137 ideas for cheap but fun stocking fillers

Pic of my son and the contents of his cheap but fun stocking

Flashback to stockings past

Stockings don’t have to cost a bomb, with these 53 ideas for cheap but fun stocking fillers.

On average, Brits will spend £45 each on stocking presents this year, according to research by American Express. For a family with several kids, that could really add up. 

I really enjoy choosing stocking fillers for my kids, but I don’t think stockings need to cost that much. 

In our house, stockings from Father Christmas are opened first thing in the morning, while larger presents from family and friends are opened later on Christmas Day.

Check out my tips below for Christmas stockings, followed by 137 ideas for cheap but fun stocking fillers. I’ve included suggestions from members of the Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group too (do hop on over and join us!).

I focused on items that cost £2 or under per item, although there are a few suggestions around the £3 to £4 mark. I’ve also included some ideas for toddlers and also for tricky teens.

Remember, you can still have a magical Christmas morning without spending a fortune!

Previous posts: Christmas Eve and A plea for a little less Christmas

Top tips for cheap but fun Christmas stockings

Stick to a sock not a sack

Fundamentally, filling a smaller space costs less. I use stretchy football socks rather than expanding to a sack or pillowcase. I have a pair of socks, so I can fill one in advance, then nip in to the child’s bedroom and quickly swap it for the empty sock on their bed.

Set Christmas traditions

For our stockings, some presents always stay the same – a satsuma and chocolate orange right at the bottom, a cracker sticking out of the top, chocolate coins somewhere in between and maybe a new decoration for the Christmas tree. I can then nab familiar items when I see them on sale – I’ve been known to pick up cut price Christmas crackers in January

Spread the cost

Given it’s already December, this may seem like one of those useless revision tips that advises starting way earlier than the week before the exam.

But if you do keep an eye open for bargain stocking presents through the year, this will help spread the cost.  Of course, you do then face the issue of hiding them somewhere the children won’t find them, but you’ll still remember come Christmas Eve.

Save with multipacks

If you’re making stockings for more than one child, look out for multipacks. Splitting a three pack of socks/bath bombs/toy cars between several stockings is often cheaper than buying them individually, or stuffing a whole multipack in each. 

Cram in some useful items

Seize the chance to include some stuff you’d have to buy anyway, among the toys and sweets. Think fun hats and gloves, cartoon character toothbrushes, flannels and toiletries, or fancy versions of arts materials such as sellotape, notebooks and glue sticks.

Make it miniature

Lots of things seem more fun in smaller sizes, which also makes them perfect to fit in a stocking. Think mini jars of jam, matchbox size toys or travel size toiletries.

Keep the kids occupied

One of the prime purposes of Christmas stockings is to buy parents extra precious minutes in bed. So think of time-consuming items like mini puzzles or construction toys, books or magazines to read, or games to play.

Watch out for noisy items

Kids may love noisy toys, but other family members may find them less appealing early doors.

Fair to say I regretted buying light up laser pistols, when space battles started at hideous o’clock on Christmas morning. Think twice about any ‘musical’ instruments (harmonicas, whistles).

Consider the consequences

In fact, consider the impact of any present, especially if you are staying in someone else’s house.

I do not recommend unsupervised access to anything involving missiles, glitter, Hama beads or mega bouncy balls (voice of bitter experience). 

Keep it green

I can’t pretend our stockings are plastic free, but they don’t have to be entirely packed with plastic. Consider including some more eco-friendly items, such as trad wooden toys, reusable items and things you’d need to buy anyway.

Previous post: 10 simple swaps for plastic-free products around the house

Switch shops

Fair to say you’ll spend less if you opt for  Flying Tiger rather than Fortnums and Superdrug rather than Selfridges. Happy hunting grounds for me include The Works, Wilko, The Range, Poundland, B&M Bargains, Ikea, supermarkets and local discount stores – ours is QD. I also scope out pocket money sections in toy shops, department stores and gift shops when we go on outings.

Watch out for delivery delays

When bargain hunting, prices from the likes of eBay, Amazon and Wish can look temptingly low. But do check the expected delivery dates, which can be lengthy when shipping from China. That’s fine if you’re shopping well ahead, but dangerous in December, with the risk that stocking fillers might not arrive until after Christmas.

I’ve therefore focused the links below on high street stores.

Mix it up

Keep the prices in perspective. If you fill most of the stocking with bargains, you might then be able to splash out on some more expensive items your kids would really love. In past years I’ve mixed in £3 music boxes at Flying Tiger, £3.50 Lego minifigures, £4 Playmobil characters and hexbugs. Just don’t feel every item has to cost an arm and a leg.

 

pic of my son with a stick on moustache

Comedy stick on moustaches for the win

Ideas for cheap but fun stocking fillers

Drum roll please…

Keep it clean

Dial up toiletries you’d have to buy anyway with more fun versions

Character toothbrushes egg 2 for £1 Avengers or LOL Surprise at Savers or 

Fun flavour toothpaste eg Boots £1 berry toothpaste

Character toothbrushes, such as this Minions toothbrush £1.99 at Superdrug. Stretch to £4 to £6 and you can find battery operated brushes.

Flannel, with cartoon character or magic flannels that expand in water, eg  £2 Spiderman from Sainsburys or Disney characters from Wilko

Shaped or scented soap eg 99p cactus or flamingo from Superdrug

Fizzing bath bombs eg £1 snowman from B&M

Gloop that turns bath water sparkly/colourful/slimy eg £2 Boots colour change bath

Toddler toys

A few small but safe options for younger children

Cute plastic bath toys eg novelty ducks £1 at Poundland

Shaped sponge, like these animal versions £1.50 from Boots

Christmas wash mitt, like the polar bear or penguin £1.50 at B&M

Toddler character toothbrush eg £1.75 at Tesco for animal brushes

Toy dinosaurs eg £1.99 from The Range

Finger puppets, bear with me as 10 for £5 at Ikea, but that is only 50p each

Stacking cups, pushing the budget to £2.75 from IKEA

Small soft toy, such as this £1 bear from IKEA

Mini board book, for example 5 Peppa Pig books for £3.99 at The Works, so 80p each

Mini box of raisins, for example 12 for £1.30 at Sainsburys

Chocolate buttons, about 70p for a 40g bag of Cadbury’s Dairy milk buttons

Stickers of their favourite characters, eg Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol or £2 for the Gruffalo from The Works

Masks eg superheroes or £2.50 pack of 8 animal masks from The Works

Chunky coloured pencils, chalks or crayons, eg this 75p set of chalks from Wilko or 12 unicorn pencils from The Range

Stationerytastic

Look out for stationery themed around their favourite characters, from superheroes and Harry Pottter to emojis and unicorns

Coloured Pritt sticks, 4 for £3.50

Glittery/patterned mini sellotape, eg 4 for £4

Four colour pen, eg £2 from Wilko

Fun pens – think novelty item on top, like this Lol surprise pen, £1.12 at The Range

Mini highlighters eg set of 6 for £2 at the Works

Novelty erasers, eg 4 Harry Potter erasers for £1.49 at The Range

Themed mini notebooks, eg spiral bound A6 notebook from The Works

Colourful mini diaries, think A6 (£1.50 from The Works) or smaller

Desk accessory set eg £1.50 from Wilko

Mini stationery sets, with teeny stapler and staples, at £1.50 from Wilko or push the boat out to £2.49 at The Range

Funky pencil case or pencil tin, eg emojis or Tinkerbell for £1 from Rymans

Magnetic book marks eg 4 for £1 at Wilko

Wear it well

Good way to fill up space with useful items

Novelty socks, eg 6 pack for £3 from B&M

Woolly hat, eg reversible kids beanie £1.99 from Mountain Warehouse

Mittens/gloves, eg Poundland skeleton or touch screen gloves for £1 and 3 pack glow in the dark gloves from B&M for £2

Fun hair ties/hair grips, eg arrow hair grips £1.49 at Superdrug

Scrunchies, such as this £1.99 three pack from Superdrug

Reusable water bottle, eg £1 from Poundland

Let there be light

Great for dark December evenings – and mornings if they’re up early enough on the big day…

Mini LED torches, eg £1.99 from The Range. Stretch to £2.99 for this fox wind up torch from Mountain Warehouse.

Torches that project shadows eg 2 pack projector torches £1 from Poundland

Glow sticks, eg pack of 15 bracelets for £1.50 from Wilko or £1 from Poundland

String of lights eg £1 for daisies from Poundland

Clip on reading lights, like this mini desk lamp £3 from The Works

Glow in the dark stickers, like these £1.50 glow stars from House of Marbles

Spooky specs, £1.99 from House of Marbles

Pic of Christmas tree decorations

Try including a new tree decoration every year

Trad toys

I‘m a sucker for retro designs and small wooden toys

Pack of cards, think snap, happy families or old maid. Set of 6 only £1.29 from The Range or stretch to £3 for Retro Round Britain card game in a tin from The Works

Dominoes or pick up sticks, 2 in 1 pack for £2 from The Works

Metal Jacks, £2 from The Works

Skipping rope, eg wooden handled version £1.50 at The Range

Slinky, £1.99 mini version from House of Marbles

Wooden yo yo, £1.99 choice of colours from House of Marbles

Twist and lock blocks, £1.49 from the Happy Puzzle Company

Keep ’em busy

Always include something that will keep them quiet for longer. 

Construction kit eg Wilko blox spaceship for £1.10

Metal pocket puzzles £1.50 at Tesco

Mini puzzle eg dinosaur puzzle bag, £1.49 from QD or Pringles jigsaw £2 at The Works

Beat the grown ups trivia games, £2.25 at Sainsburys

Mini joke book, £2 for Beano howlers from The Works

Mini crossword/suduko/wordsearch books eg £2 Sudoko from The Works

I’ve also picked up Lego minifgures and Pixel Bricks Animal Planet kits when on offer.

Budding artists

May require slightly more supervision, but can be useful diversions over the holidays

Craft scissors, with shaped blades, such as this 3 pack for £2 from The Works

Calligraphy pens, eg set of 2 for £1.99 from The Range

Metallic marker, eg 3 pack of retractable metallic pens £3.50 from Sainsburys, so £1.17 each.

Scratch off rainbow art cards, eg £1 kit at The Range

Tub of playdoh £1, or split a multipack

Shaped cookie cutter, 4 for £2 Christmas cutters from The Works

Chunky or unusual paintbrushes

Paint sponges eg 6 crayola sponges for £1 at Poundland

Character ink stamp, eg 10 pack of dinosaur stampers from The Works

Mini colouring book, eg £1 unicorn version from Wilko or £1 dinosaurs at Flying Tiger

Decorated paper clips/bulldog clips/clothes pegs, such as these £1 wooden fairy pegs from The Range

Magic slate, 75p from House of Marbles

Paint your own flower or giraffe kit, £1.25 from Wilko

Fun stuff

Gratuitously fun toys to play with. If all else fails, add a whoopee cushion.

Pens that write with invisible ink. eg £1 secret elf message pen from The Works

Balloon powered cars

Wind up teeth or toys eg £2 reindeer from The Works

Pull back cars/animals, like the £3 wooden racing car from Flying Tiger

Toy cars, such as matchbox or this Hot Wheels car £1.50 from B&M

Jumping monsters, 4 for £1.50 from Tesco

Sticky man wall crawler, 99p from House of Marbles

Finger monsters, 99p from House of Marbles

Fortune telling fish, 99p from House of Marbles

Long tongue frog, £1.50 from House of Marbles

Thumb push toys, on sale at £1.99 from House of Marbles, such as this reindeer

Character key ring, for keys or school bag, such as this £1 cinema light box from B&M

Mini gliders, like this £1.50 flying bird from House of Marbles

Snap bands, eg £1 each at Tesco

Picture of my two children with a stocking present

Growing a grass head

Vaguely educational

Compass, £1.49 zip puller version from Mountain Warehouse or £2.50 from House of Marbles

Toy magnifying glass, eg Adventurer’s folding version £1.99 from House of Marbles

Grass growing head

Seeds (eg wildflower bomb, packet of cress seeds, £1.50 from Wilko)

Incredible edibles

Satsuma

Terry’s chocolate orange, usually on offer for £1 round Christmas

Chocolate Santa/reindeer/snowman/bear for about £1

Chocolate coins, from 59p at Tesco

Mini box of their favourite chocolates

Favourite sweets, eg lemon sherbets, liquorice

Whistling lolly, eg Chupa Chupa Melody Pops for 20p

Pez dispenser, eg. £1 for Super Mario characters at B&M

Kinder egg, around 85p, mainly for the toy

Candy canes, 12 for £1 from Poundland

Warning – approach with care

Approach any of these items at your own risk, as you may live to regret them

Harmonicas

Mini drums/bongos

Pipes

Whistles

Blowers

Bicycle bells

Pop guns

Water pistols

Catapults

Bouncy balls

Marbles

Tubs of slime, magic sand or putty

Glitter

Paint or permanent markers

Tiger balloons

Bubble gum/chewing gum

Bubble mixture

Pic of my daughter with her stocking when young

Flashback to simpler stockings

Tricky teens

Sadly teens can’t just be fobbed off with a large cardboard box and a balloon at Christmas time. Their small items of desire seem to cost distinctly more, but here are some ideas to combine with childish fun above. Removing packaging can sometimes help sneak bargain items past choosy teens.

Compact mirrors, eg £2 initial personalised versions from Superdrug

Stress balls, like this £1 cutie from Poundland

Tweezers, like these £1.49 light up versions from B&M

Blue tooth shower speaker, stretching it but a good deal at £4.99 from Rymans

4 pack reusable metal straws and cleaning brush, £3 from Flying Tiger

Recycled plastic cover for iPhone, £3 from Flying Tiger

Multi tool, great for cyclists, £3.50 from Wilko

Covid special: funky face mask eg £1.49 tiger stripes from The Range

Vaseline lip tin, eg this rainbow version £1.29 from Superdrug

Mini nail varnish in full colours, eg Barry M Butterflyfish £1.99 at Superdrug

OTT false eyelashes only 99p from Superdrug

Colourful make up sponges, 4 for £2 at Savers

Hair wax, eg £1.99 from Superdrug

Travel size sun cream eg £2.99 Ambre Solair from Superdrug

Nail care, such as nail clippers or these £1.99 toenail scissors from Superdrug

Nail file like this version with a pouch £1.69 from Superdrug

Hair brush like this Savers eco detangler brush for £2.49

Oldie but goodie Maybelline great lash mascara £5.99 at Superdrug

Make up or skin care samples

Make up bag, pencil bag or purse, eg £1.49 from Superdrug

Small scented candle, eg £1.20 Yankee gingerbread votive from Tesco

Pot of their favourite spreadable, eg Nutella, marmite, peanut butter, mini jam

Retro sweets like love hearts

Slogan mug, eg ‘I run on coffee’ £2 from Tesco

For older teens, a miniature of their favourite spirit, eg £3 Sipsmith gin

Comedy bottle opener, eg this £1 flip flop from The Range

Corkscrew like this £1 waiter’s tool from The Range

Lottery scratchcard for £1

More expensive suggestions include small headphones/ear buds, power bank, charging lead, reusable cup, fold up shopping bag, make up, scent and make up brushes.

 

Now – over to you. What are your best budget buys from Father Christmas? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear your suggestions for cheap but fun stocking fillers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Comments

  1. Louise
    14th December 2020 / 2:54 pm

    We have 4 kids and they all still have stocking (ages range from 23 down to 11) this year they have each got a funky pair of socks (mainly from ebay or amazon) suited to their likes/ personality, choc coins, something else chocolate (2 x choc orange, 2 x giant buttons), shower gel, anti perspirant, something else not edible (eg bath bomb, nose strips, Harry Potter playing cards in a tin bought foe £2 in the Jan sale) 🙂

    • Faith
      Author
      15th December 2020 / 9:07 am

      Love those stocking presents, sound perfect! Hope you and your family all have a very happy Christmas.

The contents of this blog are for information and ideas, and should not be viewed as financial advice. Use of the material is conditional on there being no liability for how you choose to use it. If you are unsure about any investments or financial issues, please contact a financial adviser.