How to Buy Christmas Stocking Stuffers

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The definition of stocking stuffer has expanded from small gifts--coin-shaped chocolate, toothpaste, nuts and oranges--to include gourmet chocolates, CDs and MP3 players, and much more.

  • Set a price limit on cost per gift. There should be one "big" stocking stuffer that doesn't cost any more than $20 or $30. Depending on your own personal finances, you can, of course, adjust that.

  • Buy two or three supporting roles for the larger gift. If you bought a CD as the big stocking stuff, a disc-cleaning brush and a pair of headphones might be a good compliment. Depending on your overall budget, these can be about the same price or about half of the larger gift.

  • Get something with some degree of utility. Male, female, old or young, make sure the stocking stuffer matches their personality or interests. Many times stocking stuffers are cast aside because they're gimmicky. Make your count.

  • Fill in the stocking with chocolates, candies and fruit. Mini-chocolates are good space fillers, and if you have kids, and apple or an orange in there will promote a somewhat healthy tradition despite all of those sweets.

  • Through in a gift card for good measure. This is a catch-all gift. Gift cards can make for good "big" stocking stuffers, or they can compliment the large gift. They take up little space and allow the stocking opener to pick their real stocking stuffer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the labels on kids' toys to see if they're age-appropriate and safe.

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