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. We did the hard work for you and rounded up Strategist favorites (and some deep cuts from our archive), many of which we’ve tested and loved ourselves. There’s something for anyone on your list, from kids to pet parents — and all these stocking stuffers under $25 are available on Amazon and will all arrive before Christmas, as of December 21. But make sure to act fast — as in, buy today — since shipping deadlines are rapidly approaching. (If expedited shipping is too expensive, we’ve rounded up dozens of gift cards that make great last-minute presents.) And if you need even more holiday inspiration, we have guides for everyone on your list, from your hard-to-shop-for husband to teen boys to new homeowners.
Self-care and beauty
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-in-law who’s about to go on vacation
Supergoop makes dermatologist-approved, Strategist-favorite sunscreens — Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath calls their products “‘science sunscreen’ because they melt into your face in a really weird way that usually shocks people I share them with” — and this SPF 50 glow stick provides an extra shimmer for a midwinter getaway.
For the sibling already planning their next vacation
For the sister who can’t resist popping a zit
For the grandma with glowing skin
Weleda’s Skin Food moisturizer has been recommended frequently by celebrities and makeup artists alike as a multipurpose, superrich staple. Actor Hari Nef says “it’s like your face is having a meal,” and Sweetbitter author Stephanie Danler says she’s used it “to heal scrapes and burns while camping; to calm frizzy hair; and to spot-treat cuticles, elbows, and heels.”
For the best friend with a multistep evening skin-care routine
This glossy, berry-scented lip mask contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to plump and heal lips. It’s intended to be used as an overnight treatment, but some fans — including actor Storm Reid and Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst — wear it as a lip gloss.
[Editor’s note: This product will arrive by Christmas from Sephora with same-day delivery, which is available from $6.95 in certain areas.]
For the friend with a minimal skin-care routine
For the sister-in-law obsessed with French-girl skin care
If you want French pharmacy products, you don’t have to go far: Amazon is full of them. Glossier brand strategist Emily Ferber tipped us to it in our guide to the best face mists. It’s “excellent for keeping cool and refreshing, particularly if you’re not looking to add more product to your face,” she says.
For the college student flying in after finals week
This gel roller takes the cooling, calming joy of the classic jade roller to the next level. Cool the head in the freezer and roll under puffy eyes and irritated skin — bonus: It’s big enough to treat sore muscles, too.
For the mom who’s finally giving her flat iron a rest
If they’ve been rocking their natural wavy or curly hair lately, this brush is what Denton-Hurst uses to detangle — preferring it over combs or Denman brushes. “It detangles without ripping and helps curls clump together, which is ideal for defining and stretching my curls,” she writes in our guide to newly natural hair-care essentials.
For the boyfriend who won’t stop futzing with his hair
For the brother whose quarantine beard is now part of his personality
For the teen growing out their hair
For the friend who wants that Christmas-tree smell all year
Arts and crafts
For the grandma who’s a pro scrapbooker
For the grandpa who always helps you DIY
For the artist in the family
For the uncle who never forgets to send a (handwritten) birthday card
For the college student getting into calligraphy
The Pentel Arts Sign is “a calligraphy brush dressed up as a pen,” according to Strategist editor Margaret Rhodes. It’s also a favorite of event planner Bronson Van Wyck, who likes that “it’s a marker, but it’s thin enough that you can write a letter” and still “add flourish.”
Food and drink
For the uncle who’s training for a half-marathon
These cult-favorite electrolyte-replenishing tablets help stave off muscle cramps and headaches after a long run. Plus, according to former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, “they just taste really good,” especially if your giftee hates sugary sports drinks. “I remember first trying it out and being impressed by how sweet it was not.”
For the tinned-fish collector
For the dad just starting his sustainability journey
For the kid who always has a cavity
For the grandparent who loves old-school candies
For the kid who loves gimmick candies
If they love forbidden snack memes, they’ll love these rock-shaped chocolates.
For the co-worker whose bakes would earn a Paul Hollywood handshake
For the cousin who orders a Negroni sbagliato
Tech and gadgets
For the senior who could become a TikTok sensation
As Strategist writer (and teen whisperer) Chloe Anello learned when she talked to TikTokers, mini-microphones serve as both a gag and essential. “I’m not tech-savvy at all, so this one is really easy. You just simply plug it into your phone and it works,” explained TikToker Christina Najjar.
For the younger sibling with a mobile-gaming habit
When we asked people with exacting taste for the perfect gift, founder of Megababe Kate Sturino recommended this portable charger. “Nobody wants to buy a portable phone charger, but most people would use it every day,” she told us. And this charger “gives more than two times the amount of charge your phone needs, so you don’t have to be constantly scoping for your next outlet.”
For the dad who wipes his screens weekly
One side of this pen-size brush can wipe the camera lens on his phone clean while the other can sweep away crumbs on his laptop keyboard.
For the husband who works up a sweat while standing still
For the aunt who spends all day in the garden
For the kid who’s getting their first bike this year
Much more fun than the standard headlamp, this triceratops has horns that light up and make roaring sounds — and will keep them safe while biking at dusk.
For the tween who’s on cottagecore TikTok
For the baby cousin who’s really into trains right now
City kids graduate from choo-choo-train-obsessed to MTA-obsessed quite quickly. Strategist senior writer Lauren Ro’s toddler, Augie, loves riding the subway. And when he’s not on the subway, he loves reading about it. This was his first book about the subway, serving as “the perfect introduction to the subterranean system” with “simple, rhythmic, and repetitive” language.
For the kid who’s making their own Barbie Dreamhouse
For the niece who loves playing dress-up
For the niece who loves pretending to be a dinosaur
For the elementary-schooler who scribbles on every wall
These washable crayons are designed to be easier for toddler hands to hold. Plus, the colorful container has a better chance of surviving tantrums than the standard Crayola cardboard.
For the sibling who’s into tabletop RPGs
For the father-in-law who’s finally finishing The Power Broker
For the college student who’s over Milk and Honey
As Strategist writer Kat Gillespie writes, “It can still be hard to reach beyond your high-school English syllabus without expert guidance.” Anonymous curator behind @PoetryIsNotaLuxury tipped us to famed San Francisco bookstore City Lights Books, which publishes its own series of poetry collections. These “are bound to have something for anyone’s taste.”
For the sister who can’t leave the house without her amethysts
This tarot deck is a favorite of healer and reader Natija Cave, who loves the diversity represented in the cards.
For the grandparent who does the crossword in pen
These are 200 of the New York Times’ easiest crossword puzzles: a perfect thing for a recent retiree to occupy themselves with during newfound downtime.
For the parents who got a pandemic puppy
Kate Perry, a dog trainer and the author of Training for Both Ends of the Dog Leash, says this toy is one of her favorite interactive treat dispensers for puppies and is “great as a gift for new dog owners, and great for training a dog to work for their food.”
For the parents whose dog sheds like crazy
Strategist contributor and dog-allergy sufferer Zoe Denenberg says this cheerful, ergonomic shampoo brush is a “win-win” — dogs love the gentle rubber bristles, and the brush efficiently removes dander from undercoats, which leads to “a noticeable improvement in my allergies,” Denenberg writes.
For the sibling whose cat hates you
Nora Wood, the adoption-event coordinator for Anjellicle Cats, a New York–based all-volunteer cat rescue and nonprofit, calls this banana-shaped sack of catnip the “best catnip toy” — it’s the “perfect shape” for cats to sniff, snuggle, and kick, and the catnip inside is high quality.
For the partner with a food-motivated cat
“Cats love this shit,” says curator and cat owner Celine Wong Katzman of Churu squeezable treats, which she compares to cat Go-Gurt. They can also be frozen to make fish-flavored Popsicles.
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