Christmas

Last-Minute Frugal Stocking Stuffers From Items You Have on Hand

Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Gifts for stockings can easily add up to be quite a bit, even if you take a trip to the dollar store. 

Here are some items to give using items you already have in your pantry, cupboards, along with a few items to make using what you already have on hand:

 

From the kitchen and pantry:

1. Apples, oranges, and clementines

2. Nuts. Put a small amount in some tissue or a  bag and tie with string or ribbon, or make a little paper cone for them.

3. Hot chocolate packets

 

To make from the kitchen:

1. Cookies. Put these in a bag or some tissue paper.

2. Caramels. Here’s a microwave version. Wrap caramels in waxed paper.

3. Peppermint bark

4. Homemade candies

5. Candied citrus peels

6. Homemade play dough

7. Homemade granola. Here’s my recipe for cranberry almond granola

8. Fudge

 

From the cupboards:

1. Pens, pencils, and crayons that you bought on sale at back to school time

2. Personal grooming items: razors, cotton balls, toothpaste, toothbrush, toiletry samples

 

To make from the cupboards:

1. A miniature first aid kit to tuck into a purse, backpack, or glove compartment with Band-Aids and pain relievers

2. A small book with printer paper or lined paper, covered in cardstock or contrasting paper. Sew it together by machine or by hand, or staple it instead.

3. Bookmarks. I have a large selection of free printables on my site here.

4. Bookplates. Free printables are here.

5. Dollhouse artwork, wallpaper, and rugs. Free printables here.

6. Seed packets with seeds gathered from your garden. Free printable here.

7. Date with mom coupons. Free printable here.

 

To make from repurposed items:

1. Scarves from scraps of fabric, old curtains, flannel sheets, a repurposed skirt. Think flannel, velvet, sheers, etc. Likewise, you can knit or crochet a scarf using the yarn from old clothing items, or make a striped scarf using leftover bits of different-colored yarn.

2. Handkerchiefs from old sheets (a great way to repurpose a sheet that has a tear).

3. Earrings from broken jewelry

4. Decorative bobby pins with old buttons

5. Decorative bobby pins with broken jewelry

6. Mittens from an old sweater or sweatshirt (a shrunk wool sweater is perfect for this, or a stained sweater or sweatshirt–just cut your pattern around the stains.

7. Hand-warmers stuffed with rice. Use repurposed clothing or scraps of fabric to make these. Microwave them to put in pockets before leaving. Try a heart shape for a little fun. 

8. Headbands from ribbons and hair elastics

 

Christmas Stocking 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 

Something that also helped me was to hang smaller stockings. Two years ago, I needed a couple more stockings for our family. I decided to make new stockings from a drop cloth, and I made them smaller. The previous stockings we had were so long that my children would put their entire arm in their stockings and not be able to reach the bottom! Having smaller stockings relieved the presure from me to feel like I needed to buy more to fill our stockings.

Consider a stocking with a piece of fruit in the toe, some candy and/or other edibles, and one small gift per person this Christmas. It’s simple, it will be used, it won’t take up lots of space (or be broken in a week), and it works with a tight budget!

 

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16 Comments

  1. Those sound exactly what the stockings we had growing up were like. There was a tangerines in the toe with walnuts, gold foil wrapped chocolate coins, peppermint stick (a big one) and then some small toy item like marbles or jump rope or silly putty. I got wikistiks one year and I thought they were just the greatest.

    We still do the same. I do put a bit more in like hair items, chap stick, toothbrushes, but there is still always the fruit-nuts-chocolate coins combo. Youngest is getting a new bath pouf in hers. I found a nice large bag of dried apricots which everyone likes so I divided it 8 ways and everyone gets a Ziploc bag full this year.

  2. Some great ideas!! Thanks for sharing!
    I realized I had very few stocking stuffers for my husband, so I grabbed a jar of his favourite salsa from the pantry and threw it in! He was thrilled!
    My baby is 18 months, and doesn’t need or want anything. So I filled her stocking with her favourite fruits and veggies.
    I also sewed some doll quilts with scraps for my girls, as they have been using teatowels and my prefold cloth diapers lately to play “bedtime” with dolls.
    I think sewing smaller stockings is a fantastic idea! I will have to do that for next year!

  3. My mother always used to put a huge orange in the toe of our stocking, as well as a banana in our stocking. Since we usually dove into our stockings before breakfast, this was one way to ensure we actually had something healthy to eat that morning.;)

    Another item we often received in our stockings was a package of socks. They take up a lot of room and are something we needed anyways. It also meant we had brand new socks with no holes to wear when we went visiting family on Christmas day! My mother was rather crafty like that.:p

  4. I borrowed your drop cloth idea with a twist- I had some light tannish drill cloth. I cut small stockings, and made a cuff from some red ticking stripe curtain tie backs I had (I used red burlap for the curtains instead for the contrast). They are hung with twine, and cut an initial for each. For the grandbabies, I put in small Thomas character engines (bought on sale buy I get I 50%off, and used santa bucks at meijers), some small chocolate bars (buy 2 get 1 free and had coupons), some jam thumbprint cookies, and a first Christmas mini book. the 10 y/o is getting some chocolate and cookies, and a mug with hot chocolate mix (he has been using a plastic mug with his initial he got when he was 4, this is an official “big kid” ceramic mug- camoflauge pattern, found in the sporting goods clearance section for $2.29- a fifth of what non clearance mugs are!) He was quite taken with the empty stocking because “Mommy made it”. He is also getting a set of wall hanging pictures I made- printed pictures of him taken throughput the year- feeding the porcupines at a local nature museum, in a school play, the dolphin encounter. Put them on 8 x 10 canvas purchased with a 40% off coupon at Joanns, and covered with a clear shellac. I used some of the left over red burlap from the curtain tie backs to hang them on. The whole project came in at less than $10.00- and the majority of that was the price of the canvas.

  5. My mom growing up was the stocking stuffer master. This method works great for bigger stockings. She always stuffed the bottom of the stocking with a large red delicious apple, a large navel orange, a pear and a kiwi. Then she’d fold up a coloring book (the 1.00 type now a days) that would stick out the back of the stocking and then stick a packet of crayons in the front of the coloring book.

    For the older kids she’d use colored pencils (for me who liked art), thick knitted socks (for my older sister whose feet were always cold due to an injury she sustained) and such. It worked great and really when I do the math she got off really cheap every year with the stockings. But they were still our favorite part of Christmas as we loved all of that produce and the few little touches she’d put in those stockings.

    I’m going to kind of use her method and put a large navel orange in the bottom of my daughter’s stocking and a couple of smaller apples (all in the fridge right now) and then I’m going to go online and print off some coloring pages to stick in the back instead of a coloring book. And then I’ll put one of the few packages of clearance crayons in the front for her. I think she’ll enjoy it!

  6. We have greatly reduced our gift giving this year, due to Rob’s job loss. We are pleased with what we did, though, and I know the kids will be.

    First, we did not give small gifts to neighbors, friends, etc. We also did very few add-ons (little items to tuck into a gift bag that were good deals, etc.) This is because we wanted to put the $ we chose to spend into the girls that are at home, and some of the other family members who don’t live with us. We grew home-grown turkeys for most of our extended family members, and I embroidered some dish towels, made zucchini relish last summer, and made potholders for others.

    We got the kids things they either wanted badly, or needed ($20 boots), on really good deals on Amazon (i.e. a Kindle for $35), etc. We used some points on a credit card we have never used the points on before that had been there for a long time, so there were quite a few built up and got gift cards for them.

    Brandy, your idea about something nice in the stocking, plus a few food items, is our plan, too. 1 piece of really good See’s Chocolate (a Santa), an orange (can’t do stockings without it), $5 Starbucks card, etc.

    Rob and I bought a few things for each other, but not a lot. They were mostly items we needed.

    There are much fewer packages this year. The stockings are not very full. We are going to be done quickly. However, my intention is that they got a couple of things they really wanted, instead of a lot of inexpensive items they did not really want (i.e. –a Kindle instead of several cheaper items).

    We have focused on going to concerts (free), playing music, simple decorations, etc. The 2 younger girls each got a Christmas dress, as usual, to wear to church and all of these events. They were very inexpensive, especially Patsy’s, which was purchased on the day after Thanksgiving at either 60 or 70% off.

    In reality, we are fine financially at this point. We are still using our severance package and have $ from logging. I’ve explained to the kids that we are fine, but are looking toward the not-so-distant future when that money will not be coming in, and that we are preparing for that. Hopefully, they will be learning a lesson for their future–that a good Christmas can be had for less $, and that the crisis that will inevitably come in their lives sooner or later, will not be the end of the world–just a chance to be a little more creative.

  7. Merry Christmas Brandy to you and your family, and best wishes for a happy new year. Your website has been a great gift to me all year and I really thank you for your time and effort.

  8. I will put a can of pop in my children’s stockings. This is a huge treat, but not a very expensive one. And it fills a lot of space. I like to put beef jerky in my boys’ and husbands stocking as well. It’s a little expensive but it’s not sweet which is nice.

  9. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    I took your idea and used a drop cloth that I wad holding onto.
    I downsized them like you did too. Mostly because the younger ones are so over whelmed with gifts from the mothers side of the family and just to cut back in general. With this, these stockings hold 2 clementines, granola bar and a pair of socks for the younger ones and usually a silly toy for the adults. If we can find a good deal on the chocolate we like, we’ll add that too.

  10. I know it’s now Christmas evening, but if anyone is celebrating later, here’s another possibility: reusable bags from t-shirts. I just happened to come across this, and am definitely going to do it with some commemorative t-shirts from when my children were younger. They haven’t been worn in years, but we’re nostalgic about them, and I don’t have the knowledge or patience to make a t-shirt quilt.

    http://www.mommypotamus.com/no-sew-t-shirt-tote-bag-tutorial/

  11. Love all the ideas.
    Another idea is to skip the stockings whatsoever and just do the gifts! This is the way we have always done the gifts in my family.
    Hope everyone is having wonderful Holiday Season full of blessings.

  12. Just thinking about your stockings. They would be a nice thing to make for a snowflake fair at a church.

    One thing about growing up in a larger family. When one of your brother’s or sister’s received a game or toy, it was like you received it too. We were brought up to share and with so many of us it seemed like a lot of gifts under the tree. In reality we only received 3 or 4 gifts each.

  13. We definitely use them! They especially get used at church. Pulling a handkercheif out of a pocket is quiet; opening a little pack of travel tissues is rather noisy and distracting, and then everyone suddenly needs me to pass one to them . . . . the handkerchiefs are better for that!

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