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Gift Guides,  Life

The Anatomy of the Perfect Christmas Stocking


Growing up in the Judish household meant Christmas presents were a whole ordeal. My mom really values and feels proud that she is a great gift giver, which has rubbed off on me. Giving the perfect present to someone is one of my biggest thrills in life. I spend all year writing down anything someone mentions that they like or want and try my best to keep track of whether or not they bought these items or even write down more abstract things they love. 

So, gifts are huge in my family and stockings were no exception. In fact, as I got older and my mom and my stocking game evolved, Christmas stockings became the main event and the last thing we opened. We both just thrive in this realm and I’ve taken this unrealistic expectation in my adult life. Poor Dave. Lol

I had a little chat with my mom on the phone this morning and we came up with a formula for the perfect Christmas stocking. We realized that we have very similar categories we like to check off the stocking list, so I wanted to share!

Also, I fully realize that stockings may be something you like to keep simple or you can’t afford to put more money into them, which is absolutely valid. If you’re of that mindset, I think you can still benefit from this to help create a balanced stocking. I could 100% do this formula  using Dollar Tree or Bergdorfs (if I could afford it), so hear me out. 

We came up with seven categories we like to include in our stockings. I’ll give a few link examples for each one. 

Something nonsensical, silly or fun. 

This is an item that someone will find in their stocking and just have a good giggle. Some good examples are this Rose Apothecary lip balm (Schitt’s Creek joke), a silly tube guy for your desk, some Golden Girls mad libs, etc. Anything you know is guaranteed a good laugh for your stockingee. (I know that’s not a word, but I didn’t know what to call them. Recipient would have been good now that I’m typing this, but I’m committed now). 


Candy or Food

Every good stocking has to have something edible. This can range from candy to a food accessory like hot sauce or a simple orange. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something the person loves. This is also the best category for filler. I like to do a test run of a stocking before Christmas to make sure it’s full and cheap candies are the best way to fill in those extra spots. Here are a few fun options. This is honestly the easiest element, so have at it. One pro tip from me is Cost Plus World Market. They always have very unique food options varying in price. I also use World Market for all sorts of stocking stuffers because they have very unique and affordable options. This is also the perfect time to make your own stocking stuffer. A little bag of cookies or your own hot chocolate blend can be so much fun!

Cozy and Pampered

No stocking is complete without some sort of self-care item or something that makes them feel fabulous, whether it’s some fluffy socks or a face mask, it doesn’t matter. Just something that will make them feel comfortable. This also has a huge range, like a tube of lipstick for someone who loves makeup or a warm pair of gloves. Whatever you choose, it can be practical, but it also has to feel luxurious for the wearer. 


Gift Cards

If you’re on a tight budget, either skip this one or go for a mini, like a $10 gift card to starbucks. Starbucks is an easy go to in general, but some other good ideas are their favorite store or restaurant, grocery if they could really use the money or they just love to cook, Amazon, Sephora, etc. Safe bets are always variety stores (Sephora, Nordstrom, Target) or something edible. Something more fun could be a movie theater gift card or bowling alley. If you’re really spending money on this, go for something fancy that they wouldn’t normally indulge. 


Heartfelt Item 

Honestly, anything that shows the recipient that you really care, something they will cherish and is special. It could be something you personally made, a locket with a special photo, anything personalized, etc. Maybe it has something to do with a place they love or a trip they will always remember. Thoughtful is the key here. 


Special Interest

Something fun that has to do with their hobby or something they simply love, like baking or golf or knitting. It doesn’t matter, it just needs to be something they are very interested in. If you’re feeling unsure what sort of item might work, I would do some research about their interest and see if you can find something that any person could use, but rarely already have. For example, I recently got a dusting wand for powdered sugar. I had no idea they existed until I happened to see someone else using it and it ended up the most useful thing I’ve bought in a while. Think items they don’t know they need.

Something Practical

We top this off with something they can easily use. Super simple, but also ingenious gadgets are a fun option. This can also be something you know they use all the time and need a refill or an item that will help them or boost efficiency. It needs to actually work and be something you know they would appreciate in their day to day.

There you have it. I think this list should make for a very thoughtful and well-rounded stocking. Fun as well! You can spend a little or a lot, but this formula won’t do you wrong. And remember, when you need filler always make it food! 🙂

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