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I try (emphasis on try) to do my holiday shopping throughout the year; that way, there’s not as much to do right before the big day arrives. Somehow, I always forget about one thing…those dang stocking stuffers.
Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or tween at home, picking stocking stuffers by age they’ll enjoy can sometimes feel like a yuletide headache.
If you’re anything like me, you might joke about giving them coal when you’re in the throes of parenting stress. Realistically, you probably won’t be doing this because who actually does that?!
Sidenote: joke candy coal is always a great stocking stuffer idea!
While shopping for kids’ stocking stuffers is nothing to stress about, we understand the headache of figuring out ideas. Take a deep breath and leave your shopping woes riiiiiight here.
Below you’ll find a list of the best and most popular stocking stuffers for children and young adults. From homemade coupons to small treats, any of these items will surely be a hit on Christmas morning!
Why Do We Put Presents in Christmas Stockings?
Christmas traditions for families are one of my favorite aspects of this magical time of year. Sometimes, though, I wonder how a tradition started in the first place.
Take stockings, for instance – who decided it was a good idea to hang a sock over the fire and fill it with goodies?
As the legend goes, a widowed father struggled to care for his three young daughters. The original Saint Nicholas, a local bishop, heard of the family’s hardships and decided to find a unique way of helping them out.
He snuck to their home in the night and threw three bags of gold down their chimney –one of which fell into a stocking hung by the fire to dry.
The rest, as they say, is history.
While the stockings of today are much more fun and playful, it’s interesting to reflect on why we perform this seasonal task year after year. Knowing the real story is enough to make many of us extra grateful for the beautiful blessings in our lives.
Now onto the fun party–breaking down the best stocking stuffers by age!
Newborns and Beyond: Stocking Stuffers for Babies
Let’s be realistic, finding gifts for babies that are engaging for them can be challenging. After all, you can’t give them a chocolate bar and tell them to have fun. When it comes to stocking stuffers for newborns and babies, creativity is key! Here are a few fantastic options.
Age Appropriate Toys
There are tons of great baby toys for your newborn’s stocking, from small stuffed animals to anything with sounds. Some excellent products include:
The bright colors and sounds that come with these maracas make them an ideal choice when shopping for baby stocking stuffers.
Plus, they’re affordably priced and have over 90,000 reviews on Amazon!
What is it with babies and keys?
Instead of letting them carry around yours, why not buy a set of their own?
You might not consider books a toy, but these soft-covered options from CoolPlay Baby are a hit with little ones!
They make a crinkling sound that infants seem addicted to and are made from fabric that can withstand the little hands and mouths that are sure to manhandle them!
It is possibly one of my favorite things when babies find their feet. There’s something so cute and innocent about watching them play with their little tootsies!
Help them achieve this developmental milestone by gifting them a set of these adorable rattle socks and wrist cuffs!
Since babies LOVE to chew on things, especially when cutting new teeth, a teether is a perfect stocking stuffer for newborns!
Our girls had Sophie the Giraffe and were big fans of this adorable teether!
Not only is this one of the cutest teething toys I’ve ever seen, but it’s made of safe, natural rubber.
Not only is this minky teether a sweet choice when shopping for rainbow baby gifts, but it’s also the perfect size if you’re hunting for newborn stocking stuffers!
This soft teething toy also features a gentle rattle sound that will be soothing to your little one.
Nuby created this adorable banana toy as a training toothbrush for infants. However, given its adorable look, soft massaging bristles, and easy-to-hold design, it also makes the perfect baby teether!
I know many people, myself included, who have used this with their little ones, and it’s always a hit.
Clothing and Accessories
Little hats, socks, bows, and other clothing accessories are the perfect size for a baby’s stocking. Not only are they cute, but also they’re good choices if you want some options that aren’t toys.
This adorable hat and mitten set from Amazon screams cute and cozy!
It comes in four different colors, most of which are gender-neutral.
As your little one starts to move, you’re going to appreciate having lots of grippy socks for them! This affordable set will ensure their tootsies are warm and they have the grip they need to stay safe while learning to stand, walk, and run!
3. Headband Set
As a girl mom, I’ve put my fair share of headbands and bows in our daughters’ stockings.
I love this particular set on Amazon because it comes in tons of sizes, colors, and patterns.
When it comes to stocking stuffers by age, what baby couldn’t use a few extra bibs?
I’m pretty partial to these taco-themed silicone products from Hudson Baby!
Your little one’s stocking is the perfect place to hide their “Baby’s First Christmas Ornament!”
Christmas tree ornaments for babies are a fun way to commemorate the joy of welcoming a new child into your family. Since they’re usually pretty small, it’s easy to slip them into their stocking.
Some great first ornament options include:
- Hallmark’s Baby’s 1st Christmas Rattle Ornament
- Photo Christmas Ornament from Etsy
- Lenox Winnie the Pooh 1st Christmas Ornament
- Simply Living Shop Wood 1st Christmas Ornament
As your little one grows out of their baby tub and into the normal one, they’ll start to appreciate the joy of splashing around during bath time. In fact, playing in a bath is an amazing sensory activity for kids!
Consider the toys below to help them make the most of their water fun!
Just imagine the baby giggles you’ll get when your little one is watching this adorable bath-time toy splash around in the tub!
I love that these bath-time toy bubbles help little ones explore so many of their senses.
These toys will float around the tub while your little one enjoys trying to grab them and listening to their fun sounds.
While these cups are great for learning colors and figuring out how to stack, the holes in the bottom of each one also make them great for playing in the tub!
The Best Toddler Gifts for Stockings
1-year-olds and beyond are no longer babies–although they’ll always be our babies, right? Right.
Once they’ve completed their first trip around the sun, they’re officially toddlers!
So, what kind of stocking stuffers should you get for 1, 2, or 3-year-olds? We’ve come up with some excellent ideas.
Toddlers and toys just go together, which is why small treasures are the ideal addition to your child’s stocking!
Classic echo microphones are a popular option for kids of all ages. When you’re hunting for stocking stuffers by age, though, they’re especially impressive to toddlers!
Some reviewers even mentioned that this toy helped encourage speech development in their kiddos.
Not only will these cute pull-back cars assist with hand-eye coordination, but your toddler will also love watching them race around the room!
I’m a fan of this particular set because it offers all the fun of pull-back toy cars with a soft body that won’t hurt so bad if your toddler ends up hitting themselves with one.
These are one of my favorite gifts to buy little ones.
These activity dolls aren’t just cute and cuddly, they’re also a great way to teach kids different movements and skills, such as using zippers, buckles, and buttons.
If you’re looking for a festive way to introduce puzzles to your kids, why not grab these for their stockings?
Each puzzle comes with 4-6 pieces and is easily put together by younger kiddos.
Outdoor Play Items
Did you know that kids should spend at least 90 minutes outside daily? To help them meet this goal, you can always add some outdoor activities to their toddler stockings!
I don’t think I’ve ever met a child who didn’t have an affinity for sidewalk chalk! This simple toy is a fantastic way to help them practice colors, hand-eye coordination, and other toddler skills.
More than that, it’s a great way for them to express their creativity.
What better way to let your toddler explore the world around them than by filling their stocking with their first pair of binoculars?
Binoculars are a great addition to any “I Spy” game!
While bubbles are always a toddler hit, they also tend to be a little messy. That’s where the Fubbles tumbler comes in.
This toy provides easy toddler access to the bubble solution without the risk of everything spilling out.
This will save you a slippery mess and the tears that will no doubt come from lost bubbles.
Snacks and Treats
Candy, snacks, and treats are a stocking stuffer staple! Name any child, and I can pretty much promise you they will love finding sweet goodies each year.
Some popular choices include candy canes, M&Ms, Pez dispensers, fruit gummies, and much more–just make sure the candy or snacks you buy are age appropriate and allergy-friendly (if your child has allergies).
During your hunt for the perfect toddler stocking stuffers, a top pick is always craft items. Not sure what I mean?
No worries! Check out the products below!
Until your little one is ready to pencil-hold a standard crayon, Crayola has a great alternative: its egg-shaped palm-grip crayons!
These great products work with tiny little fists that do better grasping objects.
The crayons will help them start exploring their creativity more comfortably.
If your kids are anything like ours, any opportunity for a sticker is a good one. So why not include a few sheets in their stocking?
When it comes to preschool-aged kids, there are tons of excellent character sticker options, like these Baby Shark ones!
Ahh, Playdoh – one of the best stocking stuffers for toddlers, no doubt about it! This classic art medium is excellent for sensory play and creative expression.
Whether you get one tub or multiple, your little one will be thrilled on Christmas morning.
Popular Stocking Presents for Elementary Schoolers
As kids become elementary-aged, the juvenile items of their toddler years might not appeal to them anymore. That’s where the items below come in!
Games always make great gifts for Christmas – did you know, though, that there are plenty of smaller options that fit perfectly into stockings?
1. Card Games
Card games are a first-class stocking stuffer option for kids. Whether you get your child a normal deck of cards or something else, it will likely be a holiday success. Some card games that many children and families enjoy are:
2. Math Dice
Math Dice is a favorite game for many parents and teachers.
It will take the basic math skills your child is learning in school and use them in an exciting family game!
3. Rubik’s Cube
While not the traditional definition of a game, a Rubik’s cube’s mental challenge is perfect for elementary school kids.
Plus, it won’t take up tons of space in the stocking, which leaves plenty of room for more goodies.
Found on Cracker Barrel tables throughout the United States, many of us are familiar with the mechanics of the Tricky Triangle game. Play along with your child for a fun bonding experience!
This one provides a fun opportunity for problem-solving and quiet gameplay, and who doesn’t need a few moments of serenity on Christmas morning?!
As your kids start to ramp up their reading skills, why not find some books that spike their interest? You could add anything from sight word books, children’s stories, or young adult chapter books to their stockings.
Some of my favorite small gifts for elementary kids are clothing and hair accessories they can use to personalize their outfits. After all, this is the age when many kids are starting to gain a sense of style!
1. Hair Tinsel
I had no idea that “fairy hair” was a thing until I went to a recent fall festival with my family. I was surprised to see so many kids waiting in line at a festival hair booth to have these shiny bits of hair tinsel added to their beautiful locks.
When shopping for stocking stuffers by age, most kids will love this gift – elementary school kids will probably be especially excited, though!
New earrings are standard in our girls’ stockings each year.
They love switching them out depending on what they’re wearing.
Whether you go for a toy watch or the real deal, putting a new timepiece in your child’s stocking will impress.
Plus, it’s a great way to get them working on those analog time-telling skills.
4. Headbands and Other Hair Accessories
Candy and Treats
One of the best things about picking treats for an elementary school-aged child’s stocking is there’s no going wrong. Take a stroll down your local candy aisle and go nuts on the seasonal goodies.
Using an ample amount of sugar as a stocking stuffer for your kid is always going to be a win.
Again, just watch out for allergens if you have any allergies in your family.
When kids are in elementary school, new toys are still a highlight of their holiday experience. That’s why the following options are always fun ideas.
Yo-yos are always a fantastic option when you need stocking stuffers for kids.
If you want to add something extra, you could include a yo-yo trick book.
While you can’t fit the entire Hogwarts Castle Lego set in your child’s stocking, you could add a smaller version of these popular building blocks.
Lego makes tons of mini kits for boys and girls that are inexpensive and perfectly sized for stuffing stockings!
Just as yo-yos will always remain popular, the Slinky will always have a spot in children’s hearts!
I’m going to be completely honest – I think these things are a little stupid. That said, kids go crazy for them!
I help in the holiday market at our daughter’s school, and they fly off the shelf whenever they are in stock!
Even better, they’re so small you can throw a small handful in a stocking and still have plenty of room.
Stocking Stuffers Your Tween or Teen Will Love
Once our children hit the tween and teen years, sidewalk chalk and small toys don’t hold the same appeal. Have no fear; there are plenty of great options when you’re in the market for stocking stuffers for teenagers.
When discussing gift ideas for older kids, any gift card is always an easy and popular option. In fact, they’re among the most wanted items on many teenage holiday wishlists. Some of our favorite gift certificate choices include:
You could also include gift certificates for local activities, such as TopGolf, escape rooms, mini-golf, movie theaters, and more.
This one might seem silly, but trust us when we say your kids will probably love them! Create some homemade coupons for them to use after Christmas. These could include things like a late bedtime, no chores for kids, shopping trips, and much more.
Ahh, technology…the highlight of many tween and teen stockings. From earbuds to smartwatches, here are a few of our favorite electronic stocking stuffers for older kids.
Not only are AirPods one of the best gifts for teenagers in general, but they’re also the right size for a stocking.
They’re not one of the most affordable options on this list of stocking stuffers by age, but they’re certainly one of the more popular ones.
Nothing will cause a tween or teen to spiral like the risk of their phones dying when they’re out and about. And honestly, as a parent, I would rather them not steal my charger!
Portable phone chargers are an excellent way to ensure they always have some extra battery life.
Plus, they’re easy to throw in a purse, pocket, or glove compartment of the car.
Let your son or daughter take their music on the road by adding a portable bluetooth speaker to their stocking!
Jewelry and Hair Accessories
Whether it’s a bracelet, necklace, or new pair of earrings, jewelry is always a great addition to your child’s stocking. You could also include hair accessories like a brush, hair ties, dry shampoo, or headbands.
For kids who identify as boys, try body sprays, good-smelling deodorant, and body washes.
Make-Up and Bath/Skincare Products
Most of us remember those days when we started to play with makeup and skincare products as a youngster. More than likely, your tween or teen would love to receive gifts like this!
There’s no wrong time to start learning about self-indulgence! Treat your young adult to a relaxing bath by adding a set of bath bombs.
As a bonus, you could get a pack that includes a surprise inside the bomb – like this one that features crystal necklaces!
While we’re on the subject of teenage R&R, why not throw a set of sheet masks into their collection of stocking goodies?
I especially like this set because it’s geared toward younger folks and has simpler ingredients than others.
As your tween starts to learn how to do their makeup, they’ll probably need a small collection of beauty blenders.
These make incredible stocking stuffers for young teenagers!
Snacks and Candy
Whether you add different flavors of chocolate, gum, candy canes, or even hot cocoa bombs, an affinity for treats won’t go away as your kids get older!
Mugs or Water Bottles
Water bottles or coffee mugs are always a nice and easy extra to throw into your teenager’s stocking. I especially love these labeled water bottles that help them ensure they get enough water daily.
Finding Stocking Stuffers by Age Doesn’t Have to Be a Challenge
While remembering to buy stocking stuffers for kids and teens and figuring out which ones to get can seem problematic, it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, you can choose an endless number of great options.
Let this article be a jumping-off point for you. While any of the options on this list are great, there are many more to pick from.
Think about your child and go with items they’ll love. It can be reasonable and inexpensive. All it takes is a few sweet surprises to indulge their enthusiasm!
Does picking the right stocking stuffers by age stress you out? What were your favorite stocking gifts as a kid?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.