I keep an eye out all year long for little gifts for my boys, which get used for birthdays or are held over until Christmas as stocking stuffers. I try not to buy stuff that is too age-specific, since they may grow out of it too early. Come December, stores are filled with so many larger gift items, it can sometimes be difficult to find stocking stuffers. Plus, I hate shopping in December! So, here’s a look into what my 6-year-old son is getting in his stocking this year!
- Lego Minifugres – you can never go wrong with a minifig! Specialty toy stores, or shopping online, are your best bets to find the widest variety in which minifig series you can buy from
- Lego Kits – like the Lego Creator series, or Mixels, are super small Lego sets, perfect for a stocking! You often find these end-of-aisle in stores like Walmart. This year, I didn’t get Lego, but instead a Mega Bloks set, since the Hot Wheels was a perfect fit for my boys!
- Last Mouse Lost – is a super quick game we recently discovered. Made of silicone, you pop the bubbles to take your turn, filling up one or more bubbles per line. If you’re stuck with the last bubble on your turn, you lose. Just flip over to restart. It’s flexible enough to keep in the car or a purse!
- Novelty Toys or Candy – I like to throw in a small toy or candy toy, just to be fun. This year I found some light saber candies, and many options exist including this M&M version
- A book from a series – we read a lot of book series’, so I often have a drawer of books I’ve purchased from Scholastic that I haven’t yet given the boys. Too many books at once and they don’t read them! So, for Christmas I have a few to choose from, but I’m leaning toward one of our Magic School Bus books. Anything small and flexible is perfect for a stocking!
- Super Tubes Science Kit – these little science experiments in a bottle are perfect for the stocking! Lots of options to choose from. In the past, we’ve had other sicence-y things such as a dinosaur egg dig, growing creatures or fake snow
- Star Wars Pez – or other novelty pez dispenser. Who can resist these?!
- Hubba Bubba Fun Book – though I don’t like to fill the stocking with junk, there is inevitably some candy and chocolate! Aiden is learning how to blow bubbles with gum, so this cute Hubba Bubba Fun Book was right up our alley! Plus, it comes with a fold-out game board!
See also my Stocking Stuffers for a 5 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for a 4 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for a 1 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for a 2 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for Men, and a Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her.
For the past few years, I have been making custom art prints with Minted, along with our holiday card order. We have been ordering holiday cards for 3 years (see my past reviews), and my first year I created calendars featuring our kids. 2 years ago, instead of a new calendar that inevitably gets taken down, I decided to create a custom art print using one of the wonderful photo art templates available on Minted. This way, I could use our pictures to create a wonderful collage that would always memorialize our kids at this point in their lives.
My first art creation was a compilation of photos of my boys from their first two years of life, balancing shots of them together with shots of them solo. I used the Heart Snapshot template and spent hours scouring my archives for an equal balance of photos of my boys from their various ages, then spent time trying to make the resulting image as well-balanced as possible, both with each boy and with the colors in the photos. I originally purchased this as a gift for the grandmothers, but have since purchased it for our home too! Along with my purchase, I was able to add frames, making it a simple gifting process. Here’s how amazing the frame looks, alongside a piece of art my 5-year-old Aiden created to match!
Last year, we involved both the grandmothers in our annual family photo session with Sarah Jane Photography, then surprised each grandmother with a custom print. One grandmother’s print was created with the Love Line template and the other with the Mom Love template, which I further customized with a custom phrase, “love you to the moon and back.”
Above is also featured our 2014 holiday card, which is one of my favourites so far. I love the shine to it!
Although shipping to Canada from Minted is kind of pricey, I have always been super impressed with the quality of the prints. The designs at Minted are created by independent artists, whether they are supplying holiday cards, wedding invitations (*new*), custom photo art, or a variety of beautiful art prints. Everything is printed on textured paper (not photo paper), so it has a lovely feel to it. What keeps me coming back to Minted is the beautifully updated designs and the amazing interface. I love that your own photos can load into the preview screen for a whole section (not just per item) and that you can customize so many aspects of both art and cards.
If you have kids, there are some beautiful options for decor from the Love You To The Moon & Back photo art to custom name art, birth stats, room signs and more!
Disclosure: Minted has offered me credit in exchange for a review of their art, though in all honesty it has been on my list of “stuff to write” since post-Christmas when I could officially write about the latest custom prints without ruining the surprise! All opinions are my own, obviously. ;)
One of the big winners of this Christmas was the set of Magna-Tiles that we gave to Aiden. These magnetic building tiles are easy to use and incredibly versatile. They offer instant satisfaction to your budding builder, which is nice when alternatives such as Lego can take a lot of time to complete. The Magnatiles have been a central toy in our living room since Christmas, standing the test of time better than most toys around here!
I find playing with Magna-Tiles just as fun and relaxing as Aiden does, and even Damien gets in on the action from time to time… though admittedly he’d prefer just to smash towers than to build them. He did, however, LOVE when we created our own mail system. He would “write” notes, send them in the mailbox, then Aiden would collect and deliver them. Pretty awesome.
If you do invest in Magna-Tiles (they aren’t cheap), I recommend the 100 piece set. The 30 piece set doesn’t give you enough tiles to do many things.
Every year, there is a lot of chatter about what to buy for the men in our lives. Be they husbands, boyfriends or Dads, men can be hard to buy for! Now, I know each guy has different tastes, but I know we can do better than ties and golf stuff, right?! Following my post on The Best Stocking Stuffers for Guys, I put together this Shopping Guide to the Best Christmas Gifts for Guys that involves both gifts my husband has asked for in the past, or currently has on his wish list, plus a few ideas of my own.
- Bluetooth speaker – my husband asked for (and received) the UE Mini Boom for his birthday. He did his research on options and hit on this amazing bluetooth speaker that we use either in our office or move around wherever we want some extra music! Since it’s bluetooth, you can play from your phone or any bluetooth-enabled device.
- Car Tech Toys – there are a lot of toys you can buy for cars, depending on your guy. Whether it’s accessories for the car itself or, in my case, tech gadgets. Our top recommendations include the Portable Smartphone Mount, which clips onto your vents!, an extra charger (variable depending on your car) or an audio cable so you can play music or podcasts or get audio directions directly from your phone
- Cards Against Humanity – even for non-gamers, this entirely inappropriate game is perfect as a gift! Bonus: you can give expansion packs in future years!! They make great stocking stuffers ;)
- BBQ Rotisserie – you can buy a brand-specific rotisserie for your BBQ, but they are super expensive. You may find a universal rotisserie like this one works for you. My husband got this last year and though it doesn’t fit as snugly as a super expensive option would have, it still works. We roast TWO chickens at a time on it!
- Home Brew Kit – my husband wants to brew his own beer, but space has always been an issue. He recently discovered the Box Brew Kits which are not only super amazing looking, but don’t require a lot of space. If you don’t want to give a DIY kit, I highly recommend a selection of craft beers! You could even invest in a couple of growlers and pre-fill them with a local beer.
- Clothes – when it comes to clothes, I like to buy something that will actually get worn, but is nicer than what my husband would typically buy for himself. Wether this is a nicer pair of jogging pants (like Lululemon) or a great sweater (Banana Republic has the most flattering ones in a variety of styles!) or a new fleece jacket or something of that kind.
- Pedicure – because, have you seen his feet? Well, he may deny he needs it, but team up to get him to go with another guy pal if you think that will get him there. Trust me, he’ll thank you. There are salons that offer men’s pedicure options.
- Tickets & Gift Certificates – this one is really personal. Does your guy like sports, theatre, movies, music, trips? Is he a foodie? Scour sites like Groupon for deals, or grab tickets to a coveted event and wrap it up in a larger box. If you have kids, secure your babysitting as part of a “date night” package.
Here’s hoping these gifts are a hit with the guy in your life!
Buying gifts for the men in your life can be difficult, without adding in the pressure to make those gifts smaller to fit in a stocking. If your husband (boyfriend / brother / dad) are as hard to shop for as my husband, here are some tips on stocking stuffers that have been a success for us in the past! Unfortunately, I cannot share this year’s list, since my husband is known to sometimes read my posts.
My goal with a stocking is to give useful items that go beyond your typical deodorant & bath products and specialize on inexpensive but high end alternatives. Yes, you can add in the deodorant or socks or boxer shorts, but most people can come up with those ideas on their own. This is how I make my husband’s stocking special.
- A small puzzle or game. I know my husband likes to fidget, so a brain teaser or even high end putty can help him relax. If you are a gaming family, there are smaller options out there like Bananagrams or even expansion packs for well-loved board games
- Premium food & drink items – like spice rubs, hot sauce, locally-made jerky or his a local craft beer. Last year I found a mini bottle of bourbon maple syrup that was a great addition! For Vancouverites, my husband’s favourite jerky is from the Jerky Baron.
- An ornament of his very own, since let’s face it, most of the ornaments are not ‘his’. I’ve given R2D2 and the flying spaghetti monster ornaments in the past.
- A magazine that suits his interests. For my husband, that was always Sci-Fi, though you have endless choices in this department!
- A gag gift – because that’s what makes stockings fun! Last year I gave sriracha candy canes, though apparently Ianiv secretly wished for the hot cock boxers.
- BBQ tools are a common theme for us, either a spice or rub or a tool that may need replacing. We seem to need a new brush every year or two!
- Good quality chocolate and candies! Aside from a favourite chocolate bar, my hubby gets some premium chocolates and a bag of assorted candies from our favourite local candy store
- Scratch & Win tickets are a must for us! It’s the one time a year we indulge in these and it’s so much fun!
- Touchscreen gloves are so amazing. I love the ones I received last year! If you want basic gloves, they come pretty inexpensively, though higher end options would make a good under-the-tree gift
I hope these gifts hit home with you!
Remember, even though these gifts are for the grown men in our lives, it doesn’t mean they have to cost a fortune! My rule of thumb is that if the gift is expensive, it should be given under the tree, no matter how small it is! Santa is not getting credit for my thoughtful gifts, thank you very much. ;)
See also my Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her, a great list to share with these men in our lives!