A Few of Alice’s Favorite Things & Giveaway!

by Alice Currah on December 18, 2010. Updated December 21, 2010

I know many of you are shopping this weekend for last minute gifts before Christmas.  I’m there right with you.  In fact, I haven’t even started.  However, I wanted to share with you a few stocking stuffer ideas of things I actually own and absolutely love.  My friends and family will tell you that I prefer practical and functional over fashionable or trendy.  If you’re shopping for someone with similar tastes, here are a few ideas to inspire you in all price ranges.

1. Plastic Tumblers with Lids and Straw - I own several of these tumblers and I cannot get enough.  The first one I ever purchased was the venti size one from Starbucks.  They are clear with hard green or red & white striped plastic straws.  They are awesome!  I take them everywhere I go and always have one filled in the car with water.  I see them everywhere for sale.  I own three Starbucks ones and I know they carry it it in-store.  I also purchased less expensive ones from Cost Plus World Market (in-store) for around $7 in different jewel tones for my kids as shown in the picture.  Cost:  $7-$15.

2. Mini 8″ Silicone Spatulas -I picked up several of these small spatulas while vacationing in Seaside.   I use them everyday and I prefer them over medium and larger ones because they are so much easier to work with.  The handle comfortably fits in the palm of my hand and takes up less space in my utensil drawer. $3-$10/each depending on where you can find one.

3.  Gift Cards – I love giving and receiving gift cards. The trick to buying gift cards is making sure you buy one from a store or online company the recipient loves.  My favorite places to receive gift cards are from Starbucks, Target, independent bookstores, Amazon, and Walmart.  The great thing about gift cards is that most grocery stores sell them.  DO NOT…. I repeat… DO NOT BUY A GIFT CARD FOR A PLACE THE RECIPIENT DOESN’T LOVE.  Otherwise there is a probably chance they will not redeem the card, which is unfortunate if the card must be used within a given time frame.

4. Quality Head Phones - For my birthday, my husband bought me a nice pair of head phones because he knows how much I enjoy listening to music and podcasts.  I like ear buds too, but when I’m at home, I prefer actual head phones because sometimes my ears will hurt with buds.  I’ve always owned cheap head phone sets but the quality has always been less than desirable.  A few months ago my husband surprised me with these Bose headphones.  Although they aren’t very cheap, the sound is amazing.  Bose isn’t the only brand which is known for quality, but they are the only ones I own now.  There are several good head phones on the market for much less expensive.

5. JBuds – I love JBuds!  For under $10, these ear buds have always received good reviews.  I’ve owned several pairs without regret.  I wear them at the gym and do not worry if they get lost because they are so cheap to replace.  They come with three different sizes of rubber rings depending on the size of the ear opening.  However, even the smallest ring is too big for both Abbi and Mimi. $8.

Eli wearing an Aerial Beanie while watching a video.

6. Aerial Sound Disk Beanie w/Built in Headphones - This beanie is really cool.  Not only because it has two built in flat disk speakers in the hat, it also has a microphone for using with an iPhone or Blackberry.  I own the iPhone 4 and my husband owns a Blackberry.  This hat was sent to me by Aerial and initially I was skeptical on why anyone would ever need a beanie with built in speakers but as I would quickly learn, we needed one for the kids.  Traditional ear buds are not made to fit kids ears, we’ve found it difficult to find a head set specifically for kids which stayed on their heads and didn’t hurt.  However, this beanie not only fits the girls’ head, I can put it on Eli (2 years old) and have him listen to music from my iPhone with no problems.  For this reason alone it makes a great gift for kids.  The sound quality is excellent and I love having Eli wear this hat during the winter while we go on walks outside. $49

7. FLIP HD Video Camera - This little video camera is so ridiculously easy to use.  We take it everywhere we go, especially when the kids are playing sports or on family vacations.  Even the kids know how to operate it, including Eli!  I love how it can easily fit in my jacket pocket. I can’t say enough about how awesome FLIPS are. $150

8. iGo Charger - At a recent conference I attended, I became so frustrated with my iPhone battery dying and unable to charge it during sessions.  I was sitting next to a friend who offered me her iGo. You plug your phone into it and it acts like a portable battery charger anywhere you are without the need for a power outlet.  Fortunately, iGo was nice enough to send me one to thoroughly test for myself.  My husband and I love it! It is a a must have for anyone who travels. $40.

9.  Brookstone Key Finder - I lose my keys almost everyday.  The frustration and energy I expend is ridiculous.  My husband bought me this key finder device which came with two key chains which have embedded sensors.  We attached one to my wallet and the other to my keys.  When I’m in a hurry and can’t find either, I press the corresponding button on the receiver.  My keys or wallet start beeping and I find it very quickly.  It’s been very helpful around here. Should have bought one years ago. $49

10. AAA Membership – We’ve been AAA members for a very long time.  During the summer I had an incident where a conference attendee accidentally walked off with my bag with my wallet and keys inside.  To make a long story short, I had to have my car towed home.  I was so happy to have AAA come out very quickly, hitch my car to a tow truck, and drive me home.  We’ve also enjoyed receiving discounts at hotels with our AAA membership.  We’ve gifted this membership over the years to other family members who always appreciate it.  Basic membership: $56

11. House Cleaning - I would never turn down the opportunity to have someone clean my house.  This gift is especially more wonderful if given to a new mom who is occupied by a new baby.  Prices will vary.

12.  World Concern Gift Guide and One Days Wages - If you want to give one less gift to help fight global poverty, consider buying a goat or solar cooking kid from the World Concern gift giving guide or support my One Days Wages Holiday Campaign.  With you donation, your gifts will change the lives of many.

For one SSL reader, I’m giving away an iGo charger.  All you  need to do is share your favorite stocking stuffer idea. Contest is open to US and Canadian mailing addresses.  Contest will close Monday, December 20, 2010 at 9 pm PST. Winner will be chosen by random.org and updated here.  Merry Christmas! Contest is now closed. Congrats Sara!

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Misty December 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I’m in the small-&-useful camp too. Chapstick, bath items, even tools. My parents would often put earrings in my stocking too.

Mary C. December 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm

We don’t do stockings anymore, but when we did, I loved buying the ladies a nice pair of wintery wool socks. Also Christmas (or holiday/winter) kitchen towels, b/c most people won’t buy those for themselves!

Brooke December 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm

We always do new toothbrushes and toothpaste. Beyond that, most things are from the dollar store for the kids and my husband and I love to stuff ours with Hickory Farms Turkey Summer Sausage logs and mustards. Yum! (It’s the only time of the year we purchase these.)

Jaclyn December 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm

My family always has oranges in the bottom of our stockings. Every since I can remember they have been there… well except for one year Santa forgot them and my brothers and I (all in our early twenties at that time) cried a little… Santa has never forgotten since!

Kristin December 19, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I like to do little gifts in my stockings. Pixos are good and a bit of candy to make the kids smile :)

Alissa December 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Like some others have mentioned, my family always put an orange in the toe of our stockings, too. I still do it as an adult, and my husband thinks it’s funny because he never heard of it before he met me. He’s convinced it’s a weird thing that only my family does. :)

Karen Ferguson December 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm

There’s always a magazine to entertain the early risers. Also count me in on the orange in the toe!

Mandi Hart December 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm

My favorite stocking stuffers are always candy!

Amanda Mae December 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I love to put the recipients favorite candy/candy bar in their stocking :) The stocking are the best part!!

goliadyaya December 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm

keychains, magnets, small toilet items, lip gloss & gift cards

sara December 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I always give a toothbrush. My mom always did this and we always loved getting a new one. It reminds you to change out your brush as well. I have even started giving them for easter, and other little holidays as well. For kids it is a fun treat to get a character one or little electric one.

NanaBread (Jeanne) December 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

My favorite stocking stuffers include Burt’s Bees products, Starbucks gift cards, good quality chocolates, and Skull Candy earbuds.

Barbara P December 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm

We alsways have candy and fruit but the most important is socks! And of course the gift card from Red Robin for one kid and the gift card from the movie theater for their spouse/SO!

Rebecca M December 19, 2010 at 11:21 pm

My favorite stocking stuffer (to receive) are: makeup, chapstick/ lip gloss, earrings, candy and gift cards. I love digging into my stocking and pulling out all the fun little things every year!

MJ December 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm

quality chocolate. not for sharing!

Diana December 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Travel size games, chocolates and gift cards.

Nancy L December 20, 2010 at 12:26 am

I love giving indulgent chocolate that people wouldn’t buy for themselves.

Lisa C December 20, 2010 at 12:43 am

I like to hit the dollar bins at Target and always pick up a few favorite candies!

Brenda December 20, 2010 at 12:52 am

Fancy jam, swedish fish, smoked oysters and a chocolate santa! And socks…

Sara December 20, 2010 at 1:00 am

chapstick is always in stockings every year! can’t have enough chapstick!

cindy December 20, 2010 at 1:56 am

I like movie tickets with babysitting gifts.

Eve December 20, 2010 at 2:00 am

See’s candy, lotto tickets, gift cards

Caroline December 20, 2010 at 2:28 am

I love to put in those stupid little Dollar Games you can get at department stores or dollar stores – they take me back to childhood, the family has a ton of giggly fun for a few hours, and when they break after all the fun, no one cares!

MilkJam December 20, 2010 at 2:30 am

Fantastic ideas!!!! I’m trying to bring the idea of stockings to France for my family-in-law – they don’t know what fun they’re missing! :) I love the traditional topping of the stocking with an orange or tangarine :)

Ashley December 20, 2010 at 3:22 am

My favorite stocking stuffer is DEFINITELY holiday socks – either knee or toe or pom-pom or… anything socks! =)

Leilah Mooney December 20, 2010 at 8:47 am

Warm stuff – socks, gloves, slippers, etc, and always a nice dose of chocolate – to nibble on while opening presents :)

Lisa Cordle December 20, 2010 at 9:01 am

I like to put scratch off lottery cards in stockings.

Skye P December 20, 2010 at 9:12 am

my favorite stocking stuffer is nerds rope!

Rebecca N December 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

My favorite stuffer is snacks, we usually get candies or crackers, something to snack on while opening gifts.

rosemary December 20, 2010 at 9:26 am

always food items. sauces, marinades, coffees, teas and any specialty items that each family member loves.

Judy December 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

Lottery tickets are always fun!!

Jade N December 20, 2010 at 10:26 am

Candy and scratch tickets are an easy no-fail route.

Chris December 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

My favorite stocking stuffer and family tradition is a chocolate orange! They’re so much fun to whack on the table and then peel apart the slices!

Colene E December 20, 2010 at 10:50 am

I love to put chocolate covered cherries in stockings! Or maybe I love to get them in mine! :)

Sarah S December 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

Homemade food items, cookies, fudge, hot sauce. You name it!

Karen Benson December 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

wine and chocolate – and not just for the kids!

TrishInFL December 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Gift certificates to the local car wash!

kayduh December 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I try to do a handmade stocking stuffer each year. I have done reuseable produce bags, dryer balls and lavender sachets.

nick December 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm

i love to stuff stockings with all kinds of candy and cookies. sweet treats at the end of christmas day.

JOAN PRATT December 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

my favorite stocking stuffer to give (& receive) is some really extravagant item like cashmere socks or ridiculously priced body creme. You never splurge on yourself this way & I know it is so much appreciated.

Ann M December 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

My favorite stocking stuffers are rolled up magazines!

Kim Johnson December 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm

The small mag-lite is a great stocking stuffer!


Devin December 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I’m making my own picture-magnets for stocking stuffers this year. The grandparents will love seeing their new baby on the fridge.

Margo D December 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!

Ashley December 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I give practical and useful stocking stuffers such as toothbrushes, socks, gum, mints, deodorant, loofas, etc.

laura December 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm

i always put lumps of coal at the bottom and fill the rest with home made food gifts.

Suzanne Perry December 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I’m all about practical and usable, but we also go for inexpensive for stocking stuffers. Things like an orange, a can of the person’s favorite nuts, candy, a couple of bags of microwave popcorn, etc.

Ida December 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm

AAA membership gift card for the peace of mind

Tina K December 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Growing up we always got an orange, an apple and a banana in our stockings, as well as some candy.

For my kids, they can open their stockings as soon as they get up(my kids are 13 and 17), so I fill them with trinkets and puzzles and lipbalm, the small lego packages, hair things for my daugter, lotions and a very small amount of chocolate to tide them over while Dad and I get a few more hours sleep!

Tara December 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm

My favorite stocking stuffer is – handwarmers for my boys…they come in handy when we ski or hunt or just play a day in the snow.

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