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 books and chocolate on Christmas Eve. After the day’s festivities come a close, people in Iceland stay up late into the night reading and eating chocolate.
My husband (who is Swedish– so this isn’t far from home for him) suggested we adopt this tradition this year.
The tradition of Jolabokaflod fits right in with the feeling of hygge in Danish or mysigt in Swedish, which loosely translates to mean cozy togetherness.
One key thing is the simplicity — being 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 holiday cookie with a hot cup of tea or 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 are allowed — ones that will bring your family closer together.
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 than 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!), I thought it would be a wonderful theme for stocking gifts.
Hygge and Meaningful Stocking Stuffers for Kids: Books, Chocolate, and Cozy Toegtherness
Toddlers: A Bear-y Good Tea Party
I love both Paddington Bear, but you could just as easily make this a Winnie-the-Pooh theme. 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 and of course, don’t forget the milk chocolate bears.
Stocking Stuffer Idea: A Paddington Bear Tea-Party
Stocking Stuffer Idea: A Winnie-the-Pooh Tea-Party
Preschoolers: Discover and Create Together!
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.
Stocking Stuffer Idea: A Nature Journal, Nature Discovery Tools & Hot Cocoa to Share
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 have spotted that item (e.g., leaves) they put that sticker on the page showing the item.
Don’t forget to stuff some of your favorite packets of hot cocoa in their stocking so that after your explorations you can come in and cozy up with a warm drink.
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 OpticsYETI Rambler Jr.
Stocking Stuffer Idea: An Art Book, Colorful Art Supplies & 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 Kids: Building Life Skills Together with Family
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 to the next level by gaining real-world skills and critical thinking.
Stocking Stuffer Idea: Cookbooks, Cooking Tools, and Melting Chocolate
I love The Ultimate Kids Cookbook and The Ultimate Kids Baking Book 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 these cookbooks is that they promote 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.
Stocking Stuffer Idea: DIY Slime Kit and Idea Book
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: Connecting through Stories or Writing
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 helps your teenager to develop an important life skill and fosters connection.
Stocking Stuffer Idea: A Favorite Book, Magic, and Chocolate Wands
Whether your child is just starting the Harry Potter Series or if it is a seasoned favorite, there really is nothing better (or more hygge) than curling up and escaping into a fictional world. The new illustrated editions of the books are gorgeous!
And for us as parents, while we can never completely re-experience the world of Harry Potter like we did the first time, experiencing it with your child is the second-best thing. And this brings a whole new level of connection. We love watching the movies and playing Harry Potter themed games like this one and this one in our family.
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, Hermione Granger, and of course Harry Potter.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: MinaLima EditionHarry Potter Marauders MapHarry Potter Crests Playing CardsHarry Potter Magical Creatures Coloring KitJelly Belly Harry Potter Albus Dumbledore’s Chocolate Wand
Stocking Stuffer Idea: Parent & Me Journal, Fun Pens and Pencils, and Chocolate Hugs
Research has shown that one of the best ways to deal with emotions 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.
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 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