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Ideas for Kids Stocking Stuffers That Won't Blow Your Budget

Updated on September 3, 2017

It is Christmas time again and with that comes filling stockings. With four kids, stocking stuffers could quickly blow the Christmas budget. They don't have to cost a fortune though. I love finding the perfect items to go in each stocking. This takes time though to find the right things at the right cost. So I always start looking for unique and inexpensive stocking stuffers a few months in advance. Here are some ideas for different ages of kids.

I have found that filling stockings for younger kids is pretty easy. It doesn't take much for them to get excited. Young children are happy with art supplies, bubbles and playdough. If you can plan ahead and purchase art supplies on sale at back to school time it will really save you money. If not that is fine, crayons and coloring books aren't that much money. A four pack of playdough can be had for around $2, making it a very inexpensive item for stockings. I will divide it up among the two younger kids. It also takes up a good chunk of space, meaning overall it will cost less to actually have the stocking filled.

Bubble bath is another favorite here. This is not something I buy on a regular basis, so it is always a treat at Christmas time. Again it takes up a lot of space. Young children also get excited about fun character toothbrushes and toothpaste. Speaking of character items, character socks or t-shirts fit well in stockings and kids love them. These items fill a need for my children many years and they still really like them. Fidget spinners and other fidget toys are very popular right now and can be had fairly cheap.

For young boys little metal race cars are a favorite. You can purchase tubes of plastic animals or people for around $6. There are many themes to choose from - from forest animals to astronauts, even an Egyptian theme. Most kids love these and they take up a good bit of space too. You can get small Lego, K'nex or Playmobil sets for fairly cheap that should fit in a stocking. Pokemon cards and other items are favorites right now.

For young girls you can purchase little baby bottles for their dolls and even doll diapers. If your little girl doesn't already have a doll, that would be a great item to be sticking out of the top of the stocking on Christmas morning. Hair clips or bows, play jewelry or dress up items all fit nicely into stockings and are relatively inexpensive. Shopkins sets fit nicely in stockings. Rubiks cubes are hot right now for middle elementary kids.

For tweens creating a theme stocking is always fun. If your child is very interested in crafts, you could fill her stocking with all sorts of craft supplies. Googly eyes, Popsicle sticks, string and beads, feathers, pipe cleaners, glitter, paint, colored pencils, etc are all pretty cheap and would get any crafty child dreaming of the possibilities. You can do a sports theme, a movie theme or create it around whatever their favorite things are.

For girls makeup, nail polish and jewelry are usually a hit. Clip in feather extensions for hair, slap bracelets, funky socks and movie or character key chains are popular. Clothing goes over well for older girls and can be rolled up nicely to fit inside the stocking. I stock up on bath items on Black Friday to keep my expenses down. Anything emoji is hot right now - from slippers to notepads kids love it all.

For boys sports cards and small handheld games are always a hit. These can be bought cheaply at $5 Below, Target or Wal-Mart. A t-shirt from their favorite sports team takes up a lot of space and they usually love it.

Teens can be hard to shop for and often times the most expensive. Older kids all love to get gift cards and movie passes in their stockings. I earn free giftcards online to help keep my costs down. I also play the drugstore game to get numerous items free throughout the year. Many of these things end up in my teens' stockings. Starbucks refreshers, beef jerky, candy, chapstick, gum, and more can be had for free or cheap and are stashed for Christmas time. Teens love funky socks, and soft PJ bottoms. You can find cheap phone cases online as well.

Other items I have put in stockings before include a child's favorite food, a special treat specific to each child, books, card games, trinkets with the child's name on it, character underwear or socks, handmade coupons for things like their favorite meal or a pass to get out of doing a chore, candy, notepads, fancy pens or pencils, glow in the dark stickers of the solar system, bouncy balls, stickers, pajamas, disposable cameras (always a favorite for younger kids) and games.

Filling a stocking should be fun and inexpensive. Look for small cheap things year round that will work for your child and come Christmas time you should have the stocking just about covered.


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    • profile image

      Angela Dean 

      7 years ago

      Just a few ideas that I did this Christmas.

      For my 14 year old son: fake moustaches, freeze dried ice cream, drumsticks, "favorite socks", not the cheap ones, beanie, cd's, pencil cup for desk, "Why Don't Cats Like to Swim?" book, "Vans" belt, The Original Wooly Willy - Magnetic Guy, 5 minute shower timer, jerky, candy cane pop rocks, wallet, aftershave, funny, hilarious movie, personalized or band guitar pick.

      For my 12 yr. old daughter: JB notepad, "Why Don't Penguin's" book, press on nails, lady bug toothbrush holder, subscription to "Teen Vogue", magnetic page clips, playful duct tape, Mermaid Beach card game, glow in the dark paints, waterbottle, shave gel, magic socks - expand in water, earrings, smelly erasers and a beautiful goblet with her initial on it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A great stocking idea is making cookies and putting them in a bad or candy coins for boys or so mini flashlights slim jim,candy,a movie,candy canes,and a $20 bill :) hope this helps merry Christmas :)

    • profile image

      christmas fanatic 

      7 years ago

      i usually put lip balms (lip smacker), make up, nail polish, books, a christmas sweater, perfume, socks, orange, nuts, candy canes, stationary, and bath products into my daughter who is ten stocking just cheap, useful, and not tedious so they can actually use it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      my mom ALWAYS makes the BEST stockings two FILLED TO THE TOP!! WITH ALL SORTS OF THINGS!! Dollar Tree always has awesome stuff for stockings even for younger kids they have "off barbie dolls"( barbie dolls that aren't Barbie characters) and all kinds of boy presents I'm a teenager but going through all the goodies in my stocking are my favorite thing to do and even as a teen I still LOVE stickers my mom is very supportive of my hippieness and usually gets me awesome stickers with peace signs and other things

      all natural soap is awesome for girls 10+ who can actually apprechiate it and is sold on eBay for around $3

      ebay is also an awesome place to buy christmas gifts and also many churches have clothing closets once a month and you could get your kids clothes for FREE :D and most won't notice and most if they do notice it's used won't mind if you have a snotty kind of kid just get the newer looking stuff and they won't know the difference also for girls dollar tree has cheap but good smelling perfumes :)

    • Lou1842 profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the ideas. I have a 4 year old boy and I think filling the stockings is one of the best bits. Can't wait!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      im 13 and i usually make a wishlist for my parents and i ususlly get everythin, anyway i was looking at this article because i also make a wishlist for my stocking. i loved all the ideas and i put fancy choclates,nail polish,lip gloss, bath and body works lotions, lots of candy, gift cards to forever21 and marshalls. but i guess as long as i get a stocking it really dosent matter what its filled with. i also like play dough n just little cheap things you could get from the collar store :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      my 7 year old boy would be getting a toothbrush, toothpaste, play dough,stickers, tattoos, slinky,pic up stix,socks, charactershirt,crayons, minicoloring book, putty, gift certificate (20) My 2 year old boy flashlight, toothbrush and paste, character shirt, flute, smallball theone that squeezable, coloringbook, flashcards, sticker tattoos,play dough,matchbox car,little people, bubble bath, rubby ducky, cup, and mittenns

    • craftybegonia profile image


      8 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      Nice practical article!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We always put the big bag of M M's in the toe of the stockings.. it takes it up.. then we put some candy, some of that Goo stuff, silly puddy, sunflower seeds, coloring books, cool crayons, tooth brush's, pic frames, lipgloss, make up, cars for my boy, body spray, one of those jelly watches, andything personalized is a love.. My Girl loves Zebra ANYTHING!!! My boy is in love with Cars, sponge bob.. phineus and ferb stuff. The dollar store is great!! Sometimes I might put a few Gold dollars in there or some of thoes Santa dollars from Publix. A special letter from Santa or the elf in there.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Here's a Great Stocking Stuffer, and so affordable! Fun and educational at the same time. Here's their website I bought mine right on Amazon. I've copied some of the info for you:

      The DoodleMark is a new kind of bookmark that allows kids and parents to interact with books together, like never before. Whether practicing sight words together, working on vocabulary, drawing letters, bookmarking their progress or just doodling a funny picture - its all about creative learning and having fun.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I put an apple and an orange in the toe, then add a little candy and peanuts then top pff with tooth brush and paste then little bracelets chap sticks and little other girly things! (I have two little girls) then in the back i always put a movie

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Here it is just days before halloween, but I am already getting ready for Christmas. This site has helped me so much with so many ideas and I appreciate it very much. in our family, not only do we have the big stocking to fill, but we do a mini tree too. Last year we had 3 (1 for each child). Every day in the month of December until the 23rd, and after the kids eat dinner, they can pick out 1 small gift under the mini tree to open. On the 24th, they can choose 1 big gift under the big tree to open. This has actually saved us some money. The kids usually agree on a couple of expensive items for Christmas day and some other gifts instead of us having to blow tons of money on things they don't want or won't use. I agree up above...dollar stores are awesome for stocking stuffers and also for what we do yearly. Again thank you all for your suggestions!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think the best things for kids are little and cheap things they'll love like a deck of cards to keep them busy, some nail polish or cheap jewelry for the girls, comic books and whoopie cushions for the guys, things like bubble bath and rubber duckies to make bathtime more exciting, mini stuffed animals to hug at night, cozy socks to keep their toys warm, a $20 bill to make them feel rich. CDs and DVDs are always good, and the girls like cheap flavored lipgloss. throw in their fav candy. crayons, stickers, and gift certificates to their fav store is always good. they'll love the stuff and it'll be cheap and easy for you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      this year i got a puzzle that has a picture of our house and i plan on putting all the little pieces into the stocking to fill up space and be a fun family activity after all the other presents are opened. i got for my tween a lego-shaped speaker to plug into the bottom of his ipod- very retro and fun. and i assume most tweens/teens are very into technology. this year i used a stocking stuffer gift guide (my cheatsheet- the family will think i was so creative!) here's the link it really did help! happy holidays

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i just discovered the cutest stocking stuffer for my tween twins (I love saying that) -- these little collectables called facechipz. They're friendship tokens that kids exchange with their friends to create a secure online social network on I got 2 packs at the toys are us -- they were only $4.99 each! There's 5 chips in each pack -- so that's a dollar a friend -- each chip has one of those cute emoticons on the top and a code on the back to register it on the website -- it is such a great idea -- all about friendship which is nice for the holidays -- i hope if they are around next year, that toys are us will offer little red and green chips!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      amazing work

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 

      10 years ago from Texas

      My nephews love those little race cars!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Yes, we are all on a budget this Christmas. I will definitely look around before swiping my credit card. Seems small businesses are trying to compete with bigger brands and have lower prices. I found Kidkraft Dollhouses and traintables at lowest prices at

    • profile image

      The BEDBUG Blog 

      10 years ago

      Hi Jenifer,

      It always helps to get started early so that one has the time to find neat little treasures. When you aren't pressed for time, looking for perfect little gifts can be so enjoyable. Good Hub. Thanks.

    • profile image

      bc mom 

      10 years ago

      we buy the mini bottles of shampoo conditiner hand sanitizer etc. this works great for the teens on the go. refillable travel bottles for those that like to go green. new water bottles are always a hit. small camp gadgets if you have some one into that go over huge even out of season we also put an orange traditional and a mini box of cereal(big treat) to make sure there is something healthy brfore the craziness starts

    • Sandilyn profile image


      10 years ago from Port Orange, FL

      Good ideas! We still fill them and we are all adults. Well except for the furry ones (our pets). It gets a little challenging then but it can be fun.

      Still puzzle books, candy, favorite CD that can be made, socks, and all kinds of little things can be found. Dollar stores can be very helpful for these items. I make a few things which cuts down on the budget. The pets love everything so they are easy.

      Merry Christmas!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I Found all of the ideas to be very useful. The only thing I had was candy, apple,oranges and toothbrushes:). Thanks and Merry CHRISTmas!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      My parents still fill the stockings for all of us grown adults. They have four children and the three of us girls all have spouses. So, last year my mom filled the adult girls stockings with Margarita mix and Tequila and a movie. She put a can of Rotel and Velveeta cheese in the guys along with money of course! Anyway, I thought that was a clever idea.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great Ideas! I don't have kids, but I do have 1 niece and 3 nephews. I was looking around for ideas and your article was perfect! I'm a college student and I was definitely not wanting to spend much! Thank you :)

    • Ms Chievous profile image


      10 years ago from Wv

      Other ideas include gum (the kind that comes in the fancier made packs is ideal for teens) chapstick, bath and bodyworks makes fun soaps for kids, even the foamy soap is ideal for youngsters. bubbles are easy and inexpensive if you can find them this time of year. Gift cards are easy and don't have to be a lot. My favorite stocking stuffer for adults is the scratch off lottery tickets!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      good idea

    • Lady LaShonda profile image

      Lady LaShonda 

      11 years ago from Atlantic City, New Jersey


      I too have an excellent idea fir stoking stuffers for Christmas. I am selling Beanie Babies that are collectors for $6.00 each. I only have 200 more left to sell. If you are interested please leave me a comment in my hub and I'll contact you very soon. Thank you so very much.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Toothbrushes...musical ones, Flavored Lip Glosses, Wild colored nail polish, goofy socks, etc.

    • betherickson profile image


      11 years ago from Minnesota

      What an excellent idea. My grandchildren will surely love this. :) Thumbs up

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I know I'm a little behind on this cinversation, but I just stumbled acrossed it. I always loved when we lived with an Aunt of mine. She always found the cutest things to add to our stockings, but the thing that always stood out the most was a handwritten letter. A couple nights before hand, she would sneek away and write us a letter. She always included a few things she remembered about us thru that year, and would tell us how much we ment to her. I still have the letters, and I remember them more then ANY present I ever got!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I am going on 35 and my parents still make stockings for all the of kids and their spouses. All of the grandkids also get a stocking. They are usually filled with lotions, candles, toys for the kids, picture frames and small stuff like that. It is the best thing about Christmas!

    • Jennifer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Good ideas for teens Marissa, thanks for adding them!

    • profile image

      Nice Guy 

      11 years ago

      You'd be surprised at how well you can do at a dollar store with art supplies for kids. Mine always has colored pencils, water color paints,markers and crayons, thick sketch pads and pads of construction paper, scizzors and glue, glitter and foam cut outs. And more. I stuff the stocking with things like this, and a big vynil table cloth for the kids to put down on the floor when they do art. I put this stuff in their easter baskets too. It's inexpensive and it always goes over well and keeps them busy for hours.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I have a 14 yr.old girl and 2 little ones under 6.

      This year I filled my oldests stocking with depdorant, razor, a tide stain spot stick to keep in her packpack alittle make up and bior strips which I thought would be fun for her to do with her girlfriends. I made sure everything was on sale and I know she will be happy with her little gifts. I always wrap each one because that is the fun part and it takes up space.

      Hope this helps someone buying for a teenage girl. :)

    • profile image

      Rita Miller 

      11 years ago

      I found little shoe shine sponges at the 99 cent store. They were great for the guys' stockings!

    • Whitney05 profile image


      11 years ago from Georgia

      Candy! You mustn't forget candy! My parents always put candy in the stocking with other things, of course. But bags of funsized candy are usually cheap and take up a good deal of space. You can usually find king sized candy bars are wal-greens, cvs, rite-smart, or any drug store for 3 for 1$ or so. 

      I do agree that the craftier kids are easier to fill. Stickers, markers, scissors with the designed blades, etc

    • manoharv2001 profile image


      11 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India

      Great suggestions

    • caspar profile image


      11 years ago from UK

      Great ideas! I bought quite small stockings when my kids were babies, and they are still going strong, but even so I sometimes struggle to fill them. It does get harder as they get older, as they are less impressed with cheap tat and teenage girls don't want fattening chocolate and sweet things. Cheap tat and chocolate still keeps my 12 year old happy though!

    • sminut13 profile image


      11 years ago from singapore

      i haven't done it but am thinkin of it. thanks for the ideas.

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 

      11 years ago

      Excellent ideas - I think I can save some money this year. And yes, it's easier the younger they are.

    • mothersguide profile image


      11 years ago from Malaysia

      So far I've only done candy. I've got to stop doing that!!!! Thanks for the suggestions.

    • profile image

      How to make a website 

      11 years ago

      Great ideas that wont cost a fortune. What i need suggestions for though is how to stuff my ladies stocking with the right stuff that wont break the bank. It's hard to fill a stocking with jewelry.

    • Catawn profile image


      11 years ago from Portland, OR

      Great suggestions -- and yes, the younger they are, the easier, I agree. :)

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      11 years ago from France

      Great ideas. Usually we filled up on similar inexpensive things: stickers, temporary tatooes, coloring pens, a few sweets, socks, gloves, hair clasps, ... just whatever they are needing at the time.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I had decided this year that since we are so low on cash I would skip the stockings. I figured the kids wouldn't notice. My 5 year old told me last night that he is so excited to see what he gets in his stocking. Aw crud!! Haha. Guess I will have to start looking for stuff.

    • knslms profile image


      11 years ago from North Carolina

      Great ideas, I can relate.

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 

      11 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Great ideas, Jennifer! Thanks!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      this is a very good comment you have up there you should make more of them because more people is going to want to know how to low there budget a little more then any other christmas they have and you should put like home made gifts up there for the home less people that cannot earn the money for there child

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      My gangs favorite part of Christmas are the stockings and the first part they all start with.

      Great HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      12 years ago

      this is what we do too. Small books, little things and then a muffin so I know they are eating something good!


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