stocking stuffers

Discussion in 'English Only' started by piggy94, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. piggy94 Banned

    I heard ' stocking stuffers' are small gifts for the children. My question is if I can use this expression when I refer to small gifts for adults. Can I use it?
  2. Yes, people use the expression to refer to any small, inexpensive Christmas gift. The term originated with gifts that could be put in the stockings that children hang up "by the chimney with care in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there," but the concept has been expanded to include gifts for adults and does not require that the item actually go in a "Santa stocking."
  3. Yes.

    In BE they're usually called 'stocking fillers'.

  4. piggy94 Banned


    Do you mean I can use it when I refer to only christmas gifts?
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Yes, it's only used for Christmas gifts:).
  6. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    In the U.S., advertisers have extended "stocking stuffer" to just about anything they hope you will buy at Christmastime, including items that I would consider much too expensive to put into a Christmas stocking, probably with the idea that you will spend tens of thousands on "real" gifts like automobiles and diamond jewelry, so something whose price is only in the hundreds of dollars could be relegated to the "stocking." But for most people, a "stocking stuffer" has three characteristics:
    (1) The item is of the size and dimensions to fit into a "stocking,"
    (2) The item is relatively inexpensive,
    (3) The item is given as a gift at Christmas.
    I don't think the classic and iconic poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," limits the stockings to the children of the household, and when I was growing up the adults as well as the children had "stockings" to hang on the fireplace.
  7. WyomingSue

    WyomingSue Senior Member

    Cheyenne, WY
    On Christmas morning in my stocking I found: a flash drive, a pedicure set, a safety whistle for hiking, chewing gum, chocolate, and an orange.
  8. You're right that the poem doesn't say whose stockings were hung, etc. In my childhood home, only the children had stockings, so I have been laboring under a false impression for half a century. Thanks for the correction.

    With regard to the term "stocking stuffer," WyomingSue's list could hardly be a more perfect example of what most people would consider stocking stuffers.

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