We all know stockings are the best part, anyway.

Whether giving or receiving, the Christmas stocking has always been my favorite part of the holiday. As a kid, my siblings and I would finish unwrapping what was under the tree, then endure a brief moment of sadness before one of us remembered…wait! It’s not over! Stockings! And we’d dash to the staircase to see what ELSE Santa had left us.

As I got older, I always loved the idea of giving friends a whole bunch of awesome smaller things instead of one big present. During the holiday season, sometimes I would just stuff boxes for all my closest friends with the same things I was obsessed with and knew they’d be obsessed with, too. For others, like my Dad, I’d come up with a theme he’d enjoy (healthy snacks one year, biking gear the next) and fill a reusable container with relevant goodies. (Now that I think of it, I was way ahead of the whole subscription box phenom. If only I had been more entrepreneurial. Sigh.)

I take this same approach to stockings for the VIPs in my life. First, I set a budget. How much am I going to spend on a stocking for this person? Second, I decide if I’m going to stick with a theme or not. A random mix is usually the most fun. Third, I keep an eye out not only for items I think they’ll like, but also for the brands connected to those items. Oftentimes if a brand has one cool thing, it’s worth checking out their other offerings (Fred & Friends and Suck UK are examples of brands that I could rely on to fill a hundred different stockings!)

Need some extra inspiration? If you’re related to me, please stop reading now.

Absinthe candle

MALE CALL

Everything-proof Bluetooth speaker – Guys love gadgets.

Extra (luxe) Apple device charger – Again. Guys. Gadgets.

Absinthe candle – Wannabe artists imbibe it; guys secure in their masculinity just burn it.

A grown-up manicure set – He can always use an extra for travel.

Massage oil – Include an IOU for a massage (or something).

Guy-tough hand balm – Because you selfishly want only smooth caresses from him

Handy bottle opener – How satisfying would it be to literally crack open your beer with a pair of “pliers”?

A dash of heat – This garlic-chili-pepper olive oil will get him fired up.

Party game sampler  – Great for students, singles, and roommates.

DIFF sunglasses

SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT

Pocket Bunny sleek mist – Why shouldn’t her face mist be aww, so cute?

Fancy biscotti – Good for dessert (better for breakfast).

Cute magnets – No one likes a lonely fridge.

LashFood 5-Piece System – When you care enough to show her you understand the importance of eyelash grooming.

Starry string lights – Instant, anywhere sparkle.

Artisanal cocktail mixers – This blend of black tea, chai, coconut, and pineapple is perfect with spiced rum or champagne.

Outrageously chic sunglasses – Just because I won’t buy myself sunnies with gold-tinted lenses doesn’t mean I don’t desperately covet them.

Moisturizing natural lip color – Because you selfishly want her to have kissable lips.

Hydrating hair mist – Winter frizz is such a drag.

Shopkins

KIDDIE POOL

First Christmas ornament  – He or she may not appreciate it now, but they will someday.

“Taggies” dog – Confession: Taggies are so comforting, I still seek out my child’s when I’m feeling stressed.

Animal Pals – Six new sensory friends, one skill-building toy.

Diary – This one has a secret compartment AND voice-activated password protection

Mini-Transformers – Four toys that transform (so really eight toys in all).

Flashlight – The average kid loves ANY flashlight—a character version is that much better.

Card games – Obviously. Side note: Do you have any idea how many versions of UNO are out there nowadays?

Things that go – Nintendo fans and non-gamers alike will race for these Mario Kart vehicles that come with tape for making your own racetrack.

Shopkins – Was there ever a more stocking-ready gift than these tiny bits of nonsense that your child absolutely adores?

Dog cologne

PET PROJECT

Reversible dog bandana – Two times sharp.

Hedgehog catnip toy – Unlikely animal friends.

Four Paws cologne – For the pet who has everything.

Do you have a stocking stuffer strategy? What’s the best stocking stuffer you’ve given or received? Share in the comments.

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