I am always on the look out for cheap and easy ways to give gifts, especially at Christmas. So when I read an article about ways to fill your kids' stockings without breaking the bank, AND without a bunch of candy and plastic crap, I was really excited. Even though I can't find the exact article to post here, I do remember a lot of the suggestions and thought I would share them!
Some ideas were to give things that would last past Christmas, every day household things but spruced up a little. A new toothbrush that lights up or plays music (we found them at the Dollar Store or PX for $1-2 each). New socks with characters on them (Target, Dollar Store $1). Art supplies (crayons, stamps, stickers, mini notepads).
The ideas that stuck with me the most were food ideas. You can take food out of your pantry, add some decorations to it and put it in their stockings. Granola bars in wrapping paper. Oatmeal and hot chocolate packets with stickers on it. Pediasure with a bow. Pancake mix premeasured into a bag with sprinkles. Basically, the author said any kind of breakfast food is a good idea because they can eat it right away and you don't have to worry about making a separate breakfast meal. Also, you don't have to fight with them about eating candy so early in the morning (a BIG issue in our house).
Sticking with this theme of breakfast food, I have decided to take it in my own direction. For Gabe, my oatmeal fiend, I will put all the ingredients for oatmeal (oats, brown sugar and cinnamon) along with some green and red sprinkles into a cellophane bag, tie it closed with a ribbon and a printable tag from the Reindeer. Zander, who hates oatmeal, loves trail mix - so I'll put a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, pretzels (for fun) and sprinkles in a bag for him. Also, I have prepackaged hot chocolate - dump that in a cellophane bag with some marshmallows and sprinkles and I have two more things for their stockings from Santa. Matt and I will get Keurig k-cups in a cellophane bag from Santa (Gabe's getting to the age where he notices if Santa doesn't come for us). These are super easy ideas that cost a very minimal amount of money, all I bought was the cellophane bags ($).
I wanted to share these ideas with everyone because I know how hard it can be to come up with new ideas, especially ones that aren't too costly or wasteful. I'm so tired of buying toys and candy as filler for their stockings that I think this will become a tradition for us. Let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas or traditions your family does.