The stockings are hung by the chimney with care… and in just a few days, Santa will need to fill them up! When I was a kid, our stockings tended to be full of candy, but there was always an orange in the toe of the stocking. Did Santa do that at your house too? With dental costs being what they are, most of us probably don’t want to stuff our kids’ stockings to the brim with just candy, so here are some ideas for filling your children’s stockings:
- Dental hygiene products. I know, this is really not that much fun, but our kids get new toothbrushes, kid-sized toothpaste and dental flossers every year in their stockings. Since one of my new year’s (and post-dental-checkup) resolutions usually has something to do with making them floss more often, so this is a help. For a couple of years, they were into Spinbrushes, which are more fun than regular ones; look into these if you think they’d encourage your kids to want to brush more often.
- Socks. My kids’ socks get eaten by the dryer, lost under their beds and just plain misplaced on a regular basis. Some fun and funky socks for girls or some plain and non-obtrusive socks for boys can take up some room in their stockings, providing them with something that they need without “wasting” a wrapped present on them.
- Dollar store treasures. A stroll through your local dollar store will let you stock up on all sorts of doodads for just a buck each (plus tax). Little notepads, stickers, pens, crayons, flashlights, Silly Putty, little figurines, yoyos, slinkies, hair accessories and so much more are easy to find and easier to stuff into the stockings. While you’re there, you can actually pick up your toothbrushes, flossers and socks, too!
- Actual dollars. Let them pick out their own dollar store finds by giving them a few dollars loosely scattered about in their stockings. You could do this creatively by putting them in small gift boxes or wrapping up little piles of quarters, or simply place the bills in between the other gifts.
- “Big” little gifts. Usually, stockings are stuffed with inexpensive gifts. Sometimes, though, it can be entertaining to surprise a child with a valuable gift that came in a small package. If your teen is getting special jewelry, for example, placing it in her stocking might catch her off guard, which is always fun!
Whether you wrap gifts in stockings or leave them unwrapped, and whether you let your kids open them first or save them until all of the under-the-tree gifts have been opened is a matter of family tradition. How do you handle stockings, and what are some things you’ve placed inside that were big hits?