Stuff That Stocking–Without The Sugar!


Before I had kids and I was just an aunt, I was like Willy Wonka when it came to my nieces and nephews. You want that 3-pound gummy bear? Aunt Jessie will get it for you. Oh, you found a Pixy Stick that’s taller than you? Sure, kid! Aunt Jessie’s got you. Let’s wash it down with an extra large, Mountain Dew slush before I take you home! 

My, how times have changed. When I had kids of my own, I felt the lyrics of that old Hank Williams song in my soul: I saw the Light.  Between Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas my kids (and my pantry) were being overloaded with sugar. When I found myself throwing out Valentine candy in August, I realized that something needed to give. As my mothering has evolved, I’m starting to see how much waste there is when it comes to gifts for kids. Now, I’m all for gift-giving – it’s my primary love language – but I’ve come around to the belief that practical gift-giving is the way to go. And because the Christmas season is upon us, I’ve compiled a guide of non-candy stocking stuffer ideas! 

Younger Kids (10 and below) 

School Supplies: By Christmas, your kids have already chewed, broken, or lost half of the pens and pencils you bought them back in September. They don’t have to be the drab, yellow pencils either! You can grab some Minecraft/Shopkins-themed supplies from any number of stores!

Hand Sanitizer: I don’t have to tell you that kids are germ factories. And, with the weather changing, that means lots of sneezes and coughs are being caught in little hands…Little hands that don’t wash properly. Pop a sanitizer into their stocking and you’ll be saving yourself trips to the pharmacy later! 

Headbands/Bows: My five-year-old daughter is notorious for losing headbands. She’ll take them off somewhere, completely forgetting it, and we’ll come home from a marathon errand-running session to see that the headband is nowhere to be found. This is why I’ve started buying headbands at the dollar store–they come in 10-packs in a variety of colors and it’s no biggie if they get lost! 

Toothbrush: Last year, my husband and I put a battery-operated Lightning McQueen toothbrush in our son’s stocking. You would’ve thought that kid won the lottery with the way he reacted. He was so excited! Besides, its recommended you switch out your toothbrush every 3-4 months anyway. Might as well get an awesome one!

Washcloths: Now, I know some of you may think this is lame, but hear me out! You know those little “magic towels” you can get at Dollar Tree or the Target Dollar Spot? The ones with Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse, Elsa, or various princesses? My kids use those EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And not just in the tub. We keep some in our kitchen towel drawer for “messy meals” (e.g., spaghetti, taco night, etc.) so the kids can clean themselves (and their space). Its been a game-changer in our house!

Play Packs: God bless the inventor of those $1 Play Packs. Every time I go into Dollar Tree or Target, I try to buy one or two just to keep on hand for when the kids are in dire need of some entertainment (i.e., when we’re at a crowded restaurant, sitting at the doctor’s office, etc.) and I refuse to give them my phone. These are a lifesaver for a mom of little ones! 

LOL Surprises/Lego Packs: Kids go CRAZY for these! Personally, I’m not really a fan of these little toys because pieces get lost and then I end up spending way too much time looking for a hairbrush the size the of a paperclip. However, not all parents are as much of a humbug as me (ha!) so I thought I’d throw this in here as a valid suggestion as well! 

Books: Board books, picture books, story books, books based on television shows, devotionals; the possibilities are endless!

Older Kids (Tweens and Teens)

(Some of the above items would work for this group as well {school supplies, hand sanitizer, books} but older kids have different needs than the little ones.) 

Ear Buds: I know a lot of teens want expensive headphones, but sometimes it’s nice to have a few sets of inexpensive earbuds on hand! Plus, some kids need them for school!

Gas Station Gift Cards: When I was a young driver, gift cards to put gas in my tank were like gold! It was nice to not have to spend what little money I made through babysitting jobs on gas. 

Gift Cards to Fast Food Places: I see high school kids all the time around lunchtime filling the parking lots of Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Sonic, and Taco Bell. Drop a $10 gift card in there and you’ll be feeding a high school student at least two meals! 

Hygiene Products: Do you have a kid in sports? Or maybe a tween that is, ahem, getting to the age where he/she needs some help in the aroma department? Drop a trial size deodorant, hair gel, hair spray, or body spray into their stocking for them to keep in their locker, backpack, or purse! Does their car or shoes cause you to faint? Clip-on car refreshers or shoe deodorizers are a must!

Accessories or “Refills” for Any Gifts: Did you get one of your kids an Instax camera for Christmas? Pop a box of film in their stocking! Did you get them a phone? Ensure they never run out of juice and get a spare charging cord or charging bank

Hair Ties/Headbands: As a female with long hair, I need a plethora of hair ties to keep my hair up. They tend to go missing or break because my hair is so thick! When I was in junior high/high school, I kept a pack in my locker all the time!

Socks/Slippers: One of my favorite family traditions is our “slipper” tradition–each year, my mom gets my sisters and I a cozy pair of slipper socks or fun slippers to wear around the house. Its small, fun tradition I’ve kept going with my kids as well!

Do YOU have a great non-candy stocking stuffer idea? Help a momma out and drop it in the comments section below! 


  1. Nail polish, chapstick, small makeup products, small water bottles, fun utensils for toddlers just learning how to eat, nuts and apples/oranges (some families do that), a fun keychain, small stuffed animal.

  2. Yes! Those are all awesome ideas! Although, I’m banned from ever giving my nieces lip balm 😉 One of my precious nieces received a 10-pack from me one year. Let’s just say my sister was cleaning up chapstick for about a week after Christmas from her carpet…and car seats…and hair. Whoops! 😉


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