What did your parents fill your stocking with when you were young? Your answer will probably be dependant on your generation, but there’s a good bet that a small toy or two would be included. These days, your tastes might not run to Hot Wheels cars and Polly Pockets, but perhaps a small jigsaw puzzle wouldn’t go amiss? Eastern Biological and their sister shop Hyperspace are rather like visiting the gift shops of the Natural History and Science Museums in South Kensington, but with only the nicest gifts included. Favourite games from them that would be perfectly suited to grown-ups include a blue-cheese-shaped puzzle, a 1,000 piece constellations jigsaw (in a usefully stocking-sized tube), and an intriguing desktop wind-up toy.
If you have an artistic other half (or friends and family come to stay for Christmas), then make sure to pop in a present or two that’ll exercise their creative muscles. Present & Correct have some pleasingly retro-style art materials in their collection, like a set of vintage American crayons and stacking palettes of watercolour paints. And from the Tate’s online shop, we’d pop in a sunography postcard kit and a build-it-yourself paper model of the architecturally-famed Barbican Tower. While those into stationery (and who doesn’t know someone who is?) will surely enjoy a custom notebook and personalised pencils from Meticulous Ink.
For those of an outdoorsy, green-fingered nature, be sure to include a ‘seedbom’ from Kabloom, which is possibly the most fun way to plant a wildflower meadow. And then how about a Design House Stockholm miniature greenhouse, or a water garden in a bowl? Any former boy (or girl) scout will also love finding one of Opinel’s colourful pen knives tucked into their stocking, not to mention a wooden bird call whistle.
Finally, no stocking is complete without those gifts that, as a child, perhaps weren’t your most highly anticipated but that, as an adult, you can find more appreciation in. A pocket-sized book, for instance. There’s an ‘Observer’s Book of’ for just about any subject your stocking recipient could be interested in, from birds eggs and seashells to aircraft and golf, and Country House Library have a good selection of vintage editions. Don’t forget a pair of socks as well, and the more colourful the better – Thought do the best selection around (and, as a bonus, they’re all sustainable too) including pairs patterned with radishes, rockets and rainclouds. And lastly (although, technically, firstly as it should sit down in the stocking’s toe), a clementine or, let’s face it, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. It wouldn’t be a stocking without one.