The stockings are hung. (Not by the chimney though, we don't have one.) They're hung you say? Aren't you supposed to hang them Christmas Eve? Okay, so that was the way we did it growing up. We'd set out the milk and cookies and then hang the stockings and then read the Christmas Story out of Luke.
Around here, we don't do Santa, so the stockings are hung as soon as the tree goes up! It gives me joy just to look at them for the entire Advent season! Now, the stuffing part, that comes on Christmas morning!
Our "stuffers" as a child were filled with fruit and candy and small gifts. Occasionally there would be a really big gift in them, like a certificate saying that we were going on a trip to DisneyWorld. Okay, so that only happened once, but it is still remembered as THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!
I really enjoyed the stocking stuffers. In fact, I always found it to be more fun than the presents. Now that I'm the one stuffing them, I find that I am a much more practical stuffer than my mother was. Stocking stuffers around here tend to be things that the kids need rather than want. Don't get me wrong, we throw in a few fun things too, just cheap fun things!
Here are some ideas for practical stocking stuffers. We're only spending $10 per stocking this year, so they won't all have every one of the following. Keep in mind our oldest is 5, so the "shock" factor hasn't set in yet. Accompanied with the fact that we have always done practical stockings, they have come to expect practical and they get just as excited as if they were filled with toys!
1. Toothbrushes. I typically buy the cheapest I can, but for stuffers I look for CVS or Walgreens bargains and get a character toothbrush for them.
2. Socks or underwear. Seriously, they always need these!
3. Hair accessories. Where do all the pink ones go? Did you see that episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8? So true.
4. Pencils or crayons or any other school supplies needed. We homeschool so I always know what they could use! When I was little, my mother gave us personalized pencils with our names on them one year and I still remember them!
5. Shampoo, conditioner, bath soap. They're girls, they ooh and aah over the smells and then we put them in the bathroom for later use. Probably not a good idea for boys.
6. Highlights magazines or a Fun Book or other magazine.
7. Gloves or mittens if needed.
8. Chapstick or nail polish. Again, ooh and aah, then off to the closet for later use.
9. Instead of candy, I tend to do 100 calorie pack snacks and fruit that they snack on until brunch is ready.
10. An age-appropriate book or reader.
When we were teens, Mom would put things like razors, hairspray, makeup, nail files, etc. in our stockings. Oh, and pantyhose. I loved getting pantyhose! :)
So, does your family do stockings? Are you a practical stuffer or a just-for-fun stuffer? Do you have any more practical ideas?