Stocking Stuffers: 3 Copies “The Reluctant Entertainer” Giveaway!

Traditions can be started any time, and any place, with any person.

Thirteen years ago, the night before Christmas Eve, a knock came at my door. There stood our friend, Paula, with a beautifully wrapped silver Nordstrom box. Inside was a hand-knit Christmas stocking for our new baby girl, Abigail Ellen Rose.

“Here’s the sock! I worked all night to get it finished so you’d have it for Abigail’s first Christmas,” Paula told us, as she handed us the box.

My two other kids already had their own knit “sock,” as Paula called them. Paula felt the pressure to get Abby’s finished for her first Christmas. (By the way, these socks are about 2 1/2 feet long!)

What we didn’t know was, only a few short months later, Paula would be gone from our lives, as she died suddenly after a heart procedure.

Walt and Paula were dear friends of mine for many years. I had met Walter when he started on dialysis at my longtime workplace, and our friendship grew outside of a professional relationship. In fact, he and Paula were “designated grandparents” in my wedding almost 20 years ago, as my husband and I didn’t have any living grandparents.

My story today is about the tradition of our family’s Christmas Stockings.

It started with Elliot.
And then Garrett came along.
And then our little girl, Abby.

Their names are on the front side of the socks.

And the year they were born on the back.

Over the years, I’ve filled these large socks with toys, socks, underwear and toiletry items, cologne, lip gloss, video games, gift cards and music. Now my kids are teens, and we’re feeling the crunch of the economy just like everyone else. A sock this size can cost a lot to fill!

I want to be more creative this year, so this is where I need your help!

How should I fill up these stockings?

What to WIN:
3 winners will each win ONE copy of The Reluctant Entertainer.

Answer at least ONE of these questions to WIN:
What items do you fill Christmas stockings with?
Do you ever feel wasteful?
Do you fill the socks with useful items or “fun” items?
Do you have any happy memories of Christmas stockings from when you were young?

Tweet, Facebook, or sign up for NEW RSS Feed:
Do one of the above for an extra entry or two, and come back and tell me.

The 3 winners will be announced on Wednesday, December 22nd.

Thank you friends for the great “stocking stuffing” advice! I can’t wait to read all of your comments. And there’s still time to order from Amazon, your own copy of The RE. (However, it is too late to get a “signed” copy from me, in time for Christmas.)

139 comments on “Stocking Stuffers: 3 Copies “The Reluctant Entertainer” Giveaway!”

  1. I can’t wait to hear what others have to say. I am at a loss.
    Usually I just fill with fun stuff. But my kids, like myself, are growing tired of dollar store trinkets.
    My daughter asked for gum, SPICY gum (cinnamon). Past that, I don’t know what either of them will get.

  2. My daughters are now grown,,,but they still and always will get Lifesavers Story Book candies. One daughter recently married, and at Christmas, I overheard her tell her husband that it’s okay he will get the lifesavers every year…just pretend you love it. :) This year I have told them to just let me pack them away with the Christmas decorations and I will “regift” them in their stockings next year since they don’t eat them.

  3. I haven’t even thought about what to fill in the stockings this year. I usually include toothpaste and a toothbrush; as well as small items. My boys are too young for candy; so maybe a fun pair of socks or slippers. I was also considering taking the smaller items out of packages we’ve received from far away family.

  4. I have a stocking that is similar made by a lady who is no longer living either…..I treasure it! Stockings weren’t huge in our family but my husband’s family does them Christmas Morning and we’ve started the tradition with our kids. We do a balance of fun and practical and then always include one orange because that’s what my grandma always used to do!

  5. Most of my stocking stuffers come from the dollar store. Although yesterday while at the grocery store my daughter was eyeing these beautiful red apples….much more expensive sold individually than the big bag of apples I buy from a farm…..but I think I’ll get one for her sock this year.

  6. For our three grown girls I usually carry on the tradition of placing a “filler” fruit in the bottom and then with girly things, like new mascara, favorite polish and some good ‘ole chocolate. I try to place a $ limit because it can get away from you pretty quickly.

  7. My boys (4 of them) are still little….so, in addition to putting a few fun things in their stockings this year (mini boxes of favorite sugar cereal!), I decided to write each of them a “love note from mommy”, telling them about our year and reminding them of how special they are to me! They love when I write them notes- even though they can’t read yet!

  8. Stocking stuffers—useful things perhaps? Like colored gel pens, flavored lip gloss/chapstick, sock slippers.

    I love your book, I got it from my library, then I bought 2 of them, one for myself and one for my daughter-in-law. I am going to purchase 2 more, for my daughters. I am thinking your book would be a wonderful bridal shower gift, ideas and encouragement for young wives.

    I would love to win a copy of your book. Thank you and God bless.

  9. We have stockings like this although without our names on them, we get all sorts of useful things in them – packets of tissues, shampoo, lip balm, an orange, hair ties, a hairbrush etc. They are usually things which aren’t very expensive and often things which are on offer – 2 for 3 or BOGOF etc. They’re sometimes full and somtimes only half full, it doesn’t really matter it’s more the fun of waking up to a stocking at the end of our beds – my parents still sneak in and leave it there during the night!

  10. Small grooming items – mini bottles of hand sanitizer, emery boards, hand creme, lip balm; school supplies – cute sticky notes, pens, pencils, erasers, note pads. We don’t do stockings (just my husband & I), but I always buy our grandkids an ornament. I may start the stocking tradition with them and my stepsons and their wives. I think they would love it!

  11. I fill up my boys’ stockings with practical things. Each of them get a new toothbrush, a few packs of sugarless gum, gloves, hat , hand-warmers, chapstick, and socks. Nothing extravagant!

    Lanzaelizabeth77 at gmail dot com

  12. The big sock is always a challenge! I found growing up (and have started it with my own kids) that fun and funky socks were always fun (and they don’t have to cost a ton while they do take up space!). My daughter will get a book in hers (she is my book worm) and some mad libs books. My little guy will get small lego sets ($5 at Lego) that are holiday-ish. And they always get money – gold coin chocolate money ;) These are just a few ideas. I tend to overbuy for the stocking and then whatever doesn’t fit, I hang onto for little surprise gifts throughout the winter months – when we could all use a pick me up. ;)

  13. I usually go with practical items; new work socks and workouts socks, body wash, lip balm, tire guage, etc., but I like to throw a few fun things in there too, like an iTunes gift card (used to do a CD back in the day) a DVD or a video game.

  14. first of all what an awesome give away!
    to answer your question/s: I still do stockings and my children are all grown and out of our home, I asked them a few years ago if I should still keep the stocking tradition going and it was a HANDS down favorite…they would rather have the stockings than anything else! So I do a lot of gift cards, for the guys I do beef jerkey, and nuts. This year I am even making my homemade chex mix and putting them in some rubbermaid containers. I do small perfumes, chapstick…I go to the ‘travel section’ at Target and get small things like: deodorent, shampoo, toothpaste…
    I have two favorite stocking memories. The first is when we were growing up and we could get up as early as we wanted to open the stockings and then we had to wait until my folks were up, to open the rest of of it. My brother went to bed with a flashlight and woke us up at 4am and we snuck down to open our stockings!
    The other stockign memory is of my middle daughter…I told the kids the same thing: you can get up as early as you want to open stockings but you need to wait until Mom/Dad are up and have made coffee etc. to open gifts. I woke up at 2am to rustling, my middle daughter was getting into her stocking! Her and I sat on the floor in front of the furnace vent while she opened her gifts, then I talked her into taking a ‘nap’ with me!!! LOL

    Blessings this Christmas,

  15. Since there are no kids here we no longer hang stockings but if I did I’d hope to find a copy of your book in mine.

    Back in the day when we hung stocking for the girls an orange always went in the toe. That was a tradition from my childhood. Other things that have been mentioned went in… socks, lip gloss, etc. Handmade gift certificates are something you might consider. Like “One lunch out with Dad all by yourself”, that was a huge treat for me as a child. Or a family trip to the snow. Things you might want to do anyhow and the gift certificate is then basically free.


  16. Great giveaway Sandy!
    We fill the kids stockings with practical items that they need, especially now that they are on their own. But some other fun stuff too. And they always make sure I wrap all the stocking items too.
    They love the stocking gifts!

  17. Anything tiny! :) lip gloss, novelty candies, tiny dolls, trucks, paper dolls, pens and pads of paper, JEWELRY(my favorite when growing up–my mom always included some new precious sparkly in my stocking!–i was SPOILED!). fun socks, hair thingies, chocolate, little coffee bags, mini train sets, dollhouse furniture, mini nativity scene. . . hobby items. i pick up lots of little things throughout the year, so it doesn’t all hit me hard financially at Christmas!

  18. We have five sons and the tradition they love most is hockey cards in their stockings. They open their packages and make trades and take their time. And marshmallow santas are a must. Beyond that, we do things like guitar picks and chapstick and socks and small tools etc… And of course the big candy cane. Oh and comics for Marcus. he always has to have new comics rolled up in their. Such fun!

  19. Like many of the others, I fill my kids stocking with sugar-free gum and some little chocolate goodies. They also get a new pair of boxers each year and a new pkg of socks (it’s tradition)!

  20. My parents never had much money and have 5 girls – and yet our stockings always seemed to be bursting with fun things. There would always be: a “Christmas” orange (ie. Cutie type), a little can of juice, a little box of cereal…in addition there might be some clear nail polish, underwear or socks, stationary, gum etc. The stocking was always my favorite part.

    One year I found out my grandma was spending Christmas Eve alone – she just lived down the street from us. I decided to forgo my little Christmas morn at home and spend the night with her. I quickly made up some little stocking with stocking stuffers for her and went over to her place.

    I continue the tradition with stockings for my 2 children…there will always be a “Christmas” orange like I had – but instead of a juice I usually put in a can of soda and I usually include the mini cereal box. I like to put in consumable items such as special candy or chocolate that they like…a Christmas ornament that I write their initials on and the year – so that when they move out they will have a little set of their own ornaments they can bring with them.

  21. When I was little, it was fun to open all our gifts, and then find that there were more in our stockings.
    My Christmas stocking usually contained coloring books and crayons, watercolors, and Play Dough. Today, the smell of Play Dough takes me back to those times. Now I buy those things for my little nephews whenever I visit them.

  22. I always start with an orange in the toe. mostly the stockings have little useful things and a fun item or two thrown in. useful things like gum, chapstick, guitar picks, hair accessories, scissors, nail clippers, pens and pencils. fun things like shaving cream (for bathtime when they were little), silly string, hacky sack, scrapbook glue, stickers. I find it harder to do stockings now that some of my kids are away at college. the things I used to put in stockings they now get in care packages.

  23. I always start with an orange in the toe. mostly the stockings have little useful things and a fun item or two thrown in. useful things like gum, chapstick, guitar picks, hair accessories, scissors, nail clippers, pens and pencils. fun things like shaving cream (for bath time when they were little), silly string, hacky sack, scrapbook glue, stickers. I find it harder to do stockings now that some of my kids are away at college. the things I used to put in stockings they now get in care packages.

  24. Our stockings often have some candy or yummy food we don’t typically get to have. I usually put a book and/or DVD in the kiddo’s stocking, maybe a magazine or something in adult’s.

  25. What precious stockings those are! I’m sure they are treasured.
    If I were in your shoes, and considering that your kids are older, I’d get just a few TRULY needed/wanted items and put them in the stockings with lots of styrofoam peanuts. Maybe even wrap the individual items as well, to add to the “treasure hunting” fun on Christmas morning.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  26. The stockings are filled with a variety of things here–games, art supplies, this year some easy sewing patterns and, of course, candy. The most unusual item will be a bottle of lemon juice which was requested. I currently have your book at home from the library, but I’d love my own copy. Merry Christmas!

  27. There is ALWAYS a orange in the toe of our stockings and then lots of little things some needed some not, just depends. Thanks for the giveaway! Hugs to you!

  28. What a sweet story of your kids’ stockings. That makes them very precious.

    Growing up, my stocking was one of my favorite things as my mom filled them with such fun things. So I like to do the same for my kids. I really don’t like the little cheap fillers, though, since they seem like a waste of money. Some years and ages get to be a little more challenging as little things can be expensive! Some of the things I have for my kids (ages 7, 12 and 15) this year are: a shirt, rubik’s cube, mittens, cd, books, stationary, Bananagrams book (word puzzles), chai tea and hot cocoa packets, craft supplies, hair accessories. Last year I made a little album for my daughter’s favorite Bible verses that was really cute and inexpensive to make.

  29. My mom always stresses about filling the stockings, and this year I told her to buy some of those delicious clementine oranges and some chocolate and fill it up! Usually we fill them with gift cards or magazines. :-)

  30. My children are still little so I put small items in there like small notebooks, colored pens, etc. I’m trying something new and am putting a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card in each of their stockings. We are big library people but over this summer I took them to the bookstore, to collect on their summer reading program, and the kids were blown away by the choices. I think they will spend a happy afternoon over the winter break making their selections.

  31. Christmas stockings have become something of a joke in my family. :-) I should probably give a bit of background first. I’m an only child and my mother was born and raised in the Netherlands. They don’t do Christmas stockings in the Netherlands, they celebrate St. Nicholas Day instead – putting a wooden shoe outside along with carrots and water for St. Nick’s and Zwaarte Pete’s horses. (We actually still celebrate Sinterklaas – St. Nicholas – with Mom sending me Dutch treats instead of the usual toy a kid would receive.) Christmas stockings began when I was probably 7 or 8 and I realized that all my friends had stocking stuffers on Christmas morning. We decided that we would hang up our stockings in the doorway (no fireplace) and Mom would be in charge of filling them. The funny part is that Mom always forgets to fill the stockings! Since they’ve never been a huge deal in our house, it usually isn’t until late Christmas day until Dad or I even realize that we haven’t checked our stockings. One year it wasn’t until New Year’s that we discovered the stocking stash while Mom was getting some things together for a party! Mom almost always remembers to buy little things like chocolates or travel size toiletries, but she rarely remembers to actually fill the stockings!

  32. I love being able to stuff stockings now that I have my own kid. Growing up we always got an orange and a flashlight mixed in with our candies and little trinkety toys, so I am doing that for my son this year.

  33. My children are grown too -but when they were young it contained some fun fruit we didn’t usually have (blood orange or pomegranate), some chocolate (small wrapped pieces like coins or frangos), fun gum flavors, and usually a couple dollar store toys or as they got older dollar store fun things like nail polish or notepads.

    We didn’t do them after the kids became college age (too many kids and too expensive) but most of them continue the tradition with their own children.

  34. Sandy, this is a beautiful story of the socks and the memories that stay with us a lifetime. It is just my husband and I and we both enjoy our stockings so last year we decided to pick 5 letters and buy things that start with the letters for our stockings. We really enjoyed the challenge of finding things to correspond with the letters so we did it again this year. We pick our letters around Thanksgiving and have fun hunting for fun things.

  35. We put both useful and fun things in our kids’ stockings. Some things we have put in the stockings in the past have been fun toothbrushes, movies, trading cards, bath gels, lotions, small toys, nail polish and usually a little candy and oranges in the bottom. This year we found an electronic bookmark for our daughter that has a timer on it. She has to read so many minutes a week for school and is constantly asking us how long she has read!! Hopefully this will help her keep track of her reading time herself:)

  36. I want to start by saying I always love landing on your homepage and seeing the beautiful pregnant belly in the sequined top and apron. Whomever that lovely lady is should know how amazing she looks & how much she makes me smile each time I see that picture.

    As for stockings I do a mix of fun and useful items, but mostly fun! Chocolate is always included and then the rest is up in the air each year—this year it’s new ear buds for my husband, small board books for our little one and usually some starbuck’s gift cards and lip balm too!

  37. In their stocking my kids get a DVD of their favorite movie that came out that year (that way they have something to watch Christmas weekend). Usually they also get something to play with so that they can keep busy Christmas morning (the kids can open their stockings first thing in the morning) while we sleep in a few more minutes.

  38. My husband family growing up always put in an orange, so we’ve continued that with our children. My family always did life saver ‘books’ so we’ve continued that as well. Now with our kids, we always put in Pez. I’m sure we’ll keep adding to that tradition as well (my children are 4 and 2!). Hope you have a Merry Christmas, and thank you for sharing your talents!

  39. We find that stockings are one of the most fun things we do as a family for Christmas. We always fill them with both fun and useful things. We try to find things that make everyone laugh as they open them, at least one fun item in each person’s stocking.
    When I was a child we had stockings, but the only thing that was in them was 1 Orange, 1 apple, and nuts. My father came from a very poor background, and this what he got in his stocking, and during the depression when he was growing up in Arkansas, getting fruit in your stocking was a BIG deal. So he carried this tradition on with us his 3 sons.
    Christmas Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

  40. I used to fill stockings with candy, little toys and nuts. I always put an orange or tangerine in there as well because that’s what Santa used to always leave in my stocking as a child! Good memories… babies are not babies anymore but they still love their stockings.

  41. When I stuff stockings (not 2 1/2 feet long) I try to mix practical with fun. Usually gum, chapstick, nail polish, lotions, gift cards, socks, whatever catches my attention…it’s amazing how expensive stocking stuffers can get.

    What about putting a special hand written letter in each stocking. For my daughters 15th birthday I took each letter of her name and wrote something special about her. She has it hanging next to her bathroom mirror. What about coupons for “a dinner of your choice”, “mom will do one of your chores”, “a free back massage”, etc….e-mail people who are special to them and have them write something short and meaningful.

  42. I usually fill my kids (22, 19, 15) stockings with fun and useful stuff….candy, gift cards, underwear, socks, gloves, flashlights, pens, mechanical pencils, post-its, and more candy. :o)

  43. A very special and bittersweet story of your stocking. Thank you for sharing.

    I try to put little things in that will bring delight and a smile…something fun, something practical. And an orange in the toe just like when I was a girl.

  44. I probably spend as much on stocking stuffers as I do on gifts! The stocking is my favorite part of Christmas. Growing up, we always opened our stockings first and I suppose, because I’m all about “gifts”, the sheer number of goodies in the stocking is what I like so much. From candy to lotion, I don’t care if it was all purchased at the $1 store…I love the stocking stuffers.

    Our tradition with our 3 children (this year aged 20, 19 & 14) has always been that no matter what time they actually wake up on Christmas morning, the ONLY THING they are allowed to touch is their stocking. They can dump them out and check out everything in their stockings. When they were younger, that alone would keep them occupied (and us sleeping) for about 2 hours.

    As they’ve gotten older, the gifts have changed…there is still candy, but now always a Starbucks card, my husband always sticks in scratch off tickets, and I stuff their stockings (and usually the mantel above them) with toiletries and hair things and make-up for the girl.

    My husband, knowing the stocking is my favorite part, always crams my stocking with my favorite lotions and oils, Starbucks card, and now and then a piece of jewelry.

    Merry Christmas everyone!


  45. My favorite memory of my childhood stockings is that I always knew I would find an orange crammed in toe first! Then, piled with tons of candy. We ALWAYS checked our stockings before opening any presents. Now, for my children I will wrap several small presents and add their favorite candies as well.

  46. What a special story to share. I put apples and oranges in the bottoms of each of my kids’ and husband’s stocking to take up some room. Then a little candy, of course. There’s always candy canes. My older girls (13 and 11) are getting jewelry, fuzzy socks, a boxed make-up brush set, and an i tunes gift card. My boy will get hunting gloves, a movie, and a pocket flashlight. The little girl (aka princess) will get a movie, hello kitty lip gloss, and a hello kitty wallet. The hubby is getting camo gloves, shower gel, and cologne. I love the stocking tradition. I’m the oldest of four and my Mom still fills stockings for all of us (20 + now). I guess you never get too old.

  47. My family have always been travelers, so I go to the drugstore, fill my basket with “sample size” do-dads,
    and load up those stockings until they sag. Works every time.

  48. I fill the kids stockings with fun stuff…stickers, gum, lip gloss, candy and other cute little things I find. With the grown ups I throw in candy, lottery tickets, hand sanitizer, etc.

  49. My parents always put oranges and nuts in ours and a bag of M&MS. I remember thinking how weird that Santa had the same nuts that we had!! :) I try to put in hand sanitizer, lip balm, socks and whatever else I have on hand. Good luck! Those stockings are beautiful!

  50. I too have decided this year not to visit ‘poundland’ and fill my 3 boys stockings with junk. This year, they have ‘nice’ sweets and chocolate, like dairy milk and tubes of smarties. They have body spray and shower gel. Also a new fountain pen for school. Quality not quantity this year. One time I did a stocking for my grandma, and put crossword books, postage stamps, a coin purse and a lottery ticket!

    Lots of love, Catherine in England xxx

  51. Thanks for sharing your story! Reminds us all that time is fleeting!

    I usually fill stockings with both fun and useful things. Any little quirky thing I can find–this year I found some tweezers with a little LED light! Bath gel bulky and always helps fill the stocking. Underwear and or socks usually make there way as well. Often times, so strange sort of candy gets added too1

  52. I find that paperback books work pretty well for filling up the stockings! Add some fruit, candy, and a couple of small things that others have suggested, but 1 or 2 books will fill them right up!

  53. We usually fill stockings with a mix of both practical and fun items. Practical items are things like lotions, soaps, mini sewing kits and fun items are usually edible goodies!

  54. I have to answer #4… do I have happy memories of Christmas Stockings when I was young? I have such wonderful memories, and let me tell you, when I was little back in England we didn’t have fancy stockings hung up for the month of December as part of the Christmas decor…. our stockings weren’t hung until we went to bed on Christmas Eve, and the best part (and I thought so then too) was the sock we hung was actually one of my Dad’s very own long socks! Really, just a plain ole long black sock, we wrote our name on a piece of paper (me and my 3 brothers, my two sisters were much older than me) and we’d pin them to the sock with a safety pin. In the morning the stocking was full, there was always nuts in the toe, then an apple, then an orange, then some candy bars and chocolate santa always stuck out of the top. There were never toys or ‘stocking stuffers’ in our stockings – guess they weren’t big enough, but Santa would leave us lots of toys too (and my Mom would be paying for them the rest of the year!) I still love all the memories I have of Christmas when I was little (and we didn’t have much money).

  55. Usually little bags of truffles and $5 gift cards to ice cream, frozen yogurt, fruit smoothie or a coffee shop

  56. I usually fill the stockings with fun things and a few useful things in as well. Mostly gum, candy, a little toy, maybe a toothbrush, or some makeup. Depends on how old my kids are and what I find.

  57. Oh, Sandy, that is a beautiful story. It reminds me that we must never wait, but live today!
    I love stockings! One of the things I recall growing up is seeing stockings full on Christmas morning. I used to do a lot of candy (always the chocolate coins), but my kids are college-age now, and they thought I overdid it the past couples years. So instead of spending $50 on candy for four stockings, I will choose a favorite candy item or two, and then I usually fill up with fun and useful stuff. My son’s girlfriend gets a stocking, too, and I love doing the girl stockings best! Fun socks, hand cream, etc. For the guys, beef jerky, sports trinkets (this year one son gets Vikings pens and another gets a Wild antenna guy), and a gift card (for gas, iTunes or Chipotle), plus some other little things. I love the orange idea! I always buy Clementines, and I am sure they will fit! I will do that for sure. When my kids were growing up, we always let them get into their stockings first, even if we were not awake. Then we didn’t have them jumping on the bed at 6am! They had to wait until we got up to do presents, though. I still stuff the stockings after everyone has gone to bed, which is getting harder since my son likes to stay up so late!

  58. I fill stockings for my sons, who are in their 20’s and it always a mix of useful and fun stuff. Always chocolate santas, an ornament, some toiletries, maybe a package of their favorite cookies. This year, we found some some LEGO sets that I know they will enjoy. I think they will be Legomanics forever. My older son’s girlfriend breaks the Lego’s out of the basement when she is over and bored. She states she never got to play with Legos when she was younger because they all belonged to her brothers!
    Would love to win a copy of your book.

  59. I don’t think I have anything new to add! I try to do a mix of fun and useful items but my kids are small so it’s pretty easy! I read somewhere that you could roll up $1 bills individually. Everyone always likes a little pocket money.

  60. My stocking memories from when I was a child was the orange and the really BIG peppermint stick i got every year. Isn’t that funny that that is all I really remember from my stockings. About filling the stockings – I face the same dilema with my teenage daughter – filling the stocking can be quite expensive. Usually put a copy of a magazine, some special candy that she likes, lip gloss, cheap earrings, fingernail polish. What about this idea for saving money – coupons designated for each month; a movie, dinner out, etc. – this kind of spreads the expense out over the year and gives them something to look forward to each month.
    Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

  61. Oh, we always had more kids than money! Stockings always meant
    a giant orange or apple, nuts, candy and maybe a novelty candy like pop rocks or something goofy like wax lips. ;oD

  62. We haven’t done stockings with out kids yet. They have them at both grandparents houses, so we don’t feel they are missing out on anything. One favorite thing that my mom puts in all of the adult kid stockings is a instant $1 lottery ticket every year. None of us are gamblers, but it’s always fun to see if one of the 4 of us (myself, husband, brother, sister in law) will win anything. :) We also always borrow a coin from my dad to scratch off the ticket. Then we threaten to keep the coin so that we at least won something. ha ha. That won’t take up much room in your stocking, but it is fun!

  63. One year, my Mother thought she would play a trick on my 18 year old, naughty brother (I was 6 at the time) by placing a lump of coal in his stocking. Wow! Talk about memories! Of course “Mom and Dad” bought him presents, but Santa, well, that year my brother made the naughty list.

  64. We got to spend Christmas in Sunriver a few years ago… with the thought that we would begin to do less…time spent would be our gift, but we still were going to do stockings… all was good until the other family we were with brought out their huge 3 foot long stockings!!! helllooo that is not going small… lucky for me I knew early enough… that I was able to stuff a box… or two of my kids favorite cereal in the stockings.. it was cheap, on sale at Albertsons… and THEY LOVED having not only their favorite, but they didn’t have to share! We have been known to wrap up their favorite soda and put that under the tree too!!! Merry Christmas Sandy!

  65. I don’t have too much advice, my daughter is only 5 months, but I one blogger gave the advice of consumables, fun treats to eat that they normally don’t get throughout the year like Oreos, or Fig Newtons, or fun tea and scones.

  66. We mix practical and fun. Now that my children are grown with children of their own, we all contribute to the stocking filling. This year, I found some cute “band-aids” for the grandchildren since they are always needing them for boo-boos. We also include a new toothbrush, candy, hair bows for the girls, small toys for the boys. It’s a group effort these days.

  67. I fill stockings with fun things. Sometimes, I put in useful things, but only things people will really want. I have a memory (maybe I was 9?) where I got a big box of socks for Christmas, and I was so sad. I can’t do that to anyone in my family!

    My mom made our stockings when I was small, and I’ve made stockings for my family. I can’t believe how many people are surprised by this. I didn’t realize how many people have boring, generic stockings.

  68. Our stockings were always our favorite when we were young, and even now that my brother, sister and I are grown, my mom still fills a stocking for us as well as each member of our family at Christmas. For my children, who are 3 and 5, I fill their stockings with a mix or fun and useful items. They always get a new, fun toothbrush and some toothpaste as well as some fun chapstick. They also get some candy and toys.

  69. Loved your post Sandy! We were also given a knitted stocking for our two sons by an elderly friend. They have their names on them and a little bell on the toe! We would have to wait until our kids were asleep before filling them…but had to be careful with the jingling bell! What to put in…we always do a PEZ candy dispenser and a toothbrush! When our sons were in college, I thought I would stop this tradition but they were so upset that year that they didn’t get those items and they let me know it! Now our sons and their wives and little ones each wait for their toothbrush and PEZ dispenser. I also add gift cards to Starbucks (McDonald’s for the little ones) and for the baby this year, a gift card to the grocery for baby food!

  70. We always filled the girls stocking with fun stuff and candy. Now that they are older they have requested that we cut back on the little items. They are trying not to be wasteful. I think that this year I will fill them with fruit and nuts.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  71. My mom made our stockings. They are beautifully decorated with a Santa scene full of different colors, sequins, and beading. I’m the oldest of three children and I remember watching her make them when I was younger. We look in our stockings last. It’s always fun to get a little surprise.

    I recently found your blog and I love it. I’m 27 and have been married for about three years. You have great tips and incredibly useful and practical ideas. Thank you!

  72. Beautiful stockings with a lovely story.

    I tend to put socks, underwear, pencils, hair doodads, toothbrushes, snack foods in the stockings.

  73. An orange always go in their stockings. Mom did it so I do too! LOL! Then some fun things. I try really hard to make them useful fun things. Sometimes, I fail miserably. :-)

  74. I love that so many people said an orange! We alwalys had and do that. I fill the stockings with stuff they need like toothbrushes, chap stick, hair brush and things like that.

  75. I hate buying just to buy… I hate little cheap things that are going to be broken 5 seconds after my kids open them… so I can’t just fill my kids’ stockings to fill them. Growing up our stocking were always the best part… there were 5 of us and my parents didn’t have a lot to spend, but my mom always made them special…. I think getting fewer things that are special/usable is so much more meaningful than filling it to the brim with “stuff” just so you can say it’s full:)

  76. I like to put in a couple of “bigger” useful items that I would buy anyway (don’t tell the kids) and I love to include some kind of craft item they can make. The trick is holding them off on doing it right at that very moment! I agree with the other women that don’t like to add in a bunch of “junk” just to fill it.

  77. Stocking have always been the best part of Christmas!!! (Speaking only materialistically) As a child, my siblings and I saved them for last and our mom always made them the best. It was filled with practical items as well as “just for fun” goodies. And always at the toe was the orange:) Now that I’m a wife and mother, I strive to make my kids and husbands stockings the way I remember them as a child. From candy to nail polish, magazines to underware…it is still by far my most favorite part of Christmas morning!

  78. Christmas stockings have never been part of our tradition. When I was young, I had a special stocking made by my Mamaw, but since I was an “only” – both only child AND only grandchild – there wasn’t a real thrill associated with that. :)

    And today in our family, we don’t even have stockings — definitely something we might want to change before next Christmas.

    And actually for the past 5 years, we have given no gifts to each other. There are my husband and me, our three kids, two of them have spouses and one grandchild. We all buy something fun for the grand, but not for each other.

    This started when my husband’s company didn’t give a bonus that year (which we had always used for Christmas) AND one daughter was a newlywed AND both boys were college kids. They were so relieved to not have to buy gifts for anyone OR feel guilty about not buying gifts.

    We all loved it so much that we decided to continue it the next year. and then the next year. and we have all enjoyed the “pressure-free” holidays. The family always gathers at our house for a long weekend or for several days in a row — we plan our meals, take turns at cooking and clean-up and have a blast !!! Love it!!!

    Hey, I saw your book in Family Christian bookstore the other day and said to whoever was near me (that I didn’t know) “hey, I know her!!!” :) It is a beautiful book !

    Blessings for a wonderful Christmas to you and yours,

    Gwynie Pie

  79. Growing up, oftentimes our stocking stuffers were our best presents EVER – giftcards, concert tickets, Lipsmackers, Pez dispensers, etc. Then, I married into my husband’s family who don’t quite follow that tradition. BUT, the best part is that the stuffers are wrapped which makes the unveiling of your stockings so much more fun (especially now that as adults we don’t need for a thing at Christmas). Thanks again for a GREAT giveaway – couldn’t pass participating in this up!

  80. Here is my idea…

    Coupons! Fun Ones — Like get out of cleaning my room, no chores for a weekend, Mama makes “my” favorite dinner tonight, etc…

    Merry Christmas!

  81. A holdover from when money was oh- so -tight: I put toothbrushes, bubble bath, Hello Kitty or Ninja Turtles toiletries… It’s graduated to razor blades and makeup.

  82. We always always had stockings growing up; so my children have had them from the beginning. We take them down last and pull each item out. My ‘children’ are now 19 and 24. I’m sure my oldest(son) might not miss a stocking much, but my youngest (daughter) would cry! STILL! LOL I’ve always tried to fill them frugally but there is a ‘tradition’ of ALWAYS getting a new toothbrush. The kids have made fun of that in later years. When they got to be teens, I began putting one small gift card in them, usually a movie theater pass. It’s something they can enjoy with friends during the long holiday break from school. They also get socks, undies, toiletries; then there is a pack of gum and one fav candy item. I’ve also added a paperback book at times. Or movie cd. Brush for my daughter, comb for my son. Most I pick up at the $ Tree; or items they use at Wally World. The other ‘cute’ thing is they get some crazy little ‘toy’ EVERY year. Something funny…like when my daughter wanted a ‘sports’ car …she got a hot wheel one in her stocking that year. I’m making book ‘thongs’ this year, so I will make one for each of their stockings. My daughter will probably get some of the homemade lotion and body scrub I am making too. A puzzle from the $Tree. Pens and pencils for school (both are in college). I try to fill them with useful items but add in one candy and one fun silly item. Plus a small gift card. Starbucks, fast food, or movie pass is great for teens.
    I have SO much fun trying to find little items. I already have some ‘free’ grocery samples that I’ve collected too (shampoo, conditioner in travel size).
    Coupons of things you can do later – dinner by mom, ‘date/movie night’, free laundry pass (where I do their laundry for them), etc. ANY little craft item I can make I stick in too…mostly for my daughter…every now and then I come up with a ‘male’ item! LOL
    Chips, sodas, cracker packs, etc help fill it up if my items are in short supply.

  83. My favorite Christmas stocking memory is of my Mom who is no longer with us. There 5 of us and little money but Christmas morning always started with our stockings over breakfast all together. Each item in the stockings were individually wrapped and so fun for us all to guess and open! There were toothbrushes, crayons and coloring books, always are favorite packages of lifesavers. One year a brother got the corvette he wanted in Matchbox size. It was a wonderful time with lots of memories that we all still enjoy.
    Would love your book! And thanks for all your inspiration and welcoming ideas.

  84. Stockings became a much bigger deal to me after I met my husband. His family always fills stockings to the brim for every member of the family. It has always been so fun to see what is in there! There are gifts that just happen to be small enough to fit in the stocking, practical gifts such as lip gloss or nail polish and usually lots of candy.

    Over the last two years, our family and our extended families have really tried to simplify how we handle Christmas presents. It has been so much more relaxing to actually enjoy the holiday and each other instead of spending every last minute shopping for the ‘perfect gift’, which in reality may be put away or sent to Goodwill (gasp!) at some point in the not so distant future.

    For stockings this year, we have focused on gifts the boys will really use or play with, so there are toothbrushes, Matchbox cars and headphones (OK, so that is a gift for me too!). I have a general test that I will consider it for the stockings if it is something I would buy for them anyway and not just a ‘filler’.

    Merry Christmas!!

  85. What a beautiful story your children will have to share when they grow up. I like the stockings almost more than the bigger gifts, it’s fun to think of those little things that will make your kids smile. There is always something the same in everyone, the orange at the bottom, the little glass coke bottles that you only find this time of year, a giant candy bar, a bottle of bubbles, a few school supplies; pencils, funny erasers, crayons. I try to find things that i normally say no to, like the sparkle lip gloss, or the lego key chain. I agree that it is easy for the cost of things to get out of controls when you get to thinking “it’s only 3 dollars,”.

  86. One year, we did a “old-school” stockings. My Dad grew up in very rural times, that were feeling the post-depression effects for a lot longer than more populated areas of America. He was also 1 of 17 children. Needless-to-say, Christmas was not a plentiful time of the year. They didn’t have stockings to use, because more-than-likely, their stockings were on their feet, so they would use their lunch pails in place of stockings. They would get it filled with fruits that were stored in the root cellar and nuts that were available on the farm and a pack of gum if they were extremely lucky. So my Dad treated us to this to give us an idea of how lucky we were to have the abundant Christmas he had worked so hard to give us. <3

  87. Despite the tough economy, this will be the first year I will be able to do stockings for my little family. We’ve never been able to afford extra, so this is special to me, in a way. They wont be filled with much… but it will be something.
    For my 4 year old daughter, it will be crafty stuff. Crayons, paper, markers, pens. Things that are small, inexpensive and yet very useful.
    For my 1 year old, it will be copies of “big sissy’s” things that are baby appropriate. Like crayons. A little notebook just like sisters so she can feel special. And some pretend food.
    For my hubby, it will be socks. Lots and lots of socks because that is what will make him most happy. Honestly.

  88. I am starting a new tradition with my son (almost 4 years old) this year. I am going to include an ornament of something that he loves to play with or from his favorite movie, etc from this year. I will put his name and date on the ornament. This will become a collection of ornaments that he can have once he’s older and puts up a tree in his own home. This year will is a Toy Story 3 ornament. I also put bandaids, coloring books, crayons, and a lollipop in his stocking.

  89. It totally depends on the person! Before our own kids started coming along, my siblings and parents and I would draw names and fill the stocking of one other person in the house…we picked themes and gave assignments and had a lot of fun with it. One year I got my brother Ira and I had to fill his stocking with all items that started with the letter I. That was a lot of fun, and challenging :)

    Now that I am a mom and have a husband…the kid gets things like match box cars and board books and the husband (who is impossible to shop for) gets scotch tape, axe body spray and candy/food items. He told me to just empty things out of the “junk” drawer into his stocking and he’d be supplies. Okay, sure.

    I try not to buy things that make me feel “wasteful” I do buy “filler” items though and those are usually perishables, so they won’t go to waste.

  90. In my family, we fill our stockings with toiletries, pocket/purse items like gum and mints, small gift cards and candy!

  91. Usually we do a mix of useful and fun. Always have an orange, the Lifesavers Story Book, some chocolate, then lip balm/chapstick, nail polish, socks, crayons (even the older ones like this one) and coloring books. Good luck!

  92. We always loved getting the LifeSavers storybook candy. Yummy chapsticks and usually a little bottle of an Avon perfume, too. Handmade ornaments were a wonderful addition, too.

  93. Every year my mother in law fills our stockings (her husband, children, and now grandchildren) with everyday useful items but she wraps each one individually…down to the very last chapstick. We all laugh and roll our eyes as we shake each one and guess if it is toothpaste or batteries but everyone gets in on the fun. It has become a simple but memorable tradition that I imagine we will continue to laugh about with our own children and future grandchildren.

  94. I emailed you my response instead of putting it here…..ooops. Tweeting now and sharing on FB. Love you friend and Merry Christmas!

  95. My children are a little younger than yours, and I fill their stockings with fun, useful, and yummy items. I usually do a bigger item, like a shirt, nice book, etc. and then fill the rest with favorite candy, items from the dollar store or target’s dollar spot which is fabulous, such as: games, books, crayons, pens, notebooks, stickers, loofahs, depending on what the child is doing.

    Merry Christmas!!

  96. I always aim for more fun than useful but it is always a combination of both. Never remember to put an orange in each sock though- maybe this year

  97. What a lovely -and bittersweet- story… what a great memory from your friend :)
    I suggest paperback books for the stockings…carefully picked for each child, books regarding their current interests, what kind of messages you would like to give them, what you think they should improve on, current light-reads, a few comics maybe…and a few sweet treats to eat while reading ;)

    That’s my idea of a great stocking! :)

    Re. question number two…I don’t feel wasteful because I make a conscious effort not to be wasteful. It wasn’t very easy at the beginning, but in time it got easier, and now almost unnoticable. I don’t deprive myself of anything, I just think carefully before purchasing or throwing out something.

    Thanks for the chance :) Happy Christmas Sandy.

  98. What a beautiful story! Paula will always be a part of your Christmases. I am feverishly needlepointing for next year. Two sons are engaged and our daughter is expecting our first grandchild, so I understand Paula perfectly! I like to put devotionals for the coming year in stockings. I know there is one for every age or even for the family to enjoy together! Have a Merry and blessed Christmas

  99. Our kids are grown with children, so we don’t fill stockings any more. I remember filling their stockings with practical items, as we had little money. I stopped buying anything for them in September, so I could have underwear and socks to put in their stockings. I wished for the day when I didn’t have to be practical. We have a bit more money and fewer expenses now, so we are able to be generous, especially with our grandchildren. With 8 to buy for as well as our kids, it does become a tad expensive. I try to buy something really nice rather than be practical. I like to knit and craft, and those items seem to be appreciated. A new hat or mittens are practical, but special when hand knitted with really nice yarn.

  100. Stockings are actually my boys favorite of Christmas. They love their presents (only three representing the 3 gifts). My mom always put apples,oranges, nuts, candies and stuff for girls like nail polish, perfume and jewelry. The boys get candy, cologne, socks, athletic bands, cards, small toys and of course fruit and nuts. Their stockings are handmade but small. Sometimes too small for that bottle of body wash, so we put it near their stockings. The stockings also might fall off the hangers if filled too full. My DIL had never had a stocking, so we began the tradition with her. She likes it as well. I saw above the lifesaver storybook. I remember those. I loved the tropical flavors. My kids also like school supplies. Colored pencils, cool erasers. Something out of the ordinary. I would love a copy of your book!

  101. I fill stockings with a mix of useful and “fun” items – whatever’s small that I pick up at Walgreens for cheap. Things like candy, toothbrushes (and yes, I realize those shouldn’t go hand in hand), gum, crayons – that sort of thing.

  102. I’m signed up for your RSS feed.

  103. I always do a combo of useful and fun. Stockings are the first thing they get to dive into. Little toys, special treats, make-up, hair do gadgets. Even special packets of hot chocolate or fruit. This year I’m tucking in a flashdrive for one of my kids who is into computers. $5 gift cards for a coffee drink or a little something are also part of it. Enjoy your Christmas!

  104. Love your stockings & the story that goes with them. I have four very similar stockings knitted by my mother as our family has grown-one for my first Christmas (1961), one for my husband for the first Christmas we were married (1986), one for our daughter’s first Chrsitmas (1996) & one for our black lab Maggie’s first Christmas (2007)…as for filling my teen’s stocking I find that shampoo & shower gel takes up lots of space. I also fill her stocking with fun socks, nail polish, an ornament to remember something we’ve done during the year & an I-tunes gift card.

  105. My husband and I are starting a few Christmas traditions and one of the is filling each others stockings. My mom and dad always did it for my brother and I growing up…a mix of practical (socks, mittens, toothbrush, dental floss) and fun items (movies, travel sized games, cards, lip gloss) along with a few treats like candy canes. My mom always wrapped each of the items in the stocking – which takes time, but makes opening the gifts more fun and exciting…and if you have someone who wakes up extra early and peeks! they still dont know exactly what is in the stocking :)

  106. My Dad had “stocking duty” at our house. He filled our stockings with fruits of the season, always tangerines, nuts, candy, the Lifesaver story book and candy canes, and chap stick. I love to fill stockings with travel sizes of baby powder, lotions, shampoos, etc.

  107. In my family, I have 3 grown daughters (19 to 29) a grandson (7) and a new granddaughter (due any moment), as well as the men in our lives and my mother. Our family tradition, started by my mother when I was a little girl is for everyone in the family to put in a stocking size gift to each other. We also have good size stockings and still they are often overflowing, it is fun to watch them grow in the weeks leading to Christmas.

    I always include the girls perfume of choice for each year as well as make up, chap stick, hair ties, bookmarks, toothbrushes and at least one toy-ish item :o) The men get similar items, razors, cologne, pens, shaving cream or after shave, beef jerky, etc. For the younger children we include more toys, coloring books and crayons, and a “grown up” smelling body spray or glitter spray and of course everyone gets a beautiful and tasty gingerbread man cookie and some chocolates.

    We open our stockings on Christmas Eve while having a feast of hors d’oeuvre’s and homemade Christmas cookies. In the morning after Santa has delivered his gifts, everyone finds that he has left fruit and nuts in the empty stockings, which helps to fill the room with the wonderful smells of Christmas.

    The best part of our traditions are being able to stop the hustle and bustle of the the season and be together with the people I love!

  108. I have to say that stockings are my favorite thing about Christmas morning. I am an only child so there really wasn’t much excitment in my house while I was growning up but now I have three daughters and I just can’t stop smiling Christmas morning! i always put a book in everyones’ stocking along with any bathroom supplies that might be running low orsomeone has hinted they really want to try. My youngest is a big fan of play dough and little people and they fit so good stockings. My middle daughter is a craft-o-holic so anything artsy goes straight into her stocking. my oldest she gets the big girl thingsd such as nail polish and makeup. The one thing I have done every year is I include a “Day with Mom” coupon in every one (even my husband’s), I have to say that has been the best stocking tradition in our family.

  109. You could fill it with a larger item like a sweater or shirt that would not be expensive but take up space. I am such a “tradition” person and love your story
    I have always put fun and useful things in the stockings. Things like a Caledar or a book, makeup or small tools for the guys, cute socks or undies, Chocolate oranges, shave gel, polish maybe a CD I try to pick things up all year.

  110. We do things like candy and batteries and dollar store nail polish. It still adds up quickly and sometimes the stockings are not filled all the way.

  111. Stockings have always been a fun tradition in our house. I fill the kids’ stocking with both fun & practical things, but usually with a $5 limit. An orange always goes in the stockings, and a candy cane too. Then I usually add a box of their favorite candy, chapstick or lip gloss, a fun little toy – matchbox car, tech deck skateboard, silly band bracelets, earrings, holiday necklace, then travel bottles of shampoo, lotion, deodorant, etc.

    The adults fill each others stockings. Usually we get 2 things for the other adults stockings, but sometimes we draw names and have to fill 1 person’s stocking. Then we have to pick things that start with each letter of the person’s name. That usually is more challenging and can be more expensive too.

  112. This is our first year with stockings, so I am at a loss as well, but they do look cozy hanging there. So far I’ve put stickers, pencils, mini butterfinger, and a small sketch book with a little pack of colored pencils in there. Little people with big artistic dreams = many papers all over the house. So I’m thinkin’ the sketchbook can contain some of that, and some of the emotional upheaval when I have to go through the mountain of pictures will also abate. Anyway, I made note of some of the suggestions above too. Thanks guys.

  113. I’m pretty boring when it comes to stockings and usually stick with ordinary stuff like candy and gift cards. When I was growing up, my mom would always forget to fill our stockings. (This was once we were older and already knew the truth about Santa.) Then, the one year when she did finally remember to do them, we didn’t even waste our time checking because we were so used to them being empty! Isn’t that the way it goes? :)

  114. I subscribe to your RSS Feed!

  115. One of my favorite things to put into the kids stockings in the chocolate gold coins. It’s a reminder of the story of St. Nicholas and how he had a heart to give and snuck down the chimeny to leave gold coins in the stockings of the girls who could not pay their wedding dowry.
    We also put some fun christmas chocolates and favorite candies.
    For my son I put little trinkets. This year for my son (age 4) we put in a tape measure, a recorder whistle, a bouncing ball. For my daughter we gave her the same recorder whistle and ball but also put in some fruity chap stick. Simple little stuff to bring them the joy of play

  116. Wow Sandy, those are big stockings! What a special treasure to have them and to know what love went into making them. They are so lucky to have such love poured into them. One Christmas tradition we have is that the kids get their stockings on Christmas Eve as we do not celebrate Santa and it gives the stockings specialness all to themselves. We also sleep Christmas Eve as a family in our family room by the tree with the lights on all night. So the kids get in their pj’s, and open their stockings. I usually put a movie in the stockings so they can watch it as they drift off to sleep. This year one is getting Toy Story 3 Blue Ray. Sometimes a Christmas book (but as yours are getting older, and mine too, maybe a novel or such), also magazines are a hit. Since my stockings are smaller the Christmas pj’s are wrapped seperately, but you could put ones in yours. A special treat is a box of chocolates so I grabbed them on a great sale at Walgreens and they will be going in the stockings. I also have gotten bath toiletries at free or close to free so in goes those, a pack of gum that I got the same way. I also get the kids Christmas ornaments and if small enough and I need a filler they go into the stockings. Matchbox cars are a hit as well. If you need other gift ideas and want to limit the budget make a fun coupon book for the kids that they can redeem to you (they pick dinner, a dinner date with you alone, staying up late one night, a game night of their choosing, just some private time with you, a special run with you alone to McDonalds or out for ice cream, movie and popcorn night at home and they get to pick the movie, etc.). I just love to find stocking treats, I think stockings are my favorite and they don’t have to be expensive. Just filled with a lot of love!!! :)

  117. Just signed up for the RSS feed, why I hadn’t done that earlier I am not sure?!?!?!?!?! :)

  118. Since I was small, my stocking has always contained an orange, a walnut, some chocolate, and a variety of goofy items. No change at all. Even for teens, I’d probably check at the Target Dollar Bin area and get tiny picture frames, silly socks, elegantly packaged stationary, little holiday chocolates, and maybe a paperback book or two. It depends on your kids and your budget.

  119. I’m recently married. Hubby and my stockings are hanging from the mantel…and we have one for each of our rescue dogs too! Ha. :) I’m a pediatric nurse and work Christmas eve, you can bet I’ll be sneaking home Christmas morning and filling their stockings…treats and toys for the dogs and little trinkets for the hubby.
    Merry Christmas!

  120. Our stockings are filled with mostly useful things – toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear, gift cards, deodorant (all things we would buy anyway, so it doesn’t feel wasteful) and some fun stuff (candy, gum, gift cards, perfume, fingernail polish).

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet friend. She sounds like a dear, dear lady!

  121. Oh what gorgeous ‘soxs’ – we too have our own little tradition like this although sadly, like your Paula 3 of the sox don’t need to be hung anymore – every year we take out the Christmas decorations and there they are & lots of wonderful Christmas traditions are there to remember when everyone was still with us. In fact, in our house – putting up our Christmas decorations is a weekend thing filled with lovely dinner parties, all the family around and we bring in the new Christmas season. That’s our tradition & we love it.

  122. Stockings are always so much fun… I have six children from 17 to 38 and every year about the same. Oranges & Apples, heir favorite candy, toothbrush, hairbrush/comb, lotion, razors/shaving cream etc. One year I made every ones dog’s stockings shaped like a paw & put homemade dog-biscuits in them, we made a cookie cutter from a empty can shaped like a bone. When my 31 year old was 3 we put a stick in her stocking & teased her about being ornery, then gave her another one full of things she liked. As we cleaned up the Christmas wrapping I tossed the stick into the fireplace. She cried so hard because her stick Santa brought was gone. Only through a child’s eyes can we see how special a stick can be. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  123. One of the great ways to fill stockings are with the little oranges only available at markets this time of year. They’re delicious and pretty cheap for a big box. You can also try the socks/underwear route – though kind of drab these items are always needed it seems.
    When I was a child, my parents started putting one item in our stockings about 10 days ahead of time. Each day after that, we would get another item. Christmas Day also just had that one item. As soon as those stockings were hung, my brother and I would pat them down each morning, hoping that this would be the day there would be a surprise in the stocking. As the years went on and the items became slightly more expensive, they would wait to start putting the item in the stocking. The anticipation was maddening but it is one of the great memories I hold at this time of year.

  124. I have 2 grown sons & they won’t let me stop the stockings. Same as story above, my boys could get in their stockings anytime so they woke up really early & went to one of their bedrooms to play with stocking presents & let parents sleep-couldn’t wake us up before 6 a.m.
    Today I usually put in some lottery tickets, flash lights are popular, sock hats, lip balm…..

  125. Your stockings are just adorable! I have 2 boys who are older so I will be putting both fun and useful things in their stockings. Fruit is a must and then toothbrush and toothpaste. I will get them both a I tunes card. Then a copy of their favorite magazine and a Hershey bar. Maybe a little ball squeeze that is at the drug store I saw and an ornament for the year.

  126. I’m 24 and have to travel to come home for Christmas and I wish my mom still filled my stocking! When I was little I would be so exited about presents that I would completely forget about my stocking and when I remembered it was Christmas morning rush all over again. Now I’m a broke grad student and I would kill for a bag full of makeup and toiletries.

  127. I loved opening my stocking. I would open it last because I would forget I had one with all of the excitement. Have a blessed Christmas.

  128. I try to avoid junky things as that does seem wasteful. One thing I do for the guys (teen and older) is a good pair of socks, like SmartWool. They are pricey, but they take up a lot of space LOL and they are loved and well used.

  129. I fill with both… of course toiletries and some candy and little toys.

  130. Happy memories… every year I would plead with the parents to let us open a present on Christmas Eve, open something before they woke up on Christmas Day, anything to get my presents early! They never did let my brother and I do that, but we were allowed to open our stockings before they woke up. Thus, my brother would come bounce on my bed to wake me up, and we’d run out to the living room and open our stockings, amusing ourselves with the contents until my parents woke up. Oh, and our stockings are also hand-knit – Mom made them and each is ornately decorated with a different Christmas scene.

  131. How do we fill the stockings?
    I try to do a mix of simple, fun things and useful things. Always a clementine, a couple little toys (I have 3 & 5 year old boys, so this year it is plastic dinosaurs and hot wheels), and always a new toothbrush. Also, always chapstick – so needed this time of year! In the past I’ve given my husband Sharpies and pens and his favorite candy.

  132. And, I’m subscribed to your RSS feed!

  133. Growing up, every year we would get a bit of candy(chocolate covered nuts and raisins, peppermint taffy and York Mints), along with an orange and one gift from Santa. Usually it was something useful – camping gear, warm weather wear, outdoor gear, that type of thing.

  134. This year my girls are lucky as I got carried away with their stockings. They are getting mostly practical things, but the most fun thing is a Michael Jackson cirque de soleil ticket!

  135. We always spend Christmas Eve writing letters to each person in our family and placing them in their stockings. We have three boys who are currently ages 11, 8 and 3. We have done this all our married life and even when they were babies. We have all the letters saved and each year the letters all go back in the stockings along with all the goodies I get them. I am faithful to purchase items all year long and use my coupons to get good deals so I don;t overspend. This year I was very practical. I refused to buy dollar store toys or one spot toys that just break and take up space but instead bought things they needed and woudl use like mouth guards for sports, socks, toothbrushes, chapstick, baseball cards for their collections that they really cherish. I was very specific this year and found it very freeing! I would rather them have less in the stocking than have stuff they don;t need or want or will just fall a part.

  136. I usually fill the stockings half with fun stuff and half with useful stuff. Always a new toothbrush and floss, some chocolate, gift card or cash. Toiletries for the big people and small toy for the kids.

  137. I usually fill the stockings half with fun stuff and half with useful stuff. Always a new toothbrush and floss, some chocolate, gift card or cash. Toiletries for the big people and small toy for the kids.

  138. I gasped out loud when I saw your stockings. My family has the same ones! My grandmother made them for my dad & his siblings, then for their spouses as they married, then for us grandchildren as we came along. My mother has continued the tradition by having them made for my husband & sister-in-law and even for my niece & nephew. I’ve never seen them anywhere else! I know I’m late for the contest, but I just had to share. :-) Merry Day-after-Christmas!

  139. I stuff all the kids socks with pretty tissue paper, all sorts of pretty colors, and in the middle of it all, there is a $10.00 Starbucks card for each of them along with a note that we will spend an afternoon together at the Pike Place Market. So on December 26th we all jump into the car and head on down to the Market and turn in our cards for a hot beverage of choice at the Original Starbucks at the market and walk around and enjoy all the sites, sounds and smells of the Market, together. We grab a cup of hot chowder here, a doughnut there and have a good time together. My youngest are the 21 year old twins and I must say we have a treasure chest full of wonderful memories over the years. This year we were talking and laughing about how the cards use to be traded in for Hot Cocoa and now that they are older they order they can now order the adult drinks. We now have boy friends and girl friends of my children that join in with us for this fun event. Fun times and traditions have a way of over flowing and splashing onto all those around us. I also think that the stockings look so full and fluffy stuffed with the pretty tissue paper too.

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