80+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Teenagers

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I go hard for Christmas.

Just... I'm not telling YOU to go hard for Christmas. I don't care if you keep it simple and meaningful, if you do the four-present trend or take a vacation instead of gifts or whatever. I'm just telling you that *I* personally go hard. I, personally, get a huge kick out of maintaining a ton of traditions that I created when the kids were small (while quietly ditching the ones I didn't like--Advent calendars are too much work!), indulging in all the seasonal novelty foods and drinks, unabashedly using the Christmas season as an excuse to make Matt and the kids do all kind of family activities with me that they'd probably rather skip, and buying and making them presents. Christmas is like my own unpaid two-month part-time job, and I don't even care. Do what you love and you'll never work a day, etc.

Presents might be my favorite, though. I am ALL ABOUT the buying and making of thoughtful gifts. I love researching everyone's interests to see what might make a good present, and picking out or making stuff for them, trying to surprise them with new stuff that they didn't already know they would love. Syd once sent me a super offensive Tiktok basically mocking the way that I apparently watch them open their gifts, seeking emotional fulfillment in their response, and I couldn't even be mad because it was definitely true.

So yes, my teenagers still get stockings. MATT even gets a stocking, for Christ's sake, because that's how hard I go. Just... there's all this tiny shit that I want to make and buy them for Christmas, and where on Earth can tiny shit go except in a stocking that I handmade for each person six years ago based on their current interests, so that no matter how grown up Syd thinks she is, every Christmas morning she will be pulling her presents out of a My Little Pony stocking?

The pets also have stockings. Don't even talk to me about this, because I will not listen to reason.

Anyway, here are the basic categories that I use when picking out tiny stuff for my teenagers' stockings. 


I don't know about your teenagers, but MY teenagers are (in some ways, ahem) much more conscious about hygiene these days, and they're thrilled to get nice, new pandemic supplies.


Even though they're into different types of things, both of my teenagers love stuff to decorate their notebooks and laptops and backpacks with.

  • enamel pins. Teenagers mostly put these on their backpacks or bags, so you also want to buy the pin locks for them. You can buy officially licensed pins, especially for big brands like Disney, or fan-made pins from indie sellers.
  • patches. Some kids are patch kids and some kids aren't, but the kids who ARE can't have enough and will put them everywhere, from their jackets to their book bags to their jeans. One of my teenagers is big into David Bowie at the moment, and there are some very good handmade Bowie patches on etsy.
  • pinback buttons. These are usually a lot cheaper than the enamel pins! We can make our own pinback buttons, but nothing can beat vintage, which teenagers are just now almost old enough to appreciate.
  • stickers. One of my teenagers super loves the cute novelty stickers you can buy in sets on Amazon, which is handy, because I can break up a set and toss a few into her stocking and a few more into her Easter basket. The other teenager isn't so much into these, but LOVES glow-in-the-dark star stickers for her room. These gem window stickers are a little spendier than I'd usually put in a stocking, but if a kid's bedroom window faces the sun at any point during the day, they're quite magical!

DIY Kits

I save bigger kits for their main gifts, but I feel like small kits are an easy way to tempt one of my teenagers into trying a new type of project or giving them a no-fuss, low commitment way to do one of their favorite activities.

  • art kits. My artsy teenager likes to try out new skills, but a big, expensive kit would stress her out--what if she messed up? Didn't like it? The COMMITMENT!!!!! Stuff like calligraphy pens and a book on hand lettering, or charcoals in a little tin are more accessible and easier on a perfectionist's stress levels.
  • craft kits. It's weirdly difficult to find a craft kit cheap enough for a stocking, but I can usually find a couple of good deals before Christmas. Right now for instance, this quilling kit is nine dollars instead of twenty! If nothing else, the big-box craft stores like Joann or Michaels will have a 50-% off one regular-priced item coupon at some point. And if you, yourself, are crafty-ish, you can also DIY a kit by buying a simple pattern and packaging it with the supplies to make it.
  • models. Small affordable models, however, are really easy to find. One teenager loves making any kind of models, particularly the 3D wooden ones, and the other teenager, while not being especially into model-making, itself, nevertheless enjoys ones connected to her pop culture interests.
  • small LEGO sets. Even if your teenager doesn't like LEGOs in particular, you can probably find a kit that fits into one of their other interests. If your kid's not a LEGO purist, I really like the indie kits you can find on etsy. Here's a little unicorn!


My teenagers might be especially food-motivated, but food is ALWAYS a hit in their stockings!

  • candy. I mean, of course! I like to give them holiday-themed candy, but I also like to give them international candies and anything unusual I might find. When Matt and I went to Chattanooga this September, we found a giant store full of every possible candy, and we picked out a lot of cool treats for the kids' stockings.
  • hot sauce, coffee syrup, etc. One of my teenagers, in particular, is all about new hot sauces and interesting coffee syrups, so a new version or a travel size makes a fun surprise. I'm usually able to pick her up something new just from the regular grocery store or the international grocery while I'm shopping, which is a big bonus!
  • inside jokes. The kids and I super love to visit grocery stores when we travel, and if I can later find their favorite food finds again, they make fun stocking stuffers. My biggest win was the year that I actually found Canadian Whippets at our local Big Lots! Never All-Dressed Ridgies, though... I swear, the next time we visit Canada I'm bringing back a case of All-Dressed Ridgies.
  • novelty food stuff. This little slushy maker really works, and my teenager who got it in her stocking one year still adores it. I've also given them weird things like these Miracle Berry tablets, which turned into a fun family night of eating them and then tasting sour foods. Freeze-dried candy is also a Whole Thing.
  • their favorite treat, upsized. Did you know that they make both giant Snickers AND giant gummy worms and gummy bears? Not for the faint of heart, but VERY fun to receive!

Fidgets, Sensory, and Solitary Play

We all need stuff to entertain us that isn't a screen, although to be fair, one of my teenagers and I still need to have something to listen to while we're messing around with some solitary activity. The other teenager and Matt are bafflingly comfortable simply listening to the thoughts in their heads, shudder. 

  • fidgets. My teenagers have never been Rubiks Cube kids, even though those appeared in their stockings one year, so not everything will stick. They do seem to love open-ended sensory fidgets, though, things like Shashibo or Thinking Putty or fidget rings. These water sensory thingies might seem too babyish for a teenager, but I assure you that they are PERFECT for a kid to keep on her work desk to zone out to for a few minutes when her geometry homework is pissing her off. 
  • solitary games. We all love the pocket ThinkFun and IQ solitaire logic games, and manipulatives like pentominoes or Dog Pile that can live on the coffee table for anyone to fiddle with. 
  • travel-sized puzzle books. One of my teenagers adores Sudoku and will work a travel-sized Sudoku book all the way through in odd moments out and about with no wi-fi. The other teenager hasn't quite found a puzzle type that she consistently loves, but will dip into just about anything.

Grooming/Hygiene and Necessities

I happily fill out the nice presents in their stockings with all the small, boring, useful crap that they're always needing more of. Bonus points if I add something that they're constantly borrowing from me and never returning--2021 was the year each kid got her very own set of nail clippers!

  • first aid kit. The kids already have decent travel first aid kits that they made to earn their First Aid badges, and they've come in SO handy on multiple occasions. Now that they're old enough to be out and about by themselves constantly, I also stock them up with travel OTC medicines for their kits like iboprofin, cough suppresant, allergy medicine, anti-nausea medication, etc.
  • hair stuff. ALWAYS hair stuff! Travel hairbrushes, mini hairspray for my ballerina, the exact make and model of the only acceptable but hard-to-find ponytail rings, the good brand of bobby pins for the ballerina, scrunchies, detangler spray, and on and on and on. These teenagers have so much hair!
  • lip stuff. For my teenagers, that's pretty much just fun Carmex, but it's important!
  • nail stuff. I tried giving them nail brushes one year, but it didn't work and my horse girl's fingernails are still a horror on barn days, blech. The nail clippers have vastly lowered the number of times my own nail clippers have been stolen, however! Nail polish for those who wear it is an easy win.
  • skin stuff. Good lotion, the one specific kind of face soap, scrubbies or pumice bars. I'm personally high-key obsessed with Duke Cannon, so I stick those in lots of stockings.
  • travel tissues. Cheap, and easy to throw in a backpack!

Reading, Writing, and Drawing

There's generally always some kind of something you can find that a teenager will like to read, and even though all the kids use Chromebooks at school these days, they still generally like nice writing supplies. 

  • post-its. Buying the kids their own awesome post-its keeps them from stealing my boring ones.
  • nice pens. Drawing pens are a little on the spendy side, but they're a nice size for stuffing a stocking. And artist or not, everyone loves gel pens.
  • tiny notebooks. These are super useful even if they don't think they will be. We actually use these a lot for passing notes and games back and forth when we travel, and especially in these Chromebook times, it's handy to always keep some little thing to jot notes or doodles on in a backpack.

Scented Stuff

To be fair, only one of my teenagers is really into this, so maybe just try out one thing first and see if it sticks. But the teenager who loves scented things REALLY loves them, and is thrilled to receive any or all of the below items:

  • bath bombs and shower tabs. We don't have a bathtub, but shower steamers give a good pop of scent.
  • drawer sachets. One of my teenager loves to store a scent with her clothes, and it actually does make her clothes smell lovely! 
  • essential oil warmer and essential oils. Double-check that you're not going to poison the pets, first! If your teenager takes to it, you'll forevermore be able to pop a small bottle of essential oil into their stockings and Easter baskets.
  • incense burner and incense. Same with the incense! My teenager who loves incense burns it enough that I'm able to restock her every Christmas and Easter and birthday. Incense and burners are also so cheap that you can spend a little more on handmade and still not go over budget.
  • perfume. If your teenager wears it, this site has some cute and unusual scents--I love Crayon!
  • scented candles. There are cute candles at places like Trader Joe's or Aldi's for five bucks-ish if you're not sure if your teenager will like them. I also really like these niche, fan-centric candles on etsy, with fun scents that remind you of your favorite books.
Put an orange in the toe of each stocking, and then you're finished!