Everyone needs a few more non-candy stocking stuffers and advent calendar filler ideas for their loved ones this holiday season.
I have nothing against giving candy in stockings and advent calendars and regularly do include candy and other food treats for my loved ones. However, I know how easy it is for every single holiday to turn into a dessert fest, and you don’t know how you’ll ever get all of the candy out of your house. As such, it’s important to find a healthy balance. Non-candy stocking stuffer ideas to the rescue.
I’ve rounded up non-candy stocking stuffers and other small gift ideas for everyone in your family. While some of the stocking stuffers are more appropriate for kids and others are better suited for adults, there is something for everyone here. You’re sure to fill up your family’s stockings and advent calendars with gifts they’ll love without overloading your house with candy.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
There are so many amazing Christmas ornaments these days, it can get overwhelming shopping for them. For a stocking or advent calendar, look for an ornament with a particular meaning or sentiment for the recipient, such as Linus, a favorite animal, or a profession-themed ornament. I have to give a shoutout to my friend Edi of memoriesforlifesb who makes every type of personalized ornament imaginable. My other favorite places to shop for Christmas ornaments include Crate and Barrel and Magnolia.
2. Decorate your own ornaments
For crafty family members, unfinished ornaments that you decorate yourself make a great gift. You can purchase a DIY ornaments kit, or you can purchase unfinished wood ornaments and your own supplies for decorating them, such as plaid scrapbook paper, acrylic paint pens, and metallic braid.
3. Holiday socks
Holiday socks are so much fun to wear around the house and to holiday functions or out and about just because during the holiday season. You’ll find a wide variety of regular and fuzzy socks with festive holiday designs. If you want to splurge a little on holiday socks, my personal favorite is Nordstrom butter socks. They carry butter socks for both men and women, and they always have a few holiday varieties this time of year.
4. LEGO figures
For advent calendars and Christmas stockings, smaller LEGO sets, such as the small LEGO Minifigures sets, are a good option. You can also use advent calendars to give out multiple LEGO figures or components of a larger set over the course of a few weeks. For major LEGO enthusiasts, think about a full LEGO advent calendar.
5. Playmobile figures
There is a wealth of Playmobile sets under $20 that are great for stockings and advent calendars. You’ll find an array of themed (i.e., Harry Potter) and non-themed (i.e., baby’s room) sets from a fire truck to a pirate island to Ghostbusters with something to fit virtually every interest.
6. Animal figurines
Animal figurines are a classic kids’ toy and with good reason. Durable plastic animal figures with realistic faces and details have the potential for hours of imaginative play. Most of the small animal figurines sets you’ll find online are large and can be broken up among multiple kids’ stockings or over the entire course of the advent season. You’ll have better luck finding smaller sets in stores. As you consider animal figurines to include in stockings and advent calendars, think about farm animals and fish/aquatic life bath toys as well.
7. Little People
Fisher-Price Little People work with any of the Fisher-Price Little People sets, which means you can combine people, animals, vehicles, etc. from multiple sets for all sorts of imaginative play. There are a number of figures sets with less than a dozen pieces, such as farm animals and safari animals, that are ideal for stockings and advent calendars. Pairing a smaller set in a stocking with a larger set under the tree also works well.
8. Craft supplies
It’s no secret that I am a little obsessed with craft supplies and am always excited to find a new set of gel pens, clear stamps, or scrapbook paper in my stocking or under the tree. Think about craft supplies that will be most appealing for your loved ones. Yarn is great for knitters while acrylic paint will be a better choice for artists. For kids, twistable crayons, stickers, and googly eyes are great options.
Colorful magnets make a fun addition to a refrigerator, file cabinet, or locker. You’ll find magnets for virtually every interest out there from cacti to Mario to Scrabble to the solar system. I also love to make my own magnets to give as gifts. You can customize this concept any way you like.
Stickers are a fun gift for kids and teens of all ages who are crafty as well as teachers who are always looking for new stickers for their students. For the right recipient, planner stickers also make a wonderful gift. You’ll find a much wider selection of planner stickers on Etsy.
I live in the Midwest. Through the winter months, my mittens and gloves take a beating. I love getting one or two new pairs each season to refresh my collection. I love the Achiou winter knit gloves for lightweight gloves and the OZERO deerskin leather gloves for heavy-duty gloves. The ViGrace winter knitted convertible fingerless gloves are the best convertible gloves I’ve seen anywhere. For kid gloves, these Arctic Paw gloves are so cute and come in lots of different colors.
12. Winter hats
Similarly, it’s always nice to have an extra hat or two around when the weather gets chilly. You can’t go wrong with a classic beanie, and I love a good fur pom hat, too (plus the one I’m linking here is available in so many great colors!). For kids, the ViGrace knit fleece-lined hat is so warm but stylish for boys or girls.
I always have a to-read list a mile long and love getting several titles from my list as gifts. Just a few of my recent favorite reads that I would recommend to anyone include Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, Educated by Tara Westover, and Calypso by David Sedaris. If you’re unsure about books for younger readers, there are gift guides for every age and subject matter available.
The holiday season is one of the only times of the year I splurge on single magazines at the grocery store for stocking stuffers. It’s a good time to find recipe and decor specials you won’t find anywhere else. A stocking is also the perfect place to gift the first issue of a new magazine subscription. My personal favorites include Entertainment Weekly, The Magnolia Journal, Taste of Home, and The New Yorker.
For kids, you can’t go wrong with Highlights. They offer several different Highlights for different age ranges. The special hidden picture books and calendar you get with a subscription is a great bonus.
15. Small vehicles
Obviously, I have a toddler son because it was a no-brainer to include small vehicles in a round-up of non-candy stocking stuffers. Small cars, trucks, and trains are always a big hit for birthdays and holidays in my house. For boys of just about any age, vehicles are sure to provide hours of entertainment. It’s nice having smaller toys on hand to bring along to restaurants, relatives’ houses, etc. My favorite brands include Melissa & Doug and Green Toys.
16. Cookie cutters
Cookie cutters aren’t an item I think to buy for myself but would love receiving as a gift. They make a great present for any teen or adult who loves baking and for kids who will enjoy getting to bake cookies with Mom, Dad, Grandma, a favorite aunt, etc. Holiday cookie cutters are a natural choice for stockings and advent calendars, but you shouldn’t feel limited to this option. I also love hearts, assorted shapes, and woodland creatures.
17. Special coins/coin sets
Getting coins in your stocking or advent calendar doesn’t seem like the most exciting gift. People will be excited to see something slightly unusual, though, such as American silver eagle, gold half dollar, or Indian head pennies. I love U.S. mint uncirculated coin sets for small gifts, too.
18. Finger puppets
Finger puppets are a great toy to encourage imaginative play between adults and kids as well as between kids and their peers. They also make a great gift for preschool and early elementary school teachers. Knit finger puppets are my favorite, as they tend to fit the most snugly. You’ll find a variety of plush and plastic finger puppets, too.
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19. Card games
With more board games and card games on the market than ever, you’ll have no problem finding card games for every member of your family. For kids, I gravitate toward classic games, such as Uno, Pit, and Crazy Eights. Just a few of my top picks for teens and adults include Phase 10, Exploding Kittens, and Sushi Go!.
20. Hair accessories
Most likely you’re only going to be hunting for hair accessories this holiday season if you have a little girl. On occasion, you may have older girls in your life that will enjoy finding hair accessories in their stockings and advent calendars. It’s hard to go wrong with basic bows and headbands. I also love these mesh butterfly clips. For older girls, pearl headbands are a great pick.
21. Manicure/pedicure supplies
If you’ve checked out any of my gift guides for women, you know that manicure/pedicure supplies are one of my go-to gifts. Even if you don’t paint your nails every week, it’s nice to get a new clear polish, high-quality classic color, glass nail file, or toe separators. I’m also a huge fan of the Essie Gel Couture line.
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23. Doll/stuffed animal clothes and accessories
A doll or stuffed animal clothing or accessories stocking gift is the perfect complement to a larger gift under the tree. There are tons of doll/stuffed animal clothing sets available for dolls/animals of varying heights. For stockings and advent calendars, my top small doll accessories sets are Click ‘N Play baby doll feeding set and My Sweet Baby disappearing magic bottles.
24. Travel board games
Get excited for your trips for the year ahead with a few new travel board games. It’s nice to keep a few travel games on hand to bring to restaurants, relatives’ houses, etc., too. You can find travel board games for just about any age range and interest. My picks that the whole family will enjoy are Rummikub on the Go, Cinco Linko, Qwirkle, and 5-in-1 magnetic game set.
25. Costume jewelry
I love fine jewelry. But if you’ve seen my Etsy jewelry shop, you know that I’m also a huge fan of costume jewelry. Jewelry doesn’t have to be high-end to add the perfect pop of color or finishing touch to an outfit, even a dressy outfit. You’ll find a wealth of costume jewelry options on Etsy. On Amazon, I love the Bocar two-layer necklace, Betsey Johnson multicolored beaded necklace, and Milacolato stackable bracelets.
It’s always nice to have an extra pair of headphones or earbuds on hand, especially if you travel or work out frequently and listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. on the go a lot. I personally love earbuds that come with multiple sizes, as I have small ears and always need the smallest size available. For the price point, you can’t beat the Panasonic ErgoFit in-ear earbuds, which do come with three sizes. They’re also available in a range of colors. For higher-end earbuds, think about TaoTronics Bluetooth wireless earbuds.
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27. Fidget toys
Fidget toys are all the rage and with good reason. They offer numerous benefits for kids and adults from all walks of life. In addition to the classic fidget spinners, a few popular fidget toys include fidget snakes, a fidget flippy chain, and a fidget infinity cube.
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28. Bouncy balls
Bouncy balls are another great way to keep your hands busy and beat cold weather boredom with minimal risk of breaking a window or valuable piece of art. I love the colors and patterns in the Narwhal bouncing balls and Agreatca cloud bouncing balls sets. Glow in the dark bouncy balls offer tons of indoor entertainment potential as well.
29. Lip balm
Lip balm is a great staple stocking stuffer because you use it up. By the time the holiday season comes around again, you’ll be looking forward to getting a few new tubes. I am the most boring person in the world when it comes to lip balm and pretty much only use Vaseline original lip therapy. Other classic lip balm options include Burt’s Bees, Carmax, and ArtNaturals.
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30. Temporary tattoos
Temporary tattoos seem like the cheesiest gift, but kids get so excited about them. For the right group of adults, temporary tattoos will prove to be hilarious entertainment as well. The metallic henna tattoos, flower temporary tattoos, and wolf tattoos are beautiful. You’ll find tons of temporary tattoos themed around kids’ interests as well, such as superheroes, Disney princesses, and emojis.
31. Bath toys
Even with proper care and cleaning, many bath toys get moldy eventually. It’s nice to bring new toys into the collection periodically as you get rid of older toys. Having a small collection of bath toys on hand that you can rotate through will also keep your kids more engaged. Just a few of our favorite bath toys that work well for stockings are the Munchkin bath squirts, Skip Hop pull & go monkey submarine, and toy watering can.
32. Glow sticks
Glow sticks are another stocking stuffer item that seems cheap and silly. But kids of all ages love them every single time. It’s worth the little splurge for the holiday. I like the large ultra-bright glow sticks, glow sticks bracelets and necklaces party pack, and just for Christmas stockings and advent calendars, candy cane glow sticks.
Keychains are one of my favorite inexpensive vacation souvenirs. They take up almost no room and are fun to display on a dresser or hang on the Christmas tree. The next time you’re on a trip, pick up a few keychains for future stocking stuffers and advent calendar fillers. Novelty keychains make great gifts as well. I love these keychains featuring a Converse sneaker, Polaroid camera, and “insert coin to play” slot.
I bought bubble wands for my son’s first birthday party. It was such a big hit that we had them again for his second birthday party. Bubbles provide a ton of entertainment for small children at a very low price point. I can’t recommend those large bubble wands enough. If you want a couple more options, check out the light-up bubble blower wand (another big hit in my house) and the bubble gun blower for kids.
As a kid, our favorite use for marbles was in a marble run. Giving marbles as a stocking gift is a great hint for this large gift. I love this classic marbles set and this marbles set in a tin. You can also gift Chinese checkers marbles and teach your family another timeless game.
36. Small instrument
I know, gifting instruments is not for the faint of heart. As someone who has purchased multiple percussion instruments for my toddler son, I feel like I can suggest a few small instrument gifts without sounding like a huge hypocrite. Hands down, my favorite small instrument pick is egg shakers. They are so much fun to play at any age. A few other great instrument stocking stuffer presents include a tin whistle, jingle bells, and combination rhythm sticks.
37. Fun toothbrush
I guarantee that your kids will get excited about light-up toothbrushes. The light serves as a built-in timer, which is an added bonus. The suction-cup bottom also adds more entertainment value than I ever would have imagined. You can find kids’ toothbrushes for just about any character imaginable as well, such as Crayola Pip-Squeaks, Minions, and Disney Princesses.
38. Small notebook
As a huge pen and paper addict who still keeps tons of paper notes, even though I do the vast majority of my work online, I’m always excited to get a new notebook, especially a pretty notebook. Moleskin pocket journals are a classic pick and come in a range of beautiful colors. Anthropologie always sells small journals with fun decorative covers through Nordstrom around the holidays. I also love Paper Source’s monogrammed foil notebooks.
39. Coloring book
There are so many coloring books for all ages on the market now that it’s overwhelming choosing just a couple to give as gifts. For stocking stuffers and advent calendars, I love mini coloring books, such as mini mandalas, patterns pocket book, and dreams of flowers mini pad. For kids, you can’t go wrong with the classic little coloring book series.
40. Wallet or purse
My favorite pick for a women’s wallet remains the Travelambo wallet. The design is sleek yet fits so much, including a slim cell phone. For men, I love the aesthetic and function of the TRAVANDO money clip wallet, which features a super slim profile, built-in money clip, and RFID-blocking cardholder. For kids, I’m a fan of the classic military camo canvas wallet.
41. Magnetic blocks
I got Tommy the Tegu pocket pouch magnetic wooden block set a couple of Christmases ago, and it’s been a huge hit. Everyone who comes over to my house ends up playing with it. The pouch makes it so easy for travel. Other magnetic block sets I love include the Aitey magnetic building blocks and the Twinsisi magnetic blocks.
42. Mochi squishy toys
Mochi squishy toys are all the rage these days, and they make perfect stocking stuffers and advent calendar fillers. You’ll find larger sets online, which means you’ll have enough to distribute among all the nieces, nephews, and grandkids this holiday season.
43. Funko pint size
Funko pint size figures are just the right size for stockings and advent calendars and are the perfect addition to any funko enthusiast’s collection. You’ll find tons of fun pint size funko sets, including Disney, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Marvel holiday, and Rick and Morty.
44. Magic flying butterflies
Magic flying butterflies offer a fun surprise for the recipient who opens the card or book. I love the idea of gifting someone magic flying butterflies, and then they in turn will gift some of them in future cards or book gifts to other loved ones. Magic flying butterflies are available in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns.
45. Gyro wheel
46. Mad Libs
Mad Libs make a great holiday present because you can pull them out and enjoy them as a whole family right away while you have time off together. In addition to all of the classic Mad Libs that you loved as kids, there are a ton of themed Mad Libs books including Christmas, Harry Potter, and Marvel.
47. Fun night light
A fun night light is an easy, inexpensive way to make kids a little less afraid of the dark and a little more excited about going to bed. I absolutely love this celestial night light. Animal night lights are always popular for kids, such as an owl or bear night light. For older kids, I love this moon lamp light.
48. Glow in the dark stars
I had tons of glow in the dark stars in my room as a kid and honestly never grew tired of them, even as I got into middle and high school. Glow in the dark stars are cheap and add such a fun touch to any kids’ bedroom.
49. Stainless steel cup, water bottle, or thermos
I have talked about my favorite stainless steel drink containers in several other posts already and am rounding up the absolute best picks for you again here. My personal go-tos are the Hydro Flask with the straw top and the YETI tumbler with the straw top. I also love the Hydro Flask travel coffee flask and the YETI Vacuu Rambler stainless steel vacuum insulated tumbler.
50. Disappearing ink pen
Disappearing ink pens offer hours of fun for spy games, hidden notes, blacklight parties, and all sorts of other games and entertainment. I love this gift idea for kids or adults.
51. Wiki sticks
Wiki sticks have become one of my go-to items for kids’ goodie bags and party favors. I love their creative potential and that they appeal to such a wide range of ages.
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What are some of your favorite non-candy stocking stuffers and advent calendar fillers?
Feel free to leave links in the comments!