Stockings can be a favorite part of the Christmas experience, mostly because of the surprise factor: While kids often write Christmas lists that rank items by price, catalog page and level of absolute need, they don't often bother listing stuff that is stocking-appropriate. So tearing through that comically giant, un-wearable, mock footcover is sometimes something of a treat.
Sometimes. But chances are that you've run across, and even been temporarily excited by, a few things common to stockings that aren't all that great. Filler. Meaningless fluff that sometimes bores, sometimes offends, and rarely merits the sweet, sweet stocking-space it's taking up.
Here, ten things that honestly should never pass the fuzzy cuff of a stocking.
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10. Personal Hygiene Products Nothing like finding out Christmas morning that your Mom has noticed that your acne is getting progressively worse. Or that your nose hair is getting disgustingly long. Or that you really should start wearing deodorant. This is a Merry Christmas that says: you seriously ought to be more attractive.
9. Anything that Doesn't Actually Fit Inside the Stocking Come on. It's a stocking. This isn't a tough concept. All you do is fill it. If instead you put something next to it, or on the mantle above it, or on the floor below it? You've missed the entire point of the stocking, friend.
8. Playing Cards Because nothing says "Hey, I stopped by Walgreens" like a pack of Hoyle. 7. Un-Peppermint Candy Canes Candy canes are white with red striping, and taste like peppermint. If it's blue, or tastes like boysenberry, or plays music when you lick it? It's not a candy cane. Stop lying to yourself. 6. Pencils Here's the only pencil that would possibly be at all Christmassy: if it was some sort of super-relic fashioned with wood from the one true cross, an eraser made from reindeer renderings, and a graphite tip shaved from Frosty's coal buttons. If it's just a red and green pencil, it's just a red and green pencil. 5. Slinkies Okay, Slinkies are still awesome--but only if you pop for an actual slinky, Daddy Warbucks. Real Slinkies are heavy helical springs that make a slinkety sound, and are fun for a girl or a boy. And they cost eight bucks. But if you're buying them from the dollar aisle at Target? That is what we call a "lesser slinky" or "trash." These are fun for no one, and the only sound they make is the soft whisper of childhood memories dying. 4. Small, Beautiful, Handcrafted Soaps Nobody in the world has ever cared if soap is beautiful or handcrafted. And if it's small, to boot, it's like it's almost gone already. Thanks for the sliver of usefulness. 3. Batteries This is not a gift. It's a part of another, better gift. If parts of gifts counted as gifts, you could just buy a 500 piece puzzle, wrap each piece separately, and look like the most generous Santa ever. Until they open the packages, that is. 2. Socks Stockings are already socks. Putting socks in socks is not only boring and a terrible gift; it's also dangerously ironic, and possibly actionable as a copyright violation to the Seuss estate. 1. Fruit Oranges in the toe were awesome back when, you know, we didn't have fruit year-round. Yes, grandpa, we know it was very exciting when you got an orange in December. Yes, it was also exciting when the Wells Fargo wagon came to town, and the ice truck would drive by, and hoo-boy, that Civil War was a dust-up. Chocolate oranges are a nice substitute, but really, the only fruit product most recipients want to see in their stockings were dreamt up by Steve Jobs.