Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stocking Stuffers

I love stockings.  I think they are such a great tradition and give people the opportunity to buy fun gifts.  However, stocking stuffers can wind up being quite expensive and it's easy to get carried away buying a few $10, $15, or $25 items.  Next thing you know and you've bought the equivalent of another really nice $50 or $75 gift!

I think $25 - $30 is an appropriate amount to spend on filling a stocking, but you can also do it for far less (example: a box of oatmeal cream pies costs $1.92 and will fill up an entire stocking).  I would try to avoid gag gifts or things that just aren't going to be useful or enjoyed.  Money is still money even if you are only spending $5...if it's not going to get used, then it's been wasted.  My strategy for stocking stuffers is to buy one item that is in the $10-$15 range and then fill the stocking up with food items.  Men seem to universally like summer sausage and beef jerky.  My dad loves Werther's Originals and Lifesavers candies.  For women, herbal teas, coffee, and chocolates are always a good choice.  My mom loves chocolate oranges and they fit perfectly in most stockings.  I find a lot of these items at Trader Joe's, Home Goods, Marshall's, and TJ Maxx (you can often find high end food brands at these discount stores).  For people who are on a diet or have health concerns, think about buying small, useful gifts like hair clips, cute socks, or a pack of pretty pens.  For children, I would suggest crayons, markers, stickers, or coloring books. Chances are Santa or you have gotten plenty for the little ones already, so go with items that they can use but are still fun and exciting (I don't know any child who doesn't like a set of new crayons or a pack of stickers). 

If you have to buy for the entire family, I think the best resource for stocking stuffers is Amazon.  They have lots of cool "add-on" items that you can get for a really low price if you are ordering $25 or more from Amazon.  You can also save money by buying gifts in multi-packs.  

Here are a  few of my favorite things that are all $20 or less so that you can finish filling up your stockings with the items I've mentioned above:

Premium Nail Art Quality Manicure Crystal Glass Nail Files Set of 5 by Cheeky
Image Source: Amazon
Briana gave me a glass nail file as a part of my bridesmaids gift and I will never go back to your average emery board.  Split up the multi-pack to save money (put them in with gifts you are giving to other girlfriends or if you have multiple women in your family divvy them up in the stockings) or give the whole lot to one person.  I know Briana likes to stash hers all over the place so she doesn't have to hunt one down when she needs it.

Party Starter Brush Set
Image Source: Sephora
These makeup brushes are by far the most fun and fab I've seen.  These would work for women of all ages from your teenager to your fantastic granny.

Mediterranean Essential Mini Tin
Image Source: Illume
I love the pretty design on this mini candle.  It's made from natural beeswax and essential oils and has 25 hours of burn time.  The whole website is filled with beautiful and reasonably priced home fragrance gifts, so check out Illume for more ideas.  They are also offering free matches and a sample with any purchase, free shipping for orders over $100, and 20% off of any order of $40+ (use code GIFTS13).

Metrokane Rabbit Aerating Pourer
Image Source: World Market
Perfect gift for a wine drinker - an aerator that you can put into a wine bottle rather than having to pour a bottle of wine into a decanter.  We use ours all the time.  It's much easier to clean than our decanter.

Sphere Ice Molds
$10.95 for a set of 2
Image Source: Sur la Table
These ice molds make a great stocking stuffers for men.  Mr. 3 has two different types of ice molds for his fancy pants triple old fashioned glasses, but he may be getting these as a future gift.  I love the way they have put orange peels and mint in the spheres - fun and yummy!

Kuhn Rikon Plaid Pairing Knife
$11.95 each
Image Source: Sur la Table
These knives are another great option for men stocking stuffers.  Mr. 3 and I bought a three pack of Kuhn Rikon paring knives and we absolutely love them.  We liked them so much we bought my Dad a set as well and we are adding to his collection this Christmas with a small serrated knife and a small santokus because he raved about them after last year.  I love the plaid and think they are extra fun while still being manly...but you could certainly give them to women as well (I know I would love a cute green one!).

Bow Key Clip
Image Source: Banana Republic
Super cute leather key ring with a bit of glam gold and a great price for durable leather (Banana Republic has been consistently running a sale every day this Christmas season, so you should be able to save money on this one).  Especially great if you are lucky enough to be getting a new car for Christmas!

Cookie Stamps
$7.98 for a set of 2
Image Source: World Market
Cute gift for anyone who likes to bake and give out cookies. These are made from ceramic and say "Homemade" and "Made with Love."

What do you think?  Splurge or save on stocking stuffers?  Let us know if you agree or if you've spotted anything else small and awesome!