gifts they might actually want

59 Non-Boring Stocking Stuffers Under $25 (That Will Still Arrive by Christmas)

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers

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Stocking stuffers can be a tricky prompt — they should be thoughtful, useful, and just a little cheeky, plus small enough to fit in a holiday-themed novelty sock. They’re also supposed to be cheap, but you don’t want them to feel cheap. So we did the hard work for you, combing through our archives and asking the Strategist staff for their expert recommendations to round up 58 of the best stocking stuffers under $25, including lots of Strat favorites that we’ve tested and loved ourselves. We’ve got you covered with delightful goodies for all sorts of giftees, from picky sisters to pet parents — and every item is available on Amazon for a speedy delivery. Meanwhile, if you need some assistance in picking out your official under-the-tree presents, we have gift guides for everyone from your hard-to-shop-for husband to teen nephews to your mother-in-law.

Note: we’ve done a final check on this story to ensure everything is in-stock and will arrive by Christmas, but now that we’re in last-minute territory shipping deadlines will change quickly, so don’t delay.

Food and drink

For the tinned-fish skeptic

These Jose Gourmet sardines soaked in tomato sauce helped convert me from a tinned-fish skeptic to a total enthusiast.

For the kid who loves a surprise

If they love forbidden snack memes, they’ll love these rock-shaped chocolates.

For the teen who has scrolled TikTok Shop

$13

Even if you’ve never heard of freeze-dried Skittles, your teen has definitely seen these crunchy, flavor-packed treats on their FYP and will be thrilled at the chance to try them.

For the unabashed chocoholic

These delectable pralines, made by Belgian chocolatier Guylian, are delightfully shaped like mini-seahorses.

For the uncle who can handle the heat

Zab’s is a guaranteed-to-please, all-time Strategist favorite. Original is a twist on the classic vinegar-based hot sauce, while St. Augustine Style lends a sweeter, fruitier heat.

For the co-worker whose bakes would earn a Paul Hollywood handshake

For the baker who loves both A Christmas Story and The Great British Bake Off, these vintage leg-lamp-shaped cutters will be a big hit.

For the nostalgic grandparent

With a distinctly floral aroma and flavor, these C. Howard violet candies were all the rage in New York City in the 1940s, according to actor Debi Mazar. The packaging is adorably retro, too.

For the friend with a fully stocked bar cart

Since they surely have enough bitters to last a lifetime, give them these whimsical martini-themed cocktail picks.

Self-care and beauty

For the tween who loves a little treat

This glossy, berry-scented lip mask was one of our top-selling products in 2022 — and the hype shows no signs of slowing down. I guarantee they already idolize at least one celebrity or TikToker who swears by it.

For the brother-in-law who’s obsessed with his dental hygiene

It’s not the sexiest item, but he’ll appreciate the gift of a clean-feeling mouth anywhere he goes. Plus this sampler pack, which includes coconut and strawberry flavors, has a bit more excitement than regular old mint.

For the mom who’s fully committed to her “mom bun”

These clips have a flat side and a domed top and are meant to be worn sideways, making them comfier than hair ties and regular claw clips, says fellow “mom bun” wearer and Strategist writer Lauren Ro. They’re a nice upgrade from a scrunchie, too.

For the boyfriend who won’t stop futzing with his quiff

Finding the right product to style a fresh cut can be tricky, but this barber-approved Layrite pomade will give him a nice hold without cementing it “into a glossy brick,” says chef Buddha Lo.

For the friend who’s always immaculately manicured

$10

These convenient press-on nails come in plenty of fun patterns, so they can mix up their manicure in minutes.

For the father-in-law who nurses dry hands all winter

Help him heal cracked knuckles with this top-rated cream that can soften the toughest, most calloused hands.

For the sister who puts toothpaste on her zits

Gift her this pimple-busting Mario Badescu drying lotion instead, which Lala Kent of Vanderpump Rules bought after she heard that Lisa Vanderpump uses it. “It just zaps the blemish,” she says.

For the grandma who wants to upgrade from Nivea

From $18

We’ve been recommending Weleda’s thick, balmlike Skin Food since 2017, as a must-have for luminous skin as well as treating rough cuticles, elbows, and heels.

For the friend who’s not afraid to go bold

NYX’s Fat Oil comes in seven colorful shades, ranging from bright watermelon pinks to burnt peachy tones. “Because of the extra vibrance in the NYX shades, I also found that the tint tends to stay on your lips for longer, so you don’t need to constantly reapply,” Viera-Newton says.

For the posh aunt who’s already daydreaming about sandal season

The real gift comes two weeks later, when sheets of skin start to slowly slough off her toes and ankles. Once the purge period is over, however, it’ll leave her feet looking like “they’ve just received the world’s most expensive pedicure,” says writer Molly Young.

For the cousin growing out their hair

This set of semi-sheer crêpe scrunchies — a favorite brand of Sex in the City author Candace Bushnell — will complement their ’90s ’fits.

For the aunt with a cashmere obsession

Soak Laundry Soap
From $20
From $20

Help her save on her dry-cleaning bill with Soak’s ecofriendly, plant-derived detergent. It comes in six elegant scents from fig to yuzu, and there’s a fragrance-free option, too.

For the mother-in-law who likes to feel a little fancy

An all-time Strategist best seller, this ZimaSilk silk pillowcase makes Viera-Newton feel as if she’s “sleeping in a luxurious hotel.”

Gadgets and gizmos

For the sibling with a penchant for overpacking

With three USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, this Epicka travel adapter has the ability to connect as many as six devices to power from a single outlet, helping them save room for the 5,000 other things they’re bringing along.

For the gadget dad who’s also a neat freak

The microfiber pad on one side can remove fingerprints and smudges on his phone and laptop screens, while the brush on the other side can sweep away crumbs caught in his keyboard.

For the certified caffeine snob

We’ve dubbed these Apace scoops the “Rolls-Royce of coffee spoons” thanks to their pleasingly ovoid shape, ergonomically curved handle, and warm, elegant rose-gold shade.

For the high-school senior who could become a TikTok sensation

Photo: retailer

“I’m not tech-savvy, so this one is really easy. You just plug it into your phone and it works,” says TikToker Christina Najjar (a.k.a. Tinx), who’s made a whole career off her mini-microphone.

For the brother planning to backpack through Yosemite

When he gets to week three and needs to do laundry, he’ll appreciate this lightweight travel clothesline from Sea to Summit that doesn’t require any clothespins.

For the light sleeper who tosses and turns all night

LC-dolida Sleep Headphones
$16
$16

This headband has a small, flat speaker installed in a pocket on each side, so they can listen to white noise, rainforest sounds, or an audiobook to drift off without disturbing others.

For the sister-in-law training for a half-marathon

From $20

Made from sweat-wicking polyester, Buffs’ all-purpose “headwear” is useful for staying warm in the winter and dry in the summer during long endurance runs.

For the friend who never says no to a drink – and loves a garnish

This can opener is designed to remove the entire top of aluminum cans in one go. Going lidless makes it easy to garnish La Croix with sliced orange, add ice to a lukewarm Diet Coke, or mix gin into Schweppes tonic water.

For the husband who works up a sweat while standing still

Photo: retailer

It doesn’t matter that it’s the dead of winter: He’ll love being able to cool down with a personal, portable hand-held fan when the radiators are running full-tilt.

For the sister who’s always itching

A great gift for those “mosquito buffet” types, this neat plastic doodad can suck the venom from the bite to help prevent an itchy, painful bump.

Hobbies, arts, and crafts

For the friend who hosts game night

Just make sure your friend group is strong enough to withstand the chaos that comes with this highly addictive card game.

For the father-in-law relaxing with The Power Broker before bed

Since the hue of this book light is warm and amber-y rather than a cooler blueish-white, bedtime bookworms can wind down without feeling like they’re staring at a screen or disturbing a sleeping partner.

For the sister who can’t leave home without her amethysts

This tarot deck features vibrant illustrations of familiar archetypes like the Queen of Swords, updated with a modern sensibility — great for the 21st-century witch-in-training.

For the brother who likes to tinker

Handy people can always use an extra pocketknife. This one by French company Opinel comes recommended by fourth-generation butcher Cara Nicoletti — she’s owned hers for over nine years and says it’s “the cutest knife I own.”

For the grandma who’s always gardening

These ingenious terra-cotta stakes will help keep her plants alive when she goes to visit her grandkids — just add an empty wine bottle full of water to each one. They can also make watering a hard-to-reach pot much easier.

For the uncle who’s into online gaming

Help him ward off carpal tunnel with this pad that sits along the edge of your keyboard to provide extra wrist relief. “It makes typing for long sessions far less strenuous, and it’s just as great for extended online matches or all-nighters in their favorite game,” says Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon.

For the grandparent who does the crossword in pen

These are 200 of the New York Times’ easiest crossword puzzles: a perfect present for a recent retiree with a lot of newfound downtime.

For the mother-in-law who’s a pro scrapbooker

$9
Photo: Retailer

This handy little dispenser contains 200 double-sided, removable glue dots beloved by scrapbookers and obsessive gift wrappers.

For the great-aunt who always sends a (handwritten) birthday card

Photo: retailer

Assuming she already has a healthy stash of fountain pens, gift her this shimmery magenta-colored ink that Strategist contributor Iva Dixit says makes her grocery lists resemble the Magna Carta.

For the college student getting into calligraphy

These beginner-friendly calligraphy brushes dressed up as pens will let them add all sorts of flourishes to their bullet journal, without the hassle of nibs and ink.

Kids

For the kid who’s a Rubik’s Cube noob

Rubik’s Coach Cube
$12
$12

For kids who are new to the classic Rubik’s Cube, this instructional “coach” cube comes with peel-off stickers to help simplify the process.

For the kid who’s already mastered the basic Rubik’s Cube

This more elaborate mirrored cube involves twisting up all kinds of shapes and provides hours of fun — including the challenge of refitting the pieces into their original cubic form.

For the teen who vibes with Frog and Toad

A mushroom nightlight that will transform their bedroom into a cottagecore wonderland.

For the tween with a plushie collection

Squishmallows are beloved by kids of all ages and are one of the hottest toys we hear the most about from toy-trend experts, parents, and even camp counselors. They come in a huge range of sizes, too: The mini-macaw above is small enough to actually fit into a typical stocking, or if you have an extra-large sock to fill, consider a 12-inch triceratops that doubles as a throw pillow.

For the preschooler who’s an avid puzzler

Containing just 48 pieces and beloved by multiple Strategist parents, Mudpuppy’s colorful city-themed puzzles take up a fraction of the space that bigger puzzles do.

For the kid learning how to ride a bike

This cute daisy-shaped bike bell and colorful handlebar streamers will help zhuzh up their wheels.

For the toddler who scribbles on every wall

These washable crayons are designed to be easier for smaller hands to hold, and the colorful container has a better chance of surviving tantrums than the standard Crayola cardboard.