Non Food and Healthy Christmas Stocking Ideas for Kids
Am I one of those kill-joy moms who don’t let their kids eat sugar? Not really, but I have started being a lot more thoughtful about how we eat and what habits I am developing with my kids. So I decided to share some of the healthy Christmas stocking ideas my friends and I have come up with over the years. These are also great non food ideas for kids with allergies!
Why Focus on Healthy?
A couple of years ago I found out that I was prediabetic and my cholesterol was getting high. I already ate pretty healthy but decided to make even more dramatic changes. It is interesting because the idea of a “beach body” was never a super strong motivation. But the thought of losing the ability to do things with my kids and future grandkids was. And while I could never totally control how my body was going to look, I could control how well I treated it. My health wasn’t in immediate danger, but I didn’t like the path I was on.
But our family quickly learned that if momma decides to get healthy, the rest of the family is going to get healthy too. I am the one doing the shopping, meal planning, and cooking!
I have always suffered from a terrible body image, so I wanted my kids to learn to eat well for the right reasons. We started talking about what it took to eat a balanced meal, the gimmicks marketers use to get you to buy stuff, and healthy food choices. We never talked about weight gain or how we looked, just how we felt. It has been neat to see my kids purposefully choosing healthy snacks. We aren’t angels and my kids still get plenty of candy. But I have been trying to teach them how to maintain a healthy balance and relationship with food.
One of our first obstacles was the holidays. So many of our traditions are centered around lots of unhealthy food. So I set out on making traditions that were based on healthier choices. Sugar is a quick way to make anything special, but there are lots of other ways too.
Non Food and Healthy Christmas Stocking Ideas
Thoughtful Christmas Stocking Ideas
Thank You Cards: I make my kids write out thank you cards before they play with a new toy or present. So in their stocking, I like to put a special pack of thank you cards that reflects their personality. For example, last year Ladybug got a pack of cute kitten thank you cards. And I love this idea for younger kids with the fill in the blanks. It is never too early to start practicing gratitude!
Ornaments: One of my friends gives her kids an ornament in their stocking every year. That way when they start their own family, they already have some meaningful ornaments for their tree!
Turn an Old Toy Into an Ornament:
Especially meaningful for teens and older children, you can turn an old toy or keepsake into an ornament. See more ideas.
Special Note: Another friend buys a Christmas card and adds a special note to each of her children. What a special way to share your love! These Christmas cards are especially fun because they play music too!
Share your Testimony: How often do we share our testimony with our kids? Do they know what we believe and why? Sharing your testimony can be a powerful way of bringing the spirit into our families and the holiday. Be sure to gear what you share to your child’s age. A seven-year-old child will not be interested in a long essay, but writing down a few well-chosen words is perfect. You can even write it down in a card or a book that makes you think of Christ. As you bring out the books each Christmas, they will be a wonderful tradition and a powerful reminder of the testimony that you have shared. When my kids were little, “Who is Coming to Our House?” was a favorite.
Fun Christmas Stocking Ideas
Legos: Our family loves Legos! The little mini packs are perfect for stockings or the Lego advent calendars are a fun way to count down the days to Christmas without candy.
This set was a favorite for Ladybug. We have guinea pigs, so we pretend the hamsters are guinea pigs!
Gold Coins: Dollar coins aren’t very common, which makes them feel special. Their gold color is also a bonus. My kids love to get a couple of dollar coins in their stocking, and it is even the legal tender used by our tooth fairy! Usually your bank will have some on hand. If they are a little dingy, you can brighten them up by putting the coins in a small cup of vinegar mixed with some table salt.
Glow Sticks and Lights: Kids love things that glow! Grab a pack of glow sticks and use them to light up your kids’ bath time. Or LED jelly light up rings are perfect for parties. My kids also like to have a special flashlight by their bedside. If you get one that cranks, you don’t have to worry about them running down the battery.
Jewelry: Necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets are the perfect size for stocking stuffers.
If you are looking for boys, a paracord bracelet with a compass and flashlight on it works great.
Mad Libs: We loved Mad Libs books as kids and they are a fun way to spend time together as a family. There are even Christmas-themed ones!
Blind Bags: One of my friends gets blind bags for her kid’s stocking. They are very popular right now and kids love seeing what is inside!
Earbuds or Headphones: For kids who love to listen to music, ear buds are perfect. For younger kids, we love these headband headphones. They are comfortable, easy to wear, stay on, totally adorable, and help diffuse the sound a little so that the music isn’t too loud for little ears.
Slime, Silly Putty, or Playdough: My daughter is constantly begging for slime. Looking for something a little different? Crazy Aaron’s Putty has the coolest mix of silly putty that is supposed to never dry out. You can find ones that glow in the dark or smell amazing or that let you write special messages on it that show up under a blacklight.
Gift Cards: Next time let your kid pay for dinner! Pick out a gift card to a favorite restaurant and let your child pick when to go. Kids love the freedom of deciding where to eat. My kids are always begging for Olive Garden, Soup Plantation or Sizzler. I am sensing an “all you can eat theme”…that’s not healthy!
Card Games: Card games are small and inexpensive. Great for slipping into a stocking! My favorite right now is Skip-bo!
Quarters or Tokens: When my kids were little they always begged for quarters to go on the carousel in front of the grocery store or to buy something from the gumball or novelty vending machines. I always told them no because I didn’t want to hear them beg every time we went to the store. But wrapping up a few quarters to stick in their stocking is a perfect way to let them indulge a little! You can also buy some tokens from your kids’ favorite arcade!
Practical Christmas Stocking Ideas
Socks: It might seem a little redundant to put socks in your stocking, but fun socks are hot right now.
Beauty Items: For preteen and teen girls, nail polish, lip gloss, bath bombs, body wash, hand lotion, and hair stuff is an easy pick. For boys, they might like some special chapstick. And maybe you can avoid sore, cracked lips over the winter. These Lip Smackers are a lot of fun!
Toothbrushes: I know this one sounds boring but hear me out. There are a lot of fun toothbrushes out there for little kids. One year I bought toothbrushes that were lightsabers. They even made lightsaber noises on a two-minute timer so that they would know how long to brush. Another year, I found some that played top hits for two minutes. The kids loved them!
Pens, Pencils, and Markers: Back to school doesn’t have to be the only time to get new school supplies! Plus, there are so many fun pens and pencils out there. This liquid motion pen doubles as a sensory or fidget toy!
Food Christmas Stocking Ideas
Favorite Cereal: While this isn’t really healthy, it is “healthier.” Instead of doing candy in the stockings, I put a box of the kids’ favorite sugary cereal next to their stockings. I figure it is better than giving them a candy bar! My kids very rarely get sugary cereal so getting a box all to themselves is a huge deal. We do stockings before opening other gifts, so this also gives them a quick and easy breakfast.
Oranges: I like to stick an orange in the stocking for sentimental reasons. My mom never got citrus growing up, but on Christmas they got an orange in the toe of their stocking. She remembers eating it slowly and savoring every piece. We have so much abundance now, it is hard to believe a kid would be excited about an orange. I share the story with my kids as a reminder to be grateful and that it is possible to be happy with very little.
Gum: Sugar-free gum is healthier than candy and still a fun treat. I like to get my kids special flavors we don’t usually have on hand.
Nuts: We love nuts. They pack a lot of protein and are very filling. Blue Diamond makes some fun flavors that my kids love. Salt and Vinegar almonds are the perfect way to curb your potato chip cravings.
Breakfast Ingredients: A friend of mine likes to stick the little mini maple syrup bottles from World Market into her kids’ stockings. You can take it even a step further and add all the things you need! Hot cocoa, marshmallows, pancake mix!
Dried Fruit: This one isn’t for everyone. Not all kids like dried fruit, but my boy is crazy about dried pineapple! Dried mangos are also a big hit.
Glass Bottle of a Favorite Soda: This one isn’t healthy, but it is still super fun. Kids are used to soda in a can, so a friend buys a glass bottle of her kids’ favorite soda to stick in their stockings as a special treat.
Make a Fun Tradition
I also wanted to share a fun tradition my sister does with her family. The stockings are how her kids give gifts to each other. Everyone has a $5 limit and they buy stocking stuffers for everyone else….things like gum, bath bombs, chapstick, screwdrivers, fuzzy socks, bookmarks, mini plants, play dough, lotion, earrings, etc. Then the youngest gets to creep out before bed and put all their gifts into stockings. One by one, everyone takes a turn up to mom and dad. Then Christmas morning they take turns opening their stockings and trying to guess who gave what!
If you liked my Healthy Christmas Stocking Ideas, you might be interested in getting a jump on Healthy Easter Ideas for Kids.