I thought i would share(this is gonna go LONG, folks, so strap in) some great images and thoughts on items I used to receive in my Christmas stocking as a kid and teen in the 70s and then 80s. Then I’ll go into my still favorite things for stocking fun, because for me, Christmas stockings have been probably the most fun and full of surprises in my 45 holiday seasons.
First, items I used to find in my stocking. When I was very small, my stocking was too, and had an applique’d Santa on the front. I still have it; wish it was handy so I could take a pic.
Makeup/girly toiletry items:
A brand called “Dirty Kids” put out great little girl stuff like bubble bath and cologne. The characters I loved, even though they had a bit of a stoned look.
My grandmother had a local Avon lady and tended to slip wonderful Avon items into the stocking she made for me each year. Lip gloss was a big deal back then, especially when it came in amazing novelty containers.
Kissing Potion Lip Gloss came along in the 80s and it could make your lips positively dewy with shine. It smelled great, too.
Another girly beauty products line was Tinkerbell. I remember having some of the body powder.
OH GOD, Where do I start in my praise for Avon’s Crayola Crayon Lip Balm? They were not just scented, they were FLAVORED, in grape, strawberry and CHOCOLATE. MMM. Lick,lick, lick, gone. Put some more on. Repeat.
Yet another lip gloss brand was Lip Lickers, which you had to apply with your finger from a little sliding tin. The tins were great to use as handy tiny containers when the lip gloss was used up.
Animal-shaped soap was fun to receive, but was often too cute to use. I did use my seahorse soaps, though, which were identical to these except they were brown.
Honorable Mention: Hotel Soaps and Shampoos!
My dad travelled a LOT on business. And all those little complimentary soaps and shampoos that were left in his hotel rooms became part of a large stash that he would put into my stocking every year. Most of them were like the one on the bottom row there, with the perfect little ball for a cap. I used those caps for eyes and noses when I made puppets as a kid. It became kind of a family joke about what sort of hotel toiletries I would receive every year, but I have to admit it was fun. And they came in handy when I ran out of shampoo!
Second Honorable Mention: Advertising Promo Stuff!
Oh, god! This was really a giggleworthy subject at Christmas. Again, through business, Dad often obtained a LOT of freebies with company names on them and those often found their way into my stocking as well. My brother joked one year,”Well,I guess we know who stood in line twice at the freebie table,” when he and I both got the same items in our stockings, but, truth be known, I got a lot of use out of many of those items. There were pens galore,calculators, tape and later CD holders, tote bags, duffel bags,first aid kits, cups,digital clocks, regular clocks,hairbrushes,pocket knives, toys–everything!
A 16 ounce can of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup was ALWAYS a Christmas stocking staple for me. And that meant it could be stored in the refrigerator and was MINE, to pilfer from whenever I wanted(well, as long as it wasn’t right before dinner) and my dad even cut two little notch holes with the bottle opener in it when I was old enough to be able to pour it onto a spoon myself. My husband has continued this tradition, although he gives me the squeeze bottle.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures! These actually taste different from the regular size ones to me, and to me, they taste like Christmastime. That’s the only time I ever see them, and, knowing how much I love them, my husband continued putting them in my stocking, too.
Tootsie Roll filled bank! I got these quite often, and they always ended up getting squashed and bent. But I love Tootsie Rolls, so they were and still are always a welcome stocking addition.
Soft drinks like Mello Yello or Fanta. For a while, Coke products came in 16 oz. glass bottles with a foam sleeve on them. I found a few of these in my stocking, but I would more commonly find a prized two-liter(my favorite was and still is Mello Yello) standing beside my stocking as it lay on the floor.
Dinasour Eggs were giant sour jawbreakers that changed colors several times and lasted about half an hour! They also came in a box with dinosaur quizzes on the side and dino fact cards inside.
I don’t know what these are called, but they were always shaped like fruit and contained a flavored fruity sugar.
Fun Dip has been around since the 1940s and was originally called Lik-M-Aid. Originally it did not come with a dipping stick.
One staple of a Christmas stocking my entire life living at my parents’ was the good ol’ Life Savers candy “book”.
Bubble gum! Getting the funky flavors like grape was always a treat.
Pac-Man bubble gum(I was a big Pac Man nut) came with a sorry little piece of flat, dry gum, and stickers and a scratch-off version of the Pac Man game,!
Ms. Pac-Man gum had stickers and scratch-off, too!
Toys and novelties:
Craft kits like Makit Bakits! These were big in the 70s and are still going!! I had the parrot on the left, and after I finished it, I hung it up proudly in my window where it stayed for years, and now I don’t know what happened to it. 😦
Pom Pom pet kits! These are new, but are just like the craft kits of old. I love, love, making little animals out of pom poms, and Steve got me this kit a few years ago, which got put in my old craft kits bin and I forgot about it! I have it out again to have some crafty fun!
One year my grandmother made all of these very simple two-dimensional animal stuffed toys and my stocking was overflowing with them. What a treat.
Hello Kitty stuff was kind of rare then..you had to go to a special kiosk in our Rich’s store to find these small, often completely adorable items. Once I got this exact little phone book and I guarded it was if it were the Hope Diamond..
1980s plastic charms!! I LOVED these.. You rattled like Marley’s Ghost when you wore them but they were so much fun. SO many little individual figures and items. My favorite was a little harmonica.
Can’t beat finger puppets like these jiggly monsters.
These stickers were called “oilies” and had liquid inside that looked like a miniature oil slick that smooshed around when you pressed the sticker.
Smelly stickers were so much fun. It boggled our kid minds wondering how the manufacturers made a paper sticker smell like a football or a a banana.
Wiggly eye puffy stickers! Stickers were all the rage then and these were some more of my favorites!
This is almost just like the tiny blue bucket bank with penguins on it that my mom put into my stocking one year. I loved that thing!
Night lights shaped like animals! I actually have this very one but it no longer works.
I always got a roll of Scotch magic Tape,–the kind that was nearly invisible on wrapping paper and had the invisible man in its commercials.back then. I was always gluing and taping things into notebooks and my parents almost couldn’t keep me supplied with tape and paper.
Shirt Tales and Critter Sitters were the reigning cute animals we had on our notebooks and folders back then. This note pad would have been a typical thing for me to find.
Grandmother usually crammed a Fun Pad into my stocking–they were loaded with stuff to do–puzzles, games, things to color, etc. She knew that keeping me busy kept me out of trouble at her house.
This was one of the most wonderful items ever, and I wish I could find mine. The little pencil case is about the size of a Post-It note, so you can imagine how tiny the little pencils were. And each pencil described its color, such as “Yellow is a fried egg”.
Little beaded change purses. I was forever losing lunch money unless I had a change purse to put it in. And these were always so cute, and felt so good in your hands.
All the above items, through the magic of ebay, could be procured for an ultimate stocking. But now, the stuff they’re making today, plus a few vintage things, that I beg for for stocking stuffers:
Carnotaurus figures. One of my ultimate favorite dinosaurs, Carnotaurus picked up steam with recognition when the Disney movie Dinosaur came out. Now more companies seem to be including it in their lines, such as Schleich, Carnegie and Papo.
Other Dinosaurs…yes, I love getting dinosaurs in almost any form or fashion, from strikingly realistic miniatures to completely goofball packages of generic, out-of-scale dinos with sloppy paint jobs. Sometimes I DID receive a dino figure or two in my stocking, but I got so many others throughout the year my parents probably just wanted to look for other things for me besides dinosaurs and monsters.
Pretty generic but moderately realistic set.
Schleich has some of the best sculpts for realism.
These are vintage and made by Russ, but I had some of these. Loved their cartoony goodness.
Generic much less realistic set. Usually everyone has their mouths open in these groups.
Wonderfully vintage, outdated tail draggin’ dino.
Carnegie figures were some of the first I noticed in hobby stores.
Papo pretty much nails it for realism and dynamic poses.
Chinasaurs! “Chinasaur” is the name given to dino and monster figures made in Hong Kong that are often non-descript, sloppily painted and often cast and recast over and over and over with the molds traveling hither and yon. But some of them are the most interesting figures you can own.
I have now discovered that most of these creatures can be found in the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual!
I LOVE things with multiple heads!
Wackyass pack of perfect Chinasaurs you might see at any cheap toy store. This set has been going strong since as long as I can remember and I had it, probably did get it for Christmas long ago.
I have had all of these but they have been lost over time. I now have the sitting dragon and the sort of kangaroo-dog thing.
I’ve always loved sharks, and I had some great toy ones as a kid. I’d like to get a couple of that type–rubber, open mouth, sometimes possessing a squeaker.
This is the squeaky type. A little goofy looking but still realistic enough to look menacing.
Realistic great white. I forgot the company–possibly Schleich.
Other shark species are nice too! I do like to keep with the species that are gray or bluish, like this blue shark.
Bull sharks look good in the collection, too.
Perfect example of a vintage rubber shark. The best! I played with mine in the pool and it got as beat up as this one.
Sometimes, however, I do like little fun doofy things like a shark nailbrush. (I used t have an alligator one)
I always love shark tooth jewelry., usually made with mako shark teeth, as they are long and pointy.
Monster in my Pocket: These were great little vinyl figures from the 80s.This grouping doesn’t have my favorites–The Loch Ness Monster and The Jersey Devil—but it is still an impressive lot.
Of course I always love Things with One Eye..
These are really fun little monster figures that I believe are erasers.
These may be erasers too but look how funny they are!
And of course one can’t go wrong with the Universal Monsters.
And there is even in the line of toys called “Toobs”, plastic carrying tubes that hold little sets of figures, there is a Cryptozoology Toob, with The Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, Bigfoot, a Coelacanth and Kraken!
Unicorns: I will always love unicorns. Loved them like crazy in the 80s and collected quite a few. They are still monsters, just..pretty ones.
This one is by Papo. Just a nice, generic unicorn.
A little fancier is this one by Schleich.
I had no idea they still made these! Great little vinyl unicorn figures!! I had a couple of these.
Oh, now that may be too big for a stocking, but damn that is cool!!