Today, any parent who tried that would be considered worse than their offspring, who in turn would be excused a lifetime in therapy.
An ideal stocking stuffer is useful, engaging and inexpensive. Older children will have no trouble sharing their wish-lists but you might need initiative for the under-10s.
If you're feeling creative (or poor) you could include home-made gift certificates for children – for example allowing them to stay up half an hour late on a night of their choice, or skip their chores for one day...
If you want to keep multiple children occupied, you might hide a gift in the house then let them compete to find it, giving each a clue in his or her stocking.
Here are some other stocking stuffer ideas, although you will need to be careful about anything with small parts for children under three – and orders via the Internet should be made in good time to ensure delivery.
Yo-yo Playing cards, conventional or other games such as Uno
New tooth brush
Seeds to plant in the garden
Personalised Christmas tree decoration
Twisty drinking straw
Batteries to power as-yet-unwrapped present under tree
Coins for piggy bank
Doll house accessories
Small portrait in a frame
A movie or show ticket
According to our Wiki friends, legend has it that the first Christmas stockings belonged to three girls too poor to be married.
Knowing their father would not accept charity, St Nicholas waited until they were asleep then put gold into their stockings - which were drying by the fire - allowing them to marry. (Legend does not record whether they ended up cursing or thanking St Nick for the husbands they ended up with.)
For handmade and fair trade stocking stuffers try www.etsy.com.
Hi Victoria, I like your ideas.My mum always put a red apple at the bottom of our stockings. It had to be red, shiny red, not green. She often had my dad driving all over the city on Christmas eve to find them. I guess my grandparents used to do the same, so that's why. We also got nuts in their shell - suppose it kept us busy for longer, cracking them out. When Santa fills my girls stockings, he places them at their room door and they are allowed to open them, if they wake early, which gives mum and dad a few more minutes of extra sleep, as when little they would play with all the contents after fishing them all out. Oh and mine love chocolate coins. Have a good Christmas. Susan. (aka Jackson, Gold Coast).