This year, because we got a PS4 (for my husband) and are doing the Princess Half Marathon trip (for me), we decided that my husband and I would skip big Christmas gifts for each other and just do stockings. Stockings stress my husband a bit because his family didn’t really do them, even as kids, whereas my family still loves stockings and my parents still love finding stocking stuffers even though we’re all in our thirties. The problem with stockings can be the tendency to stuff them full of candy. There’s an entire section of Target dedicated to Christmas candy these days and my mom tries to buy some of all of it to put in our stockings!
To help my husband out (hi honey!) and to help any of you who are being supportive of family members trying to make healthy lifestyle changes, I thought about some healthier stocking options that I would enjoy at this stage of weight maintenance and last year when I was actively trying to lose weight. There’s a fine balance between being supportive and not tempting someone to overindulge and making them feel left out because they’re “on a diet.” Hopefully these ideas will help you walk that line!
Fruits & nuts (and maybe even veggies): Before mass produced candy was available, fruit and nuts were traditionally included in stockings and Christmas gifts because a) citrus fruit was available at the time and b) fresh fruits and nuts were somewhat of a luxury and therefore celebratory. It would definitely be a nice to fill a stocking with treats that feel traditional, not diet-y. We’ve also done this with O’s stocking because even though he’s not trying to lose weight as a two year old, he doesn’t really need all that candy either. He gets more excited to see clementines than he does candy and I want to keep that mindset! Last year, my husband found the tiniest butternut squash at the grocery store to stick in my stocking to celebrate my new-found love of the veggie.
Small portions of high quality sweets: You don’t have to completely skip chocolate in a healthy stocking – that feels almost anti-Christmas. Instead, focus on small amounts of high quality darker chocolates so that your giftee gets to feel like they aren’t missing out on the candy part of the traditional stocking. Higher quality treats will make them feel special but should be more satisfying in smaller amounts, so you’re not tempting them to go overboard as much. I love the dark chocolate covered cocoa nibs at Trader Joe‘s (1 calorie each! Very intensely chocolatey) and the small chocolate bars of various cocoa percentages (small sizes but look special because of the European packaging).
Teas or coffee accessories / gift cards: If they enjoy hot tea, find some new blends for them (Katie over at RunsforCookies raves about David’s Teas) or a gift card to a new tea shop. If they’re a coffee lover, a new coffee blend or mug or gift card would be great.
Hand lotions / body products: I have yet to run across a girl who doesn’t love a good lotion and honestly, you can’t have too many of those. Or am I the only girl that has hand lotion stashed in her car, all of my work desks, her bedside table, her gym bag, etc? There are also actually some good products out there for guys too, even guys like my husband who hate the idea of body products. If you live somewhere cold and dry, the Neutrogena intense hand cream for fisherman is great. For guys specifically, the Jack Black products are good and don’t smell frou frou (and Sephora usually has nice small stocking sizes for a reasonable price this time of year).
Nail products / make up: This is more girl-specific I suppose, but nail polishes, nail files, lip balms, etc are fun stocking fillers. Stay away from specific make up unless you’re confident you know what they like (although I do fondly recall the electric blue mascara my dad bought to put in my stocking when I was in junior high and for some reason, my mom put him in charge of buying the make up for my stocking the first year they did that).
Jewelry: For stockings, you can pick up some fun jewelry with a wide range of budgets. I love knowing that my husband and my two year old will go look at the Target wall of earrings to pick out something for me. O has good taste, I must say. If your giftee is into charm bracelets, new charms, especially as related to any new fitness hobbies they may have picked up, are a good idea. There’s also a big new market of fitness-themed jewelry out there.
Fitness-themed gifts: Speaking of fitness themed gifts, I would recommend only buying your person a fitness-themed gift if they’ve embraced exercise as part of their healthy lifestyle so it doesn’t feel like you’re pushing or suggesting that they need to exercise more. As I have embraced running as a hobby now, I would love running-themed gifts (and there will be a post later this week specifically about those!) but before that had occurred, I would just be offended if you stuck a pedometer in my stocking. Be careful with that! That said, if your giftee now loves Zumba or yoga or racquetball, gifts related to their new hobby would be a great inclusion in their stocking. Sports socks or tees, gift certificates for classes or lessons, workout DVDs related to their area of interest or small pieces of equipment (like new balls) would all be great stocking stuffers. Try to tailor it specifically to their area of interest if you can. I would avoid weights – that wouldn’t be very structurally sound on the mantle.
Links for further reading: