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Ultimate Stocking Blueprint

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.

 

Candy

The wonderful filling to any good stocking. Candy canes and Pez dispensers were childhood traditions, but you could always trade up: quality chocolate,  sea salt caramels ($18) and some old school peppermint sticks ($4). Feel free to customize to their tastes.

 

The Clue

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 ($119) for the camera they asked for or maybe the remote to the flat screen TV hidden in the closet.

 

Inside Jokes

Maybe it's 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 gift-giving.

 

A Promise

Small scale with a big impact. It could be as personal as a handwritten IOU for dinner, as thoughtful as tickets to an upcoming show or movie, or as grand as plane tickets.

 

Practical Items

For some reason, a stocking's not complete without stuff like socks and school supplies. Make it personal with good pens ($27), a pocket knife ($19) or some  wool gloves ($12.97).

 

The Gadget

Growing up, it might've been a little robot. Now it can be an iPod Shuffle ($49), a new beard trimmer ($35) or the fitness tracker that they've been eyeing.

 

Toiletries

 When we were kids, we'd sometimes get soap on a rope.These days, go with small indulgences like luxe Italian soap ($15) or a small, travel-sized bottle of her favorite fragrance ($27).

 

The Sentiment

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.

FYI

The world's biggest stocking was created in Tuscany in 2011 and was over 168 feet long.

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