Top tips for filling the perfect Christmas stocking
Stockings are a lovely tradition to keep – they’re often the first sign on Christmas morning that Father Christmas has been, when your child looks over and see that their stocking has been magically filled overnight (plus it gives parents a great excuse to stay in bed just a little bit longer!).
There can be pressure to spend more and more on stocking fillers but really children are just happy to have something to unwrap. You can save money and avoid jealousy by setting a budget for your child’s stockings – maybe one or two more expensive gifts (ideally still under £10) alongside a few bits and pieces.
Two to six year-olds
So you can’t fit a whole play-set in a stocking, but you can fit in one or two Schleich figures or maybe a few small toy kitchen items. These are brilliant fun for make-believe play on their own or, if there’s a larger play-set downstairs under the tree, can offer a little tease for what’s to come.
Getting children interested in reading from a young age has lots of benefits, from giving them a head start at school to teaching them about empathy. So slip a book or two into their stocking – Campbell books are ideal for babies and toddlers – and provide a gift that keeps on giving.
Activity books are great for a bit of quiet entertainment and you could pop in a new pack of colouring crayons too. These will support your child’s writing skills and maybe keep them entertained for a while on Christmas morning. It’s also worth topping up on a few crafty materials, like Play Doh or paint brushes, as these are always popular.
Seven years and above
Getting children to play with friends and family is lots of fun all round and strengthens their social skills. We like the Sussed? card games, which get players talking about their likes and dislikes (and finding out who knows who best) and can get some hilarious conversations going.
These are perfect for playing alone and really getting those gears ticking away. Puzzles will develop you child’s logical thinking skills, helping them get better at finding solutions independently (and might also help them out in maths lessons). The IQ Puzzler Pro from Smart Games has 120 challenges within one compact, portable travel case for hours of puzzling playtime.
These are a handy way for older children to vent some anger, write about their problems, record the happy moments, and generally get their thoughts down on paper. As an added bonus your child will be developing handwriting and language skills at the same time. You can include a special pen and maybe some stickers so they can personalise their diary.
Alternative gift ideas
How about popping in a membership to a toy library as an inexpensive way for your child to try out lots of different toys throughout the year?
If you have an app enthusiast in your house, how about including apps as stocking fillers too?
If you can sneak the tablet away from your children on Christmas Eve, you can load them up so they are there for the morning but also print out the description from the App Store on paper, roll it into a scroll and tie it with a ribbon to give them something to open in their stocking. There are plenty of ideas in our Good App Guide – use it as an excuse to introduce great educational apps.
And finally, no stocking would be complete without the classic gold chocolate coins and an orange! We hope this article has inspired you to create a a stocking that gets your Christmas morning off to a wonderful start.
campbell books, Christmas, christmas 2016, christmas toys, schleich, smart games, stockings, sussed
This post was written by Anna Taylor