In Iceland, there is a cozy and sweet tradition called Jolabokaflod, which means “Jule book flood.” This flood of books came about because it is popular to gift friends and family with a book and chocolate on Christmas Eve. After the day’s festivities come a close, people in Iceland stay up late into the night reading and drinking hot chocolate.
My husband (who is Swedish– so this isn’t far from home for him) suggested we adopt this tradition this year.
So, after we finish our elf duties Christmas Eve night, we will exchange a gift of a new book & chocolate and fall asleep reading it, for those few precious hours before our son wakes up in the early morning to see if Santa has come on Christmas day.
The tradition of Jolabokaflod, fits right in with the feeling of hygge, in Danish or mysigt, in Swedish, which loosely translated means cozy.
Coziness is definitely part of hygge and mysigt — but it’s more than that.
It’s an overall feeling — a whole experience. When I lived in Denmark, it struck me how there is such a strong sense of the quality of life. When something is hygge or mysigt, it has certain components — it’s simple, often shared, involves feelings of comfort, and has elements of cozy.
One key thing is that it is simple — hygge and mysigt is a ritualistic enjoyment of the little things, the small moments.
Like taking the time to sit down and truly savor a thin ginger cookie with a hot cup of coffee.
I love stocking stuffers because I’ve always loved small things — a mini box of tea, chocolates, thin-tipped markers, or a small candle.
I don’t like what stocking stuffers have become today — plastic stuff that breaks immediately. So — I thought why not embrace the joy of the small things and make that the theme for filling stockings? Only cozy gifts allowed.
Gifts that have a touch of Scandinavian practicality — that are meant to build an experience to be shared — so that small things become more than small things, they become a mysigt afternoon spent with your kids.
And what could be cozier that books and chocolates? I decided that my and husband and I wouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy Jolabokaflod this year. I’ve adapted this idea for kids and instead of a Christmas Eve gift (and staying up late reading!), I thought it would be a wonderful theme for stocking gifts.
And, of course, being a child development psychologist, each age-group has a theme that is perfect for that stage of development. I hope these stocking stuffer ideas inspire you and that you and your family have a cozy holiday season.
Hygge Stocking Stuffers for Kids: Books, Chocolate, and Cozy
Toddlers: Bears and Chocolate
I love both Paddington Bear and Winnie-the-Pooh. Both have a way with words and you’ll find sweet life-lessons in the books that even toddlers will understand, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” – Winnie-the-Pooh
To make these stockings extra hygge, small stuffed bears can peek out the top and inside are all the makings for a very good bear tea party. Marmalade sandwiches (if it’s Paddington) and honey tea-cakes (if it’s Pooh and your toddler is over 1-year-old!). And of course, don’t forget the milk chocolate bears.
“A Paddington Bear Tea-Party”
“A Winnie-the-Pooh Tea-Party”
Preschoolers: Exploration and Chocolate
Preschoolers are at the perfect age for exploration of their world. The world of nature and the world of art are both great areas to encourage their natural tendency to want to explore and express themselves. In nature and in art, children can be children — they can express themselves in ways other than verbally, they can be creative, and practice developing motor skills.
“Nature Exploration & Hot Cocoa”
This is a great age to start developing a child’s love for all things nature. There is nothing more mysigt than going for a nature walk and coming back and having a warm cup of hot chocolate.
To get your preschooler excited about these expeditions, include a field book and some observational tools, like binoculars and magnifying glasses. My son still uses some of the tools we gave him 4 years ago!
The book, On The Nature Trail, has stickers in the beginning and when children has spotted than item (e.g., leaves) they put that sticker on the page showing the item.
After your explorations, come in and warm up with a toasty cup of hot chocolate with marshmallow snowman peeps!!!
Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?Hape Magnifying Glass and Whistlegofindit – Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt Card GameKidwinz Shock Proof 8×21 Kids Binoculars Set High Resolution Real Optics4 Flavor Hot Cocoa Gift Set And Peep Marshmallow
“Colorful Art & Colorful Chocolate”
The book Beautiful Oops! shows kids that it’s okay to make a mistake and in fact, that there are really no mistakes in art. This is a great message at this age when it is important to encourage kids to be creative and to explore without the fear of having to color within the lines.
Add in some colorful art supplies and some colorful chocolate candies and in no time, you will be hanging up your child’s works of art in special places around the house — making it very hygge indeed.
School-Aged: Skill Building
Kids aged 5 through 10 are primed to learn new skills and to be creative. These stockings fit the developmental need of growing independence and real-world challenges.
Activities like using knives in the kitchen, creating a meal for the whole family, and making ooey-gooey glow-in-the-dark slime are the kinds of things that will compete with the lure of glowing screens and video games. Satisfy your child’s desire to be challenged and advance the next level by gaining real-world skills and critical thinking.
I love The Ultimate Kids Cookbook by Tiffany Dahle from Peanut Blossom. There are so many yummy recipes. So far, my son’s favorites are the orange-blueberry pancakes and the Better than Buttered Noodles.
What I love most about this book is that it promotes your kid’s independence in the kitchen. For each recipe, there are three sections 1. Hey Kids, Please Get Us Started (the prep for the recipe) 2. Parent’s it’s Your Turn (things that kids may not be quite ready to do themselves) and 3. Teamwork Gets It Done! (finish off the meal together).
Round out this stocking with some melting chocolates so your little chef can start cooking up some yummy creations right away — and nothing is cozier or more hygge than cooking a meal together.
The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook: Fun One-Pot Recipes Your Whole Family Will Love!Opinel Le Petit Chef Complete Box Set (3 Piece Set)Kids Baking Set – 4 Piece Kids Cooking UtensilsRed Kids ApronMelting Chocolate Variety Pack
Your child will have some fun whipping up homemade slime, kitchen experiments, and learn some critical thinking skills with this fun stocking.
The Smithsonian Maker Lab has projects like making slime, invisible ink, making marshmallows and so many more! Pack the stocking with ingredients for one of the projects and you’ll have the perfect recipe for mysigt quality time together.
And of course, don’t forget to munch on some chocolate elves (who quite like experiments and tinkering) while you work.
Tweens and Teens
This is the age that may be hardest to figure out and these two stockings go in two very different directions. One gives tweens and teens a world of fantasy to escape to and the other encourages communication between parents and kids in a new way and helps kid develop an important life skill.
“Magic and Chocolate Wands”
Whether your child is just starting the Harry Potter Series or if they have been anxiously waiting for the newest screenplay, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, there really is nothing better (or more hygge) than curling up and escaping into a fictional world — and what a great age to delve into the world of fiction.
And while we can never completely re-experience the world of Harry Potter like we did the first time, experiencing with your child is the second best thing.
Fill out the stocking with a few fun items, like playing cards, a mini-art set, and this amazing chocolate wand!! How cool are these? They come in 4 wand styles, Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasley, Hermonie Granger, and of course Harry Potter.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldHarry Potter Marauders MapHarry Potter Crests Playing CardsHarry Potter Magical Creatures Coloring KitJelly Belly Harry Potter Albus Dumbledore’s Chocolate Wand
“Journaling and Chocolate Hugs”
Research has shown that one of the best ways to deal with emotions or hard situations is to write about them. Writing expressively about emotions can work as an antidepressant. Journaling is a skill that tweens and teens can use their whole lives and this is a great age to learn this skill.
One way to introduce journaling is to have a no-stress, shared journal, like the Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal, Between Mom and Me: Mother Son Journal or one of the father-child journals below. If less structure is more your child’s style, try the Wreck this Journal, which is like Beautiful Oops!, but for teens. All of these encourage expression, creativity, and connection in a guided format.
Keep your bond with your tween or teen strong and help them build this life skill. Round out this feel-good stocking with a candle for journaling sessions (pick one inspired by your child’s favorite author) and some cool writing utensils (like this astronaut pen!!) and don’t forget the chocolate hugs.
ust Dad and Me: A Father – Son JournaJust Dad and MeFisher Space AG7 Original Astronaut Space PenLe Pen, 12 Color SetFunLavie Colored Pencils 24 Coloring Pencils Premium Art Drawing PencilsPaddywax Library CollectionHERSHEY’S HUGS Kisses Candies