Unconventional Stocking Stuffer Ideas by Category

Hang in there. You can get through this holiday season. While we do not focus on the “things” aspect so much (yay for less stress), I do enjoy having a few fun things for the kids to open and we do some activities (like our Gingerbread Pancakes to Decorate or Decorate a Tree Advent Calendar Activity.). One activity we enjoy is filling stockings with unconventional gifts. I decided I would share a list of unconventional and unique stocking stuffer ideas with you.

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This list of unconventional stocking stuffer ideas is modeled after my very-popular unconventional Easter basket filler ideas post. You can reference this post for even more ideas. While many overlap, each list has some different ideas that are not on the other. This stocking stuffer ideas list contains items that should fit in a standard-size Christmas stocking.


Unconventional Stocking Stuffer Ideas


These stocking stuffer ideas are categorized by theme for your convenience and many are linked with my affiliate links/ are linked to non-affiliate informative posts for your convenience. A few items overlap, but some that could overlap are only in one category, so check out a couple different categories that are similar. Please consider age and safety when preparing your stockings (I know, I shouldn’t have to say this, but for legal reasons…please keep safety in mind.). Due to the length of this list, I have broken this post down into a few pages. For added convenience, here are the categories you will find on each page:

Page 1

  • For Eating
  • For the Artist
  • For the Crafter
  • For the Author
  • For the Bookworm
  • For the Curious/For Learning
  • For the Actor/For Dramatic Play

Page 2

  • For the Baker/Chef
  • For the Coffee Lover
  • For Little Caregivers
  • For Self-Care/Beauty
  • For Wearing
  • For the Decorator
  • For the Organizer
  • For the Housework Helper

Page 3

  • For the Photographer
  • For the Sports/Exercise Enthusiast
  • For the Musician
  • For the Gardener
  • For the Winter Months
  • For the Sentimental/Giving
  • For the Handyman

Page 4

  • For Babies
  • For Teens
  • For Your Spouse
  • For Fun
  • Other


We don’t exactly like stuffing stockings with buckets of candy (we already have plenty of that from Halloween), so instead I love adding more unconventional items–things that kids really do enjoy and are excited to receive that are different from what one would normally think to add in a stocking. We always highlight some essentials that we would need anyway–healthy snacks, personal care items, etc.–but we get the “fun” kinds that the kids wouldn’t always get to choose on an average day.

Fill your stockings entirely by theme or mix and match them like we do! Think of your child’s interests and have fun with it.


Read also: 250+ Unconventional Easter Basket Fillers by Theme and Huge List of Allergy-Friendly Non-Candy Halloween Treats


Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Eating

We love adding some fun and more nutritious treats (that work well for snack time or school lunch) to the boys’ stockings, so here are some edible stocking stuffer ideas.

1. Fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges (There are several fun stories behind oranges in stockings–the one I remember from Old World Wisconsin was that during the Great Depression they would give oranges/other fruit as a very special treat for the holidays, as fruit was expensive back then. The other is to resemble gold balls St. Nicholas is said to have given to a poor man who was unable to afford dowries for his daughters to marry; he dropped the gold balls down the chimney…isn’t this a fun history lesson to include with the stocking?)

2. Juice packs/boxes

3. Organic white/chocolate milk boxes (These do not have to be refrigerated, so they work well.)

4. Pretzels/crackers/popcorn

5. Bottled water (The small packs are fun and you could even decorate the bottle.)

6. Hot cocoa mix with marshmallows

7. Tea bags (Perfectly paired with an invitation to an exclusive tea party with the recipient.)

8. Baking mix–cake, cookie, bread (This can be removed from the box with the directions cut out so it fits better.)

9. Peanut butter and jelly/jam

10. Space foodMRE/camping food (for those who want to try meals that astronauts or soldiers eat.)

11. Fruit cups/squeeze packs–mandarin oranges, applesauce

12. Dried/freeze-dried fruits–raisins, apple crisps

13. Box macaroni and cheese

14. Fruit snacks

15. Cheese (Many cheeses are shelf-stable.)

16. Granola bars

17. Dry soup mix

18. Uncrustables (As long as it will be opened and eaten within 8 hours of being placed in the stocking.)

19. Oatmeal packets

20. Small cereal boxes

21. Jerky

22. Gelatin mix


Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Artist

Have a doodler? Does your little one live for coloring (like mine)? Here are some amazingly awesome stocking stuffer ideas for your artist.

23. Coloring books (My book, “Let’s Color Together” makes a great gift! It can be gently bent vertically to fit as it is soft-cover with space to fit more goodies in the center. Learn more about the book or buy it here.)

24. Printable coloring pages (My Cut, Color, and Assemble fairies are always a hit and these can be used to make mobiles, puppets, and more!)

25. Colored pencils (I like to buy my kiddo the “grown up” colored pencils, but ones just for kids work too–you can even find some wide ones that are easier for kids to grip.)

26. Markers/crayons

27. Paints and brushes

28. Mini canvases or art pads

29. Gel pens

30. Doodle book (This book can be made for a child or adult or can be made by the child to gift later.)

31. Calligraphy pens and instruction book

32. Chalk/chalk marker

33. Colorful permanent markers and a light bulb (so he/she can decorate the light bulb)

34. Snow paint

35. Colored pens

36. Oil pastels/cray pas

37. Kwik Stix

38. Chinese ink writing kit

39. Roll-up pencil/art supply carrier

40. Wooden figurine/manikin

41. Coupon for Special Display Space–your wall/refrigerator/work desk

42. Enrollment in an art class

Stocking Idea: Color-In stocking–buy one pre-made or purchase a white stocking and use a black fabric marker to make a fun design to color!
Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Artists

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Crafter

Some kids prefer the glitter and the glue. Here are some fantastic crafty stocking stuffer ideas.

43. Craft kits/books

44. Craft sticks

45. Clothespins

46. Googly eyes, sequins, rhinestones, pom poms, and other mini craft supplies

47. Knitting/crochet supplies

48. Paper punches–pick out some fun shapes

49. Scrapbook scissors

50. Sun catchers

51. Washi tape

52. Sewing supplies

53. Glitter glue

54. Stickers

55. Art supplies (see “For the Artist”)

56. Craft store coupon (let them pick out any one craft item up to a certain amount, then share how they can save money by using the coupon)

57. Origami paper

58. Paper straws

59. Construction paper

60. Jingle bells

61. Tie dye kit

62. Plan a date to attend a craft class (like Michaels craft classes) and include an invitation card

Stocking Idea: Buy a plain stocking and decorate it.


Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Author

If your child loves writing and getting creative, encourage that! It’s an amazing quality that can die off if not nurtured. Encourage it with these fantastic stocking stuffers for writers.

63. Create your own book kit (This can be removed from the box to fit a stocking.)

64. Story Cubes

65. Aqua Notes (My husband bought me this as a gift because I’m always wanting to write, even in the shower; they’re awesome.)

66. Journal

67. Fancy pen

68. Calligraphy pens

69. Quill pen

70. Bath crayons

71. Voice recorder

72. Stamps, envelopes, and stationery

73. Writer’s Prompts game (This looks neat.)

74. Have one of their finished stories published

75. Dictionary/thesaurus/rhyming dictionary

76. White-out pen


Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Bookworm

Nose always in the books? Here are some fun gift ideas for avid readers.

77. Book club subscription

78. Book light

79. Bookmark

80. Kid magazine subscription

81. Toobaloo (This is a great tool for kids learning how to read, as it lets them hear themselves.)

82. Kid’s Bible

83. Books (This is a given.)


Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Curious/For Learning

My E is always wanting to learn more. He is obsessed with magazines and science kits and worksheets. These educational stocking stuffers will encourage your child to keep on learning and give them fun ways to learn.

84. Flash cards

85. Activity books

86. Non-fiction books

87. Science kit

88. Test tubes

89. Prism

90. Math dice

91. Puzzles/Wood 3D Puzzles/Mazes

92. Mini Perplexus

93. Tangrams

94. Calculator

95. Small, educational board/card/dice games–Cribbage, UNO, Dominoes, Bananagrams, LCR, travel chess game

96. Compass

97. Magnifying glass

98. Binoculars

99. Highlighter

100. Wikki Stix

101. Play dough

102. Kid magazine subscription–Ranger Rick Kids, National Geographic Kids, God’s Big World, see my STEM list for more

103. Math cubes

104. Ruler

105. Translator (I had one of these growing up and had a blast with it!)

106. Career-encouraging gifts (For instance, my son wants to be an engineer, so I will look for STEAM gifts.)

107. LEGO bricks

108. Rolled-up map

109. Mini globe

110. STEM DVDs

111. Online educational program subscription–Rosetta Stone, ABC Mouse, etc.

112. Tickets to a museum–children’s museum, Smithsonian, science museum

114. Tickets to the aquarium/SeaWorld

115. Passes for the zoo/a farm tour

116. Tickets for an animal experience–snorkeling, horseback riding, feeding tigers, swimming with dolphins

117. Book of logic puzzles

118. Brain Quest games

119. Stethoscope

Check out this list of educational stocking stuffers from My Little Poppies.
Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Actor/Dramatic Play

In this house, we love to play dress-up. It gives us a chance to try something new, learn something new, and play pretend.

120. Floppy hats that can easily be folded–beret, brim hat, ball cap, beanie, bandana, newsboy hat

121. Fancy white gloves

122. Cape

123. Clip-on earrings and chunky necklaces

124. Feather boa/scarves

125. Play makeup

126. Tiara

127. Play glasses

128. Hair accessories

129. Wigs

130. Fake mustaches

131. Masks

132. Career outfits–jacket, play doctor kit and tiny stuffed animals/baby doll for a vet or prenatal doctor, etc.

133. Temporary hair color


Here are over 100 more themed ideas, from baking and decorating to personal care!

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  1. Your very first list included my favorite stocking gift. When I was a child, Christmas was the only time of the year I had an orange and I could depend upon it. Rarely I received a banana. In addition, my long brown stocking usually had peanuts in the shell (for some reason Mom didn’t think about putting them in a separate container), nuts in the shell, hard Christmas candy filled with jelly, ribbon candy and vanilla creme drops. Yes, I was born a long, long time ago.

  2. Wow so many great stocking stuffer ideas! I like to put a lil candy in our stockings but prefer to fill them with other goodies. Thanks for the ideas.

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