How To Stuff A Stocking

by Destri on December 23, 2010

How To Stuff A Stocking

We are just about to wind down the holiday posts here on TMH, but I couldn’t leave without a little something being said about stuffing the stocking.  Around my house it’s serious business, handed down from my mom.  I remember being more excited to go through the treasures in my stocking than anything.  That might be partly due to the fact that my mom would make us wait to open any presents until the coffee was done brewing, but we were always free to go through our stockings.

My mom even made sure my husband knew how to stuff my stocking the first year we were married.  The second year we were at his parents and it was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a stocking on Christmas morning.  He had forgot, and his family never had them.  I cried.  No really, I did!  One of those reality checks that you’re all grown up now and it broke my heart for the day.  Crazy that a stocking can have such an impact on someone’s Christmas, but for me it represented home and tradition. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without it.

So here is what we are going to do.  I will share how I stuff our stockings, and then I want you all to share your traditions.  Even if it’s not stuffing a stocking, but a tradition that is equally important to you.  Will you play along?  I hope you do, it would totally make my day. :)

How My Family Stuffs a Stocking

How To Stuff A Stocking

There are of course many ways you could go about this – but in our house there are a few fundamentals that we always follow:

  • stuff the toe with an orange followed by nuts in the shell
  • find unique candy and chocolates at specialty stores that the kids don’t see sitting on grocery store shelves
  • take toys and gifts out of packaging and wrap a few topped with ribbon – a match box car is that much more special when wrapped!
  • going with the tip above, put some in little white boxes with red curly ribbon
  • include something extra nice – like a necklace or watch
  • tooth brushes are a must – for all that candy :)
  • some cookies from Mrs. Claus (I just buy some nice ones)

Now how I put them all together.  Take an orange and stuff into the toe of the stocking, followed by a handful of nuts in their shell.  Add some candy and by this point the stockings are about half full.  You can find really fun and unique candy at specialty candy stores that your kids haven’t seen on the isles at the grocery store.  I’ll also list some places I find candy below.  Then use these fun free printable tags to tie them up with ribbon and your kids will think they came straight from the North Pole.

Next I bring on the treasures.  I love this part!  For me it is the thrill of the hunt…what fun things can I find this year? I always wrap a few of the gifts and leave a few unwrapped.  Get creative and take little things out of the store packaging and wrap in little boxes.  A match box car looks even more special when wrapped in tissue, then in a box with a ribbon don’t you think? Likewise for jewelry, even dress up jewelry is more fun when taken out and wrapped up.

To finish off the stocking I make sure there is a little chocolate Santa peeking out the top, a candy cane,  as well as a little gift with ribbon peeking out of the top.

Local places I find unique stocking stuffers for all the family:

  • Walgreens, CVS
  • Pier 1 Imports – they have a great little toy section!
  • craft stores – little art kits, notebooks, all sorts of stuff – they even have specialty candy (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joann Fabric)
  • Auto Part Stores – for the hubby and teen boys
  • Electronic stores
  • Book Stores – all sorts of little treasures – love the little books and stuff they have at the front usually
  • Coffee Shops – little gifts and treats
  • Local brick and mortar toy shops – for nice little wood toys and cars and specialty candy

Online stores I always find great stocking stuffers:

  • Restoration Hardware – Best selection of really fun and unique things – toys, gadgets, gizmos, games – all sorts of nice things for everyone in the family
  • Land Of Nod – great stocking stuffer selection of unique toys
  • LL Bean – great for teens and adults
  • Natural Life – awesome selection for your teen and tween girls

I linked to the actual “Stocking Stuffers” page on all those stores – most stores have one! Just click on “gifts” or “gift guides” and chances are your favorite online store has a selection of little gifts all on one page!

Still need some ideas? Here is a list of some old favorites and a few are our must haves:

  • new toothbrush
  • nail polish
  • nail kit
  • gloves
  • little notebook and pen
  • dice games
  • pez and dispenser
  • little book
  • silly putty
  • art stuff (like crayons, or a nice pen for the hubby)
  • jewelry (wrapped)
  • match box cars
  • marbles
  • card game for the kids
  • little snacks
  • gum
  • sunglasses


Also, Marta has a great list of how to stuff a stocking from the grocery store, she even has a list of ideas for teens!

So how about you?  Any fun little things that you remember from childhood?  Anything you could add to my list?  I would love love to get some more ideas!

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy January 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I just found this post but wanted to tell you how much I loved your memories of the Christmas stocking. I grew up with stockings and even as an adult my Mom kept the tradition going and included spouses and grandkids as they came along. This is a wonderful tradition I have carried on with my kids and grandkids. I have continued my Mom’s tradition of a popcorn ball in the toe, which makes my kids laugh since most of them don’t like them. One year when we had a big snowstorm I put a toothbrush in each stocking, in case of unexpected sleepover, and that too has become a regular part of their stockings. I always try to find something unique to each person, which I work on all year. As the number of grandchildren increased the adult gift exchanging ceased so I now include some ‘surprise’ cash in the adult kids stockings.


tami February 4, 2013 at 12:44 am

My husband and I did not have stockings at all growing up but we started the tradition when our first son came at Christmas time. We bought a huge stocking and put him in it for our Christmas card that year. 24 years later he still expects me to fill this huge stocking. My favorite time was when my mother started coming at Christmas and this depression era baby always got a stocking from Santa too. She loved it more than the gifts I think. Now that she is gone we still hang hers with ours and I put flowers in it. She would love that.


Darlene March 30, 2013 at 2:20 am

As children, my siblings and I had stockings every Christmas filled by our Mother. As we married and had children, she added a personalized stocking for the new family member. At some point, (too many years back to remember), a sister-in-law suggested we ‘help stuff the stockings’ to relieve some of the work from Mom. So our new tradition was born!!!
Granny (mom) fills each stocking with the fruit, nuts and candy! Then, each family puts one small gift/item in every stocking. The stockings are full and running over each year with unique and thoughtful lil’ wrapped gifts. No one knows who bought which gift etc.
The Stockings are a huge part of our Holiday tradition and often causes the most laughs during gift opening! We love our Stockings!


Shannon July 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Destri, your traditional stockings sound almost identical to my families! The only difference is we always got a bag of “gold coin” chocolates, a candy cane and some meat product like smoked oysters/clams, smoked salmon, or summer sausage. That way we had breakfast all set to nibble on throughout the morning while opening presents. My mom always made us wait for the coffee (or in her case tea) to be made too, but stockings were always fair game as soon as everyone was awake. Thanks for the reminder of happy memories!


Carol Earhart November 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I enjoyed your stocking story Destri, and loved getting into my stocking on Christmas morning, always fruit and nuts every year. My favorite tradition is my son and I making butter cut out cookies every year, using the same recipe my mom used with me when I was a little girl. We make double and triple batches and bake them all. Then we gather all our colored frosting, decorator bags, sprinkles and colored sugars and have a ball. The last three or four years we’ve invited a special friend to come decorate with us and they take a huge platter of whatever they decorated home. It is a blast. I tell them there are only two rules: 1. If you drop frosting on the floor, just don’t step on it and drag it around the rest of the house and 2. You must have fun. Did I mention, you must eat the cookies that break? That’s not really a rule, just lots of fun to get some samples and make sure they are okay for everyone else. LOL I love Christmas. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas this year and your stocking is exciting from the beginning all the way to the toe!


Margie December 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I remember always getting socks and underwear in my stocking, so I have continued that tradition with my son! I also include a new toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and some floss. And candy! Lots of yummy candy … some unique and some favorites. He has two stockings and I also hang one for myself … because Santa always leaves something for mom!!


mzklever December 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Our Christmas traditions when I was a kid weren’t warm and fuzzy, so when I married and had my son, we went all out with creating new traditions, including stockings. My cross-stitched my son’s stocking while I was pregnant with him, although I’m still working on my daughter’s (she’s 20 and 1/2). LOL! Because we don’t put names on our “Santa” presents, whatever wrapping paper is on someone’s stocking presents is how they know which presents under and ON the tree are theirs. When the kids were younger, they would get jewelry, crayons, cars, legos, chocolate oranges…Now they get perfume/cologne, makeup, jewelry (real stuff), puzzle books, gift cards, etc…Their significant others are always invited to Christmas morning and there are stockings and small gifts for them as well. For us, “tree presents” are just as, if not more, important than stockings, though. When my son was little and heard the lyrics in I’ll Be Home For Christmas where she sings, “Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents on the tree…” he became super excited about presents on the tree. Hence, tree presents were born and we’ve done them ever since. I always make sure to have things like puzzle books, coloring books (my daughter still loves them), t-shirts from, and other things that might normally be in a stocking as well.

I love the toothbrush idea and will definitely be adding that to our tradition this year!!


Susan December 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Your story made me think of when I was a kid…we got an apple, an orange, nuts in the shell and a few pieces of candy. We also always got a pack of gum….a whole pack all to ourselves. I am 60 years old and this year my mom has Alzheimers and my dad takes care of her. I am doing stockings for them and taking them to them on Christmas eve. This isn’t the first time I’ve made them a stocking…but I sit here with tears in my eyes thinking about my mom and dad making them for me. I always made stockings for my kids….and included a little toy. Now I make them for my grandkids and shop for months for stocking stuffers. I love doing it and my kids love doing it for their kids. And always…there is an apple, an orange and nuts in the shell….and a whole pack of gum…just for them. Merry Christmas and hugs from Deep East Texas. Remember….Wise Men Still Seek Him.!


Christina December 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm

My family traditions are probably the most traditional of any, on christmas eve we all sit around the tree and drink cocoa and coffee and listen to the Night Before Christmas story. Then on Christmas Day we all gather around the tree and no one is able to open presents until the children can tell us the true meaning of Christmas. This has been our tradition since I was a baby.


Sarah December 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Loved the article.
We have a tradition that my husband puts a single red rose in my stocking. And as we have had little girls, he puts one in theirs too. It’s one of my fav Christmas traditions.


Lindsay December 23, 2013 at 6:00 am

After the frightful year that we awoke at 2:30am (I am sure my parents were not happy), Santa started leaving our stockings by our bedroom doors so there was no creeping through the house to find them. We were allowed to bring them into our rooms and play until the sun came up. Our stockings were filled much the way that you mentioned, but we always had at least two items to read: a magazine & a book. Children receive comic books or picture books, teenagers got MAD magazine type or fashion magazines. We are big readers, and it meant you had something new to read and keep you busy.

I am reading this 2 days before Christmas as I on the couch feeling sick and being 8,000 miles away from my family, so I am teary eyed. Living overseas has been a big adjustment during holidays. Some family traditions have come and gone or evolved to fit our changing family. Now I have a family of my own, and I am trying to incorporate traditions into our holidays, but one of the most difficult is being away from family. Luckily, one tradition that is very special that my parents instilled for any holiday was that family doesn’t mean “blood.” My parents always made sure to invite others to our home who didn’t have a place to go, and we were encouraged to do feel free to invite friends. Whether it is Halloween, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas, it wasn’t uncommon to have people in our home who weren’t directly related to us. My parents would even make sure they had something to open. This has helped when we are so far away and have made “family” with the people around us where ever we are.


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