For our team members who celebrate Christmas, the ritual of reaching into a stocking to reveal gift after gift from a seemingly bottomless collection of tiny bizarre objects is one of the most enchanting parts of the holidays. Even as adults, we love waiting to uncover what our loved ones have snuck into the knitwear on our mantles. Here are a few of the items we'll be sharing in stockings this year; hopefully they help inspire you!
Little puzzle things by Areaware are probably the stocking gift we are most excited about this year. An assortment of random foods and objects are turned into tiny 8"x8" puzzles that are so deliciously fun we can hardly stand it. How about a honeycomb ice cream cone? A spiky durian fruit? A teal-outlined fish? A perfectly cooked tail-on shrimp? Each puzzle is eccentric, exceptional, and can be completed in less than 20 minutes. We can't get enough of them!
Now we'll get a little spicy. SOS Chefs in New York is one of our favorite spice shops in the City and they carry an outstanding collection of pepper flakes packaged in simple 1oz and 2oz jars with black lids that make incredible stocking stuffers. We tend to favor the bright acidic Aleppo pepper, stunning Cheveux D'ange chili threads, and earthy, chocolatey Urfa so, naturally, these are go-tos when we select culinary gifts. SOS Chefs also offers a host of peppercorns that are gloriously diverse in flavor and appearance and make epic stocking stuffers as they make a subtle but rousing rattling sound!
Getting a bit weirder on the spectrum of gifts, we fall down the conspiracy rabbit hole and end up with Birds Aren't Real, a movement that "exists to spread awareness that the U.S. Government genocided over 12 Billion birds from 1959-2001, and replaced these birds with surveillance drone replicas, which still watch us every day" (1). Whether you are suspicious of the beady-eyed feathered creatures circling your home or not, you can't deny that this brand is fantastic. While we aren't fully on board with their government surveillance theory, we love how fully fledged—pun intended!—their argument is. Seriously, check out their FAQ page and you'll undoubtedly be impressed. Birds Aren't Real sells some pretty fantastic merchandise including sticker packs that make amazing stocking stuffers. We'd be lying if we didn't admit to distrustfully eyeing avifauna every time we see a sticker!
With the validity of the Birds Aren't Real conspiracy theory is still up in the air—more puns!—we come back down to earth with this next pick: aesthetic rocks! Not only do rocks and minerals add an unexpected and intriguing weight to stocking but they also make magnificent natural paperweights and table decorations. In the past we have gifted Iceland spar quartz, lapis spheres, amethyst, azurite, and malachite but essentially all minerals offer unique and idyllic beauty. Ironically, even anthracite coal is gorgeously and hypnotically reflective, although when added to a stocking it may make your loved ones question if they've been naughty!
Equally playful are the Various Keytags, a design studio project turned brand from New York's Various Projects, Inc. If you live in New York, you likely know about Various Keytags but as they epitomize cool, we still think deserve a spot on our stocking stuffer list. Available in nearly every color under the sun, the thick tag shaped keychains carry sweet, salty, and spicy messages that do everything from label your keys to make powerful political statements. They make us feel powerful and crushingly chic. In case you can't find the right message in their vast keytag arsenal, there is also an option to customize a tag with a message of your own. Highly expressive and individualistic keytags make the ideal stocking stuffers if you ask us!
On a more professional note, Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencils are must-haves and excellent stocking stuffers. We're confident you have considered fountain pens and Mont Blancs when scouring for gifts but, in our lives, it's mechanical pencils are invaluable. These Pentel pencils are unrivaled. Sleek, ergonomic, and unwaveringly reliable, the capped pencils are as much an accessory as they are a practical writing implement. The available colours are sophisticated but feature a stylish mattified metallic glow that's just divine. We try to keep our Pentel's glued to our persons because they're so exception but sharing them in stockings lets our loved ones have pencils of their own so they're less tempted to run off with ours!
Next on our list we get a bit sweeter. We love adding candy to our stockings, solely because it provides us with much needed morning sustenance while opening gifts. When it comes to candy, we love the vintage-looking labels on Russian chocolates, the dissolving rice paper wrappers on Japanese bontan ame, and the spicy tangy decadence of Kenyan Vtamu Baobab Sweets. Think of stockings as a vehicle to offer a curated culinary exploration! One year, instead of candy, an ARCANISA team member received a stocking flecked with gold wrapped bullion cubes for a "savory Christmas replacement for gold coins". While bullion cubes made for an absolutely hilarious stocking surprise, we highly recommend you stick to the sweeter end of the wrapped treats spectrum!
For the members of our family who enjoy nail-polish we also include some stunning glass bottles of lacquer. You can never go wrong with the contemporary neutral colours from jewelry designer J. Hannah. Free from seven harmful ingredients typically found in polishes, J. Hannah's lacquers are flawlessly saturated and express a powerful understanding of impactful but minimalist colour. For the winter, we adore Carob, Ikebana, and Ghost Ranch, three rich shades that look impeccably regal on every skin tone.
Last, but certainly not least, we have minuscule leather journals from Just Journal It in Pleasant Shade, Tennessee. Paired with a small ink pad, we gift these journals as tiny event diaries. The idea is after every memorable event one attends or experiences, they write the event and date on one of the journal pages and then stamp a fingerprint onto the page, sealing the memory and keeping a minimalistic log of meaningful moments. It becomes a pocket collection of memories that serves as a reminder of the fullness of our lives.
Stocking stuffers often take a backseat to the gifts that get placed under the tree but we hope this guide inspired you to get excited about these small but mighty presents!