This post is sponsored by Orajel. All opinions are mine own.
Every Christmas morning I woke up early, eager to get started unwrapping all the Christmas presents for me underneath our Christmas tree. But, I had to wait until the rest of my family was up and out of bed to do so. Thankfully, I always had a Christmas stocking hanging full of treats and other traditional stocking stuffer items that was free game to rummage through as I waited for my parents and siblings to wake up.
I loved our family’s Christmas stockings for the simple fact of where it came from: my grandmother. She hand-knit every stocking for myself, my eight siblings, and my parents, and everyone was slightly different, though very similar to the next, complete with our names knit into it at the top. As my siblings married and had children, she or her sister, would knit a new one for the spouse and their kids, all similar but unique.
I never got to know my grandmother or my great Aunt Rose very well unfortunately before they passed so I cherished this small token of their love for me from long ago. I was married after my Grandmother and Great Aunt passed and no one in my family knits, leaving me cheated out of handmade stockings for my husband and posterity.
Our knit Christmas stockings were the perfect size for all the more “traditional” stocking stuffers we received each year, which became almost rote with the passing of time. And honestly, the somewhat lack of creative stocking stuffers was totally okay with me! I liked having our stockings being so reliably the same, so traditional, so expected. It’s part of why my husband and I have adopted very similar stocking stuffer gifts for our kids. It’s become part of our own Christmas family traditions.
I have seen some pretty ridiculous gift guides for stocking stuffer items where the gifts would have a fat chance of fitting into any normal sized stocking, or cost as much as many regular Christmas gifts!
Call me old fashioned if you will, but I prefer the small traditional stocking stuffer ideas that don’t cost much and actually fit inside the stocking. Stocking stuffer gifts needn’t be complicated, expensive, or elaborate. Simple, minimalist stocking stuffers allow for the three Christmas gifts (or maybe four) under the tree to shine and for tradition to be had in the form of regular, consistent, stocking gifts.
As a child when I pulled down my stocking from the little nail it hung on in our wall or over a doorway, I could expect to find many of the following items:
Traditional Stocking Stuffers
A Christmas Orange
At the very bottom of our Christmas stockings, filling out the toe perfectly, was a big, round, juicy orange.
My mother informed me that the reason we always received an orange at the bottom of our stockings was because oranges were a rare and special treat to have, especially during lean years like the Great Depression Era and World Wars. My grandmother, the one who knit my stocking, was born in 1907 in England, and knew much about such things. How grateful people were to have an orange on Christmas morning! We most definitely continue this tradition in our home as a sense of humility and family history.
Our grandmother or great Aunt (or our parents) filled a small cash envelope or Christmas card with some Christmas cash, usually only $5-20 if I remember correctly, but not every year. Occasionally, we may have received a gift card instead. I’m pretty sure one year we all (or one of us at least) received special limited edition State Quarters.
The tradition of giving money, especially coins, is as old as the tradition of a Christmas stocking itself!
Without fail, every member of our family received a brand new toothbrush in their stocking on Christmas morning. I am not sure why this was, other than it was likely needed and inexpensive, but millions of families receive toothbrushes in their stockings every year for Christmas. My family still does today.
We make sure to pick up more “exciting” toothbrushes like a Paw Patrol or My Little Pony branded Orajel toothbrush for our kids, who actually really enjoy getting new toothbrushes. You can learn more about the best oral care products to use and give during the holiday seasons, and help your kids understand that a healthy, cavity free smile is a pretty darn good gift to receive too, especially when gifted the next item…
Chocolate and Nuts
Every year in our stockings was a Ziploc sandwich bag of M&Ms and peanuts mixed together. It was a salty sweet treat to start our Christmas morning! We often had other chocolate and other candies in our stockings too.
Small and practical, some sort of lip product, perhaps a fun flavored Lip Smacker, was sometimes in our stockings.
As little girls my sister and I found simple jewelry pieces from time to time in our stockings, but super cheap items like Sticker Earrings or a charm bracelet.
Mints & Gum
We most often received a small box of Tic Tacs or a pack of gum. My sister joked that the Tic Tacs were often consumed within a day, especially if they were the yummy, chewy orange flavored ones!
Candy canes hang so perfectly from the top of a Christmas stocking and come in so many different flavors during the holidays! They also are symbolic of the shepherd’s crook. Just be wary of children who suck the end into a super sharp point and then poke others with it, like my brother did as a child. Of course, a plastic candy cane full of Hershey Kisses is also a yummy way to do “candy canes.”
I love continuing on my family’s Christmas traditions via our more traditional Christmas stocking stuffers, even if they’re more “boring” than other stocking stuffer gift ideas. With tradition comes familiarity, a sense of anticipation. Though my husband and my children may not have handmade Christmas stockings from my grandmother at least they receive gifts my grandmother once received in her stocking too, or gave to me in mine.
What do you consider a tradition Christmas stocking stuffer?
If you want to make your own homemade Christmas Stocking be sure to check out these 27 free patterns and tutorials!