Family life

The art of stuffing a stocking

Stockings are Tracy's favourite Christmas tradition. And she's got the contents down to a science.

By Tracy Chappell
The art of stuffing a stocking

What will Santa leave in Anna and Avery’s stockings this year?

I love stockings. They are my favourite (material) part of Christmas. My parents were master stocking stuffers and opening that sock full of surprises was often the highlight of Christmas morning for me. I can’t recall exactly what they put in them, I just remember the stuff being unique and fun and personal.
Naturally, I want my kids to think Santa rocks too. We only let them ask Santa for one gift. It’s mostly because my kids don’t need anything and I want them to think hard about one thing they really, really want; but it’s also because I’d rather focus on stuffing an awesome stocking.
Stockings are expensive though. I don’t mean we put lots of high-end expensive things in them, but it really adds up, so like all my gift-shopping, I keep my eyes peeled all year round.
My strategy is a combo of:

  1. Necessity: I do seize the opportunity to include some undies and socks; replacements for our ever-fading markers; hair ties, mini books, etc.
  2. Whimsy: Since I don’t shop with my kids that often, it’s easy to find things they’ve never seen before, like these Brain Quest cards or a monogrammed hair brush or a necklace made of tiny jingle bells or pencils that look like hockey sticks.
  3. Surprise: I like them to know that Santa really does see what’s going on, so if there is some little thing they’ve seen and wanted that I’ve given a firm “no” to, I may go back and pick it up for the stocking. It might be as simple as a package of sparkly stickers or princess lip balm. Last year, Santa somehow knew that Anna desperately wanted a stuffed wolf we denied her on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and it showed up beside her stocking. This year, I’m looking for a replacement for Avery’s favourite water thermos that she lost and still grieves to this day. I can imagine her face if it shows up on Christmas morning. (And this combines surprise with necessity!)
  4. Sweet: Because what’s a stocking without it? I try to find some creative Christmas-y themed treats. Last year, a gingerbread cookie designed like a lollipop stuck out the top of their stockings. It was a big hit.

 Your turn! What do you put in your kids’ stockings?

This article was originally published on Nov 30, 2012

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