Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photos: Retailers
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Little gifts might be, well, little, but they can have a big impact. Consider stocking stuffers — a great catchall category for small, relatively inexpensive gifts that tick the “this made me think of you” box. They’re a bit random, sometimes cute, sometimes practical, and they’ll make the life of the receiver just a bit better in the days to come.
Yes, we know that holiday season feels ages away, but we have channeled the Virgo in us to help you start planning your holiday gifting (or at the very least start thinking about it). We’ve already rounded up the best gift ideas for every type of employee, but scroll down to find affordable and delightful stocking-stuffer ideas for anyone else who made it on your list. The gift ideas below are thoughtful, practical, and stylish, and they will appeal to people with a wide range of hobbies and interests. Happy shopping!
Remember these? Behold the gel pen that took TikTok by storm. Lauded for its extra-smooth glide, this pedestrian pen became the unlikely obsession of thousands of users over on office-supply TikTok (yes, that’s a thing). It’s still a solid stocking-stuffer gift, even for the crossword enthusiasts in your life.
It may not be the viral TikTok shaver, but this analog sweater shaver is just as good for anyone trying to keep their knits free of pills, pet hair, and lint. This wood-handled version looks nice and is slim enough to slide in a pocket or a purse for touch-ups on the go — the soft scraping motion is also weirdly addictive.
Tired: 2-D puzzles.
Wired: 3-D puzzles.
Journaling is a low-pressure creative outlet and one way to cope when you “just can’t.” This one has a series of writing prompts based around the phases of the moon.
These ingenious eye masks are Cut-approved and can be layered to turn any cream or serum into an eye mask without creating any waste. When you’re done with them, you just rinse, dry, store, and repeat.
Ripping boxes open with scissors and keys is a great way to cut yourself. This keychain slides open to reveal a short, sturdy steel knife that’s perfect for all kinds of slicing tasks, without all the weird unnecessary extras of a multitool — and stows safely away when they’re done.
When in doubt, check Sephora’s gift section for miniature products and limited-edition holiday sets that make for great stocking stuffers. There are so many options to choose from, but your friend who’s obsessed with TikTok beauty trends definitely has this viral shine-enhancing product on their wish list.
Gift them something they didn’t know they needed. This mini-brush will help keep their workspace free of dust and crumbs.
Socks tend to be lame stocking stuffers … unless they’re Sandy Liang socks adorned with miniature strawberries. You get three pairs for under $100, which means you can gift them to all of your besties.
Anyone who does their own nails needs this ergonomically designed applicator that can be popped onto any polish bottle. It has a comfy grip that provides more control than standard handles, resulting in a salon-quality manicure every time.
Because bows are here to stay and dainty earrings will fit in any and all stockings.
With ornate details and brass handles, these classic cheese knives feel so special.
Not only is this iPhone case stylish and functional, it’s also under $15.
You can’t record your GRWMs, vlogs, or #dayinthelifes without a trusty phone stand. This one from the MoMA Design Store extends up to ten inches, and the angles can be adjusted so no moment or detail isn’t captured.
Developed in Chengdu by chef Jing Gao, you’ll want to put this savory, tongue-numbing condiment on everything from dumplings to noodles to veggies.
Consider this a very cool way to save the turtles without paper straws disintegrating in your drinks.
Make a play against the slime industrial complex and introduce the tween in your life to the joys of DIY pom-poms. This brilliant little plastic device makes it even easier to wind and slice their way into the “weird girl aesthetic” with pom-adorned shoelaces, backpacks, necklaces, and jewelry.
Film is having a moment, so impress a TikTok-loving teen or your artsy best friend with this reusable black-and-white-film camera. The point-and-click cam makes it easy to capture every unfiltered holiday moment.
Lip balms are the superior beauty stocking stuffer. Consider this nonstick one from Summer Fridays that’s just as glossy as their go-to lip product but smells way better.
If they’re taking their various Our Place pans in and out of the oven, gift them a pair of the brand’s silicone grips to match their set and keep their hands safe. (Why do the handles of those pans get so hot?)
If they’re going through it, help them understand what the stars are trying to tell them with this book from astrologer Lisa Stardust.
If you don’t have the budget to gift them a NuFace device, this stone gua sha tool is handcrafted with wide and short edges to help depuff and naturally contour their face.
We still can’t get enough of hair clips, and chances are your friends can’t either. This one is minimalist and easy to pair with any look.
They may have to replace their phone case with every new iteration of the iPhone, but this cute little phone strap is forever.
Who wouldn’t want to host a holiday dinner when their wooden serving set is this cute?
If your friend is looking to find a “hobby outside of media,” get them started with this cute punch-needle kit. It comes with everything they need to create a teeny masterpiece of their own without looking at their phone.
Did a loved one master the art of at-home cuts during the beginning of the pandemic? Level up their styling game with this minimal pair of scissors. Added bonus: They look good on the vanity and can be sharpened when they dull.
These colorful hydrocolloid stickers curb the urge to pop zits and are the ideal gift for skin pickers of any age. Plus, the cute case is refillable.
Upgrade the process of making all their favorite juices, drinks, and powders with this rechargeable frother so they can enjoy more lattes at home.
There are lots of ways to get a hit of crisp seasonal flavor without having to succumb to public scrutiny (though for the record, you do you!). This blend of aromatic black tea, spices, and dried apple is a more sophisticated way to scratch the cozy-beverage craving.
If they’re always ordering takeout from their favorite ramen spot, gift them these cute little chopstick holders. Not only they are cute but they make for great conversation starters.
This mini M.A.C lipstick is small enough to fit in even the tiniest of bags.
The least-subtle way to hint that there’s more beyond plain salt. This seasoned salt is the update their cooking skills need, and it pairs perfectly with chicken or fish.
For the gifted host or anyone who has rediscovered their love of cooking and baking over the last year or so, there’s likely to be a sink full of dishes around. Reward them with this elegant, ergonomic brush designed to give their hands a break.
This ingenious cast-brass perch makes a perfect resting spot for easily accessible, scratch-free specs.
Danessa Myricks arguably makes some of the best, most highly pigmented, and longest-lasting eye shadows out there. This multipurpose gel is perfect for creating Euphoria-worthy eye looks and highlights for all their holiday parties.
Rolling papers they won’t mind keeping on hand. These are made of organic rice paper — plus, look at how pretty they are.
There’s something inherently hopeful about gifting seeds in the dead of winter, especially these jewel-like micro tomatoes. Plus, Baker Creek ships its seeds in charmingly old-school, heavily illustrated craft-paper packages that are so pretty, they don’t need to be wrapped.
Bread’s mission is to simplify your natural-hair routine; for example, this supersize satin scrunchie is made for easy, no-damage updos. While it’s ideal for curls and coils, it’s also perfect for quick updos with braids and twists. The puff can handle even the thickest hair.
They love their dog almost as much as they love you, so this cute collar is a gift for them both. Featuring hand-painted patterns and soft fabrics for comfort, these collars come in sizes that even fit large breeds like Labradors and German shepherds.
Cannabis culture has never been more necessary for the stressed and sleepless — this tincture by Xula is designed to help them wind down. The non-psychotropic “Lights Out” blend is formulated from high-quality CBD and herbs like lemon verbena to help them relax and rest easy — a holiday gift that might actually be priceless.
Help them keep track of their vacation reads with this out-of-the-ordinary bookmark that is infinitely chicer than the bookstore receipt they’ve been using.
Any kind of charitable gift actually makes a great stocking stuffer — write out a short note explaining where you sent funds in their name. The Free BlackWomen’s Library is a perfect pick for New Yorkers. Founded in 2015 by OlaRonke Akinmowo, it’s a mobile library accessible to all also that hosts readings, workshops, author talks, and so much more.
Scented candles’ grip on the gifting market isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — lean into it without doing what’s expected and slide this delightful brass candle snuffer into your loved one’s stocking. It’s a timeless tool worthy of that fancy Diptyque candle.