I know, I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Why am I thinking about Christmas shopping, even if it's "just" for stocking stuffers?? But I find that stocking stuffers are the kind of thing that it’s easier to pick up ahead of time. I have a box under my bed that I use to hide stocking stuffers that I pick up all year ‘round. When I find the perfect little thing for someone in my family, I just tuck it in the box and when November rolls around, I’m already well ahead of the game. But if you haven’t started shopping for stocking stuff yet, let me pass along a few ideas for small, interesting, and useful items that make great stocking stuffers for all ages!
Magnetic Wristband (thegrommet.com, $18)
This nifty little wrist strap will hold small metal items such as screws and straight pins. No more sticking them in your mouth (bad idea), no more losing them when they roll off the table, no more juggling them in one hand while you try to do a two-handed job. $18 is a bit pricy, but if someone in your family is a handyman or a seamstress (or a handywoman or a…seamster?), this is a terrific little gift.
Color Changing Straws and Spoons (amazon.com, $15)
These reusable, dishwasher-safe straws and spoons change color from nearly white (officially, they’re either “pale pink” or “off-white”) to either light red or light green when they’re immersed in a cold liquid. How much fun to have for a birthday party with ice cream and cold milk?!? This pack comes with 12 each of straws and spoons, plus a bonus pack of 25 Christmas-themed temporary glitter tattoos. What kid (or adult, for that matter) wouldn’t love to find these in their stocking?
Origami Sticky Notes (suck.uk.com, $4)
Don’t just throw away that sticky note when you’re done with it – fold it into a boat, a crane, a pig, a lily, or half a dozen other designs! Each of these creative sticky notes has instructions on how to make one of ten different origami creations. Doesn’t that make list-making a lot more fun?
Hexbug Nano (amazon.com, $10)
Desk toys have been a staple in my Christmas stockings for years. When I was younger, it was usually a wind-up toy, or something with a suction cup that jumped up and did a flip unexpectedly, or something like that. But with today’s technology, desk toys are self-propelled. This fun little Hexbug will happily chug all over your desk, randomly changing its path and exploring. Challenge your cube mates to Hexbug races, create mazes and obstacle courses…your Hexbug friend can help create a great teambuilding experience! (Or at least provide a fun way to spend your coffee break.)
Credit Card Lightbulb (thinkgeek.com, $5)
How many times have you been at a dimly lit restaurant and wished you had a small flashlight handy so you could see the menu? This clever little gadget is the size and thickness of a credit card, but flip up the lightbulb image and you have a self-standing lamp. Perfect for reading the menu, finding something in the back seat of the car, finding your house or car key at night, or any time you need a little more light. Plus it’s hands free!
Superhero Socks (amazon.com, $1-$8)
Available in Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman styles, these socks feature their character’s distinctive patterns and logos, and they come with their own capes. If anyone in your family is a superhero, they deserve these stockings in their stocking, don’t you think?
Hair Chalk (perpetualkid.com, $8)
If your kids are anything like my 4-year-old, they are FASCINATED by fancy hair colors. Obviously, I’m not going to let my 4-year-old dye her hair, but hair chalk creates temporary bright colors that wash out easily. And it works even on dark hair! What a fun way to let your child (or yourself!) get creative with your look without having to commit to a long-term change.
Shakespearean Insult Bandaids (perpetualkid.com, $6)
Another stocking stuffer tradition in my house is fun bandaids. If someone in your family has a literary bent – or just a clever sense of humor – skip over the usual Mickey Mouse and Spongebob bandaids and pick up a box of Shakespearean insults, each written in a different fancy font. Each box even contains a secret prize inside!
LED Shoelaces (hearthsong.com, $10)
Available in blue, green, pink, or white, these 40” weatherproof laces can be set to on, off, fast blink, or slow blink. They’re even hand-washable! Great for anyone who’s sad that light-up sneakers only come in little kid sizes.
Cyber Clean Putty (amazon.com, $18)
This putty pulls dust and crud out of all kinds of small cracks and crevices – it can be used to clean computer keyboards, USB ports, phones, remote controls, DVD and CD players, and jewelry. You can even use it to clean the detritus that collects at the bottom of your purse or briefcase. Its light lemon-lime scent freshens as well as cleans. And it can be reused multiple times.
So get out there and get shopping!! Don’t wait till the last minute or you’ll be getting everyone boring socks again.