Gift ideas for your loved ones' stockings this holiday season

  • An app-controlled fidget spinner allows users to connect the popular toy to their smartphones and play games. The device costs about $40 at Brookstone.

    An app-controlled fidget spinner allows users to connect the popular toy to their smartphones and play games. The device costs about $40 at Brookstone. Courtesy of Brookstone

  • These $39.99 wireless earphones with reverse-sound technology connect to smartphones and other mobile devices.

    These $39.99 wireless earphones with reverse-sound technology connect to smartphones and other mobile devices. Courtesy of Brookstone

  • Self-care items, such as bath bombs and bath salts, are inexpensive and practical stocking stuffers. These bath bombs shaped like cupcakes cost $7 at The Little Traveler.

    Self-care items, such as bath bombs and bath salts, are inexpensive and practical stocking stuffers. These bath bombs shaped like cupcakes cost $7 at The Little Traveler. Courtesy of The Little Traveler

  • The World's Smallest Remote Controlled Helicopter and Space Flyers are perfect gifts for kids and families who enjoy trying out new gadgets, according to the owners of The Little Traveler.

    The World's Smallest Remote Controlled Helicopter and Space Flyers are perfect gifts for kids and families who enjoy trying out new gadgets, according to the owners of The Little Traveler. Courtesy of The Little Traveler

  • Ella Banassi of Arlington Heights holds ice cream cone-shaped Squishies, slow-rise toys that come in various shapes and sizes. They range from $8 to $15 at Beat Street Toys in Arlington Heights.

    Ella Banassi of Arlington Heights holds ice cream cone-shaped Squishies, slow-rise toys that come in various shapes and sizes. They range from $8 to $15 at Beat Street Toys in Arlington Heights. Courtesy of Beat Street

  • Riley Phillips, left, and Chloe Tauber, both of Arlington Heights, wear unicorn horns -- a trendy accessory sold at Beat Street Toys and Gifts that has become increasingly popular among young girls, the store's marketing specialist says.

    Riley Phillips, left, and Chloe Tauber, both of Arlington Heights, wear unicorn horns -- a trendy accessory sold at Beat Street Toys and Gifts that has become increasingly popular among young girls, the store's marketing specialist says. Courtesy of Beat Street

  • Brookstone's On the ROCK glass with an ice maker costs about $40 and is intended to bring out full aromas in scotch, whiskey or other malt spirits.

    Brookstone's On the ROCK glass with an ice maker costs about $40 and is intended to bring out full aromas in scotch, whiskey or other malt spirits. Courtesy of Brookstone

 
 

Socks, gift cards and tree ornaments aren't the only gifts that will fit in your loved ones' stockings. Trendy miniature gadgets, do-it-yourself kits and tasty treats are among the stocking stuffers suburban businesses recommend giving this holiday season.

Here are some unique items under $50 that are small enough to be hung by the chimney with care.

For tech lovers:

A seven-in-one car charger, sold at Brookstone for $39.99, includes a power bank and emergency tools, such as a seat belt cutter and a car window hammer.
A seven-in-one car charger, sold at Brookstone for $39.99, includes a power bank and emergency tools, such as a seat belt cutter and a car window hammer. - Courtesy of Brookstone

Smartphone accessories, such as a portable solar charger or a camera lens, are small in size and in high demand. Stacey Politis, social media manager for Brookstone, suggested roughly $40 items such as wireless surround-sound earphones or a seven-in-one car charger, which includes a USB port, a LED flashlight and other safety tools, such as a seat belt cutter and car window hammer.

For those who joined the fidget spinner craze this year, Politis said, an app-controlled version of the toy pairs with a mobile device and allows the user to play games.

Mike Simon, owner of The Little Traveler in Geneva, said kids and families who love trying out new gadgets would enjoy miniature devices, such as the World's Smallest Remote Controlled Helicopter, or Space Flyers figures that hover on their own and light up.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For foodies:

Locally made food and other artisan items sold at The Uncommon Palate -- most cost under $10 -- are perfect for fitting into a stocking, owners said.
Locally made food and other artisan items sold at The Uncommon Palate -- most cost under $10 -- are perfect for fitting into a stocking, owners said. - Courtesy of The Uncommon Palate

Put a twist on a popular stocking stuffer -- winter-themed snacks -- by shopping locally for unique, artisan food items you might not be able to find elsewhere. Lisa Opfer, owner of The Uncommon Palate in East Dundee, suggests locally made toffee and roasted cinnamon pecans, organic Christmas teas, mulling spices or a bucket of (chocolate) coal.

Her store also sells small bottles of organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar infused with fig, pomegranate or Tuscan herbs -- all of which are produced by small family farms, Opfer said. Most items are under $10.

For someone who loves to cook, Simon of The Little Traveler recommends multifunctioning utensils, such as the $12 Supoon, which scoops, measures and scrapes the bowl clean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A wine bottle thermometer, whiskey glasses with an ice ball maker, and unique beer bottle openers are great ideas for those who enjoy the occasional drink.

For kids:

Small 3-D metal model kits, which cost between $11 and $18, are ideal gifts for crafty and creative children and teens.
Small 3-D metal model kits, which cost between $11 and $18, are ideal gifts for crafty and creative children and teens. - Courtesy of The Little Traveler

Brain teaser games and novelty toys are some of the most popular gifts for children this year, said Kate Erickson, marketing specialist for Beat Street Toys and Gifts in Arlington Heights. Rubik's Cube-like games with a unique design or shape, smelly stickers, and containers of slime are all entertaining and come in small packages, she said.

Squishies -- slow-rising toys of various shapes costing $5 to $8 -- and unicorn-themed accessories have become some of the most desired collectibles for young girls, Erickson said, and both are the perfect size and price for a stocking stuffer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For boys, she recommended bendable superhero action figures and travel-size versions of board games.

For crafty and creative kids, shop owners pointed to miniature do-it-yourself projects, such as Metal Earth Mini Model Kits sold at The Little Traveler for $11 to $18.

For anyone:

Owners of The Little Traveler in Geneva recommend gifting multiuse utensils such as the $12 Supoon, which measures, stirs and scrapes the bowl clean.
Owners of The Little Traveler in Geneva recommend gifting multiuse utensils such as the $12 Supoon, which measures, stirs and scrapes the bowl clean. - Courtesy of The Little Traveler

From multiuse tools to accessories for combating the cold, suburban businessmen and women say practical items are always a safe bet when it comes to filling a stocking.

A pocket knife with multiple tools, for example, can be handy in an emergency and is small enough to fit in purses and wallets, Simon said.

For about $30, these smartphone-friendly gloves allow users to expose their fingers and thumbs to use the touch screen when necessary. They also have a pocket for holding the phone, and textured palms to prevent it from slipping.
For about $30, these smartphone-friendly gloves allow users to expose their fingers and thumbs to use the touch screen when necessary. They also have a pocket for holding the phone, and textured palms to prevent it from slipping. - Courtesy of Brookstone

Smartphone-friendly mittens, like those sold for about $30 at Brookstone, have a zippered pocket for holding the phone and allow users to free their fingertips and thumbs to use a touch screen in cold weather, Politis said.

Self-care products, such as facial masks and bath salts, are also unique, sensible and often small enough to hang above the fireplace.

Simon suggested The Little Traveler's cupcake-shaped bath bombs and miniature candles to match the theme.

Other general ideas include lottery tickets and PopSockets, which act as a cellphone grip and stand.

0 Comments
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.