Stuff a Smarter Stocking

Are you tired of spending a ton on stocking stuffers that go to waste? Those little toys and stocking fillers often fall by the wayside by the end of Christmas morning, and they can really add up in a tight-budget season.

Why not stuff a smarter stocking—spending wisely and filling a fun stocking with things that really make your kids’ brains a little sharper (or are at least useful), long after December 25? Each of these items costs less than $15, for a stocking that won’t break the bank.


9 Smart Stocking Stuffers

1. BRAIN QUEST Decks: Sized to pop right into a stocking, and personalized by grade, when Santa brings BRAIN QUEST, kids find out that it’s fun to be smart. They can play with friends or parents, or quiz themselves—the grommeted decks are favorites for travel and other quiet-time activity. And they’re teacher-vetted, so they help kids feel confident about what they know, exactly when they need to know it.

2. Pencils and Pens: Homework’s more fun with scented, printed, or brightly colored pens and pencils.

3. Right Left Center Dice Game: Perfectly sized and shaped for a Christmas stocking, this is a take-anywhere game that’s fun for the whole family and gets the brain working—great for waiting at restaurants or for family trips where board games are too bulky to pack. All for less than $10.

4. Deck of Cards: Just the inspiration you need to teach your kid to play gin rummy. You all benefit from fun family time and a low price tag—a smarter deal than other small toys that are quickly forgotten.

5. Smart Treats: Splurging on special snack bars like Clif or Kind Bars (at less than $2 a pop, sometimes a lot less if you buy a box and pull out the individual bars) feels holiday-special if these aren’t your family’s usual fare—but doesn’t break the bank compared to other stocking treats. Plus, they’ll last in the pantry and make smart after-school snack choices long beyond the holiday season.

6. Winter Toiletries: Peppermint-flavored lip balm tastes like Christmas and rescues kids’ chapped lips. Tiny packs of tissues, perfect for backpacks and pockets, come in fun holiday prints and are in demand throughout the winter sniffles season. Travel-sized tubes of lotions and small-sized soaps are available at low prices at any drugstore, and are just right to be tucked into a sleepover bag. Even a brightly-colored toothbrush can make a stocking fun, and the kids are going to need new ones before too long anyway.

7. DIY Coupons: Stockings are the perfect place for a collection of homemade coupons for hugs, zoo trips, back-rubs, a batch of cookies on request—or the chance to pick the dinner menu.

8. A “Remember That?” T-Shirt: Shop for souvenir T’s from events, concerts, and places you’ve traveled during the year and tuck them away for the holidays, so Christmas can be a chance to relive fun memories from the year (without the sting of an expense during the month of December). Roll it up and tie with a ribbon so it’s just the right size for a stocking, and it feels like a substantial gift on Christmas morning.

9. A Hobby Magazine: Again, roll it up to fit in the stocking. One issue won’t break the bank, but it might excite your budding athlete, fashionista, or naturalist—and make for interesting, thoughtful reading for Christmas vacation and beyond. (Buying a single issue is a great way to see if the magazine is a fit for your kid. Keep track of what they enjoy, so you won’t end up with something your family doesn’t read at the next school magazine fundraising drive!)

We hope these ideas will inspire you and you enter the home-stretch of holiday shopping. Happy holidays from all of us at BRAIN QUEST!

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