holiday stockingIt's just when I'm nearing the end of my holiday shopping list that it hits me. I haven't found a single stocking stuffer. And so I go scrambling around trying to find anything, literally, anything small enough to fit in that giant hanging pseudo-sock.

Usually that ends up being a whole bunch of useless crap, the kind of stuff that shows up in the average birthday goodie bag (the stuff that leaves me cursing the mother who sent it home with my child). But not this year! Dear reader, I am fighting the scurge of stocking stuffer schlock this year! I present to you the secret to stuffing a stocking with "stuff" you'll feel proud to have purchased!

Supplements to Their Favorite Toys: Ever noticed how those "sets" of a certain toy always have little bits that can go along with them? Unwrap those suckers and slip them inside the stocking, and you have something your kids will actually PLAY with for a good long time. Not sure what I'm talking about? Well my daughter will be getting minifigures to go along with her LEGOs this year and the new walkable Littlest Pet Shop toys . . . because she's already got plenty of toys they'll interface with.

Cute Soaps: OK, I know, who the heck wants SOAP as a gift? Isn't that like telling someone they smell bad? Not when they're kids and the soap is fun! Think shapeable foam for faux beard mking or soap crayons -- pretty much anything that can be considered as much toy as it is toiletry.

Movies: You know why I love Blu-Ray? It isn't just because there's all that high-def goodness. It's the fact that the cases are a whole lot smaller than the regular DVDs -- perfect for sticking in a stocking. Already stuffed away in my daughter's is Cars 2 -- because what could be better than unstuffing the stocking and finding a movie the entire family can watch?

Socks & Undies: Again with the -- really, for a holiday? But listen up and listen good: sometimes you have to get useful stuff for your kiddos. And it's a lot easier to make it pass as a present when it's just filling up empty space in a stocking stuffed with other goodies. Trust me, this is a much better option (for you) than trying to cram that cavern with candy.

An Ornament: Because I am a real sap, I love getting my kid a new ornament every year. Which doesn't go over quite as well with her because, well, our tree has usually been decorated for a week or two when she opens it on Christmas morning and looks at me like, really Mom? Sticking it in the stocking with the OTHER goodies is a good way to avoid that groan . . . and I sit content in the knowledge that I'm building her a mushy mass of ornaments for "her" tree when she's my age.

The Real Presents: Who says you have to save all the good stuff to put under the tree? No, really, WHO says? If it's small enough to fit in there, consider skipping the wrapping paper and jamming it in there as your gift to the environment.

What do you put in your kids' stockings? Help me out here!

 

Image via andrewmalone/Flickr