On the Cheap: Stuff stockings without unstuffing your wallet

Stuff stockings with some old-school toys, including classic a yo-yo or Gumby doll from The Toy Store, 936 Massachusetts St.

With Christmas fast-approaching, your stockings are likely already hung by the chimney with care.

Here are some tips to help stuff those stockings on any budget.

Think personalized, not purchased

The secret to bargain shopping, as any avid shopper will tell you, isn’t where you shop, but rather how you shop. In order to make your money stretch, it always pays to think outside the box. This particularly applies to stocking stuffers.

Candy, Christmas ornaments and lottery tickets are all items my family members find in their stocking each year. To save some money, fancy these items up with a little DIY.

Instead of throwing in some unhealthy pre-packaged candy bars, buy some festive baggies and make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit. (But also throw in some of that candy. I don’t want your kids to hate Santa.)

Instead of purchasing a new ornament for each of your children this year, take one of the bulbs you already have and paint your child’s name and date on it. Now you have a personalized ornament worthy of any stocking for a fraction of the cost.

While lottery tickets are cheap, they aren’t free. But you know what is? Personalized, homemade coupons for a date night, trip to the park or breakfast in bed. Those cost nothing and are a great alternative to lottery tickets. Another option is to buy card stock and print affirmations or inspirational quotes on them.

Go old school

Remember your favorite toy from the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s, (depending how old you are)? Well, there it’s highly likely they have some variation of this toy at The Toy Store, 936 Massachusetts St.

A lot of these toys are available for less than $10. You can purchase a Duncan Yo-Yo for $7.99 and you can get a Gumby for $7.99 as well. The Toy Store also sells View-Masters for $14.99.

Buy books

Books — remember the ones with pages? — make great stocking stuffers.

And when you buy a hard-copy book, you have the opportunity to support one of our local book stores such as the Raven, 6 East Seventh St.; The Dusty Bookshelf, 708 Massachusetts St.; or Signs of Life, 722 Massachusetts St.

Putting a book in your child’s stocking is a great tradition to start for children of any age.


— Arley Hoskin is a writer, mom and avid bargain shopper.