How to Decide What to Put in a Child's Stocking

One Methods:Ideas for what to put inside

Commercially prepared stockings may be convenient but they're also more expensive, and you can't tailor them to the child's likes or dislikes or to your beliefs and values. Fill the stocking yourself instead!


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    Make a budget. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on the stocking fillers and the stocking itself. Since stockings are filled with small, inexpensive items this doesn't have to be much. More expensive gifts, even if they come in small packages like video games, should be under the tree not in the stocking.
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    Buy or make a stocking. You can't fill a stocking without a stocking. Red with white trim is traditional but you can also reflect the child's interests with it as well, such as a stocking that looks like a dress up boot or one that is Spiderman themed.
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    Consider whether you would like to do a theme stocking or not. If you know a little girl who just loves dress up, you could theme a stocking around that with a stocking that looks like a shoe or is made out of very "elegant" feeling fabric (such as plush or velvet) and filled with play makeup, costume jewelry, little accessories like scarves, and some princess themed candy. Using a theme can help you to sort out what you want to do, but it isn't necessary.
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    Consider the size of the items. If you buy only small items you can buy a ton of them but not fill much space. If you buy only large items, you can only fit one or two. It's best to have a mix of one large item, two or three medium items, and as many small items as you see fit. There are ideas for stocking stuffers in the Tips below.
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    Always keep the child in mind. Before you buy or make anything ask yourself if the child would like and use it. Be honest with yourself. Even if you think Jenny would be adorable in the pink scarf, if she hates pink don't buy it! If you're filling multiple stockings, break it down. If you're going to the toy store, go through once thinking just about one child, getting items just for their stocking, then go through another time thinking just about another child. It may be more time consuming but it allows you to focus on just one child.
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    Some families enjoy wrapping the presents they put in stockings. If you choose to do this it's more fun if you only wrap some of the presents and leave a few without wrapping paper.
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    Fill the stocking! Once you have everything you're going to put in, it's time to fill the stocking. Spread all the items out on a table or the floor so you can easily see everything. If you are including an apple or orange put that in first. If not, pick something small-ish and round, square, or squishy to put into the toe. This could be balled up socks, scarves, doll clothes, or a stuffed animal. Adjust it in the toe of the stocking until it looks good to you. Add another item of the same shape to fill in the heel area, then add a sprinkling of small chocolates or other small toys. Put larger or rectangular items, such as books or craft supplies, in next, coming up the leg of the stocking. Add the smaller items in around the larger. Try to leave something sticking out of the top, such as a stuffed animal with its arms over edge or a candy cane.
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    Hang or deliver the stocking. If you have filled the stocking because Santa was too busy this year, hang it on the mantel or lay it out in front of the fireplace or tree. Some people hang stockings from the child's bedpost or put it across the foot of the bed. Whatever works best for you and your family is okay! If you've filled the stocking as a gift for a friend you don't need to wrap it, the stocking itself serves as wrapping and all you have to do now is give it to them.

Ideas for what to put inside

  • Cookies in Christmas shapes, such as Santa or Reindeer.
  • Mince pies
  • Small cakes or Petites Fours.
  • Sweets - Candy canes are traditional, but special Christmas themed candy would be appreciated too.
  • A single-serve packet of crisps (potato chips) in the child's favorite flavor.
  • An orange or apple - in keeping with tradition, and making the toe of the stocking nice and round!
  • Nuts - nuts are also traditional stocking fillers. These can be bought in the shell or in single serve packets. Be sure to find out about nut allergies first.
  • Stuffed toys. You can make or buy this. Teddy bears may be traditional but if the child has a favorite animal, try to get or make a stuffed version of it.
  • Toy cars (for boys OR girls)
  • Silly Putty
  • Bouncy balls
  • A small container of bubble solution and a wand
  • Slinkies
  • Mini Jigsaw puzzles
  • Costume jewelry
  • Army Men or small action figures or dolls
  • Clothing for Barbie dolls or other dolls
  • Notebooks, diaries, or journals. Many people start keeping a diary or journal at a young age, and nice ones can be found at office supply stores very inexpensively.
  • Pens or pencils. Pencils can be found with cartoon characters or seasonal themes on them and pens can be found with Gel ink in bright, metallic, or glittery colors.
  • School supplies. The child will probably need new school supplies soon anyway, so why not add them to the stocking? This doesn't mean they have to be boring! Like with pencils, school supplies come in all colours and designs. You could include a ruler with the child's favorite superhero on it, or a packet of Winnie the Pooh erasers.
  • Books. Many children's books are available inexpensively, and it's very likely that they will be kept around long after the toys have been lost or broken.
  • Art supplies. Craft stores sell small kits for craft projects such as sun catchers, but you can always buy few separate craft items, such as a set of sketch pencils or a tin of watercolors.
  • A toothbrush and toothpaste. Character toothbrushes are readily available, as are toothpastes in flavors like bubblegum.
  • If your child has a website that they like for e.g- Moshi monsters why not put membership cards in their stocking. Membership cards allow your child to have better features on their virtual character/characters. You can buy it from Wilkinsons and Whsmith. It is a great way to put a sun-ray on your child's face.
  • If you have an older daughter and think it would be appropriate, you could slip some nail polish or makeup in there
  • If you have a teen girl, maybe a 5-10 dollar gift card to Starbucks


  • Always be sure that food is tightly sealed. Never put unwrapped food in the stocking.
  • If you are the child's parent you may want to either skip the homemade treats or tell the child that Santa asked you to fill the child's stocking for him this year.

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