This is Day 11 of the 30 Days of Giving: Making Christmas Meaningful campaign, which is designed to bring the Believe.com community creative and practical ways to cheerfully give this holiday season through gifts, relationships and charity. Come visit the 30 Days of Giving Advent Calendar each day in our countdown to Christmas for intriguing and original ways to help you to experience and spread the spirit of joyful giving that God intended throughout the holiday season.
Whether your kids are young and still believe in Saint Nick or well into their taciturn teenage years, they’ll always enjoy finding their Christmas stockings bulging with little gifts on Christmas morning.
If you’re at a loss on how to fill those socks, here are 20 suggestions. They range the gamut from fun, little items for younger children to useful items for teens. Those words “fun” and “useful” are very important, because that’s how you can be sure your kids won’t toss these gifts.
1. Play-Doh or Silly Putty
These are two oldies but goodies that most parents enjoyed as a child. The most popular stocking stuffers are the ones that let kids get down and dirty, and these gooey substances fill the bill.
2. Sticker Activity Book
A coloring book and crayons is always a good option, but kids will have even more fun with an activity book that comes with stickers. They just love plastering stickers on the pages, and often on the walls, tables and even themselves.
3. Sidewalk Chalk
Kids loves to be messy, and sidewalk chalk lets them do it in a way that doesn’t cause any permanent damage. They can let their creative juices flow and make huge, colorful murals outside instead of writing on the walls and incurring parental wrath. This 12-pack from Crayola costs less than $3.
4. A Kazoo or Harmonica
Kids are all about noise, which makes simple musical instruments a real winner on Christmas morning. Kazoos and harmonicas are small enough to slip inside a stocking and very easy to play.
Mini Figs are just the right size to fit in a sock if you have little LEGO fans in your household. These little figures cost less than $3.
Hot Wheels cars are also the right size for a stocking stuffer. Although they mainly appeal to boys, some little girls enjoy playing with miniature cars, too.
Kids of any age love candy, and there are so many different varieties. Choose Pez dispensers with favorite cartoon characters or colorful lollipops. Keep up the holiday spirit by putting chocolate Santas or peppermint sticks in the stockings. The possibilities are endless.
8. Holiday Socks
Who doesn’t love cute, colorful or comical holiday socks? There’s something gleefully ironic about slipping a pair of socks into a stocking.
This is a simple, but useful gift for the winter. Cater to your child’s or teen’s tastes when you choose a color and style.
10. An iTunes Gift Card
Your older kids very likely have an iPod or other Apple device that they use to listen to music. Don’t try to guess which songs to buy them. Go the easy route with an iTunes gift card.
11. Ear Buds
Ear buds are another great music-related gift. Youngsters and teens are always losing or destroying them, so they’ll appreciate an extra pair.
Kids use a plethora of power-hungry devices, so they’re always in need of batteries. This will come in especially handy on Christmas morning, since someone’s sure to forget to provide batteries with at least one electronic Christmas gift.
13. A Cell Phone Charger
Youngsters and teens always have an army of rechargeable devices, and they’re constantly losing their chargers. They’ll be very happy to receive an extra as a stocking stuffer.
14. A Cell Phone Cover
Cell phone covers come in every style imaginable, so you’re sure to find one that appeals to your pre-teen or teen’s interests and taste.
15. Pencils or Pens
Kids need pens and pencils for school, but they’re constantly losing these items. That makes a package of pens or pencils a practical and useful gift. They don’t have to be boring if you choose fun colors, shapes or styles.
Kids are always intrigued by bubbles. They love to see just how large they can make these soapy orbs. Yes, the liquid is sticky, but it’s still harmless and well worth the fun. This light up Bubble Blaster from Toys R US is a great way to make bubbles even more fun ($4.98).
17. Bubble Bath
Speaking of bubbles, even kids who hate bath time have a hard time resisting a tub filled to the brim with soapy bubbles. Choose a bottle of bubble bath in a fun cartoon character shape to make baths more appealing to grubby, grimy kids.
18. Color Bath Tablets
If you want to go beyond bubble bath, try these special tablets ($4.99) that safely color bath water. They’re made by Crayola, and they come in rainbow hues so your child can choose a different color each night.
19. A Key Ring
If your youngster is old enough to be entrusted with a set of keys to the house, or even to the car, a cute or personalized key ring makes an appropriate item for a Christmas stocking.
20. A Personal Note
Store-bought stocking stuffers are great, but nothing beats a personal note telling your child how much he or she is loved.