Stockings are like rapid-fire gift giving—tiny bursts of excitement with each little trinket, toy or tasty piece of candy. A childhood tradition that is seriously underrated, a good stocking is thoughtful, personal and surprising. It shows someone (your significant other, for example) that you've been paying attention and took some time to assemble a package of presents tailored to their tastes. Of course, not all the pieces have to be extravagant. Some are funny. Some are practical. That's the whole point. Here's how to assemble the ultimate stocking, with a few crowd-pleasing suggestions.
The wonderful filling to any good stocking. Pez dispensers were something of a family tradition, but you could always trade up: Mexican chocolate, some salted caramels ($8) and a few candy canes. Feel free to customize to their specific tastes.
Because the stocking's always the first to be opened (right?), you can give clues to the big ticket gift coming up. A camera strap ($82) for the DSLR camera or maybe the remote to the flat screen TV hidden in the closet.
The Inside Joke
Maybe its ear plugs because she says you snore. Or perhaps she gets you that girly face cream she knows you'll steal from her. All's fair in love and stockings.
Small scale with a big impact. It could be as personal as a handwritten IOU, as thoughtful as tickets to an upcoming show or movie, or as grand as plane tickets.
The Practical Items
For some reason, a stocking's not complete without stuff like socks and school supplies. Make it personal—touchscreen gloves ($25), good pens ($20), soft wool socks or T-shirts from their favorite brand.
Growing up, it might've been a little robot. Now it can be an iPod nano ($129), a new beard trimmer or the digital camera they've been eyeing.
Growing up, we always got soap on a rope. Maybe it was an '80s thing. Go with a small indulgence like Malin + Goetz's peppermint soap ($10) or a travel bottle of their favorite fragrance.
An orange in the toe of a stocking is an old tradition that goes back to the real St. Nicholas. It adds an old-timey charm, holds the stocking's shape and makes it easier to fill.
The world's biggest stocking was created in London in 2007 and was 108 feet long.