The Ultimate List of Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

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Over 100 frugal stocking stuffer ideas for kids. No cheap and nasty plastic toys but lots of fun and practical small gift ideas for Christmas stockings.

Christmas stocking stuffer ideas

Here’s an interesting little tidbit: the hanging of stockings at Christmas is a tradition that dates back to the 7th Century, maybe even earlier.

Legend (and the Great Wiki) has it that Saint Nicholas (the then wealthy Bishop Nicholas), would gift his wealth to needy villagers. Not wanting to bring attention to himself, he would do so at night, under the cloak of darkness.

One day he heard of a poor merchant who could not afford the dowry for his three daughters. After dark, he threw some coins in through the window (or down the chimney, the stories vary), and they landed in the girl’s stockings, which had been hung near the fireplace to dry.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings at Christmas. It was probably also influenced by the Scandinavian custom of children leaving their clogs outside filled with carrots and other things for Odin’s flying horse. Odin would reward those children with gifts or candy.

At some point, the two traditions merged.

As a child, I would wake up early to find my Santa stockings filled with gifts from Santa.

It wouldn’t be until late afternoon, after dad came home from work, that we would open the family gifts under the Christmas tree. We have continued this tradition with our children, although we don’t make them wait all day to unwrap the tree gifts.

Traditionally, presents left in the Santa stocking have always been small toys, candy, fruit or coins, which nowadays often translates to plastic toys that break in moments.

Instead, here’s a list of stocking stuffer ideas that are frugal and useful.

The Ultimate List of Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Kids

Below are over 100 ideas for stocking stuffers. Enough ideas to last until adulthood.


  • Socks and jocks
  • Pyjamas
  • Essential clothing (t-shirt, dress etc.)
  • Shoes
  • Swimmers
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf and gloves (for our Northern Hemisphere friends)


  • Bubble Mix
  • Card games (Fish, Uno, regular playing cards, Old Maid, Dutch Blitz)
  • Collector Card Games (like Magic)
  • Travel games
  • Ball
  • Jacks
  • Marbles
  • Yo-yo
  • Elastics
  • Skipping Rope
  • Frisbee
  • Rubix Cube
  • Dominios, chess, checkers etc.

Small Toys

  • Matchbox Car
  • Small Lego
  • Doll
  • Small collectible toy
  • Finger Puppets
  • Bath toy
  • Bath Crayons
  • Play silks
  • Small dress –up items
  • Science kit
  • Fridge alphabet

Craft Ideas

  • Playdough
  • Stickers
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Fun Pens
  • Stamps
  • Colouring book
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Notebook
  • Sketchbook
  • Art Journal
  • Craft kit
  • Chalk
  • Model Kit
  • Art smock
  • Spirograph
  • Paper
  • Glitter glue

Food Gifts

  • Gold Coins
  • Treats / Sweets
  • Fruit pouches (these are a super treat in our house)
  • Homemade cookies
  • Hot chocolate
  • Individual sized snacks

Personal Care

  • Chapstick/lip gloss
  • Nail polish
  • Earrings
  • Hair accessories
  • Brush and comb
  • Kid’s jewellery
  • Bubble bath
  • Sunscreen
  • Character band-aids
  • Body wash


Practical Stocking Stuffers

  • Schoolbag
  • Water bottle
  • Lunchbox
  • Beach towel
  • Calendar
  • Diary
  • Journal
  • Money (or coins, just like the tradition)
  • Gift card
  • Flashlight
  • Clock
  • Keyring
  • Batteries
  • Special cup/mug
  • Magnifying glass
  • Sand spade and bucket
  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Apron
  • Photo Album
  • Own tableware: plate, cup, cutlery etc.
  • Placemat
  • Seed packet (to start a garden)
  • Gardening tool (kid-sized for digging)
  • Bookmark
  • Booklight
  • Earphones / headphones
  • Calculator
  • Phone case
  • Umbrella
  • Raincoat
  • Money Bank
  • Character soap
  • Special Face washer
  • Special bath towel
  • Pencil Case
  • School Supplies
  • Toothbrush
  • Watch
  • Poster / educational poster
  • Purse/wallet
  • Bag
  • Crazy straw
  • Kid-friendly kitchen / baking tools
  • Fun cookie cutter
  • Egg cup

Avoid the cheap plastic toys and give gifts that are fun and useful with these frugal stocking stuffer ideas for kids.

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  1. Exactly how big are these stockings? My kids are older so they get things like deodorant,i tunes gift cards, gift cards to there favorite restaurant, candy, socks. Cheryl

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Hi Cheryl, thanks for sharing what you do. Love the idea of the gift card to their favourite restaurant.

      I think in some traditions, the Santa stocking is a bigger deal than others.

      Hope you have a great week.