I don’t know how things work in your family, but in this house stockings are Santa’s responsibility.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with helping the big guy out once in a while. The way I see it, the less effort he has to put into everyone else’s stockings the more time he has to devote to my gifts.
It is with this philosophy in mind that I give you the following excellent—and compact!—gift ideas
Already I’ve lost some of you. Socks get a bad rep as gifts and I understand why. You got them from your horrible Aunt Ida when you were nine and all you wanted was a mogwai. Or a unicorn. Or the latest handheld gaming device. So I include this on my list with a caveat: don’t buy socks for kids. (Unless they’re already getting a billion toys and games and things from you and you know for a fact that this particular kid also wants some goddamned fuzzy socks.)
If, like me, you have adults to shop for… well, it’s time to admit that all we want is to be more comfortable, however we get there. Life is hard and everything hurts and dammit, fuzzy socks make the day a little less awful! Now, traditionally fuzzy socks are a gift for ladies, but I submit that in a world where more and more men are wearing cute and colorful socks they might consider branching out into soft foot-shoe intermediaries.
People lose things; it’s a fundamental component of the human condition. This is a delightful gift for the person in your life who is forever losing… well, anything. Keep losing your keys? Pop one of these on your keychain and your phone will lead the way. Lose your phone too? You got a four-pack of those suckers in your stocking and have one on standby in your car and another one in the kitchen drawer—now you can hunt down your phone and use that to find your keys!
Also, if I just described you, please consider some vitamins to help with your memory—there’s some debate amongst doctors as to whether they really do anything but if you’re this forgetful you won’t remember that.
You’re going to have to get creative if you want to fit this in someone’s stocking but I promise, you definitely want to put this in someone’s stocking. Maybe even your own, but that’s against the rules. Sorry. The great thing about this is even if you’re giving and not receiving, you get a shark on Christmas day! Who doesn’t want a shark lurking around the tree?
Sad people who don’t know what fun is, that’s who.
Here we find the rare gift that’s a thoughtful two-fer: if you’ve got a weary traveler for the holidays they’ll love you for making their next journey a little easier; if you’ve got a houseguest who’s overstayed their welcome so long they might actually need to be evicted, a travel bag is the loving, thoughtful way to tell them you’re about to change the locks.
And if, like me, you never fly anywhere without somehow bringing home more crap than you left with, this bag folds nicely into your luggage and fits, once appropriately filled, in the under-seat space. (You won’t have anywhere to put your feet, but airlines don’t care about that as you were meant to check all extremities at the gate.)
If you and yours are stone-cold-sober through the holidays, hats off to you. I don’t know, use it for desserts or something. But if you’re celebrating a typical holiday season, someone’s going to want a drink at some point. And for that person, this glass… or this one (or even this one) is the perfect way to say, Santa understands. Plus, they’re beautiful and hand-painted and will make anyone feel special while they’re (ahem) warming to the occasion.
Let them drink, and let them do it in style, that’s my point.
This, in my opinion, is the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s cool, it’s unique, and it shows you really care what happens to this person when the Old One awakens. It’s a real conversation piece that can be worn or carried in a variety of ways that are just so much more interesting than the pocket or wrist device they’re probably using.
I have the dragon one, because Cthulhu already knows how I feel about him, but I wouldn’t kick this watch out of bed.
Because they can only eat so many candy canes and gift cards are tricky, I submit to you a totally stocking-stuffable game that has been a hit every single time I brought it out, regardless of the crowd. Gloom is a card game with transparent cards (!) which you stack in order to change their traits.
Build-a-card is one of those game mechanics for which I am a total sucker. And the theme of this game is as delightful as it is macabre, which you might recognize as my brand. Basically, you choose a blighted family upon whom to bring still more misfortune. Your goal is to bring the most misery and tragedy upon your family members, which will be tracked on their tombstones (cards). Make sure they’re utterly despondent before you off them—happiness points are a negative in this family-friendly game!
Stretching the definition of a stocking stuffer yet again—actually, we’re not now that I think of it. This will absolutely stuff a stocking; Santa will have to pass over the stocking lucky enough to receive this item and put all that holiday joy in another…
This might, in short, be the perfect gift from a mercenary gifter such as yourself.
Perfect for a variety of culinary tasks, the sous vide is one of those brilliant gadgets we should be ashamed of not inventing and bringing to home kitchens long ago. I literally don’t have the space here to list all the things you can do with a sous vide (how many devices do you know of that can perfectly cook fish and temper chocolate?), so I’ll just mention that this one works equally well with or without an app. Google how they work if you need more convincing, or just think about how much space it’ll take up in your target’s loved one’s stocking.
For the book-lover in your life, shopping should be easy, right? Not always! Sure, you could wimp out and just get them a gift card, but we’ve already eschewed that emotional minefield so now you’re stuck hoping you know exactly which books they want and in which format. Or do they need more shelving? An e-reader?
No. They need the ability to wear (or carry) an item that proclaims their love for a particular classic. And this is the brilliance of Storiart’s literary scarves, gloves, blankets, pillows… the list goes on and so does the gorgeous prose.
I need at least one of everything, and so will your lit-lover.
Most of us don’t really use our phones to talk anymore—hell, I had one that lost the ability to make and receive calls but kept it happily for weeks because everything else worked fine. No, your phone is for texting, messaging, scrolling, and entertainment. And if you don’t want to be an asshole out in public, you do those things silently.
OR… you get you some wireless earbuds and giggle at the latest otter video without anyone the wiser.
These are the perfect gift for anyone who has a phone and knows where it is. I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve lost the ability to clean or do any household chore without people being funny in my ear, so my earbuds see some heavy use while I fill my brain with podcasts. And because these fit inside the ear (rather than hooking on or covering it entirely) they’re pretty unobtrusive; people around you might not even notice you’ve got them in, making it that much easier to ignore them without seeming rude.
… Maybe don’t get these for a teenager.
If you’re buying gifts for someone, odds are you like them. Any of the gifts listed above will do for any of those people, because they’re all gifts that say, “I like you and want you to have nice things.”
Now, I have no proof that a fitbit can make someone immortal, but a quick search of the phrase fitbit saves life reveals hundreds of stories like this one in which a fitbit totally saved someone’s life.
There are other brands, of course, and I won’t tell you what to do with your money but this is the only one I found that was slim and unobtrusive enough that even I would wear it and also came in nice colors.
So there’s your stocking stuffers all sorted. You’re welcome. Don’t forget to thank me with gifts of clicks, views, shares, and chocolate.
 Still not letting it go, Dad.
 Protip: show people this post and talk about how amazing the shark onesie is. If they don’t get the hint they’re not really your friends.
 “Here’s exactly how much I’m willing to spend on you, but you can only shop at the store I chose. Also, I didn’t care enough to wrap it because that’s another $1.50 and frankly more work than I care to put forth for the sake of our relationship. But I did make sure you know who it’s from, because (demonstrating they know exactly what sort of gift this is) they put that line right on the card!”
 If they don’t, get them the tiles and the earbuds.