What is it about a Christmas stocking? Old or young, waking up on Christmas to a stocking lumpy with little surprises has its own special joy.
Even if it’s something as small as a pack of gum or as practical as a pair of new socks!
The Tradition of Christmas Stockings
Thanks to the famous poem “The Night Before Christmas” written by Clement C. Moore in 1823, we do know that Christmas stockings have been “hung by the chimney with care” for at least the last two hundred years (and then some).
But exactly how long ago the tradition began and why it became so popular are more unknown.
Most agree the Christmas stocking tradition pays tribute to St. Nicholas, the Christian saint of ancient times known for his generosity and gift-giving to those in need.
The legend goes that St. Nicholas heard of a widowed man who could not pay a dowry for his three daughters (a desperate situation in those times). St. Nicholas dropped gold coins down the widower’s chimney by night, and one of the coins fell into one of the stockings hung by the fire to dry. The widower and his daughters were overjoyed to find the coins the next morning, their worries over.
The example of St. Nicholas continues to shape our idea of the true spirit of Christmas today.
Healthy Stocking Stuffer Ideas for the Whole Family
Here are some stocking stuffer ideas on the healthier side that I’ve come up with over the years or heard from others. And don’t forget to check out my 2018 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for ideas for your whole Christmas list!
On to the list…
- Chia seed or coconut water drink (homemade or store-bought)
- Beef jerky or beef sticks (we love this brand)
- Chocolates, homemade in a Christmas silicone mold and wrapped
- Nuts in shell (with a nutcracker on the side… this one is fun!)
- A box of chai or other tea
- Fresh clementine oranges (pair with book An Orange for Frankie)
- Pomegranates (in season right now)
- Chocolate truffles (these are completely amazing)
- Coconut macaroons
- Chocolate-dusted almonds or pecans (love this recipe)
- Flowering tea (beautiful and healthy!)
- Natural gummy bears
- Hot chocolate (I put homemade mix in a small jelly jar with their name on it)
- Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee or elixir packets (for grown-ups)
Health and Beauty
- Chapstick or lip balm
- Nail clippers/nail kit
- Non-toxic nail polish
- Bath salts (if you have essential oils, baking soda, and epsom salt around the house, you can mix some up in minutes!)
- Sugar scrub (very quick and easy to make at home!)
- Homemade body butter
- Hair ties and accessories
- Frankincense and myrrh lotion bars (good for the men in your life too!)
- Natural facial serum or clay mask
- Sleepology (for kids or grown-ups who have trouble sleeping)
Experiences / Sentimental
- Coupon for “date” with Mom or Dad
- Carousel or gaming tokens (with promise of family outing)
- Movie night with favorite dessert coupon
- Stay up hour late coupon (special Mom and Dad time!)
- Mini photo book with family memories and inspirational quotes
- A keepsake letter or love note
- Movie tickets or gift certificates
- Ask loved ones to record favorite stories or read-alouds and create a playlist
- Festive socks (of course!)
- Dollar bill or half dollar coin
- Kitchen tools designed for kids + recipe card to try with Mom and Dad
- Mini sketch book
- Post-it pack (write things you love about them on the first few)
- Ear buds
- No-crease ponytail holders
- Crinkle cutter (for your aspiring chefs just learning to use a knife)
Games & Fun
- Logic puzzles or games (Logic Links and Kanoodle are two of our favorites)
- Word games (We like Boggle, Apples to Apples Freestyle, Story Cubes, Madlibs Jr.)
- Trivia card games (my kids love the Professor Noggin series)
- A card game of any kind – Zobmondo is a hit with the older kids in my house.
- Kinetic sand
- The classic that never gets old – a Rubik’s cube or Slinky
- Kinetic flow ring… these things are so cool!
- Washi tape or decorative duct tape
- Beginner crochet kit (there’s even a Star Wars kit!)
- Crayons, colored pencils, new school supplies
- Wooden peg dolls – kids can paint to make dolls or characters
- “Adventure” kit for camping: compass, mini-flashlight, beef jerky, trail mix, binoculars, fanny pack – or buy one already made
- Letter-writing kit: stationery, stickers, pen, address book, fun stamps
- Crafting kit: yarn, crochet hook, mini cross-stitch set, buttons, stickers, ribbon
- Art supplies: watercolor paints, brushes, glue, sequins, stickers, paper punch or stamps
- Purse theme (for mom or older child): mints, Kleenex pack, pens, natural hand sanitizer, hand lotion
- Jewelry or charms
- Festive tie for the man in your life
- Gift cards
- Religious medals or holy cards
- Cash or gift card inside a Money Maze gift box
One fun twist on the stocking stuffer tradition: Instead of gifting everything in one day, slip one new gift into the stockings on each of the twelve days of the Christmas season (traditionally from Dec. 25 to the feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6). Your kids will love looking forward to a new surprise and it will help keep their focus on the whole Christmas season!
What are some of your favorite healthy stocking stuffers? Please share!