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Every family has their own quirky little traditions around the holidays. Growing up, we could open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas, something I have continued with my own children. My husband’s family puts clementines in stockings, and we now do this too!
Stockings are a fun way to create new eco-conscious holiday traditions and begin the shift toward more mindful and low waste gift giving. Rather than plastic dollar store trinkets, fewer (but better quality) items that can be used throughout the year can be much more fun. Leaving them unwrapped also avoids waste while saving yourself time and money. An easy way to decide if an item is worthy is to consider this simple question – can I picture this in the trash can?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of eco-friendly stocking stuffers for kids that will definitely not end up in the landfill!
Consumable Stocking Stuffers
- Fruit! Oranges are a traditional choice, but consider other seasonal options like pomegranates or persimmons. I will simply never get over this kid being thrilled with an avocado!
- Bulk candy or other snacks, such as popcorn, homemade cookies, or fancy nuts. Pop them in a small jar or a reusable snack pouch as an extra little gift.
- Natural chewing gum. We’ve tried this one from Simply Gum and it’s lovely! (Did you know that most commercial chewing gum contains plastic?!)
- Fair trade, vegan chocolate bars. Canadian brands Camino, and Galerie Au Chocolat are favourites in our house.
- Local jams, honey, and maple syrup.
Creative Stocking Stuffers
- Craft supplies! Thrift stores are a great place to find little (and often unopened) bits and bobs to make a mini craft kit.
- Origami book and a supply of pre-cut GOOS (“good on one side”) paper.
- Homemade play dough in various colours made with plant dyes. Another opportunity to make an activity kit with thrifted kitchen tools, cookie cutters, or little animals.
- Tin pencil case and eco-friendly pencils, crayons, or pencil crayons. Pair them with an FSC-certified notebook or a mindfulness colouring book.
- Washi tape! This crafting tape is made from rice paper and comes in every colour and pattern imaginable.
- Beads and string.
- Sidewalk chalk.
- Finger puppets, felt animals masks, or play food.
- Water colours and natural paintbrushes.
- Cardboard toolkit for turning all those shipping boxes into whatever they can dream up!
Useful Stocking Stuffers
- Socks, underwear, hats, mitts, and gloves.
- Small reusables such as snack pouches, straws, cloth napkins or hankies, bamboo toothbrushes, or cutlery rolls.
- Hair scrunchies made from thrifted or dead stock fabric.
- Reusable cloth face masks in fun patterns.
- Secondhand books with handmade bookmarks.
- Plastic-free personal care products (bar soap, lip balm, bath bombs, bamboo bandaids, etc.)
- A deck of playing cards.
- Teens will love a sustainable phone case from Pela (who also now have iPad cases, AirPod cases, smart watch bands, and other compostable device accessories).
- Money – gifts cards, bills, or coins for their piggy bank.
Fun Stocking Stuffers
- Thrifted toys! Keep your eyes peeled at thrift shops and set alerts on FB Marketplace and other platforms for toys they like – we have been very successful with secondhand Lego sets in particular.
- Stuff they already have that they forgot about! Speaking of Lego…I like to build funny things out of the pieces and figures I find as a cute little joke gift. This trick works well with younger children, especially if you rotate toys throughout the year.
- Movie passes (or similar – i.e. trampoline park, skating).
- Propagated plants, seed packets or paper, bulbs, and small garden tools.
- Wooden toys! Look for local, independent makers for everything from blocks, yoyos and dolls, to the ubiquitous rainbow. Invest in pieces that will form an heirloom collection in time.
Share your favourite eco-friendly stocking stuffers in the comments!