You may have spent so long sorting the gifts under the tree that you’ve forgotten all about one of Christmases long-standing traditions – the stocking, of course.
Whether you have a traditional large sock shaped design hanging above the fire, a sack at the end of your child’s bed, or a little hamper of gifts waiting for them by their bedroom door, there’s no better way to start the big day than wading through a bulging stocking.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the right offerings, but we believe a balanced mix is key, particularly when you have a younger audience to impress.
Tick off the classics, such as socks and pyjamas, but also leave some space for the festive-inspired gifts that will add to the Christmas spirit, and don’t forget to include something that’ll keep them occupied and their brain working too.
Our round-up consists of presents which don’t cost the earth, with all options under £30, but also take up little space, and take next to no time to wrap too. We believe the key is small in size and low in price, but always plenty of fun. Happy shopping!
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Plan Toys mini game balancing cactus
Made from 100 per cent natural rubber and plan wood, this balancing cactus toy promotes sustainable play. The perfect size for a stocking filler gift, it’s designed to help develop fine motor skills – simply add on the painted pieces to the cactus base to see what works and what doesn’t, but watch out as too much weight on one side will make it topple over. This fun balancing toy is great for those aged three and over, and is sure to have your patience tested whatever your age.
M&S sweater snap game
You can’t beat the classic card game snap, which is great for younger card competitors. This festive-inspired game contains 52 colourful cards all in jumper shapes and is made from sustainably sourced paper, approved by the forestry FSC board. We predict this will provide plenty of fun for the whole family, but who will have the most matching pairs?
Poppik my 1st sticker cards – river
Pre-school children will love discovering river life, with frogs, ducks, fish, cranes and dragonflies to find. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill sticker book, with six cards and 96 stickers included. These activities have been specifically designed for young ones aged between two and four, as the stickers are not only large, but are also easy to peel and remove too. Little creatives can follow the simple colour dot code and place geometric stickers in the correct place – they’ll enjoy seeing the picture come together.
JoJo Maman Bebe wooden fire engine stacker
This chunky wooden push-along toy from JoJo Maman Bebe is at your service. It will allow little ones to develop those all-important problem-solving skills and let them determine how to stack the blocks and build the fire engine. Perfect for toddlers, made from a combination of lotus wood, beechwood and MDF, this wooden toy is robust and ready for hours of play.
Rockahula Kids rose gold xmas tree ponies
Add some shimmer to the big day with these hair bands from Rockahula. We’re sure little ones will be desperate to wear these straight away to complete their festive outfits. We love the pretty pink pom pom bobbles at the top of the tree, complementing the glittery rose gold shine. The baby pink and gold bobbles are sturdy too and there’s also matching clips available.
Joules chummy character gloves
We’re smitten for mittens, particularly of the dino variety. A winter essential, these snuggly fingerless gloves are sure to keep little hands extra toasty. The attention to detail makes these a wonderful gift, with cute dino faces and spikes at the side. If your little one (sizing is recommended for those aged three to seven) has a passion for prehistoric times, there’s also a matching hat and scarf too.
Liewood silas cotton socks three pack
A stocking staple: the humble sock. Whatever your age, you can never have enough pairs of socks, so why not gift a pair – or three – this Christmas? The stylish and sustainable Danish brand Liewood has created some fun festive pairs. Each individual sock has a different festive-inspired print, meaning only the colour matches, which adds a touch of amusement to dressing in the morning. The socks themselves are so comfy, kids won’t want to take them off.
Janod small magnetic rocket toy
French brand Janod has been creating wonderful wooden toys for 50 years, and this one has become quite a seller. There are five parts to the rocket, and it’s easy to assemble thanks to them being magnetic. There’s also a spinning propeller which little ones will love fiddling with as it blasts into space. A small but mighty toy, we think this will take your kids’ stocking to new heights.
Polarn O. Pyret Pluto print kids pyjamas
A stocking isn’t complete without a fresh pair of pyjamas, and these from Swedish brand Polarn O. Pyret are just the ticket. Collaborating with Disney, these are adorned with Pluto and his plethora of presents and baubles and complemented by the brand’s signature Breton stripes, making these a loveable pair of PJs that they’ll want to wear beyond the festive period.
Made from GOTS certified organic cotton, they’re gentle on skin, kinder to the planet and the conditions for farmers are better, too. The foldable sleeve and leg cuffs mean kids can wear them for longer, plus there’s even a matching set for adults. With a number of sizes out of stock, we’d recommend signing up to get notified as soon as they’re back.
The verdict: Kids’ stocking fillers
The Plan Toy’s mini game balancing cactus is our winner as it’s sustainable, engaging and educational, but also easy to wrap. We were also hugely impressed with Poppik’s creative take on the classic sticker book.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.