Mama OWL Blog: The Lost Art of Stocking Stuffing | Gifts for £5 & Under

The Lost Art of Stocking Stuffing | Gifts for £5 & Under

Thursday, 12 November 2015

On Christmas Eve my kids hang their stockings at the foot of their beds (or rather, drape/throw them down the end) and go off to sleep, wondering what goodies they will be filled with come Christmas morning. But I am telling you now - what they won't contain is a computer game, or perfume, or indeed anything that costs more than about a fiver, maximum. Why is this, you might be wondering..?


Is carefully choosing some thoughtful little presents to fill a stocking for a reasonable price a lost art? I know it's certainly getting harder to buy anything for under £5, but I do have to laugh when I see shops advertising stocking fillers for "Under £20". Those are not stocking fillers. They're just not. I can fill a stocking for the kids from 'Father Christmas' for £20-£25 with lots of lovely things - not tat - and know that they will be loved by the children, and I can save the actual gifts for them to find under the tree.

After I've had an extra half hour snooze that the morning stocking opening affords me.

It's a lot easier to fill a Christmas stocking for my teenage daughter than it is for my teenage son, but as Tara said on Twitter this week - that's all part of the challenge.

It would be simple enough to bung a game or two in there, but that's not only expensive - it's boring. Where is the fun in that? I can go down their lists and choose things from there, but I also want to take the time to find things that I know they will like and get use from that I have thought of myself. Even if it is something as simple as a cosmetic with a shade name that will amuse A, or a little pocket gadget that J will think is cool - it's the thought that counts. It's the time that I have taken to look. It's caring enough to know what their favourite things are and what they will like.

I was pleased to learn that it isn't just me that feels this way, and that others also have their own little stocking traditions. Life On Planet G fills her kids stockings with sweets, smellies & socks, Tara Cain gives her son a Lego Mini figure keyring each year as well as a new decoration each for the tree for both of her children, and Rachel in Real Life like me includes chocolate coins and a new toothbrush in hers every year. Mummy Barrow reminisced about the days when we all got a bag of nuts, a tangerine, and an annual (I used to love getting an annual every year!). It's the little things like this that makes Christmas special. These are the things that we remember - tradition, love, care, thought, time. Not how much money was spent. To me, the Christmas stocking is the place to put those funny little extras... fluffy bed socks, games - pick up sticks & dominoes went down well with the boys last year - or a pack of cards to play with together after Christmas dinner, Top Trumps (my kids LOVE these), "magic flannels", or little beauty knick knacks like make up sponges, lip balms, bobby grips, & face masks.

I asked friends on Twitter to share ideas for places to look for proper stocking fillers, and I'm busy trawling the internet finding the bits & bobs that will be loved & appreciated just as much as any big ticket present. Here's the list we came up with between us for places to shop for quality items and those hidden gems. The traditional, the useful, as well as fun and novelty - and most importantly, a good selection for about £5 and under. Feel free to comment and share your own suggestions!

 Dotcomgiftshop • Wilko • Primark • Hawkin's Bazaar • Tiger •
• The Pound Shop • Poundland • B&M • Home Bargains • Boots • Superdrug •


  1. We have already started planning a trip to Poundland to fill M's stocking. You've made me want an annual this year.

  2. Love it, all mine get an annual & the stockings are done but I go s but overboard. The girls have 25 little bits each, the most of which cost about £2. Their whole sticking is under £20 & it is their favourite part. Mich x

  3. Totally agree with you on this, Home Bargains has been fab for finding stocking fillers, note pads for 50p etc. Stockings are meant to be filled with all things nonsense and tacky ;)

  4. I've already started on stocking fillers (but not main presents) - shopkins, socks, undies, hair clips, funny pens etc. is a good bet for me.

  5. I got all my kids (2 & 5) stocking presents from Poundland and Primark this year. Approx £12 each stocking. When they're older I will prob spend a bit more but it will still be full of silly fun things!

  6. My 8 year old son has asked for an annual this year. I put a tangerine and a pound coind in the bottom of the stocking like I used to have when I was small. The rest gets filled with sweets and chocolate and the odd knick knack. I never spend a lot. I love shopping for stocking fillers as I can get the nonsense that I wouldn't normally buy.

  7. I totally agree with you. N's stocking would usually be under £20. Traditional satsuma, 20p, chocolate coins, socks, those flannels are fab. Cool pen and little note pad. Then just little things that are fun or mini puzzles. Probably won't change that much as he gets older.

    When we were kids, the stockings were the best bit, and just the same. Especially in this day of wish lists for main presents.


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