Ah, the good old Christmas stocking…filled with small gifts that bring such joy and happiness to families up and down the country – and worldwide in fact.
But have you ever stopped to wonder why we bother hanging up Christmas stockings? In mean, where did it all come from?
Well, according to tradition, one Christmas Day three poor sisters hung up their stockings to dry over the fireplace.
Saint Nicholas (the original Father Christmas) knew that the sisters were really poor and threw some gold coins down their chimney, which happened to land in their stockings – and the rest, they say, is history!
And that’s the thing about tradition isn’t it? Once you do something a bit different for a special occasion, it suddenly becomes a tradition that you just have to follow each and every time.
One of the Wright household’s Christmas traditions is to hang a new bauble on the tree every year.
If I’m being completely honest, I made up this tradition a few years back when I couldn’t stop buying baubles. It seemed like the perfect excuse to introduce a new family Christmas tradition.
Another one of our traditions is to let the kids open one present when they wake up, followed by their Christmas Stocking presents after breakfast.
Then when we get together with the rest of the family mid-morning (usually 8 of us in total), we’ll all sit around opening presents, playing on our phones, eating way too much and playing games.
Being thrifty by nature, when *Rex London got in touch to challenge me to put together a Christmas stocking for a member of my family for £35, I didn’t need to think twice – and I had just the little person in mind.
My gorgeous 11-year old daughter, Nadja (aka Girlwrighter), would really appreciate some of the wonderfully designed products that Rex London offers, so I chose to pull together…
….A Christmas Stocking Fit For A Tween!
Nadja isn’t a small child anymore and she’s not quite a teen – she’s an in-between ‘tween'! So she’ll be wanting products that appeal to her child nature, but also make her feel more grown up.
I thought long and hard about what to put in the Tween Stocking and I ended up browsing Rex London’s stocking fillers pages for a good hour (I got a bit carried away looking at their bunting and wondering if I could buy some under the guise of getting it for my tween, but it would secretly be for me).
Anyway, back to the job in hand. Here’s what I chose for the Christmas Stocking – and why.
A Scratch World Map
If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that VIP and I are huge travel fans – and we always encourage the kids to explore further when we go travelling.
Our clan isn’t so much a ‘fly and flop’ family; we’re more like a ‘fly and hire a car to discover little-known places that only the locals know about’ family.
Nadja’s first overseas journey was to Turkey when she was just 6 months old. She spent most of the flight crying and the ONLY thing that comforted her was for me to hold her in my arms and rock her. My triceps and biceps certainly got a good workout that day!
That was 11 years ago and fortunately she’s grown to love travelling to new destinations. But how times change; when I was 11 years old I had only travelled to one country – Turkey – to visit relatives.
At 11, Nadja has now travelled to no less than 9 countries – France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, South Africa, the USA, Portugal, Netherlands and Turkey.
I really believe that travel broadens the mind and is a great educator, so I’ll always encourage her to cast her net wide and go and see the world.
So when I spotted the Scratch Map (you scratch off all the countries you’ve visited), I knew it would be a winner.
Plus I’m hoping that the map will encourage her to recall memories from the places she’s visited and the things she’s done.
I’ve got two portable charging devices that I’m forever finding in the kids' bedrooms.
I’ll retrieve them, power them up and put them back in their rightful place – on the charging shelf – only to find that the same thing keeps happening again and again.
The kids’ tablets or mobiles will run out of juice and instead of doing the sensible thing of recharging them while they give their eyes a bit of a rest, they’ll hunt down MY charging device and sneak them away so that they can carry on playing.
I keep reminding myself to get them their own portable charger and then keep forgetting. Until that is, I spotted one on Rex London’s site.
But what I love about this particular USB portable charger is that it’s educational! Featuring elements from the Periodic Table, I know I can turn it into a bit of a game.
I’ll be asking Nadja to tell me the chemical element symbols (featured on the power bank) and, for each answer she gets right, she’ll get an extra 5 minutes’ of screen play time – that should encourage her to memorize them!
A Money Minder Key Ring
It gives me heart palpitations when I take Nadja out and she keeps loose notes in her pocket. She’s got a purse but doesn’t like carrying it in her pocket as it’s too bulky. So what normally happens is that I end up carrying it for her.
With the Money Minder Key Ring, this would mean that carrying her money around with her won’t be a chore.
And, if she really didn’t want to carry it in her pocket or set of keys, she could even attach it to her shoelaces.
I mean, you’re hardly gonna be losing your shoes if you’re out and about are you?
The Money Minder Key Ring is small, discreet and costs just £1.95.
Guatemalan Worry Dolls
When I was pregnant with my son Luis, I discovered that he had bilateral talipes (clubfoot) and would need treatment for his feet for a long while.
Not knowing much about the condition and worried sick about how he’d be, I remember sharing my fears with colleagues at work.
The next morning, one of my colleagues gave me a gift. It was a box of Guatemalan Worry Dolls. The idea being that each doll represented a worry. You’d tell your worries to the dolls and put them under your pillow at night.
Tradition goes that the little dolls have the power to take your troubles away. When I told Nadja about them (after she discovered my dolls in my bedroom drawer), she was fascinated by the story.
For Nadja to find some worry dolls in her Christmas stocking this year would really make her day. It’s a lovely momentum to be able to pass on (and I get to keep my own worry dolls!) and I’m sure she’ll be talking to her little dolls when she’s worried about something.
Bunny Travel Mug
Our family loves rabbits and Nadja has two of her own bunnies (Jessie and Bo), while I recently acquired two baby ones for my birthday in the summer (Pippin and Pudding).
We’re always on the look out for rabbit-themed accessories and I know my tween would love to get her own travel mug – especially if it features her favourite animal.
Every week I go out to play netball with some mums from school (it’s part of getting my mojo back!), and I sometimes take Nadja with me to watch.
Being a huge fan of hot chocolate, I know that Nadja would love to have her own special drink in her own special cup while she’s sat on the bench watching the game.
I’ve got my own travel mug from Rex London, so it would be fab to make my tween feel all grown up with her own special Bonny The Bunny Travel Mug.
And the plus point is that it’s dishwasher safe, so I don’t mind how many times she’ll be getting it out to use.
So for less than £35 (£33.75 to be exact), I’ve managed to find 5 fantastic Christmas Stocking Filler presents that I know my tween will love. I’m getting really excited at the prospect of watching her open her gifts now!
The only thing that’s left to add to my tween’s Christmas stocking will be a bag of gold coins as a nod towards Saint Nicolas’ tradition.
Except mine will be of the chocolate variety.
Now then, the only thing left to decide is….white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
Mmmh. Let’s not be bah humbug about the festive season – I think I’ll go for all 3!
A Christmas Treat
I hope you enjoyed the presents I’ve chosen for my tween’s Christmas Stocking this year.
If so, I’ve got great news! For my November competition I’ve teamed up with the lovely guys at Rex London to give you the chance to win my stocking!
Yes, you can be getting hold of your very own Money Minder Key Ring, Scratch World Map, Guatemalan Worry Dolls, Portable USB Charger and Bamboo Travel Mug!
The giveaway is also on my competition page for November – Good luck!
A Pin For Your Festive Board
*This is a collaborative post with Rex London. Gift ideas have been chosen by myself – and all opinions are my own.