The truth is, I’ve looked at a lot of lists of practical stocking stuffers around the web and… I never like them much. Because no, chocolate bars are not “practical” gifts, as much as I like getting them. And no, deodorant is not a cool gift, even if it’s practical.
Is it too much to ask for stocking stuffer ideas that strike a balance of both useful and fun?
With that, I finally put together my own list of some of our favorite things to give and get. I hope you’ll find some inspiration in this carefully curated list of 50 fantastic but still totally practical stocking stuffers for kids and adults.
Nothing for the back of the junk drawer, thankyouverymuch.
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1. Fun Bandages Regular Band-Aids = practical. Wonder Woman Band-Aids = Great stocking stuffer for any age.
2. Colorful Sharpie MarkersYou can’t have too many, and if they only own black ones, they don’t know what they’re missing.
3. Mechanical pencils My first love
4. Lip Balm Gender-neutral, always needed.
5. A 1Password subscription I know about a dozen people I’d like to give this to this year. If you know someone who really needs a safe place to store all those passwords, let alone a way to change each of those passwords so they aren’t all PASSWORD1234, this will do the trick.
6. A password journal For the person who just can’t make the leap to digital
7. Dry shampoo Practical, and yet, beloved.
8. A spare USB cable Or two, or ten.
9. A cool kitchen gadget Like say, this best ever citrus juicer. We saw, we tried, we picked this one as our favorite.
10. A portable battery charger Even a small one provides a lot of peace of mind in a digital world. Especially for the kids.
11. A clip-on LED reading light Perfect for kids and adults
12. Fun paper clips, binder clips, or thumbtacks You could get the less-fun ones, but…meh.
13. Hand sanitizer We like the one from Oliika that’s shaped like a cute bird.
14. Hair ties or elastics Because they disappear so, so fast.
15. A good pair of flower shears So much better than using a scissor or destroying your knives.
16. The original whiskey ball jumbo ice mold Including a little whiskey – that’s up to you.
17. A fantastic whitening toothpaste After all that Christmas chocolate, red wine and black coffee, a tube of Hello Activated Charcoal Toothpaste (the #1 best-selling charcoal toothpaste in the US, dontcha know) will be a welcome stocking stuffer, providing minty fresh breath plus noticeably whiter teeth in as soon as 4 days. Hey, that’s just in time for New Year’s Eve!
18. Dental Floss Minty, of course.
19. A Suede Shoe Brush Such a lifesaver for prolonging the life of your suede shoes and jackets
20. Pop Socket Phone Grip They count as practical and yet, they’re still on my daughter’s Christmas list.
22. Velcro Cord Wraps/Cable Ties So useful, especially when they’re in different colors
23. Personalized name labels If they’re cute enough, like these emoji labels from Mabel’s Labels, the kids will dig them as much as we adults appreciate them.
25. Cool luggage tags Time to trade up from the coated paper luggage tags that are free at the airline ticket counter. They sell them everywhere, but really dig these from my favorite little local travel shop.
26. A decent hand cream Purse size, of course.
27. Replacement razor blades Include the razor too, if you’d like.
28. Travel size bath and body products For the traveler or a gym rat, some shampoos or bath gels that are a wee bit fancier than the typical drugstore stuff can be nice.
29. A good firestarter Not for the kids of course — but in this age of no free matchbooks at restaurants, it’s great to have on hand.
30. Mini Flashlights For summer camp, for camping trips, for go-bags, or just to stash all over the house.
31. A pack of replacement earring backs Truly one of my favorite, most practical, most useful gifts I ever received. (Thanks, Amye!)
32. Nail polish remover wipes So handy!
33. 7-in-1 keyring multi-tool Once you have one, you’ll realize you always needed it.
34. OXO Good Grips Veggie Peeler This thing is so good, my mom even asked me for one for the holidays one year.
36. Disposable foot and hand warmer packs One the right kind of a day, this may be their favorite gift of all.
37. The world’s best sponges Talk about practical stocking stuffers that are still cool! I use Skura Style sponges now and haven’t looked back.
38. An eye pencil sharpener Why do I keep losing mine? No idea. But one in my stocking would be welcome.
39. A good shaving cream Especially a fancy kind they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves.
40. Whoosh Screen Shine I have been in love with this perfect screen cleaner since I found it four years ago. Works great on glasses, too.
41. Hot Glue Gun or Glue Stick Refills If you know a crafter, or a wannabe crafter, it’s a fabulous little stocking stuffer.
43. Cozy socks Yes, I’ve hit the age where a pair of cozy, cute socks would be most welcome. Plus — kind of meta, right? A sock in a stocking?
44. Tide to Go Stick No, I’m not kidding, I love getting these! See also: Magic Erasers.
45. Magic Erasers See also: Tide to Go Stick
47. Tweezerman Stainless Tweezers These are the best. B-E-S-T. No better.
48. Double Stick Fashion Tape I literally never leave home without it.
50. A gift card to anything at all Local coffee shop? Local bookstore? Local movie theater? Local burger joint? All practical stocking stuffers that will still be appreciated, whether you’re spending just $5 a pop or a little more.