1

Photos from amazon.com, etsy.com, and hallmark.com

  1. Let’s start out with one of the sleeper hits of past stockings: a sticky starfish. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a sticky starfish that you fling at a wall or a window and then you watch as it climbs its way down to the floor. Carla got this in her stocking a few years ago and it was the Most Played With Item of the day. (Note: It WILL get gross after a while, but you can wash it, let it air dry, and reuse it forever.)

2. This has been The Year of the Leopard around our house, so this leopard spots temporary tattoo from DuckyStreet is definitely going in Carla’s stocking this year.

3. I don’t understand exactly what a Little Live Wrapple is – a slap bracelet? a stuffed animal toy? – but Carla is really enthusiastic about them whenever she sees them, so maybe it will end up in her stocking. This would be good for my niece, too.

4. Miniature things make my heart happy, so when I saw this miniature Lite Brite awhile ago, I thought Carla would love it.

5. Speaking of retro games, Carla acquired a Magic 8 Ball somehow and loves it. This could be great in a stocking.

6. I don’t 100% understand the appeal, but LOL Surprise dolls are an enduring hit around here. You can find them almost anywhere toys are sold – Barnes and Noble, Target, Best Buy – and there are several versions that come in under $10.

Stocking Kids 2019 2

Photos from amazon.com and anthropologie.com

7. Sadly, I think Carla may have aged out of these Melissa and Doug puffy sticker sets, but they were a lifesaver for many years. She could play with them for a long time by herself while I was working or cooking. We could pull one out at a restaurant or on the airplane. These are perfect for quiet, imaginative play.

8. My niece wants a mask making kit for Christmas, and I am considering this Melissa and Doug option for her stocking. She’s a year and a half younger than Carla, so I think she would love it.

9. Man, Melissa and Doug really know how to make great quiet activities that kids can do independently! Again, I think the Melissa and Doug mess-free glitter activity kit might be more appropriate for a younger kid – I think Carla was most into this kind of thing when she was around four – but we went through MANY of these kits. She LOVED them.

10. I may have recommended Wikki stix in last year’s gift guide, but I am doing so again because they are SUCH a great stocking stuffer. Another quiet, imaginative toy that has kept Carla engaged for literally hours in the car.

11. I’m not quite sure if this is a better gift for a child or a parent – let’s go with both – but this activity roll would be PERFECT to stow in a purse and bring into a restaurant.

Rainbowcorn mini

Photo from target.com

12. I mentioned this already in the Gift Guide, but I think a mini Rainbowcorn would make a good stocking stuffer for kids of many ages.

Stocking Kids 2019 3

Photos from amazon.com and kidmademodern.com

13. This year, I’m strongly considering this Cat Sew and Stuff kit for Carla’s stocking. It looks like something she’d really enjoy (making her own stuffy!), and the first grade set seems really interested in sewing/crocheting/etc.

14. Another thing Carla is into? Painting her nails. These Nail art pens sound like a fun alternative to nail polish.

15. Carla also loves anything artistic, but being a Mean Mom, I never let her paint. (Too messy.) So I think these Chunkies paint sticks would be really fun for her (and less mess for me). They are double the price I’d normally want to pay for a stocking stuffer, though… but maybe worth it.

16. This cosmic necklace kit would be perfect for a kid who likes a) crafts and b) jewelry.

Stocking Kids 2019 4

Photos from amazon.com

17. On any field trip I’ve ever supervised – since preschool – one of the games that the kids seem to enjoy most is “Would You Rather?” You know, with thought-provoking questions like “Would you rather be a princess or a mermaid?” and “Would you rather have a unicorn or a dinosaur as a pet?” Obviously, this game is limited only by your imagination, but it might be fun to have some printed prompts for family conversation.

18. UNO is also a big hit around here.

19. We just got Go Fish! in a gift bag this weekend, and played it with some friends who have a five-year-old and a three-year-old. I was so happy to find that even the three-year-old could understand it and play. Definitely a good option for even young kiddos.

20. This Iota card game looks like it might be fun for the whole family. And look how teeny!

Rubiks Cube

Photo from amazon.com

20. Carla has been obsessed with a friend’s Rubik’s Cube, so I think she might get one of her own as well.

Stocking Kids 2019 5

Photos from target.com and amazon.com

21. Sometimes stockings are a good place to stow practical items, too. Carla loves bath bombs of all kinds, and these come in a stocking-friendly size – plus they look like macarons. So cute!

22. We all get pretty excited about new toothbrushes, and a battery-powered option for kids would be fun in a stocking, AND practical, which is a bonus in my book.

23. Same goes for these flossers – which Carla, at least, is very amenable to.

Butter crew socks for kids

Photo from nordstrom.com

24. These Butter crew socks for kids would be the perfect mix of fun and function.

Butter crew socks

Photo from nordstrom.com

25. Adults – well, this adult at least – enjoy stocking stuffers too. And Butter crew socks come in grownup sizes, too… Just saying.

Stocking 2019 1

26. I can’t tell you how useful it is to have a “travel candle.” This P. F. Candle Co mini candle set is cute and totally useful. DEFINITELY more than my $10-per-item price cap… but not if you split them apart and give one candle to three separate people. Am genius.

27. Or this one: Vermeil Mini Tin Candle Trio!

28. You know I ask for fancy hand cream every year. Well this L’Occitane 5-piece set of hand creams – split up among gift recipients, to keep the cost-per-item down – would be a great stocking stuffer for someone who spends the winter with dry, cracked hands.

29. Ooooooh – I think this L’Occitane Indulgences hand cream trio looks great, too.

30. Or the Kiehl’s Smooth Skin Delights Hand Cream Trio.

31. Or how about this Philosophy hand cream set? So many options for fancy hand creams!

Stocking 2019 2

Photos from papersource.com, nordstrom.com, and anthropologie.com

32. These cucumber cooling eye pads would also be a fun self-care item to find in a stocking.

33. I am thinking about getting into the facial spray game – my sister-in-law uses a face spritz, and always looks glowy and fresh. So what if she’s naturally beautiful. I can still try to replicate her dewy loveliness by asking for this Facial spray trio for myself.

34. Another thing I always covet is seasonal nail polish, so I just might buy myself this Deborah Lippman Precious Things Nail Trio.

35. Maybe you know someone who needs some roll-on shimmer. It sounds fun, and it’s the perfect price and size for a stocking.

36. Oooh – I would have LOVED this glitter spray in college. I think it would fill people of MANY ages with delight.

Stocking 2019 2-2

Photos from amazon.com and etsy.com

37. I have just the friend who needs the Mental Perk: A Friends Quiz Book as a stocking stuffer.

38. Or maybe I should send her this Rachel Green-worn T-shirt from KatLivesMatter – it’s under $10, so it’s totally a stocking stuffer.

39. You probably know someone who loves The Good Place. If so, you know someone who needs this mug from NerdyDesignShop in their stocking. I like how the wholesome flowery motif belies the meaning behind the message.

40. This one would be great, too – if you don’t have a small child who would ask too many questions about what it means.

41. For the Schitt’s Creek fan, I might direct you to this mug from SilverSpurMercantile, which features my favorite quotable moment from the show. (Keep in mind that I have not yet seen the most recent season.)

42. This collection of Schitt’s Creek-quote pencils from SundryBest makes me happy.

43. Oh my goodness – THIS pencil collection from TheSilverSpider may make me EVEN HAPPIER. (And it has fewer swear words. You have to know your recipient’s tolerance for such.)

44. Can you ever have too many magnets? No. Therefore, they make excellent stocking stuffers. I recommend this David Rose sweater magnet from LaceyOlsonDesign.

cat-memos.jpg

Photo from papersource.com

45. For the feline fanatic: I can envision LOTS of uses for these cat post-its.

Stocking 2019 3

Photos from amazon.com

46. My dad is a car guy, and I am thinking of getting him something like this magnetic pickup tool. It looks useful and would make for a great stocking stuffer for someone who works with their hands.

47. This magnetic wrist band would also be useful for anyone who does lots of at-home (or at-work) building and repairs.

48. My husband – who washes his hands a thousand times a day – swears by this O’Keefe’s Working Hands hand cream. Usually it comes in a little tin, but I found it in a squeeze bottle which will make it easier for me to “borrow” once my own fancy hand cream runs out.

Stocking 2019 4

Photos from happysocks.com, amazon.com, and nordstrom.com

49. Lately, my husband is really into fun socks. And he is also a big coffee guy. So I think these coffee socks might find their way into his stocking. (As of this writing, they are under $10, but the normal price is $14.)

50. Usually I get him some pour-over coffee as a stocking stuffer, too.

51. In the practical category, this three-pack of men’s unders would be good in a stocking. The Nordstrom boxer shorts are super soft and hold up well after multiple washings.

52. Men deserve luxurious self-care items, too. So maybe there’s a man in your life who would enjoy this exfoliating soap?

53. Or perhaps this peppermint foot salve.

54. I got my husband this manicure kit a couple of years ago and he uses it all the time. Useful and small – perfect stocking stuffer material.

Stocking 5

Photos from amazon.com, worldmarket.com, and surlatable.com

55. Almost anyone could find a use for these mini silicone kitchen utensils. I find myself constantly wishing my existing utensils were smaller – sometimes you don’t need a Giant Whisk, am I right?

56. Speaking of miniature kitchen gadgets, I really, really think this miniature cheese grater would come in handy for anyone in any kitchen.

57. There’s no 1/8 teaspoon, but these measuring spoons are so cute and make me feel so happy.

58. These odd-size measuring spoons make me feel happy in a totally different way.

59. These silicone sponges are reportedly AMAZING – and something everyone can use.

Stocking 2019 6

Photos from worldmarket.com and amazon.com

60. For someone who enjoys a mixed drink, these cocktail syrups would be fun to receive in a stocking.

61. Or – maybe even better – these Champagne toppers.

62. You definitely know someone who needs one of these Baggu bags. I own two and they are SO USEFUL. You can fold them up into their teeny little pouch, so I keep one in my purse and one in my car and use them for… everything. Library books. Impromptu grocery-store visits. Cleaning out Carla’s cubby at school.

63. These magnetic bookmarks are awesome. Perfect for any book lover.

Stocking 2019 7

Photos from amazon.com

64. Stockings are a great place to stow candy. I would love to find a bag of these all-pink Starburst in my stocking, for instance.

65. Oooohhhh…. Or a bag of miniature Milky Way Midnights. The bag may say “perfect for sharing” but I say “perfect for hoarding to enjoy with my morning tea.”

Lotto Love.jpg

Photo from givelottolove.com

66. I like the idea behind these charitable scratch-off tickets from Lotto Love. Each ticket represents a donation to one of Lotto Love’s charitable partners, providing clean water, solar light, literacy tools, or nutritious meals to people in need. (Of course, make sure you do your due diligence before you make any charitable contribution.)

67. And of course a stocking is a great place for gift cards. Five to ten bucks makes for a good treat at Starbucks, Claire’s, or your local ice cream shop.

What are you putting (or hoping for) in your stocking this year?

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Perhaps you are looking for some last-minute Christmas gifts? Or maybe you just like reading about what other people enjoy. In either case, here are some things that I am loving lately (and just to be clear, I am not getting ANYTHING in return for recommending any of these; I either bought them myself or received them as gifts):

Chef’n ZipStrip Herb Zipper

1-herb-zipper

Photo from surlatable.com

Okay, I didn’t realize this had such a ridiculous name. But it’s awesome. I got a bunch for people as stocking stuffers last year – including myself – and I use it ALL the time. It’s on sale for $6.36 at Sur La Table, if you have any people who like to cook on your Christmas list. 

Anthurium Plant

 

2-anthurium

Photo from homedepot.com

This summer, I was looking for a red lamp to add to my new office and I could not for the life of me find one I liked. But I DID find a really pretty plant with red leaf-like flowers (in a red ceramic pot) at my local Home Depot. I know, a plant does not have the same functionality as a lamp. But if you think of the lamp as more of an accessory, you will see how the plant fit the bill. ANYWAY. It is an anthurium plant, which seems to be a type of orchid. And it’s super easy to care for: I just put a few ice cubes in it each Monday and it remains lovely and shiny all week long. If you have someone in your life who isn’t great at caring for plants but who loves them AND has easy access to ice cubes, this could be the perfect gift. Okay, I am giving the Home Depot site the side-eye because I did NOT pay $32.99 for my anthurium. I can’t imagine paying any more than $15 for it. Maybe $20. I kind of want to dig through my old receipts just to prove it. Perhaps it is seasonally more expensive. If so, it would make an excellent Christmas in July gift.

Kung Fu Girl Riesling

3-kung-fu-girl

Photo from kvintners.com

Riesling is my favorite type of white wine. My mantra used to be, the sweeter, the better. But my palate might be changing or maturing or something (unlikely) and I have gravitated to drier wines of late. Kung Fu Girl is my current go-to. It’s probably what I would call semi-dry, so there is a hint of sweetness there. But it’s crisp and clean and also, bonus, I can usually find it for $10.99 at my local grocery store. I’ve also seen it at World Market, if you have one near you.

Lands’ End Shimmer Down Long Coat

4-coat

Photo from landsend.com

We live in an area of the country whose winters include snow and cold temperatures. And I happen to possess the variety of child who loves snow more than anything in life. So last year, my husband bought me a down coat from Lands’ End.  It was longer than I wanted it to be – it came all the way down to the tops of my boots (also from Lands’ End). And I felt like a marshmallow. BUT. It is AMAZING. I can be wearing a t-shirt-weight shirt and jeans, and as long as I have that coat on, I feel NOTHING. I can play in the snow with Carla for hours (or until her face is red and I have to drag her inside). I can even lie down in the snow and make snow angels and feel NOTHING. It’s truly the best. And Lands’ End has really good sales on a regular basis. It’s a bit pricy at $199, but if you get a code for 40% off, you’re looking at a much more reasonable $119 for a really great, really warm coat. Oh. I just now “got” why it’s called “Shimmer Down.” I say “got” because you CAN make a pun on “simmer down” just because the coat is made of down doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

UGG Tasman Genuine Shearling Gloves

5-ugg-gloves

Photo from amazon.com

Speaking of warm, these gloves are the softest, fuzziest, warmest gloves ever. Obviously, you can’t text with them on or anything. But I find they are perfect for driving before your car’s heater has kicked in. Or for, you know, being outside in general. They are pricey, at $140, but I looooooove mine so I think they might be worth it.

Bedford Cottage Eskimo Throw

6-eskimo-blanket

Photo from bedfordcottage.com

Perhaps you can tell that it is only 15 degrees here, based on these last three items. Well, I am in love with this faux fur throw, which is currently draped over my legs. It’s super soft and warm, but I also love it because it looks like it belongs on a chaise longue in some fancy catalog and makes me feel like the type of person you might refer to as “stylish” and “put together” and less like the type of person whose living room has seventy five Amazon boxes stacked in one corner and a bright blue toddler-height table with red, green, and yellow chairs in another corner and a giant bear from Costco behind the couch and the detritus of a Doc McStuffins vet station scattered across the hearth and pieces of a menorah puzzle strewn like tiny land mines about the carpet. You can buy it via the link above for $149, which I did not; I got it as a gift. But it’s possibly that you could find it elsewhere for less.

Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp 1.7-Liter Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle

 

7-tea-kettle

Photo from amazon.com

I drink tea every day, and this water boiler has made it very very very simple. Just fill and press a button. And there are all sorts of temperature variations, so you can set it to the proper temperature for green tea… or black tea… or oolong… or whatever.  My husband – a coffee drinker – uses it too; on weekend for pour-over coffee. I really like that it maintains a specific temperature, too – just in case a toddler suddenly urgently needs you to come help her find proper socks. It cost $73?!?! Sheesh. That seems… excessive. Although it DOES do a nice job. And I really have no concept for how much these things do/should cost. 

Carole Hochman Ladies’ 3 Pair Ribbed Lounge Sock

 

8-costco-socks

Photo from costco.com

I grabbed a three-pack of these socks at Costco the last time we were there (what’s a trip to Costco without grabbing something that you simultaneously NEED URGENTLY and also had no idea you needed/didn’t need at all?) and they are sooooo soft and warm and cozy. They don’t look like much from the picture, but they are cushy and plush and I love them. Also: $5.99.

Laura Mercier Hand Crème Sampler

9-laura-mercier-hand-creme

Photo from amazon.com

Well, crud. I see this is either $51 through Amazon or not available. My husband got it for me last Christmas, and it was a PERFECT stocking stuffer. I wash my hands a bajillion times a day, so they get very dry. And there’s nothing less appealing than that powdery feeling of dry skin – well, I suppose cracked and bleeding finger webs are less appealing. I think it was, at one point, around $30 at Nordstrom. (And, keeping in mind that each of us is comfortable paying certain amounts for certain things and not for others, I find that $30 seems just on the high side of reasonable while $51 has me shaking my head emphatically NO.) I have just in the past month squeezed the very last glob of lotion from the very last sample and I would enjoy getting this again and again each year. Also, if you don’t want to gift someone ALL of the little lotions, you could certainly open up the box and give one sample to multiple people. Including, perhaps, yourself. Of course, all this is MOOT because it No Longer Exists. But I’m sure there are many other good hand lotion sets in the world.

Scrivener

10-scrivener

Photo from literatureandlatte.com

This may be a bit of a niche idea, but as a (would-be/trying-to-be/hopes-to-be) writer, I use this every single day. I never thought that I would like a writing platform more than I do plain old Microsoft Word. But I LOVE Scrivener. It’s very intuitive and user friendly AND it has a very simple tutorial on how to use it, just in case. It makes putting together your novel (or screenplay, I imagine) very simple. No more scrolling down in a long document, or opening multiple documents. You just create a new chapter or chapter-part inside an outline, and then you can move parts and pieces around with the flick of your mouse, OR read your entire manuscript in one flowing document. Plus, it allows you to assign (and customize) keywords to each bit of text, from which characters show up to things you need to research to plot points and dates – which you can then use to help you organize the manuscript in different ways, like, you can see at one glance every chapter featuring your villain. It’s fabulous and it’s only $45 and I love it so. If only it could do the writing for me…

Matymats Grippy Yoga Socks and Stargoods Yoga Gloves 

Photos from amazon.com

I have newly taken on yoga as part of my at-home exercise routine. Which means I have newly discovered that my feet and palms sweat when I do yoga. What can I say. The body is a mysterious wonderland. These socks and gloves help A LOT. No more sliding around while I’m trying to do downward facing dog or a triangle pose or other horrific contortion of limbs that my body is clearly not meant to perform. Both are about $15, but both come with multiple pairs of socks/gloves, which means I can match them to my sports bra. (No.)

 

Good luck with any last-minute shopping you are doing!

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