The holiday season will be, well… let’s be optimistic and say ‘different’ this year. For those doing the right thing and staying put to avoid the spread of COVID, the pain of missing that time with family and friends is all too real. And while gifts can never replace that, well, they don’t hurt, do they? Especially when they’re fun stocking stuffers especially put together to take the sting out of lockdown over the holidays. Here are five ideas for stocking themes to help get you through these horrible, horrible times.
There are three foodie gifts men will inevitably be given for the holidays: Grilling tools, hot sauces and pink Himalayan salt. To be fair, they’re pretty good gifts, but why not take a chance with something new? Many men cook inside the home as well as out of it, and detailed scientific reports reveal that nearly all men eat food (we were shocked, too!) You’ll need to rifle through his kitchen drawers to figure out exactly which utensils and tools he’s missing, but there’s an enormous amount of fun, artisanal snacks out there including bacon, nuts, popcorn and an almost worrying variety of jerkies. Grab a bag of high-quality and/or high-caffeine coffee to blast him awake in the morning, and then some booze-infused chocolate and candy to satisfy his sweet tooth at night. After you throw all that in the stocking, shove an apron on top — he’ll be grateful the first time flying bacon grease doesn’t ruin his shirt.
If your stocking recipient enjoys a tipple or two, chances are they’ve enjoyed many additional tipples during the nightmare that has been 2020. And since the year isn’t over, very few of them would likely be disappointed to find a pint of their favorite booze tucked in their stocking (although if you’re worried about the stocking’s weight capacity, a mixed assortment of airline baby bottles might be easier and more fun). You can help their nascent bar out with a jigger, corkscrew, mixing spoon, as well as a few pourers, like the ones bartenders use on their liquor bottles to make sure no booze is spilled. Hell, if the stocking’s big enough, you should be able to stuff an entire cocktail shaker in there. You can also order bottles of high-quality cocktail mixes online, including tonic syrup, to help level their drinks up at home, but there are also travel cocktail kits out there. Or just get them a flask! Not enough people have flasks anymore.
Duh. It’s 2020. People are increasingly going to give — and people are increasingly going to want — tech gifts until the apocalypse hits. There’s practically an infinite number of options out there already, most of them much too big and/or expensive to fit inside a stocking. So keep things small and simple with modern classics like wireless charging stands, mini Bluetooth speakers and portable chargers. Car dashboard cams are becoming an increasingly popular gift choice, as are smart doorbells, which deliver video of who’s standing on your front porch right to your phone. Bluetooth karaoke microphones allow would-be stars to belt out their greatest hits, and for more fun, browse for mini-arcade machines: They look like the old cabinets of the ‘80s, but fit in your hand — and still play the games! This is certainly the most expensive stocking of the bunch, but hey, 2020’s made it worth it.
Given the pandemic, there don’t seem to be many reasons to bother looking good, or sometimes even cleaning up. However, studies have repeatedly shown that when people take care of their appearance, they feel better about themselves more generally, and we could all use some of that self-positivity right now (plus, things are tough enough without people heading into the grocery store with visible stink lines). Now, believe it or not, it just so happens that — are you ready to be surprised??!! — we sell lots of grooming gift sets! Who’d have thunk? Between the razors, cleansers, moisturizers, shampoos, colognes and everything else, your giftee will have no excuse for not smelling good. Or you can give them a Dopp kit and gift card and let them pick their products out for themselves!
Even the nerdiest man wants to feel useful. Honestly, it’s those guys who can’t build furniture or fix their car or even find their fuse box who want to feel useful the most, and the only way to become useful is to have the right equipment. Some sort of multitool is generally a safe stocking stuffer bet — even if your giftee has one already, there’s always room for more (one at home, one in the car, one in the pocket, etc.) Kitchen knives and sharpeners are likewise a solid idea, and while you might think your giftee would need to smoke to enjoy a quality lighter, the ability to produce fire has been pretty beneficial to humanity over the years. If this stuff is too testosterone-y, give them a skill to learn — there are training sets for lockpickers, leatherworking and soldering out there, all appropriately stocking-sized. If all else fails, you know what’s always useful and fits in a big sock? More socks.