5 Tips on Building the Best (and Most Socially Conscious) Stocking This Christmas

Liz Biscevic

How do we forget about stockings every single year, leaving us scrambling the night before to fill them all with literally anything we can find? Seriously. They’re hanging up all season. There are no real excuses here. This year, to help you avoid that inevitable holiday fate, we’re proposing a game plan: fill them early. And don’t just shove in whatever treats and trinkets you can find. With a little bit of planning, you can make those stockings not just fun, not just useful, but beneficial to all! All of our stocking stuffer suggestions help others in need when you buy.

Start with the utilities.

While you can make a kid’s day by stuffing a stocking with treats, most of the adults in your life are still working through their Halloween candy leftovers by the time the holidays roll around. This year, do them a favor and save them a Target run by adding in a few utilities — those things you have to buy to feel like a functional adult. There’s tons of opportunities to make these purchases help someone in need.

Looking for something minimal? Hand in Hand soaps are all-natural, lightly fragranced in awesome scents like Cactus Blossom, and with every purchase made, the company donates a bar of soap and a month of clean water to a community in need. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, try the Mayfair Soap Foundry. They smell great, come in decorative bottles, and with every product sold they make a donation to the Starlight Children’s Foundation—a nonprofit that helps kids and families who are experiencing health challenges.

Is it even a stocking if there isn’t a toothbrush in it? This year, stuff your stockings with the Bruush electronic toothbrush. Designed for convenience with a luxury look, this toothbrush is highly functional and good for everyone. Plus, they’ve partnered with A Reason to Smile — a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving oral health in developing nations.

Then add the items they need…but probably won’t buy for themselves:

The key to good gifting: choosing items the recipient knows they should buy, but probably won’t (or won’t remember).

Why is it so hard to remember the sunscreen? Even in winter, the sun’s rays can do crazy damage to the skin. The Raw Elements certified natural sunscreen is water resistant, 30 SPF, good for all ages, and is packaged in a tin that’s easy to reuse when you run out.

Let’s be real: cardboard straws are a joke. They’re soggy, hard to drink out of, and last about 5 sips before they disintegrate into your soda. The Glass Straws by Simply Straws offers a reusable alternative to cardboard and plastic. Grab a 6-pack and add a straw to each of the stockings you need to stuff.

Include a luxury (or two) they wouldn’t buy for themselves:

The holiday season should be cozy and warm, so including luxury item (or two) in their stocking is sure to make them smile.

Who doesn’t love a pretty candle? The EcoHabitude ‘Twas the Scent Before Christmas Three-Wick Wearable Candle is vegan, non-toxic, and handmade in California. Because it’s made of all-natural ingredients, you can use it as a warming massage oil after it’s been lit. Talk about luxury.

For those with long hair, consider a knotted hair tie. Unlike the typical elastic ones, the Emi Jay ties won’t get stuck in your hair or leave those annoying ponytail creases. Plus, it’s a do-good company: Emi Jay donates 20 percent of all company profits to charity through a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Everyone loves socks, right? And the recycled socks by OSOM Brand are made of 95 percent recycled textiles. And since OSOM turns tossed clothes into recycled thread, their process doesn’t include using any water or dyes, because the colors are already in there. What’s not to love?

Don’t forget something sweet.

Sure, we’ve still got the fun sized Snickers aging poorly in the pantry, but go ahead and include a (much better) treat your loved one can enjoy guilt-free (because diets don’t count around the holidays.)

Finish off your stocking with a sweet treat, like the Cacao Prieto Organic Criollo Chocolate Bar. It’s organic, kosher, made in Brooklyn, and manufactured using sustainable methods on a family farm in the Dominican Republic. Considering how chocolate’s getting a bad rep among sustainability experts, purchasing one that doesn’t hurt the environment (and tastes amazing) will make your stocking that much more special.

Not a chocolate person? Weird. But that’s OK. Catskills Provisions has a line of raw wildflower honey that’s just as sweet. The honey is all-natural, handmade, and never heated — so all of those delicious antioxidants and amino acids aren’t lost in processing. It’s sweet and sustainable.

End with something fun.

Feeling lucky? Scratchers are a fun way to finish off any stocking. But this year, why not gift the Lotto Love Charity Scratch-and-Win? Lotto Love has partnered with a bunch of charities to put a giving spin on traditional scratchers. Just as fun, and when you win you’re winning for the world.