A Christmas stocking stuffed to the brim with a selection of small gifts, or "stocking fillers", is a funny old tradition, when you think about it. Whose idea was it, and how far back does it go? Did the stocking fillers tradition start when a panicked mum forgot to buy wrapping paper one Christmas, and the only suitable thing she had to hand for disguising her kids' Christmas presents was an old stocking? Were stocking fillers the brainchild of a particularly imaginative marketing exec at a stocking manufacturing company, who needed a novelty way to sell more stockings at Christmas? Or was the whole "let's stuff a stocking full of little gifts, and call them stocking fillers" idea the work of Santa himself?
Whatever the origins of the tradition, Christmas wouldn't be the same without Christmas stockings - and, of course, the stocking fillers to put in them. When we were children, checking out our stocking fillers was one of the most exciting and important parts of the Christmas tradition; it was the proof, if we needed it, that Santa had indeed paid us a visit. The mountains of Christmas presents under the Christmas tree weren't quite proof enough that Santa had been; after all, mum and dad could easily have put them there, scoffed the cookies, necked the glass of milk, and fashioned some sooty footprints leading across the room from the chimney using some sort of fiendishly clever "fake Santa soot". No, the proof of Santa's existence is measured in stocking fillers, and always has been, and probably always will be. Well, we hope so, anyway; stocking fillers as a gauge of the existence of a benevolent, rather chubby, semi-mythological character is the sort of science that we love at ShinyShack.
Of course, as we grow up, some of us stop believing in Santa, as sad and incredible as that may seem (no Santa? But where do all the stocking fillers come from?!). But that doesn't mean an end to Christmas stockings and stocking fillers; if anything, some of us go to extremes to prove that we can 'do' stocking fillers better than the bearded jolly bloke himself. We stock up, months in advance of the big day, on empty Christmas stockings, Christmas sacks or even pillow cases (á la the old days) and frantically fill them with as many small, inexpensive but desirable gifts as possible. And we don't stop until there's not a millimetre of space left; stockings are for filling, after all, and that's probably why stocking fillers are called 'stocking fillers' and not 'stocking half-fillers' or 'stocking not-quite-fillers'.
Once you've decided to out-stocking-filler Santa, the process of selecting the best stocking fillers varies from person to person. Some people follow a 'less is more' strategy, choosing a few inexpensive stocking fillers that are large enough to bulk out the stocking without costing a fortune. If you're a 'less is more' stocking filler fan, you'll probably favour larger stocking fillers like novelty inflatables, cute and cuddly toys, and other stocking fillers that will quickly fill up the stocking, right to the brim.
Then there are those people who buy a smaller stocking and fill it with small but perfectly formed stocking fillers. Jewellery, bath and body items, pocket money toys, practical jokes, magic tricks, popping candy and windup toys are all excellent stocking fillers for this type of stocking, as they're small, inexpensive and lots of fun for Christmas stocking recipients of all ages.
On the other hand, you might be one of those people that really go to town with stocking fillers, preferring to give your loved ones a small stocking stuffed with medium-priced but meaningful stocking fillers, instead of leaving a large gift under the tree. Gadgets and gizmos are ideal for filling this type of stocking, but depending on the recipient of the stocking, you could include lots of different stocking fillers such as executive toys, puzzles and games, things to grow, tools or even collectables like Ugly Dolls.
When it comes to deciding how much to spend on stocking fillers, you can take a number of approaches.
Some find it best to set a stocking fillers budget before they start shopping, aiming to spend no more than a few pounds on each item and to buy no more than ten stocking fillers for each stocking.
Or, you might decide that getting the right stocking fillers for each person is more important than setting a budget, and only stop buying stocking fillers once you're happy with the selection you've bought.
Then again, you might decide to mix small, inexpensive stocking fillers with larger, more costly ones, stopping when you've reached the limits of your budget.
If you're going to be buying stocking fillers, ShinyShack is a great place to start your quest. We stock literally hundreds of fantastic products that make ideal stocking fillers for different members of your family. And because we stock so many products that cost just a few pounds, you can easily fill a stocking without making a huge hole in your pocket.
Whatever you want to use as stocking fillers, chances are you'll find what you're looking for at ShinyShack. Big stocking fillers, little stocking fillers, traditional stocking fillers, unusual stocking fillers... stocking fillers for girls, for boys, for friends and for lovers... if it's on your stocking fillers wish list, you're bound to find it at ShinyShack.
Unless, of course, your stocking fillers wish list includes David Beckham, Jennifer Aniston or a jackpot-winning lottery ticket; if that's the case, then we're afraid you'll just have to write an extra polite letter to Santa!