Stuffing our stockings is one of the most treasured parts of Christmas Eve. As it's been passed from one generation to another, we've tried to make things our own.
In our home, we blend one long-standing Southern tradition with a lot of fun and love. My mother-in-law introduced to me her family's tradition of an orange and an apple in the Christmas stocking, which we've adopted for our kids.
My sister and mother are guilty of stocking up on the holiday chocolates, which are overloaded into the nooks and crannies of the stockings. (Which, I must admit are not small in the least, having bought them from L.L. Bean when my children were born.)
To me, the best part of stocking stuffers are when you truly listen to your loved ones and sneak in surprises that they least expect.
In our home, Santa brings one gift and a whole lot of love into the stockings, so he better make it right. (The kids know Santa tasks the grown-ups to fend for themselves.)
Yes, he's fallen prey each year to the mini bags of lip gloss and Legos in the stocking stuffer aisle. But he also tries to listen to conversations and make sure there are surprises that they'd enjoy - even if on the outset they didn't know.
Food ideas for the stocking
Santa tries to add something besides the candy that the kids can munch on before breakfast is ready. Yes, the apples and oranges do get eaten, but they tend to wind up as afternoon snacks. In the past, we've done everything from Pop-Tarts (which my kids beg for any other day of the year and do not get) to granola bars.
And fun food gets in the mix too. My daughter saw a story on unique Christmas foods on the Food Network, and was really interested in the chocolate orange. That found its way in there. And my husband tends to get a bottle of beer or Kansas City barbeque sauce in his stocking.
Crafty ideas for the stocking
If you have an art lover, make sure to slide in some supplies for him or her. In years past, Santa's brought washi tape, mini canvases for painting, small wooden models for assembly, artist pencils, markers and more.
Even if your child is not artsy, keep in mind, you may have to replace school supplies this spring!
Other ways to make it fun
- Tuck in tickets or a Living Social certificate or Groupon for a fun activity. Last year, since we were traveling, Santa bought the kids a day at an indoor water park instead of a gift that took space in the car on the way back. (Believe me, it was much appreciated with the record winter we had!) Another year, he wrapped up tickets for Disney on Ice.
- Think outside the box. This year, Santa is bringing back the much-beloved "Flyer Flyer," my son's pterodactyl, which he lost "permanently" after a few weeks of "naughty" attitudes. I can't wait to see his face when he sees his stuffed friend in his stocking.
What other ways have you made your stockings memorable? Share your ideas below!