What to Put in a Christmas Stocking

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Like buying gifts, figuring out what to put in a Christmas stocking is a whole challenge of its own. Maybe you have a traditional list of things to put in or maybe you’re clueless as to how to fill one. Don’t worry, we have you covered. But first, some history. 

Why do we hang Christmas stockings?

A Christmas stocking is usually an empty sock or sock shaped bag that is hung on Christmas eve to be filled for Christmas morning. Traditionally they are filled with fruit and nuts or toys and sweets. But over the years people have been getting more creative and using them as a way to deliver small gifts.

The tradition of Christmas stockings comes from Saint Nicholas. He is said to have bestowed a gift of money to some girls who wanted to get married by leaving gold coins in a stocking hanging from their chimney. Other tales tell of him leaving oranges in a stocking but the stocking on a chimney is a constant in all the tales.

To read more on Saint Nicholas check out our post Why do we give gifts at Christmas?

personalised christmas stocking
Personalised Christmas Stocking from Not On The High Street

Personalised Christmas Stockings

With personalised stockings, it’s all about what the stocking owner wants. If you know they are into beauty, fill it with things like lipsticks and nail polish. If you know they are into crafting, get them something they can use in their next big craft project.

When it comes to the design of a personal stocking, having your name printed or embroidered on the stocking is always a good start. You can then get creative with pins or iron on designs if you want.

You can get personalised stockings from Etsy or notonthehighstreet.com

Traditional Christmas Stocking from Not On The High Street

Traditional Christmas Stockings

There are many different ideas to what a traditional stocking looks like. Some think more decorative in the festive colours. Others think a simple stocking, durable but not as decorative.


Either way, If you’re going for the traditional red and green Christmas décor, they would make a good addition on the chimney or hang from the end of your bed.

When it comes to filling a traditional stocking there isn’t a one size fits all for what to put inside but some for children it’s always a safe bet to go with an easy-peel orange, some coins – traditionally gold coins which you can swap out for chocolate coins or current currency – and a little toy.

For adults, traditional stocking fillers could be chocolate, some fruit, something useful like socks and maybe some perfume samplers or skin creams to fill space. You can also be a little cheeky and add a can of an alcoholic drink to start the festivities.

Christmas stockings hanging
Christmas stockings hanging

How to stuff a stocking for under £5 

If you’re on a budget and need to fill a stocking cheaply the best way is to go for snacks and small but useful items.

For children, small toys like balloon cars or a fun pack of cards like top trumps are a great option.

You can also shop sales shelves to see if you can find anything you know someone you love will love. There are many good deals out there if you look.

Another thing is to skip out on wrapping stocking items. Wrapping paper costs money and it’s unnecessary for stockings as you can’t see through them.

If you’re stuffing a few stockings it may be more cost-effective to get things in bulk. Yes, everyone’s stocking will be filled with the same things, but it would save you a lot of money instead of going and buying 5 different things at full price.

Christmas stocking on bed
Christmas stocking on bed

What is the 5 gift rule for stockings?

With presents the general 5 gift rule is:

  • 1 thing they want
  • 1 thing they need
  • 1 thing to read
  • 1 thing to wear
  • 1 thing to do

This can be applied to stockings too as there are plenty of small stocking fillers you can get to fit the criteria. For example, for something to read you can get small activities books like colouring books (for kids and adults). Or for something to wear you can get accessories such as hats or scarves.

Have fun stuffing stockings this Christmas! 

What to put in a Christmas stocking