Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stuffing a Thrifty Stocking

We decided to do stocking stuffers for our family Christmas gathering this year.  This is the first time since I've been married that 1.) we're celebrating the holidays with family instead of hither and yon in some hotel room, and 2.) we're doing stockings.

Typically, stocking stuffers at my house growing up consisted of CANDY, a few fun items, and a few practical items (think toothbrush, chapstick, etc.).  M's family was the same way. But, now we're all grown up and can't rely on lifesaver books (remember those?!), chocolate coins, and candy canes to fill up the stockings.

Although, I wouldn't be opposed to candy... hint, hint!

Here's a few suggestions for stuffing a thrifty stocking:
    1. Check out the Dollar Store
     They often have nice items for (you guessed it!) $1.  Our Dollar Tree offers brand name cosmetics, bath salts, fuzzy socks, and travel size hair products, as well as a few craft supplies (such as stickers, ribbon, die cuts, and stamp pads).

    2. Use coupons at craft stores
    Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics usually have a clearance section or a few inexpensive items near the register, so you can score some cute things on the cheap for the creative person in your life. Even some of their full price items are reasonably priced when paired with a coupon - keep your eyes peeled!

    3. Don't forget to shop online, too
    • Amazon's deal of the day or lightning deals sections often have great bargains.  I like to shop around on Amazon for inexpensive "Add On" items to bring me up to $35 so I can get free shipping.  Then, I use these items as stocking stuffers or for gift baskets. Be careful, though...sometimes I can still get the item cheaper in-store. 
    • Thriftbooks offers free shipping in the US, with many of their books priced around $3.69. Check the Sale and Bargain Basement sections for the best deals!
    • World Market has some unique, inexpensive gifts.  Check out their Stocking Stuffer section for ideas.  They offer free shipping on select items, too!
    • Go through Ebates. It's free to sign up, and you get a percentage of your total purchase cash back to your Ebates account.  Then, once a quarter they pay out your cash back.  I get mine deposited in my Paypal account, so it's really easy...Free money!!  Sign up here (I get a bonus if you use my referral link). I use Ebates for as much of my online shopping throughout the year as possible.  The cash back helps offset my holiday spending.
    • Check out Oriental Trading.  If you're doing stockings for multiple children or are looking for a gag gift, this could be just what you're looking for.  They offer free shipping codes frequently throughout the year, so check back often.  Be sure to browse their Sale and Slightly Imperfect sections for the best deals.

    4. Check out deals sites
    • MySweetSavings or Hip2Save post LOTS of deals scenarios and coupons for your fave stores. Although quite a few of the deals are geared toward children (toys, clothes, etc.), I still found quite a few applicable deals before I had a baby.  Last year, I was able to snag several great deals using the coupon codes and deals scenarios posted on these 2 sites.
    • Jungle Deals and Steals is dedicated to just Amazon deals.  Since I'm pretty much in love with Amazon (they pretty much have everything), this makes me happy.  You can find some awesome deals for gifts, as well as stocking stuffers here.

    5. Try a DIY project 
    Pinterest is full of ideas.  If you're creative and have some basic materials (and some time) on hand, you can come up with a lot of unique stocking stuffers for very little out of pocket. Here's a few ideas I really liked:

    6. Consider buying in bulk
    If you're stuffing more than 1 stocking, buy the same type of candy in bulk, then divide it out. Or, if you're looking for healthier options, try purchasing bulk nuts, granola, trail mix or dried fruit from the bulk bins at your local health food store (or grocery store).  I typically stock up on chocolate or yogurt covered nuts or raisins, or Sunspire drops (like M&Ms, but without the artificial colors, etc).  Then, package up the goodies in little treat bags and stuff into stockings. No need for family members with health concerns or allergies to miss out on Christmas treats in their stockings!

    (Or, try these homemade chocolate peanut butter hearts.  You could shape them into Christmas trees or snowmen for a cute, healthier Christmas treat.  Just pull them out of the fridge right before putting them in the stocking.)

    7. Think ahead for next year
    Shop Christmas clearance for next year's stocking stuffers.  Any non-perishable items will keep until next year! I stash baby Christmas onsies, ornaments, candles, small toys, treat bags, etc. in a box in my craft closet.  I've never paid more than $1 for any one item - most items cost $.25 to $.50.

    My box is a little slim this year - I didn't want to move cheap stuff, so I sold most of it in a yard sale earlier this year.

    Think outside the box a little, and have fun! What do you hope to find in your stocking this year?


    1. Love the post this month! Thanks for the nice stuffers in our stockings!
      P.S. Is the tree skirt on the photo the one you got for a wedding gift? Have you put Ry-Guy's hand print/date on the back yet this year??
      Hugs, Momma

    2. Yes, this is the tree skirt we got as a wedding gift. I love it! We couldn't get Ry to stay still long enough to trace his hand, but we did get a sort of trace in our thanksgiving notebook.


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