Remember when kids hung their stockings by the chimney with care and the gifts inside (oranges? coal?) were the sum total for that year? Well, those days are over, parents! Alas, we seem to have escalated our gift-giving so that very little will fit in those ornamental stockings. But it’s still fun to honor the tradition of stocking stuffers or any small treats and trinkets for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, or whatever else you celebrate.
Some children, especially those on the younger side, may actually appreciate a number of small stocking stuffers more than they would one or two larger presents. They may like the act of opening gifts just as much as they like the gifts themselves. And older kids, while they may mostly covet big-ticket items, still get that zing of satisfaction when receiving a smaller item. We parents, meanwhile, really get a kick out of watching them open each present, big or small. But also, we’re not made of cash. For these reasons, we gathered this list of toys and gifts for kids — stocking stuffers or otherwise — that are all $15 or less.
What makes for a good stocking stuffer? Of course that depends on the child. But we think the best gifts are fun (no school supplies!), work well on their own (unless they’re related to a bigger gift under the tree), inspire the imagination, and have a fighting chance of being used even after the holidays.
Not all of the stocking stuffers we’ve listed here will literally fit into a stocking (Does everyone have a working fireplace? Probably not) Some will work perfectly in a bright red, felt sack adorned with your kid’s name, others are best for a metaphorical stocking instead.
Read on for inspiration!
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A version of this story was originally published in November 2020.