What to Put in a Christmas Stocking

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Just like buying Christmas 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 Christmas stockings history. 

What is a Christmas stocking?

A filled 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 small gifts such as fruit, nuts, sweets, or toys. But over the years people have been getting more creative and using them as a way to gift other small presents.

Why do we hang Christmas stockings?

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. It seems that the exact origins of where the filled Christmas stockings tradition came from is largely unknown and there are no written records on the origins of the legend.

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

Personalised stockings hanging on the mantelpiece
Personalised stockings

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 the 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.

Traditional Christmas Stocking from Not On The High Street

Traditional Christmas Stockings

There are many different ideas as to what a traditional Christmas stocking looks like. You could go for something with a wool knit design that resembles a traditional sock design. Or perhaps pick something with an embroidered design. We like an old-school style cream or beige knitted stocking for Christmas.

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.

What to put in a Christmas stocking

How to fill the Christmas stocking ‘toe’

There are so many options for what to put in a Christmas stocking. The traditional approach to a Christmas stocking for kids is to fill the ‘toe’ of the stocking with either an easy-peel orange or satsuma, or a chocolate orange

Other ideas include adding the traditional ‘gold coins’ which you could do by adding in a small bag of chocolate coins or even some of your current currency.

Stocking ideas for kids

Other stocking ideas for kids could be to wrap up a few small toys, a fidget toy, some bits of stationery, and winter wooly accessories such as gloves, a hat, or some socks. 

Stocking ideas for adults

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.

traditional christmas stockings hanging on the end of the bed
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How to stuff a stocking for under £5 

Mini items

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.

Shop the sales in advance

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.

Skip the wrapping paper

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 the actual stocking for a sneak peek.

Buy in bulk

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.

xmas stockings by the fire
Photo by Addy Mae on Unsplash

What is the ‘5 gift rule’ for stockings?

The 5 gift rule is a useful way to plan buying gifts. This is particularly useful if you are buying for children or a large family. The 5 gift rule helps you plan for a variety of different types of gifts whilst keeping the number of gifts sensible.

For 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 the best option is a book. or if they aren’t into reading get them an audiobook subscription.

For something to do, you could get them a toy or a small activities book 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! 

Five gift rule Christmas stockings
Five gift rule Christmas stockings

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