s/o stockings: how "gifty"? - Mothering Forums
Parenting > s/o stockings: how "gifty"?
ASusan's Avatar ASusan 12:51 AM 12-04-2009
What is the tone of stocking gifts in your house?

For children, it's generally toys, candy, new markers. But, for adults, what do you do? In my family growing up, adults - and teens - always had practical things like a nice lotion, chapstick, batteries, socks, new underwear (ok, typing it out makes our stockings look really wretched!), kitchen towels, bungee cords, orange work gloves...

My first boyfriend in college was appalled when I bought kitchen utensils for my mother's stocking. In his family, stocking gifts were things like silk scarves and uber-expensive chocolates. (We were of similar social class, so it wasn't like his family was wealthy - mom teacher and middle management dad.)

So, what is it like in your family?

lifeguard's Avatar lifeguard 01:15 AM 12-04-2009
Well, pretty much all our gifts are utilitarian around here but stockings are almost always socks, toothbrushes, small chocolates, maybe a cd.
NellieKatz's Avatar NellieKatz 01:17 AM 12-04-2009
I'm with you....small gifties, chapsticks (the nice ones, like Burts Bees), deck of cards, candies, magnetic fridge clips, nice-smelling soaps, a small puzzle...silly things, often from the Dollar Store. We don't have the money to do it the way your first boyfriend did it. Even if we did, we'd probably still keep the gifts small in nature.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 01:36 AM 12-04-2009
I buy way too much and go overboard, but the kind of things that go into adult stockings from me:

Tape (one year, I gave dh a roll each of electrical tape, duct tape, box tape, and masking tape)

Chapsticks, lip balm, etc.

Guitar strings & picks

Soap (dh loves pine tar soap)

Replacement razor blades

Eyeglass cleaning cloths/solution
Eyeglass repair kit


Candy (just loose stuff...icy squares, jelly beans, mini candy canes, etc.)

So, yeah - it's mostly little items and/or personal care stuff. In general, I consider anything worth more than about $10 to be an under-the-tree gift, not a stocking stuffer (guitar strings are one of my few exceptions to this rule).
Girlprof's Avatar Girlprof 01:47 AM 12-04-2009
We had a range of stuff for adult stockings. Lottery tickets every time. Maybe some costume jewelry, but perhaps diamond earrings (once, from my dad to my mom). Maybe an orange, if someone is feeling old fashioned. Almost always a Christmas ornament or two. New undies. Chocolates. Socks. Soap. Tiny bottles of fancy olive oil or some other cooking treat. Often my mom sticks a $100 bill in there and that's our main present.

I love stockings.
pauletoy's Avatar pauletoy 02:02 AM 12-04-2009
It's the one time of year we all get new underwear. When I was growing up, I didn't know stockings came without new panties.

We usually do a little candy, maybe a new novel, playing cards, and other small items and we always stick to useful items too. Nothing expensive though.
majazama's Avatar majazama 02:07 AM 12-04-2009
we always got toothpaste and toothbrush, oranges (probably just to fill space :P) and tapes (old-school), and anything that would fit in the stocking.
Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 02:12 AM 12-04-2009
DH and I don't hang up a stocking for ourselves - so that solves that!

MacKinnon's Avatar MacKinnon 02:16 AM 12-04-2009
We all get oranges at the toe. Grown-ups get things like lotion, soap, chapstick, etc. and candy And kids get little toys, tooth brush, DD gets hair things, etc. My family always had the tradition of "chairs" which have taken the place of any "present" like things in the stocking. We always got a pair of PJ's, a book, a stuffed animal and hat/gloves set out in their own space. Stockings were mostly candy, an orange, and a few little things. This "chair" thing is a bit of a debate with me and DH, he doesn't like it, and thinks it's just more stuff to buy. It's part of my family tradition, and we've done it the past 6 years. Anyway, I digress
JamesMama's Avatar JamesMama 02:19 AM 12-04-2009
We have a tradition where we do an orange, an apple, some nuts and a candy in the stocking. Then they'll get a couple little things. I think DS is getting hotwheels and a toothbrush. DD will get playdoh and a toothbrush.

DH will get something he needs that he wouldn't buy himself but isn't really a 'gift' socks or underwear or gloves.

No clue what I'll get, last year I got knitting needles (the cheapie ones from WM)
claras_mom's Avatar claras_mom 02:23 AM 12-04-2009
orange, apple, sometimes nuts, chocolates. Then after that, it's anyone's guess. In our family--far flung as we are--we send stocking items to each other along with the other gifts. I agree that anything over $10 is generally an under-the-tree gift; I try to keep stocking gifts well under $5, just cause it really adds up otherwise. this year for dd1, I have a wind up Santa, a Hello Kitty luggage tag, a small zipper coin purse...then whatever shows up from aunts and uncles. Haven't done much with dh and dd2 yet. I'm sending glow sticks for the nieces and nephews.

I adore stockings. Would probably give up the rest of the gifts just for the pleasure of a well and imaginatively filled sock on Christmas morning.
Cascadian's Avatar Cascadian 02:49 AM 12-04-2009
A mix for the kids - utilitarian (aforementioned stuff, hand cream, hair clips, etc.) and the odd non-immediately disposable toy (eg. a miniature plasma ball, travel Connec 4, card games).
KristyDi's Avatar KristyDi 03:15 AM 12-04-2009
We have fruit, (always an apple and an orange in the bottom) candy, chapstick, and random stuff like $5 gift cards to Starbucks, gloves, slipper socks, a deck of cards etc. Occasionally something like a bracelet or necklace (not fine jewlery, costume/everyday stuff) or a cheap watch. Never gotten underwear, though, come to think of it, my dad and brothers usually get socks and boxers. Weird double standard there.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 03:50 AM 12-04-2009
No gifts, just a little candy and some fruit.

I over did the gifts for the kids the first year I did stockings and have now scaled WAY back to just candy and other special food (dh will get some oyster crackers, which he loves) and maybe one small present.
NorthernPixie's Avatar NorthernPixie 11:05 AM 12-04-2009
I didn't realize growing up how much work and effort (and money) my Mom put into our stockings...they were all physically small things but not necessarily inexpensive things. Often chocolate or nuts, toothbrushes, maybe some underwear or mitts or gloves, a lottery ticket, a magazine or two, fun school things like nice pencils or once I got a stapler shaped like a turtle, that I still own, and other things that escape me at the moment. And now that I'm an adult (and for my parents they always did it for each other), always booze of some sort! A nice bottle of beer like a Guinness, or my Mom often got a small bottle of Baileys, etc.

My husband's family is much more on the 'things I may have collected from the kitchen last night' spectrum, with nuts, gum, chocolate, oranges, and all individually wrapped.

Now that we have our own family we're somewhere in the middle of these two. And we do the alcohol thing as well. I like to hunt down my husband's favourite imported beer. I often shop for my husband's stocking items at the grocery store, my daughter's at the dollar store, and maybe one or two things a little higher end -- a small hand tool or something of that nature. It can really add up fast if you're not careful though! But stockings are my favourite part too, so I like to make them creative.
RoadBuddy's Avatar RoadBuddy 11:09 AM 12-04-2009
We had a lot of practical things like the OP, but also a few more "fun" gift-y items. Nothing too expensive - stocking stuffers were always cheap so the "real gifts" could be more elaborate. But things like a gift card to a bookstore, inexpensive jewelry, small decorations, etc.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 12:00 PM 12-04-2009
Stocking gifts for men arfe impossible, but I would usually put some tool he wanted, a nice pen, some candy, chocolate covered coffee beans, a gift card,

my xh never did stockiongs as a kid so he would fill them with expensive stuff. he hated that I put candy in them. Dude, thats what they are for. As a kid we have the bioggest apple and orange my mom could find (seriously she would visit more than one sho looking for something head sized, i mean we had apples or oranges every day, it ain't a gift if it ain't comicly ginormous) nuts and candy with a few small silly things thrown in.

my kids still get nice stockings. I think I went way over board this year...but I can always wrap something up and pout it under the tree. we do stockings on St. Nicholas day instead of Christmas. So they each got a cheap cross necklace (they wear their good ones to school and in the shower etc and it is killing me to think of them losing them. So cheap ones for every day and their good one for Sundays and special occaisions....), some small icons and other little icon things (religous things as well), candy (chocolate coins and a few other things), a couple of little goofy toys, and a starbucks gift card (tradition LOL )...hmmmm well maybe I did not go too overboard. There are some books. I haven't decided if I will give them those for Christmas or with their stockings .
GuildJenn's Avatar GuildJenn 12:10 PM 12-04-2009
For adults mostly do "small indulgences" - the vodka-infused olives, fancy hot chocolate, etc. My husband is opposed to the practical stocking stuff (I'm not, but I get his point). I pick them up as a part of our grocery budget through the fall so even though they probably add to up about $50 total the cost is spread out.
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 12:16 PM 12-04-2009
I'm not aware of any adults who get stockings. Maybe this is regional?

As far as kids go, I don't like giving dd much candy because she'd be a mess, but I don't ban candy so she gets a little. But it might have (for example) books, maybe a magazine with puzzles or something, markers, bubbles, some kind of crafty things, fun soap for the bath, a fancy toothbrush, slippers, etc.
ASusan's Avatar ASusan 01:55 PM 12-04-2009
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I'm not aware of any adults who get stockings. Maybe this is regional?
I think adult stockings started in my family when I was about 7. Everyone chose someone else's name out of a hat and filled that person's stocking the following year. I may have started it. I was the only grandchild, and the only one opening a stocking...and I may have thought that was unfair or something. It may also have been associated with me figuring out - for sure - that there was no Santa. And it may also have been associated with my grandmother making some beautiful stockings. And, finally (yes, this all happened the year I was seven), my aunt married someone Jewish, and my grandparents may have filled a stocking for him - because he'd never had one before or something like that. So, if Uncle S. and the 7-year-old got one, why not everyone else? That was my seven-year-old reasoning. And Uncle S. dressed as Santa that year (yes, he was large enough ). He gave me the chocolate gold coins, which I kept for several months, until a friend of mine convinced me that there was chocolate in there. Of course, for telling me that - and being right, she made me give her half of the chocolate.
MadiMamacita's Avatar MadiMamacita 02:39 PM 12-04-2009
adults always get stockings in my family. I grew up in MN.
Stockings are a fairly big deal for us. I mentioned in the other thread that my mom over the years has made us all needlepoint stockings, and she has her stocking from when she was a kid.
Our stockings always have a magazine- when we were younger it would be kid kind of magazines, then they would change with our interests. my brother got Mad Magazine several times and I used to get Spin or Rolling stone when I was a teenager. I'd probably get Mothering now if I didn't have a subscription! Stockings aren't stockings for me unless they have a magazine!
For us, the stocking was always a mix of cheap and semi expensive things, because my dad does the stockings and he doesn't really shop for any other gifts.
oh yeah, and adults get their favorite type of mini bottles of liquer.
I'm putting scratch off lottery tickets in this year.
what on earth will go in the baby's stocking this year, I have NO idea.
claras_mom's Avatar claras_mom 02:39 PM 12-04-2009
My mom recently told me that the first Christmas she was married (and couldn't afford the trip home), she made stockings for her parents and sent those and the stuffers to her brother, so that he could put them up. Her parents were so surprised and touched that they expected she was hiding there--a surprise visit. I'm not sure if her parents had had stockings before that.

We got into the full swing of it when my siblings and I were young teens. We never actually admitted to our parents that we didn't believe in Santa anymore; we just started filling their stockings. And I should say that my sister and I were very careful about talking to our brother, because there was always the chance that he still believed.

Dh's family doesn't do adult stockings, but he's been perfectly happy to participate. I realize I never answered the OP's question about the "tone" for adults. Never anything really expensive, though occasionally (as someone else said) costume jewelry shows up, and one year my sister sent a Kitchenaid ice cream "spade" for dh. Socks are nice, but we've never done underwear. A lot of times, if I'm traveling I'll look for stocking gifts in museum gift shops and the like--things that you don't normally see in the local toy store or supermarket. Quirky.
claras_mom's Avatar claras_mom 02:43 PM 12-04-2009
Originally Posted by MadiMamacita View Post
what on earth will go in the baby's stocking this year, I have NO idea.
I'm going to go with some chew toys (teethers, d'oh), maybe a tiny stuffed animal, maybe a small soft doll. Suppose I could do a festive onesie or pair of socks. She's just turned 8 months.

ETA Oh, and I think I picked up a board book that could go in there. Trying to think of things that are kind of bulky, so that they'll fill it without it being that much stuff.
pinksprklybarefoot 02:48 PM 12-04-2009
We do adult stockings, because I love Christmas and gift-buying. That said, there are usually some utilitarian things in there. I bought some silicone potholders for my stocking this year, because our potholders were shot. But I wound up digging them out last night because DH burned himself using said shot potholders, so I decided that we might not be able to wait twenty or so more days!
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 02:50 PM 12-04-2009
Okay - I forgot that I always try to put a magazine in, as well. For ds1 (not an adult, but 16 is pretty close), it's usually a guitar magazine. I don't put one in dh's, because I can't find one I think he'll like.

I threw in a reuseable hand warmer last year. I'm not sure either of the guys have used them, though.

Someone mentioned hair things - I usually get pony tail elastics, and I used to give those to my ex, as well (hair was down to his bum). Sometimes, I'll throw in a pen or marker or something - depends who it's for.

Babies: I do one small stuffy (this year, I'm doing an Olympic mascot - my MIL gave three of them to my other kids, then the Olympic organizers came out with a fourth one, so dd2 gets Mukmuk), and a teether or rattle.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 02:58 PM 12-04-2009
Originally Posted by MadiMamacita View Post
oh yeah, and adults get their favorite type of mini bottles of liquer.
I'm putting scratch off lottery tickets in this year.
I can't believe I forgot both of these. I usually do about $2-$3 worth of scratch'n'wins (or "scratch'n'loses" as my dad calls them), and the airplane sized bottles of booze were a standard...until they disappeared from the local liquor stores. You can't get ones that small here, anymore, and the next size up is just too big, imo.
crl's Avatar crl 03:20 PM 12-04-2009
Adults get some utilitarian things (toothbrushes, kleenex, socks, hand sanitizer), some vaguely fun things (nail polish, lip gloss, exotic gum, scented soap) and some really random things (foot massage socks, Harry Potter flavored jelly beans, lottery tickets). Mom and I pretty much take care of everyone's stockings and we don't really coordinate or anything. Most items are in the 50 cent to five dollar range, although I'll go a bit more if something seems perfect and then fill in with cheaper things for the rest of the stocking.

Mom sometimes has put nicer jewelry in my stocking, although it's not like my family ever does really expensive jewelry (so maybe a $50 necklace, but certainly not a thousand dollar ring). And if my parents are giving money (which happens pretty often), it usually shows up in our stockings.

Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 03:38 PM 12-04-2009
I'm still thinking...did a stocking for my sister about 10 years ago, and put in a bingo dabber, some yahtzee score sheets, some dice and some cards. I put a chocolate-covered Barbie in a friend's stocking, because he kept telling me he wanted a chocolate covered blonde for Christmas. He also got a bunch of pens, because he did a lot of writing (journals & game notes)...don't remember what else.

Okay - I've told it before, but I have to share my favourite stocking story.

In 2000, I'd split up with my ex. DH and I were together, but still living apart (me in Vancouver, and him in Knoxville). He stayed home for Christmas that year, and came here in January, so we could have our Christmas together. So...ds1 spent the night at his dad's on Christmas Eve, and came home after breakfast to do stockings and gifts with me. I was feeling really lonely and crying on my bff's shoulder about how weird Christmas felt (my ex and I had a busy Christmas season, with all our friends and family, so this was a huge shift).

I got on the subject of stockings. My mom had done stockings for us until the last one (me) moved out of the house. I moved out to get married, and my ex and I had always done stockings for each other, as well. So, this was going to be my first Christmas without a stocking, as well as missing all the people. I was actually really bummed about the stocking and it didn't feel like Christmas at all.

So, my friend showed up on Boxing Day, for lunch (we always got together on Boxing Day, until she moved to the US). She came in the door, holding a big, full stocking. Originally, her boyfriend was going to knock on my door on Christmas Eve, leave the stocking and book it, so I didn't know who it was from, but he got sick. She'd filled it with all kinds of little knick-knacks, mostly wrapped - a couple lotions and such she'd picked up on promos, a bottle topper, a suncatcher - can't remember all of it, but I still have the last two, although ds2 managed to pull the rubber stopper off the glass crescent moon it was attached to. I was so touched. I cried on her for a while and laughed my way through the whole stocking. Even though I don't remember most of what was in there, it was probably the single most touching thing anyone had ever done for me.