Stocking Stuffers

Stocking stuffers

Christmas is almost here! I can hardly believe it. The funny thing is that with everything else going on this year (non-profit event planning, birthday parties, and lots of travel), I thought Christmas was the least of my worries. How hard could it be to go shopping, right? Well, here I am, with less than a week to go until Christmas, and I am scrambling to put together all of the odds and ends that make Christmas really special.

Aside from gift giving, Christmas for our family is all about cooking and eating. It has become tradition for us to embrace Santa Barbara’s Mexican food culture by making Tamales and Buñuelos. Plus, the “Martha” in me is always inspired to make lots of homemade cookies, candies, and breads. Just thinking about all of these treats is making me hungry already!

Out of everything that goes into the holiday, though, I think that one of the most special things about Christmas for our family is the Christmas stocking. Let’s face it, the holiday would be a lot simpler if we didn’t do them, but there is just something so delightful in seeing the girls’ faces as they empty their self-contained “treasure chests” of fun little items that were chosen just for them. Of course, grown-ups can enjoy stockings too (I know I do).  So, with this in mind, I’ve put together a list of my favorite stocking-stuffers for this year:

Sephora brand Lash Stretcher Mascara in black:

I am a mascara freak! Seriously, I am always trying different brands from YSL to Max Factor. This one was given as a freebee at Sephora, and I love it.

Sephora Mascara

Erin Condren personalized note pads:

My friend, Sarah, gave me these as a hostess present and I adore them. They are so cute and useful, a great size, and they come in fun designs.  Erin is a So-Cal girl, so I especially like to support her work.

Erin Condren Note Pads

Sciabica’s Olive Oil:

Chef Cal left me a bottle of this on my counter before he headed up to Carmel after my birthday.  Normally, I am committed to Italian olive oil, but this California brand struck my palate. Plus, the fact that it is made without chemicals or artificial colors makes it more unique than you might think!

California Olive Oil

Banana bread:

This is always requested and gobbled up as we open presents Christmas morning.

THE Banana Bread

Pottery Barn McKenna Travel Jewelry Case in light blue:

This case is so cute, practical,  and it definitely beats the zip-lock bag look!


To me, freshly ground pepper is just as important in seasoning as salt.   I will usually buy in bulk and then share them in cute glass jars.  You don’t even really need a grinder. Just mash them in a mortar and pestle, or with a bottom of a pan.

Sur la Table Peppercorns

Everyday Staples:

I like to put in some everyday items that people need, but often forget to buy.  It’s practical, and generally much appreciated.  Good hair rubber bands, hair clips, and visa gift cards are just a few of the great, practical gifts  you can buy at a local drug store.


I love Uni-ball med tip pens.  Everyone gets a box.

Uni Ball Pen


I always like to throw in some delicious treats. as well.  There is a fantastic candy store in Carpinteria called Robitailles’s Candies, known for its famous mints and homemade chocolate goods, where I will stock up on long laces of licorice for my mom and dad (red and black respectively), non-parails for my husband, and a huge lollypop for each of the girls.

I like to do some homemade candy as well.  These Marcona Almond Clusters are easy to make, and are so good!

Navel Orange:

Lastly, we do the traditional navel orange stuffed at the toe of the stocking.  I like to purchase mine at the farmers market from Friends’ Ranch in Ojai.