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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.

Get ready for Christmas with this huge list of unconventional stocking stuffers, all categorized for convenience. Find just what you need | Stocking Stuffer | Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Stockings | Stocking Fillers | Christmas Stocking | What to Gift | Holiday Shopping | Christmas | Christmas Ideas | Christmas Activities | Gift Ideas | Christmas Gifts | Gift Guide | Christmas Gift Ideas | Christmas Shopping | Christmas Shopping List | Gift List | Holidays | Christmas Sock
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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 added “jump to text” links in this table of contents below:

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 Stuffer Ideas for Artists

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 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

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

Check out this list of educational stocking stuffers from My Little Poppies.

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

Stocking Stuffer Ideas 2016

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Baker/Chef

For the ones who love to cook and bake up a storm, help them out in the kitchen with these kitchen-friendly stocking stuffer ideas.

134. Fun spices

135. Cupcake liners

136. FunBites/sandwich shape cutters

137. Cookie cutters

138. Ice cube trays/molds and ice pop molds

139. Candy molds

140. Cookbook/cooking magazine subscription (Here’s one for kids.)

141. Milk mixer

142. Sugar cones, cake mix, sprinkles

143. Small kitchen utensils/gadgets–measuring cups, mini whisk, melon baller, wooden spoons, Nessie ladle, potato masher

144. Apron

145. Chopsticks (My boys love trainer chopsticks.)

146. Straws

147. Mini cake pans

148. Edible ink pens

149. Cake decorating kit

150. Frosting/food flavoring/colors

151. Color-in Recipe Journal

152. Kitchen timer

153. Chef hat

154. Oven mitt/hot pad

155. Mini cutting board and knife kit (for older kids and to be supervised)

156. Grocery store gift card to shop for ingredients

157. Ravioli maker

158. Wooden rolling pin

159. Recipe ingredients–rice, beans, flour, nuts, olive oil, certain spices (Check a few specific recipes in a book and grab ingredients to try those.)

Get ready for Christmas with this huge list of unconventional stocking stuffers, all categorized for convenience. Find just what you need | Stocking Stuffer | Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Stockings | Stocking Fillers | Christmas Stocking | What to Gift | Holiday Shopping | Christmas | Christmas Ideas | Christmas Activities | Gift Ideas | Christmas Gifts | Gift Guide | Christmas Gift Ideas | Christmas Shopping | Christmas Shopping List | Gift List | Holidays | Christmas Sock

160. Enroll in a cooking/baking/cake decorating class

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Coffee Lover

Coffee. It’s essential, right? If you have an extreme coffee-lover in your life, this coffee-themed stocking stuffer list is definitely the way to go.

161. Coffee (of course)–bagged or k-cups

162. French press

163. Coffee flavor syrupor powder creamer

164. Shortbread cookies or Biscotti cookies to go with the coffee

165. Milk frother

166. Coloring for Coffee Lovers adult coloring book

167. Coffee mug

168. Stir sticks

169. Mug warmer

170. Mug sleeve (This knit one is adorable.)

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Little Caregivers

I have met so many sweet little kids who always want to play doctor or help when I get hurt, my boys included. Encourage them to keep helping others with these useful stocking stuffers for caregiving.

171. First aid kit

172. Fun bandages

173. Cute ice packs/boo boo bunnie with ice cubes

174. Thermometer

175. Sunscreen

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Self-Care/Beauty

The essentials are always essential to our Christmas stockings. My boys love receiving these common everyday items in the more exciting versions that we don’t usually bother purchasing.

176. Fun handsoap

177. Loofah/fun rag

178. Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner (Crazy Foam is fun!)

179. Deodorant (for preteens)

180. Chapstick/lipgloss

181. Cool toothbrush and toothpaste

182. Flossers

183. Travel toothbrush cap

184. Mouth wash

186. Travel toiletries

187. Lotion

188. Pore strips

189. Pumice stone

190. Bath sponge

191. Sugar scrub

192. Bath soak/salt/bubble bath

193. Fizzy bath bombs

194. Bath color tablets

195. Spa mask

196. Razor (for older kids–fake one for younger kids)

197. Shave soap/brush

198. Makeup

199. Hair pomade

200. Hair accessories

201. Manicure kit

202. Nail polish/stickers

203. Pocket/hand mirror

204. Brush/comb

205. Sleep mask

206. Back Massager

207. Travel-size hair straightener (for older kids)

208. Bath toys

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Wearing

Give them things they need to stay warm and clothed and fabulous this holiday season.

209. Slippers

210. Fun socks/tights

211. Lighter clothing that can be rolled up small–leggings, t-shirts, etc.

212. Fun undies (for potty-training toddlers)

213. Jewelry (with a small jewelry box)

214. Wrist watch

215. Dressy scarf or fun ties

216. Hats and gloves/mittens

217. Sunglasses

218. Wallet/coin purse

219. Small purse/wristlet

220. Patches

221. Brooch

222. Keychain decorations

Stocking Idea: wear it as a hat afterwards (just for fun).

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Decorator

Make your space more beautiful with these stylish stocking stuffers for the designer/decorator.

223. Wind chimes

224. Small photo frame

225. Chalkboard labels and chalkboard marker

226. Small vase

227. Candle–flameless candles or tealights are great for younger kids

228. Roll of cork with pins

229. Paint

230. Small photo canvas print

231. Small wall decor or shelf trinkets

232. Placemats, fabric napkins, and napkin rings

233. Small lava lamp or other fun lamp

234. Fun nightlight

235. Bookends

236. Pillow sham

237. Bathroom decorations–fun toothbrush holder, cup, soap dispenser

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Organizer

Some people love to organize. As disorganized as I may be at times, I do love the process of organizing and am obsessed with organizational tools. Help someone get organized with these!

238. Daily planner

239. Sticky notes

240. Planner tabs and stickers

241. Colorful pens and highlighters

242. Small organizing jars/bins

243. Pencil case

244. Label maker

245. Magnets

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Housework Helper

Have a little one who always loves to help around the house? Even if you don’t *think* your little one loves to help, he/she very well may. My boys don’t love chores, but if I hand them a duster or a sponge, they will happily clean up around the house! Note: this may not be a great stocking stuffer idea for your spouse…he/she may get offended.

246. Swiffer dusters

247. Dust glove

248. Sponges

249. Small spray bottle

250. Lint roller

251. Dish soap

252. Dish rags/towels

253. Laundry bag

Get ready for Christmas with this huge list of unconventional stocking stuffers, all categorized for convenience. Find just what you need | Stocking Stuffer | Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Stockings | Stocking Fillers | Christmas Stocking | What to Gift | Holiday Shopping | Christmas | Christmas Ideas | Christmas Activities | Gift Ideas | Christmas Gifts | Gift Guide | Christmas Gift Ideas | Christmas Shopping | Christmas Shopping List | Gift List | Holidays | Christmas Sock

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Photographer

My boys love taking pictures, just like Mommy. Just check out our Photography for Kids post! Help someone capture the moment with these stocking stuffers for photographers.

254. Disposable or point-and-shoot camera

255. Gift card to get photos printed

256. Memory/SD card

257. Small frame/photo album

258. Small photo props

259. Camera strap

260. Tripod

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Sports/Exercise Enthusiast

Get in gear with a stocking stuffed with sporting or exercise essentials or fan gear.

261. Gym shorts (Roll them up to fit them in better.)

262. Gym shoes (Small sizes should fit; fill the shoes with other items to conserve space.)

263. Sports/exercise gear–jump rope, cones, mouthguard, wrist and head bands, deflated pilates ball

264. Deflated ball and pump

265. Water bottle

266. Stopwatch

267. Pedometer/FitBit

268. Fan gear

269. Sports drinks or protein powder

Stocking Idea: Stocking for a favorite sports team.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Musician

The musician in your life will love these.

270. Small instruments–castanets, maracas, harmonica, juice harps, rain stick

271. Foldable music stand or foldable plate/cookbook holder

272. Sheet music

273. Music writing program

274. Lined sheet music for composing

275. Metronome/tuner

276. Instrument cleaning supplies/accessories

277. iTunes gift card/CDs (I know, sort of archaic now.)

278. Tickets to a concert/symphony

279. Guitar picks/straps

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Gardener

Get ready for spring gardening with these garden essentials.

280. Gardening gloves

281. Seed packets (Hey, check out my Seed Packet Valentines!)

282. Trowel

283. Plant food

284. Miracle Grow Growables

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Winter Months

If the weather gets cold and snowy by you, plan some fun with these winter-wonderful stocking stuffer ideas.

285. Winter hats, gloves, ear muffs

286. Scarves

287. Snow paint

288. Fuzzy socks

289. Snowman supplies–soft hat, carrot, buttons, etc.

290. Small tissue packs

291. Garland supplies–construction paper, popcorn, string, cranberries

292. Hot cocoa mix and a mug

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Sentimental/Giving

Bring some cheer with stocking stuffers from the heart. Whether the recipient loves to give to others and wants nothing big, or if he/she loves all things hand-made and meaningful, these ideas are perfect.

293. Special Christmas ornament

294. Small family heirloom

295. Handmade items–knit scarf, sock snowman, painting to hang

296. Coupon book for activities to do together–spending one-on-one time for coffee dates, window shopping trips, going to the park

Stocking Stuffer Ideas Artist

297. Something to give/donate (Most kids don’t make a lot of money, but they want to give to others; this is a great time to give them the gift of paying it forward and the life lessons that come with it.)

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For the Handyman

Get ready to build and create with these stocking stuffers for the handyman. We love giving the boys tools that they can use as they get older. It’s a ways away, but check out this cute Father’s Day printable!

298. Small tools–hammer, screw driver, wrench, tape measure, stud finder, level

299. Nails, screws, nuts, bolts

300. Small pieces of wood

301. Small building kit

302. Wood glue

303. Ruler

304. Flashlight headband

305. Safety goggles

306. Unique gadgets (Swiss Army-type tools, mini tools)

307. Carpenter’s pencil

Get ready for Christmas with this huge list of unconventional stocking stuffers, all categorized for convenience. Find just what you need | Stocking Stuffer | Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Stockings | Stocking Fillers | Christmas Stocking | What to Gift | Holiday Shopping | Christmas | Christmas Ideas | Christmas Activities | Gift Ideas | Christmas Gifts | Gift Guide | Christmas Gift Ideas | Christmas Shopping | Christmas Shopping List | Gift List | Holidays | Christmas Sock

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Babies

Babies don’t need a bunch of toys and they certainly don’t need candy, but if you want to make their first stockings special, try these!

308. Onesie

309. Bib

310. Rattle

311. Oball

312. Household items without batteries (old phone cleaned up, TV remote)

313. Small stuffed animals

314. Teether

315. Diapers

316. Baby food and snacks

317. Keepsake ornament

318. Taggies blanket

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Teens

We all know teens can be hard to shop for, but these are some essential and cool ideas your teen may actually think are pretty awesome.

319. Car wash supplies

320. Car fresheners

321. Phone accessories (They have some neat lenses you can add to phone cameras!)

322. Wireless mouse

323. Theme park or movie tickets (For a friend, too!)

324. Career-promoting gifts (If the teen is passionate about pursuing a certain career field)

325. Fidget toys/Rubik’s cube

326. Gym membership

327. Hair or nail salon gift date

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Adults

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Your Spouse

Maybe you fill a stocking for your spouse. We do usually add something small for each other, often a hand-written letter and maybe a little trinket. Here are some great gifts to give to your spouse (and they don’t even need to cost much, you know, if you have a rule not to spend too much on each other.).

328. Coupons for date night activities (Check out my list of date night activities!)

329. Coupons for housework (i.e. Guys give coupons where they’d wash the dishes, ladies give coupons where hey’d take out the trash, vice versa…whatever works for your house.)

330. Dinner and a movie

331. Find a babysitter and plan a very special night, then announce as a note in the stocking

332. Have a very special photo preserved in a fun way

333. Check off something on your spouse’s bucket list or “I’ve always wanted” list…horseback riding lessons, swimming with dolphins, deep sea fishing, family ancestry records, trip to Paris, locate a hard-to-find item from his/her childhood, sign up for an art class

334. Hand-written letter

335. Massage certificate

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Fun

Not just toys, folks. Some of these are a little bit odd, but the kids love them!

336. Bubble wrap

337. Tissue paper

338. Bubbles

339. Beanie Babies (My kids actually love these.)

340. Doll house accessories and peg dolls

341. Pet supplies to announce getting a new pet

342. Balloons/balloon animal kit

343. Glow sticks

344. Flowers in a vase (Ditch the water for now and just wrap the stems in a damp towel.)

345. Off-brand Yeti cup (Yeti cups are okay, too, but they cost more and the off-brand works awesome!)

346. Small building blocks

347. Glow-in-the-dark stars for the ceiling

348. Name a star (Great for young kids who are outer space-obsessed.)

349. Plastic toy animals (We love toys that don’t make noises and leave space for the imagination.)

350. Spinning tops

351. Thinking Putty

352. Hacky sack/Koosh Ball

353. Bean bags or play snowballs to toss (Re-use the stocking as a basket–attach a ring around the top to keep it opened.)

Stocking Stuffer Ideas Other

These are other great stocking stuffers that are often included in stockings, gifted around the holidays, or just something needed but often forgotten (ahem, batteries).

354. Bible

355. Money or gift cards

356. Calendar

357. Batteries

In the end, it really doesn’t matter what you give your children in their stockings. What they truly just want is time with you. Take advantage of the holiday to accomplish that and do something special with them. Don’t stress the gifts. Hopefully this list has helped you get some thoughtful ideas for your children so you can spend more time having fun with them and less time preparing for the day.

What are your favorite stocking stuffer ideas listed? Have any other fun ideas? Share with me in the comments!

Read also: Fashion Style Guide to Selecting Cute Winter Outfits for Kids and 2016 Holiday Gift Guide by Arts & Crackers


  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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