How to fill a stocking
Put a tangerine or bouncy ball or something else round and solid in the toe to help the stocking keep its shape.
Place small, expensive items near the toe for added excitement value because they'll be the last to be found.
Slip long, slim items down the stocking leg, and stuff other more malleable items in between.
Items that are wrapped up will provide the most fun for the longest time – a good idea if kids open their stocking before waking mum and dad.
Don’t use too much sticky tape if older members of the family have conditions like arthritis.
Feeling lazy, or short of time? Get inspiration from Stocking Fillers (stocking-fillers.co.uk) who offer a range of gifts from under £1 (though you’ll only have yourself to blame if the 99p sticky eyeball turns up in Great Aunt Maud’s sprouts) plus pre-filled Christmas stockings for £19.99 tailored to different age groups.
Visit our Christmas section for more gift, decoration and food ideas
Stockings: six of the best
Unusual stocking fillers
Often, obvious items work best in stockings. For kids, think crayons, packs of cards, mini jigsaw puzzles, wind-up toys, water pistols, travel-sized games, small soft toys, Corgi models and toy cars and torches. Adults appreciate travel sizes of nice bath oils and moisturisers, beauty products, tiny packs of unusual teas, coffees and foodstuffs, and miniatures of spirits.
But we’ve come up with a few unusual festive treats that won’t break the bank and will kick off Christmas morning with some nice surprises.
Get the measure of him with a personalised measures tumbler, £9.99 from very.co.uk
Smell like a wise man with Crabtree & Evelyn’s Moroccan Myrrh Shave Duo, £15
Wash away a hangover with Meantine Brewing’s Beer Soap, made from Pale Ale, £4.99 from meantimebrewing.com
Twirl grandpa’s ‘tache with Pall Mall Barbers’ Moustache Wax, made with festive sandalwood and clove, £12, pallmallbarbers.com
Pop in a jar of sticky, smoky Bacon or Chorizo Jam, £2.50-£2.99 from major supermarkets.
Enjoy a relaxing cuppa with the 12 Tea Gift Box containing four different teas, £4.95, o-teas.com
Be the life and soul in M&S Collection’s sparkly ‘party’ earrings, from £12.50
Give mum a lift with (non alcoholic) fizzy Prosecco gummies, £5.95 for a 210g jar, sugarsin.co.uk
Relax when it’s all over with the Snap bath bomb Christmas cracker, £12 from J D Williams.
Relieve tired feet with Cath Kidston’s pretty Bewmore Rose foldaway party shoes, £18.
For little ones
Include a knitted angel rattle for your own Christmas angel, £9.99 from borngifted.co.uk
Keep little hands soft with M&S’s Percy Pig hand cream, £4
Tuck in these tiny Sylvanian Family Walnut Squirrel twins, £7.99 from Amazon.co.uk
Deck out your favourite bunny in sweet Miffy jersey set, £7.99, H&M
For older youngsters
Go wild with Wicked’s Indoor Booma boomerang, £5.99, from Amazon or Tesco.
Get swopping with Star Wars: Rogue One Trading Cards, £4.99, from supermarkets and newsagents.
Thunderbirds are go with these Corgi models, including Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls Royce, Fab 1, £19.99 from corgi.co.uk
Help teenagers develop life skills with Libbla Kelly’s mindfulness for children book ‘Wisdom While you Work’, £10 from Amazon.
Light up scooters and bikes and keep kids safe with a Scooti light, £9.99 from hippychick.com