The best holiday gifts are small and delightful. Anyone can pick out a big-ticket appliance or designer scarf, but there’s a real art to finding a stocking stuffer that’s affordable, thoughtful, and won’t end up in the junk pile, all while being compact enough to fit into a stocking with a bunch of other stuff. To help you find the perfect little presents for everyone in your life (from close family members to co-workers to college friends), we’ve combed through our archive for inexpensive items recommended by Strategist staffers and other experts we’ve spoken with. And for more gift ideas for different kinds of people in your life (from birders to knitters to Formula 1 fans), find all of our curated picks here.
Food and drink
For the chocolate maximalist
Whether they’re a kid or a kid at heart, they’ll be thrilled to receive a container full of chocolate rocks — they’re half-toy, half-candy.
For the roommate who puts hot sauce on everything
If they’ve tried every spicy condiment out there, this Old Bay–flavored hot sauce will be something different.
For the friend who already owns a sardine fork
Delicious Portuguese tinned fish in a box that’s beautiful enough to gift.
For the vintage candy fan
For the coworker who takes a 4 p.m. coffee break
These Italian candies contain approximately one-third of a shot of espresso encased in a chocolate shell. They’re “light, crunchy, rich, and not too sweet,” writes Strategist contributor Caroline Weaver. “It’s the perfect portable caffeine and sugar kick.”
For the Japanese-candy collector
These matcha-flavored biscuit cookies are a classic — they’re one of Christine Chiu’s favorite things — or you could get a bunch of different flavors and gift them a stocking full of Pocky.
For the friend with a bitter tooth
For the friend who always hosts
Beauty and self-care
For the friend who wears full glam to the grocery
For the skin-care nerd who’ll try anything once
We went deep on the skin-care benefits of snail mucin and emerged with this cult-favorite serum. (It’s been a reader best seller several times over.)
For the sister-in-law looking for a fresh start in 2023
For the dad with chapped hands
For the theater kid
For the cousin who loves an onsen
This beautiful, aromatic Japanese incense is easy to fit in a stocking, and the faintly sandalwood-scented wooden box it comes in can also be repurposed for next year’s gifts.
For the friend with a fancy bathroom
For the mom who’s allergic to fragrance
An olive-oil-and-mineral-salt soap with just three ingredients, perfect for those with sensitive skin who still want the fancy soap experience.
For the digital nomad
For the friend who FaceTimes in a face mask
For the overworked college student
For the Gen-Z sibling who’s on her fourth -core of the year
An oversize hair bow that could skew dark academia, coquette, or whimsigoth plus whatever aesthetic movement is coming next.
Electronics and gadgets
For the couple with different bedtimes
For the person with an immaculate desk setup
This two-sided electronics brush will help extract any crumbs or bits of lint from their keyboard.
For the sibling who’s gone all-in on cottagecore
For the brother-in-law who keeps losing his AirPods
For the vacation photographer
If they’ve always got the best pics when you travel together, they’ll love messing around with this retro disposable camera that can shoot underwater.
Games, toys, and art supplies
For the brother who can’t sit still
Bouncing this classic pink Spalding bouncy ball off a wall is one of illustrator Maira Kalman’s brain-reset hacks: It’s “one of the greatest diversions and brain reactivators around,” and these balls specifically don’t leave marks on the wall.
For the person who insists on carrying bugs outside instead of killing them
For the kid with village of miniatures
For the kid who loves retro toys
Enjoy a moment of intergenerational bonding over just how hard it is to avoid killing a Tamagotchi pet.
For the design-minded games nerd
So they can make you draw four in a cool, chic, understated way.
For the kid who has dressed up as an animal five Halloweens in a row
German toy company Schleich makes durable, very realistic figurines of all kinds of animals, whether they’re a unicorn kid or a Jurassic Park kid.
For the artist in the family
For the sibling whose books are full of margin notes
Gift them the pen Sofia Coppola uses to mark up the script for her upcoming Priscilla Presley biopic, Priscilla.
For Daddy’s little helper
An adorable pair of kid-sized leather work gloves, so they can “help” with gardening and home DIY projects.
For the frequent dinner-party host
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultraflattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.