The nostalgic tradition of giving and receiving stocking stuffers is a favorite among many, but all that trinket-buying can invite excess junk. While most recipients aren't thrilled to inherit new clutter, givers don't want to waste money on items that'll just be tossed, either. So this year, consider a new approach: With home-inspired presents being amongst the most popular, why not opt for stocking stuffer gifts for the home that are thoughtful, useful, and affordable?
"The trick to unique gift-giving and stocking stuffers is to find something that is perceived as thoughtful, luxurious, and useful while remaining personable," says LeeAnn Baker of LeeAnn Baker Interiors in Seattle. "This doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money. We find that themed gifts help you avoid junk and let you cater to your recipients' needs as well as stay on-brand." Some of her favorite products to bundle include home care, self-care, and pet-related items.
Ahead, designers share tried-and-true home gifts that'll fit in a stocking. From homebodies, to hostesses, to your busiest loved ones (who deserve to relax when they are home), these clever ideas are sure to please. The holidays are mere weeks away; it's time for the shopping to commence.
For The Clutter-Hater
It's a gift-giving dilemma: How do you show someone you care when they don't want extra stuff in their space? "Consider gifts that will deal with clutter as opposed to becoming clutter, themselves," suggests designer David Bazner of David M. Bazner Interiors. "Think small boxes, vessels fit for flowers or pens, and of course, the almighty vide poche [a trinket dish]. Everyone has little bits and bobs that don’t necessarily have a defined place in the home — a movie ticket [that's a] first date keepsake, spare change from trips abroad, an odd set of keys you may one day need — so gifting stocking stuffers that can be used to corral such things will surely make for a more organized home."
In the spirit of keeping things space spic-and-span, Baker adds that luxe cleaning products, like those from Grove Collaborative, are always appreciated — plus they won't break the bank.
"A vide poche, French for “empty pockets,” is a small dish typically placed in an entry hall as a place to put small accouterments one needs daily," explains Bazner. "This accent bowl could easily be translated into such a thing ... a perfect spot to drop keys, coins, and a metro card after returning home from a long day at the office."
For The Hunkered-Down Homebody
Everyone has a friend who'd prefer an evening in to a night on the town, and for those recipients, pick gifts that'll enhance their sanctuary. "Diffusers make for a wonderful stocking stuffer," say Drew Hoffpauir and Lance Thomas of Room Service, based in Louisiana. Their favorite picks? Diffusers that look as good as they smell and don't require sticks or reeds.
Does the homebody you have in mind enjoy cozying up by a crackling fire? "Simply break off a cube of wax off of the carton and toss it into your fireplace," the designers explain. "[You'll get] an instant burst of holiday fragrances like s'mores, redwood forest."
But if your recipient is sans fireplace, Thomas and Hoffpauir says they can still "set the mood," with a portable flame (it's essentially a mini indoor fire pit). A s'mores set offers a tasty twist, and hunker-ers can roast marshmallows indoors, no matter how frightful the weather.
As for homebodies who are obsessed with their pets, you best not forget about their furry companion (who, undoubtedly, has a stocking of their own). Baker advises snagging a luxe toy or treat to show you didn't forget their four-legged friend.
For The One In Need Of A Space To De-Stress
For the friend or loved one with a stressful or busy career, choose items that'll help them relax in their own abode. "For self-care, what's nicer than a personalized scented candle, a box of luxury matches, and a journal to kickstart the New Year?" asks Baker.
Other zen-ifying stocking stuffers include bath salts, bath bombs, and relaxing oils and lotions, so even the busiest on your list can squeeze in a spa-like experience at home.
For The Hostess With The Mostest
Any social butterfly or soirée-throwing pro will love receiving chic accessories to use for entertaining. Bazner recommends a beautiful set of cloth napkins or some eye-catching coasters for the one on your list who always has company over. "Gifts that serve as an elevated version of something someone could use regularly, but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves are also worth considering," he adds.
Other ideas: embellished tumblers, stemless wineglasses, an elegant cocktail mixing set, or a fancy bottle opener are all fun ways to impress your favorite home bartender.
For The Traveling Out-Of-Towner
For those traveling to see you this holiday season, the designers suggest stuffing their stockings with some creature comforts to enjoy en route. "Nothing makes for a better stocking stuffer for out-of-town guests than a carry-on cocktail kit for their [plane] travels home," say Thomas and Hoffpauir.
Whether they're taking to the road or the skies, a stockpile of gourmet snacks will certainly be appreciated, and travel-friendly games are helpful too (especially for younger passengers). Keep in mind that portability is key; weighing down their luggage will just cause a nuisance.