You've been planning your present-buying strategy since mid-July, you've executed it to perfection by the beginning of November, and now you can sit comfortably, safe in the knowledge that you have all the main presents for the man in your life wrapped up (either figuratively or literally, depending on just how proactive you are).
But what about that oft-overlooked but still integral component of the Christmas Day present-giving extravaganza: the stocking filler? You want something small enough that it will fit inside a stocking, as well as something that won't eat too much into your festive budget, but that won't just get tossed aside after a few hours. It's harder than it sounds.
But not to worry, as IndyBest has been searching to find you the best stocking fillers, bound to delight whichever man it is you're buying for. And what's more, none of them will set you back over £20.
Paperthinks Navy Card Holder: £12, Trouva
We’re moving into a cashless world, don’t you know? And if you want your recipient to keep with the times (or, if they’ve got a battered old wallet that needs replacing) then we recommend this from Paperthinks. It’s a sustainably minded brand, with this cardholder being made of 100 per cent recycled leather, coming in a navy blue shade. There are four pockets for cash and the essential cards. It's great value for just £12.
The 500 Hidden Secrets of Lisbon: £13.95, Luster
If you’ve treated someone to a trip away for Christmas, one of these backpack-friendly guides may make the ideal companion gift. A far cry from the formulaic travel guide you see so many tourists clutching, the 500 Hidden Secrets books provide a far quirkier approach to sightseeing. They’re divided up into lists of five, from five places to catch a sunset to five unmissable elevators. There are 20 guides in the series, from Bangkok to Brussels, but we’ve picked the increasingly popular Lisbon.
Willie’s Cacao Sea Salt Caramel Black Pearls: £5.99, Waitrose
Willie’s Cacao is one of only a handful of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the UK – that is, makers who source their beans from abroad, but do all the rest of the production over here. In fact, Willie’s Cacao was one of our favourites when we picked out the best earlier this year. Its range of chocolaty goods is wide, but we’ve a particular fondness for these literally mouth-watering “pearls”. Encased within a shell of dark chocolate is silky smooth caramel, infused with Cornish sea salt. A medal goes to anyone who can try one on the 25th and not have wolfed them all down by Boxing Day.
Kikkerland Copper Plated Steel Vintage Bottle Opener: £8.99, Amazon
Christmas and boozing go hand in hand, so it makes sense to stuff something into the stocking to make those festivities all the easier. Coming from the New York designer Kikkerland, and designed in collaboration with the FormNation, it boasts minimal looks and is made from copper-plated steel, meaning it will last them long beyond the Christmas holidays.
Sipsmith Distillery Miniature Pack: £11.95, The Whisky Exchange
A stocking wouldn’t be complete without a boozy something to enjoy after dinner (or to add a certain edge to that Christmas breakfast), so we’ve opted for these three mini gins from the Sipsmith Distillery – one of the best known names in gin. The three bottles, which come in an attractive gift packaging, comprise three of Sipsmith’s most popular offerings: Sloe Gin, London Cup and London Dry Gin. Chin chin.
Frank Green World’s Smartest Coffee Cup: £19.99, Trouva
This is a practical stocking filler that will be a big help to any coffee lover – and especially those who need their caffeine fix on the go. The lid screws tightly shut, so you won’t fall victim to any spillages, while the rubber cladding is easy to grip. The best part of this cup, however, is the push-button lid, which means you can open and close it with one hand. The flow of liquid is quick and contained, so you can easily swig while walking.
Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs of Places by Henry Carroll: £12.99, Laurence King
Is your recipient a smartphone wielder who wants to up their Insta game? Or are they are more serious snapper? Whichever category they fall into – or if they’re somewhere in between – this guide is for them. It’s part of a series on how to take great photographs, with this one focusing specifically on the photography of places. It’s split into five main sections (Composition, Exposure, Light, Manipulation, Location), with examples and tips from professional photographers. It’s great for genuinely useful pointers, or just to flick through for inspiration.
London Sock Company Spot of Style Classic Black: £15, London Sock Company
You can’t go wrong with a pair of socks in the stocking, and you can’t go even wronger with something from the London Sock Company. It has a huge range of socks, from knee-high numbers to brightly patterned pairs, and in a range of materials, from cotton to cashmere. We’ve opted for this pair – suitable for business or pleasure – which come with an understated polka dot design. Made from a cotton mix, they’re comfortable, durable and stylish.
Espresso Mushroom Company Grow Your Own Kitchen: £17.95, Ethical Superstore
A great gift for a city dweller, or for the foodie who wants to try something different, this box contains everything needed to grow your own mushrooms within a fortnight. Open it up, give it a water, and then follow the instructions to watch a bunch of mushrooms grow – right within your very own kitchen. This kit will give you some delicious pear oyster mushrooms, and there’s another box available offering the hot pink variety.
Skyn Iceland Skin Hangover Kit: £17.50, Feel Unique
The combination of those harsh winter weather conditions and all that festive excess can take its toll on your skin. And that’s why we reckon some skincare products would make an excellent addition to your recipient’s stocking. Coming from the vegan skincare specialist, Skyn, this “hangover” pack includes eye gels, cooling lotion, face mist and an eye pen, all of which will rejuvenate his skin in time for January. It’s free from dodgy chemicals too – parabens, petroleum, phthalates and all the rest – so it won’t irritate sensitive skin.
The Verdict: Stocking fillers for him
We really like the card holder from Paperthinks. It looks great, it's kind to the environment and it'll serve him well for years to come. If you're after something with a boozy kick, then opt for the tasting set from Sipsmith.
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