Stocking Stuffers for a 3-Year-Old

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 3-year-old son is getting in his stocking this year! I try to do thing somewhat in parallel between brothers, so some things are similar (but never exactly alike) to the 6-year-old stocking!

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  1. DJ Mixer – the Scratch Box is our fun novelty gift this year. Though not exactly like the one I found, it mixes up pre-recorded or recorded music
  2. 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!
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Star Wars Pez – or other novelty pez dispenser. Who can resist these?!
  6. Gummies Game Book – since big brother is getting the gum book, I thought the gummies life safer book would be more appropriate for age 3!
  7. Minifig or squish figure – this would be depending on age. Damien doesn’t love Lego as much yet, but there are many “minifig” grab bag type products. We found some cute Paw Patrol ones!

See also my Stocking Stuffers for a 6 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 5 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 4 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 1 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 2 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for Men, and a Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her.

Vancity Box Launches to Celebrate Vancouver

This month, we were excited to be among the first recipients of the Vancity Box, a curated box of BC-made goods that celebrates local companies. Available as a subscription service, each box contains an assortment of BC goods from clothing and snacks to art and fun gadgets. Each month, the products will change, highlighting more of what makes Vancouver such an amazing place. This is especially great for those of us who love to buy hyperlocal goods and support local businesses!

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In their debut box, featured products include a beautiful jar of vanilla cotton candy from Petite Puf, which was the first item to be snagged by our very excited children. You can just see Damien’s nose in the photo below as he eagerly awaits the unboxing! My husband then snagged Billy Bob’s Jerky, which went to his office for snacks (my husband loves jerky). As the only blueberry-eater in our house, I got to enjoy all of the Living Lotus blueberry macaroons (that worked out nicely!). We we are extremely excited to try the Infusion Kit supplied by Graveley & Sons, we just need to go out and get the right rum. Perfect for Fall!

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It’s not often we would go out and get treats like these, so having them arrive at the door made it such a nice surprise. I think the box could function as a great showcase for products and companies you may otherwise have no exposure to, which is great for both vendor and consumer. A solid first box!

Disclosure: The Vancity Box was supplied for review, all reviews expressed are my own.

The Best Christmas Gifts for Men

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. 

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  • 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!

The Best Stocking Stuffers for Guys

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.

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  • 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!

Stocking Stuffers for a 2-Year Old

If you have a 2-year-old, you know they are right on the verge of some major developmental milestones. Between age 2 and 3, their interests completely shift and they leave behind being a “baby” or “toddler” and move right into being a “preschooler.” Their interests and capabilities can emerge very quickly! Providing them with toys and tools that are open-ended can give them hours (and years) of fun. So, when it comes to putting presents in a stocking for a 2-year-old, I focus on things that are both fun for now and for later in addition to any chocolates or candies that may sweeten the deal. 

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Having had a 2-year-old already, I know that these items are both fun for a 2 year old and can last for several years to come! The BEST STOCKING STUFFERS FOR A 2-YEAR OLD are:

  1. Stickers of their favourite characters! A great tip for using stickers with little ones is to remove the “background” sticker portion, which allows them to easily pull up individual stickers on their own.
  2. A book that will still grow with your child. The Pete the Cat series is fantastic right past Kindergarten. Other favourites of this age include anything Robert Munsch or non-fiction books on farming or seasons or particular interests of theirs (like trains, cars, instruments etc). Damien is getting Stick Man this year.
  3. A musical instrument like a maraca, bells, recorder, kazoo or harmonica
  4. Play-Doh tools. Our favourites are a good solid roller, scissors and a fun press. This s a great basic kit you can disassemble to put in a stocking! Dollar stores often have knock-off sets that work as well.
  5. Scissor skills begin around age 2. Get a good set of scissors with a wide finger grip, metal pieces and that are not too dull (or you will end up frustrating your child) are a great investment. Some sets come with fun crimpers and other shapes.
  6. Pocket Etch-A-Sketch makes for a great car or restaurant toy. The larger Etch-A-Sketch is a classic toy, but I love mini items!! Both my 2 and 5 year old are getting one this year.
  7. Fun art supplies like glitter glue or smelly markers (my choice this year)
  8. A bath submarine or other small bath toy – this submarine has been a favourite bath toy for both of my boys, even though we have never introduced the baking powder!
  9. Bath colours or bubble bath – we take bathing seriously! Bubble bath, colour tablets, shaving cream to paint with, bath crayons, and bubbles to blow in the the bath are all great gifts to fill stockings!

See also my Stocking Stuffers for a 5 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 4 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 1 Year Old, and a Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her.