10 Big Ideas for
Christmas Stockings

by Kathryn Drury Wagner  |  November 14, 2013

Traditionally, Christmas stockings held small, seasonal treats, like nuts, an orange and a shiny copper penny. Most people still hold fast to this tradition, choosing petite, useful items, like lip balm, tissue packets and a magazine, as stocking stuffers. But don't overlook a stocking's potential as a place to stash a wallop of a surprise. We came up with 10 really big gift ideas that can all be presented in a Christmas stocking.

1. Shiny Key Yes, Virginia, there can be a key to a new car, Vespa, vacation home, apartment or sleek boat inside that stocking.

2. Paper Tickets Airline, opera, concert, theme park or big sports game-tickets of all sorts are sure to thrill. Consider tucking a small pair of binoculars or leather passport cover into the stocking too, or another trinket appropriate to the ticketed activity.

3. Really Good Booze Knock the socks-or in this case, stocking-off an oenophile with an exclusive bottle, like a 1962 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port or 1992 Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon Oenotheque Rose Champagne. For the high-rolling man in your life, a 15-year Ben Nevis Single Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. See The 18 Best Bottles of Scotch in the World in this great article from Business Insider.

Don't overlook a stocking's potential as a place to stash a wallop of a surprise

4. Dream Cruise Place sunglasses, sunscreen, flip-flops, and, for a little comic relief, a box of Dramamine, into the stocking. And in the toe? Tickets for that long awaited cruise.

5. Foreign Language Dictionary or Guidebook You'll never see a look of "that's nice..." turn into "oh my!" faster than when you pull this ploy. Use a sticky note to mark a special page with a note that reveals a trip to a dream destination. For example, in an Italian guidebook, you could mark the Rome chapter and have the note read, "Save March 1-8. We're going!"

6. Genie in a (Water) Bottle A sports bottle is a fun way to present a certificate for a year's gym membership or series of personal training sessions. Make sure, though, when you are giving a fitness gift, that it's truly coveted. A health and fitness nut or yoga enthusiast will be thrilled, for example, but for others, it might be offensive. You don't want the reaction to be, "So you think I'm fat?!"

7. Sign the Leash Let the kids know they can finally go pick out that dog they have been hounding you for. You can also include biscuits and a book on how to raise a dog.

8. Whisk Me Away Pack a stocking with kitchen gadgets, olive oil, an apron and a gift card for cooking lessons for the person who is always talking about how they wish they could whip up pad thai or paella at home

9. Once in a Lifetime An experiential gift, such as a balloon ride, day at a high-performance driving school, a flying lesson or an intro to scuba diving, is sure to create a huge memory.

10. Oh Baby! Make a priceless announcement with a fuzzy sonogram image of the newest family member.