Want to know what traditionally goes in a Christmas stocking? Then keep reading for my list of traditional stocking stuffers to keep things minimalist and old-fashioned. Are you looking for traditional Christmas stockings this year? Find out what you can add to have special stockings this holiday season.
Tips for the Best Christmas Stockings
Every Christmas morning I woke up early, eager to get started unwrapping all the Christmas presents for me underneath our Christmas tree.
But, I had to wait until the rest of my family was up and out of bed to do so.
Thankfully, I always had my homemade Christmas stocking hanging full of treats and other traditional stocking stuffer items that were free game to rummage through as I waited for my parents and siblings to wake up.
I loved our family’s Christmas stockings for the simple fact of where it came from: my grandmother.
She hand-knit every stocking for myself, my eight siblings, and my parents, and everyone was slightly different, though very similar to the next, complete with our names knit into it at the top.
As my siblings married and had children, she or her sister would knit a new one for the spouse and their kids, all similar but unique.
I never got to know my grandmother or my great Aunt Rose very well, unfortunately, before they passed so I cherish this small token of their love for me from long ago.
I was married after my Grandmother and Great Aunt passed and no one in my family knits, leaving me cheated out of handmade stockings for my husband and posterity.
Holiday stockings make the best Christmas decorations
Our knit Christmas stockings were the perfect size for all the more “traditional” stocking stuffers we received each year, which became almost rote with the passing of time.
And honestly, the somewhat lack of creative stocking stuffers was totally okay with me!
I liked having our stockings being so reliably the same, so traditional, so minimalist, so expected.
It’s part of why my husband and I have adopted very similar stocking stuffer gifts for our kids. It’s become part of our own Christmas family traditions.
I have seen some pretty ridiculous gift guides for stocking stuffer items where the gifts would have a fat chance of fitting into any normal-sized Christmas stocking, or cost as much as many regular Christmas gifts!
Call me old fashioned if you will, but I prefer the small traditional stocking stuffer ideas that don’t cost much and actually fit inside the stocking.
Stocking stuffer gifts needn’t be complicated, expensive, or elaborate.
Simple, minimalist stocking stuffers allow the presents under the tree to shine, overall limiting Christmas gifts, perhaps via Gold Frankincense and Myrrh gifts or the Want Need Wear Read gift ideas.
As a child, when I pulled down my stocking from the little nail it hung on in our wall or over a doorway, I could expect to find many of the following traditional stocking stuffer items:
Traditional Stocking Stuffers
A Christmas Orange
At the very bottom of our Christmas stockings, filling out the knit toe perfectly, was a big, round, juicy orange.
My mother informed me that the reason we always received an orange at the bottom of our stockings was that oranges were a rare and special treat to have, especially during lean years like the Great Depression Era and World Wars.
My grandmother, the one who knit my stocking, was born in 1907 in England, and knew much about such things.
How grateful people were to have an orange on Christmas morning! We most definitely continue this tradition in our home as a sense of humility and family history.
Our grandmother or great Aunt (or our parents) filled a small cash envelope or Christmas card with some Christmas cash, usually only $5-20 if I remember correctly, but not every year.
Occasionally, we may have received a gift card instead. I’m pretty sure one year we all (or one of us at least) received special limited edition State Quarters.
The tradition of giving money, especially coins, is as old as the tradition of a Christmas stocking itself!
Without fail, every member of our family received a brand new toothbrush in their stocking on Christmas morning.
I am not sure why this was, other than it was likely needed and inexpensive, but millions of families receive toothbrushes in their stockings every year for Christmas. My family still does today.
We make sure to pick up more “exciting” toothbrushes like a Paw Patrol or My Little Pony branded Orajel toothbrush for our kids, who actually really enjoy getting new toothbrushes.
My husband and I give each other electric toothbrushes (or toothbrush replacement heads).
You can learn more about the best oral care products to use and give during the holiday seasons, and help your kids understand that a healthy, cavity-free smile is a pretty darn good gift to receive too, especially when gifted the next item…
Chocolate and Nuts
Every year in our stockings was a Ziploc sandwich bag of M&Ms and peanuts mixed together.
It was a salty-sweet treat to start our Christmas morning! We often had other chocolate and other candies in our stockings too.
Small and practical, some sort of lip product, perhaps a fun flavored Lip Smacker, was sometimes in our stockings. But, you can always upgrade it to nicer lip balms.
As little girls, my sister and I found simple jewelry pieces from time to time in our stockings, but super-cheap items like Sticker Earrings or a charm bracelet.
Mints & Gum
We most often received a small box of Tic Tacs or a pack of gum.
My sister joked that the Tic Tacs were often consumed within a day, especially if they were the yummy, chewy orange-flavored ones!
Candy canes hang so perfectly from the top of a Christmas stocking and come in so many different flavors during the holidays!
They also are symbolic of the shepherd’s crook.
Just be wary of children who suck the end into a super sharp point and then poke others with it, like my brother did as a child. ? Of course, a plastic candy cane full of Hershey Kisses is also a yummy way to do “candy canes.”
Other Ideas For Fun Family’s Christmas Stockings
Adding fun items really kicks up the holiday spirit. Since you know each of the family member and their personalities, have fun making the perfect Christmas stockings for each person! Small gifts and small toys bring out the holiday cheer!
Don’t forget that adding things like gift cards can make a great gift, too! Every member of the family will have a blast having their own actual stocking will little and thoughtful gifts.
Don’t forget that having stockings for the whole family means that pet lovers should have a stocking for their furry friends, too! A pet stocking is a perfect addition to the mantle!
Choose a different stocking color for each person (red plaid is my favorite!) and have them displayed in the living room, waiting to be filled by you or Santa Claus!
I love continuing on my family’s Christmas traditions via our more traditional Christmas stocking stuffers, even if they’re more “boring” than other stocking stuffer gift ideas.
With tradition comes familiarity, a sense of anticipation.
Though my husband and my children may not have handmade Christmas stockings from my grandmother at least they receive gifts my grandmother once received in her stocking too, or gave to me in mine.
Be sure to check out my list of Traditional Stocking Stuffers for Men too!
And if you need stocking holders, check out my post with different stocking holder solutions!
What do you consider a tradition Christmas stocking stuffer?
Check out these other Christmas Tradition Posts:
If you want to make your own homemade Christmas Stocking be sure to check out these 27 free patterns and tutorials!
Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
A lot of these things my mom would always put in our stockings, too! And even though the rest of your family doesn’t have handmade stockings like you, they still all look great together!
Katelyn Fagan says
Awww thanks Chelsea! I actually “made” the blue ones, from an sweater I picked up for $2 at a thrift store. http://homecleaningfamily.com/2012/12/pinterest-find-easy-homemade-christmas-stockings It was my attempt at making homemade stockings for them. I just bought the two youngest ones on Black Friday. I guess I could have done the same thing for theirs. All well.
Just like you, we always got an orange AND an apple! I guess those healthy treats helped to balance out the chocolate! When I was a kid, my dad actually had some old (clean) socks that we would pull out for Christmas stockings. When I got married, my mom knitted us cute stockings to use.
Sandra Geary says
Truly enjoyed reading all the special posts in this e-mail today.. There are many ideas I’d never thought about before…and will certainly read thru them again, and possibly consider doing some of them. This has been one of your most interesting and thought provoking subjects…and I really do appreciate you taking the time to bring all these things to our attention. I wish you and all your readers a Wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
I like that you don’t have huge stockings. They bigger they are, the more crap you need to fill them with. And they already get so much under the tree it’s just not really necessary.
Katelyn Fagan says
Loved your article. We always received a jumbo pack of gum, a book of lifesavers, an apple,orange and a banana. The little Whitmans chocolate box which contained 4 pieces.! The fruit less used to make fruit salad for dinner?
Jo McCulley says
Always toothbrushes (even the dogs), candy, apples, small toy. My daughter even adds to the stockings when she arrives Christmas morning. Our stockings are hung on the door to the deck beside the tree.
Hi there! I know this post is old but I just had to comment to say I love it! I’m British and these are almost exactly the same as we always had in our stockings. We had our Dads very long knitted socks for stockings 🤣 ones he never wore that is lol. They stretched well and fit all sorts.
But yes. Always an orange, toothbrush, usually chocolate coins, chapstick or little perfume bottle, little things like a small card game or jewelry, anything ‘mini’.
I’m married to an American who tends to be much more materialistic and less traditional, and can’t understand why id put a toothbrush in his stocking! Then he will go and put expensive things in mine lol
Anyways. Love that there are still people out there who appreciate the small things, the thought that goes into gifts, traditions and makes me know im not crazy giving my kids oranges and toothbrushes! Thanks for sharing Have a wonderful Christmas time with your family