Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The perfectly stuffed stocking

How will you bring your child's stocking to life this year?
Source: Radiobutlers, via Pinterest

You've bought gifts for the kids, mom and dad, the in-laws, and Aunt Sue.  You baked cookies for the teachers and the bus driver.  You bought pointsettias for Sunday School teachers, and you remembered a card and a bag of candies for your favorite librarians.

But you still have to get those dreaded stocking stuffers.

I know many curse the existence of stockings, even though they hang so beautifully from their mantle pieces.  With all the gift purchasing and meal preparations required this time of year, is it fair that busy and stressed out parents also have to find a stocking full of goodies to buy?

I understand this sentiment, but I must admit I love buying stocking stuffers.  The challenge of finding gifts that are cheap, small, and useful (meaning they won't go straight to a landfill) is one I take on each year with glee.  If you are one who struggles with these little gifts, I have good news for you: I'm sharing this year's great finds for young children, between the ages of 4 and 9.  I hope they inspire you:

  • My favorite place to shop for stocking stuffers is Michael's.  Craft supplies are great stuffers because they tend to be small, inexpensive, and always need to be replenished.  Here's what to look for:
    • Glue, glitter glue
    • Tape
    • Mini stapler and staples
    • Stickers
    • Child safe scissors
    • Stamps and ink
    • Fun Erasers
    • Pencil sharpeners
    • Mini notebooks
    • Mini foam crafts
    • Modeling clay
    • Small puzzles
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Popsicle sticks
  • Drug stores are good shopping destinations as well.  Here, I look for items that I'd have to buy anyway.  (It makes me feel less guilty about all the money flying out of my wallet before it's even settled in).  Here are some ideas:
    • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
    • Hair rubber bands, barrettes, and headbands
    • Lip balm
    • Band-aids with favorite characters on them
    • Sunscreen
  • And what child isn't constantly outgrowing the basics?  I head to Target or the department store and pick up:
    • Fun socks (this year's theme was dinosaurs and aviation)
    • Underwear and undershirts
    • Fancy shoelaces 
    • Winter hats and mittens (because you know you'll lose it least one pair of gloves and one hat this winter)
    • A neckwarmer for outside play at school
  • Of course, a child's stocking can't be considered complete without toys.  At the toy store I look for:
    • Small Lego sets. (They have some that come in a bag, perfect for stashing in a stocking)
    • Small cars or trains
    • Plastic animals.  (I bought a few dinosaurs for my dinosaur obsessed daughter)
    • Bath toys
    • Pieces of train track
    • Video game cartridges

Done.  That was fun, wasn't it?

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