"It's October!" I hear you say. Yes, it is, but perhaps you're beginning to think about Christmas because you want (or need) to spread the cost. Perhaps you're beginning to prepare now so that you can enjoy a calm and peaceful advent with your children. Today, I want to share with you some stocking filler ideas and recommendations...
Watching my daughter open her stocking on Christmas morning is my absolute highlight of the whole festive period. It's usually very early, so still dark, but Bean is so incredibly warm and delicious, with her soft and knotted morning hair and eyes sparkling with excitement, that I forgive the early start. So, shopping for her stocking is something that I really enjoy and that I want to get right, so I take my time.
Finding stocking fillers that are small, affordable and which your child will enjoy (and will not end up in the charity shop box, or in landfill within a week) can be a challenge. When I'm shopping for Bean's stocking I always bear this little shopping rhyme in mind...
'Something to wear,
Something to read,
Something that you want, and
Something that you need'
Self care items
This is a good place to start. What does your child actually need? A new toothbrush, a toothbrush timer, a hairbrush or comb, a face cloth, bubble bath or bath bombs, hair accessories? Bean is a really big fan of Tinti bath products. They're natural, non-toxic, 100% biodegradable, and do not dye hair, skin or your bathtub. Win win! We've also used them in our water play tray and, in the summer months, in the paddling pool. They're not cheap, but I only ever buy them for the Christmas stocking and for birthdays, so they have become something that Bean really looks forward to. These are the ones that we've tried and enjoyed...
Small items of clothing
Again, what does your child need? One Christmas, Bean got a pack of 'days of the week' underwear in her stocking which she wore for a whole year, and really loved. Gloves or mittens, a winter hat, a snood, socks, tights, an apron for cooking or painting, all make lovely stocking fillers, and are items that your child will use regularly. Small dressing up items such as play silks, scarves, masks, tabards, hats or wigs, work well as stocking fillers too. One Christmas Bean requested 'real glasses'. I managed to find some 'fashion' glasses for children and, to this day, they remain one of her favourite things!
A basic pack of playing cards is an extremely versatile resource, with many ways to play, alone or with friends. Story dice, tiddlywinks, top trump cards, dominoes and travel versions of some of the classics, such as Connect 4, Battleships, Guess Who etc. make great stocking fillers. The travel versions are cheaper, smaller and often have clever features as they're designed for travel. This year Bean will be getting the Uno card game, and Tenzi dice game in her stocking.
Below are some of the games that we've collected over the years and still play with regularly. I'm a big fan of 'eeboo' products, as they're so beautifully illustrated, and the 'haba' game tins as they're just so cleverly designed. Bean's favourite is 'Happy Families', but we don't get to play that one as often as you need three players (I'd be happier if the families were a bit more diverse too!)