I love Christmas. It’s possible that Christmas music begins at or around Halloween in my home. I love the Christmas cookies, the Christmas trees, and the family time we spend together to make precious memories. One thing I do not, however, love about Christmas, is the clutter.
I don’t mind the kitschy clutter of Christmas joy…the glittery everything, the tinsely everything, the snowman candle that has been sitting on top of our fireplace since December 2011…but there’s one kind of clutter that makes my skin crawl. The Stocking Clutter.
Stockings are one of my family’s favorite tradition, and it seems to be more about quantity than quality for the kids, but after a few years of sticking 90% of stocking stuffers into the junk toy bin the day after Christmas, I decided to take a hard look at how I could save money by not buying junk, but still make stockings fun and enjoyable.
1. Give Experiences
-We try to give our children experience gifts when we can, such as Zoo Passes or amusement park tickets, and you can use the same principle, obviously scaled down, for stockings. These can be some of the most meaningful, yet inexpensive gifts you can give. Some ideas:
- A sprinkle shaker, with a homemade coupon for making and decorating cookies together.
- A homemade coupon book, including such privileges as staying up 30 minutes past bedtime, or going out for ice cream, or having a family game night.
- An inexpensive DVD (Target often has family/children’s movies for under $5) and your child’s favorite sweet treat with a plan to have a family movie night.
2. Useful Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
-I know, I know. You’re going to read: “give socks” and immediately go to the next idea. But, useful and practical gifts don’t have to be depressing. And you’ll save yourself some money buying something you’d probably have to buy anyway.
- Fuzzy, cozy socks in fun colors (slipper socks are always a hit)
- A toothbrush in a fun color/shape/size
- Band-Aids with your child’s favorite character
- Brightly colored hair clips or hair ties
- A hat, scarf, or mittens
- A flashlight (kids love flashlights, and they’re always good to have on hand in case of emergency!)
- School supplies (maybe something you picked up for free with coupons during school supply season.)
- A festive holiday plate, cup or utensils
3. Consumable Gifts
-Food is always fun for little ones to get in their stockings. At least mine. Junior’s nickname is “Beast” for a reason. The boy can eat! His whole stocking will probably be snacks this year.
- Sweet treats your child doesn’t normally get
- Mini cereal boxes for breakfasts
- Fruit with a hard peel such as an orange or tangerine
- Art and Craft supplies (considered consumable since they get used pretty quickly!)
- Hot cocoa packets
- Fruit snacks or other favorite snack items
4. Moderation is Key
-I still like a add a couple silly little toys, such as a mini My Little Pony figurine for my daughter or a Hot Wheels car for my son, or a little light up ball or wands, but those are the exception rather than the rule. And, since there are only a few, it makes the clutter more tolerable.
What kind of stocking stuffers do you like to add? How do you manage the clutter?
Join our Facebook Community for more money saving tips and living joyfully articles.