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 Much Loved 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 ordinary 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.
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 2017 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for ideas for your whole Christmas list!
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!
On to the list…
Health(ier) Food and Treats
- 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)
- Fresh clementine oranges (pair with book An Orange for Frankie)
- Chocolate truffles, homemade
- Coconut macaroons (homemade or store bought)
- Pumpkin spice meltaways (homemade and wrapped), maybe along with a chai tea bag!
- Chocolate dusted almonds or pecans (love this recipe)
- Flowering tea (beautiful and healthy!)
- Trail mix
Health and Beauty
- Chapstick or lip balm (here’s a recipe to make your own)
- Non-toxic nail polish
- Bath salts (here is a recipe for lavender mint)
- Body or foot scrub (try this therapeutic magnesium foot scrub)
- Homemade body butter
- Hair ties and accessories
- Frankincense and Myrrh Lotion Bars (good for the men in your life too!)
Experiences / Sentimental
- “Date” with Mom or Dad coupon
- 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 load on thumb drive
- Festive socks (of course!)
- Kitchen tools designed for kids + recipe card to try with mom and dad
- Dollar bill or half dollar coin
- Mini sketch book
- Post-it pack (write things you love about them on the first few)
- Ear buds
- Logic puzzles or games (Logic Links, Swish, and Kanoodle are some of our favorites)
- Word games (Boggle, Apples to Apples Freestyle, Story Cubes, Madlibs Jr.)
- Trivia card games (check out the Professor Noggin series)
- Washi or decorative duct tape
- Yarn and crochet hook
- Popsicle sticks and glue
- Beeswax crayons
- Painting kit
- Wooden peg dolls – kids can pair with craft paints to make dolls or characters (unlimited open-ended creativity!)
- Brush pen and paper
- “Adventure” kit for camping (compass, mini-flashlight, beef jerky, trail mix, binoculars, fanny pack)
- Letter writing kit (stationery, stickers, pen, address book, fun stamps)
- Crafting kit (yarn, crochet hook, mini cross-stitch set, buttons, stickers, ribbon, art supplies)
- Kinetic sand (I can’t tell you how long my kids play with this stuff!)
- Jewelry or charms
- Festive tie for the man in your life
- Gift cards
- Religious medals or holy cards
What are some of your favorite healthy stocking stuffers? Please share!