Call me a Grinch, but I am not ok anymore with loading up my kid’s Christmas stockings with more toys and lots of candy. I don’t feel my kids really need much of either in their lives. Personally, we try to keep stocking stuffer’s inexpensive (like $10 or less), and cheap toys just drive me nuts a few days later when they are abandoned everywhere. I have become more and more selective on what my family consumes, both in food and purchases.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to stuff them with cheap toys, gold fish, their favorite candy bars, and put them on top of their favorite hand-picked sugar filled cereal. But, as our family nutrition goals has shifted, it left me a little searching for what that should look like now. And, as we feel like our kid’s rooms are overflowing with toys, we’ve minimized and carefully selected any new ones we give them.

So, what does that look like? Here are some ideas for you:

  • Hand sanitizer – We love all the fun scents and names from Bath & Body Works. My kids dig it, they smell good, and are cleaner. Win win!)
  • Experiences – tickets to various community, art, dance, sport events to make a new memory!)
  • Date gift certificate with mom and/or dad – give them a budget and let them steer the ship!)
  • Family coupons – chore pass, stay up late pass (weekend nights only), choose their favorite dinner coupon, etc. Get creative! Some great ideas and blank templates here or here
  • Fun socks
  • Not so fun, but necessary undies ; )
  • Art supplies – hands down one of our favorites! Stickers, fun tipped markers, crayons, coloring books, watercolors, perler bead sets, small sketch book, origami, sidewalk chalk, etc.
  • Office supplies – this year I got my kids their favorite animal post-its and book tabs from Amazon, their gonna love them!
  • Gift cards – iTunes, Starbucks, movies, etc.
  • Make up/jewelry/nail polish/girlie accessories – yeah, I have 5 boys. This is not my department, so you are on your own on this one, ha!
  • Sunglasses
  • Inexpensive watch
  • Body spray – even my tween boys like this one!
  • Hats/gloves/scaves – again, out of my wheelhouse, as I live in CA, but an option!
  • Wallet
  • Pocket knife – just don’t cut your fingers off, ok kids?
  • Cell phone accessories – case, camera lens, pop socket, portable charging bank, selfie stick
  • Books – also one of our faves! My kids are loving the Weird but True series from National Geographic
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Rubix cube – could be deamed a “toy” but we see it as mental stimulation ; )
  • Small games
  • Playdough
  • Ties (sounds boring, but my kids go to church every week and love a new tie!)
  • Money soap – I am so tempted by this one! But I think I would have to make sure they actually use it authentically and not cheat to get to the money by soaking it in water or something!
  • Water bottle
  • Spa/bath items
  • Lip gloss or fun chapstick
  • Bubble bath or bath bombs
  • Journal or diary
  • Bubbles

Remember, every tradition can be rescripted and we love some of these, especially the kids coupon book and date night coupon, more than any of the easy junk we used to fill our stockings with.

Happy Holidays!