Filling the stockings for the holidays is one of the most gratifying and pleasurable endeavors; you can really hone in and find the little things that make life worth living, and surprise people with your thoughtfulness in a small, targeted useful gift.
The stocking can hold a book, gift card, candy, fruit, fragrance and socks and hopefully with our suggestions, you can zazz it up a bit with new-to-market finds and stay within a budget too.
Here are some affordable foodie and supplement treasured finds we got to try and taste that will stoke any lady or gent who receives them.
Take us shopping with you for the 1st instalment of Christmas Stocking Stuffer Picks 2012, best in unusual gift finds, all made in the USA.
Snap Infusion Candy
Made in USA
Not so empty calories: Candy with B Vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes? Yes! Xylitol a natural-found sweetener allows this five varietal cany line to have half of the calories of regular candy, and it doesn’t have any trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or high-fructose corn syrup. There are Gum, Mel (Caramel), Tart, Bean (Jelly beans), and Gummy. Each specific candy has its own flavors.
Healthy and a fraction of the normal calories you’d get with some of the other candies, try stuffing these into your sweet monster's stocking.
Hint Peppermint Water
Made in USA
Hint Water is an array of naturally flavored waters with no sweeteners, no preservatives and no calories - just pure water with a "hint" of natural flavor. The seasonal "get" is their elusive Peppermint flavor which you will either love or hate, depending on your tastes. Well, we love it, and used it in mixers with not so healthy alcohol for fun Christmas drinks.
The mint flavoring in Hint water is just a hint - it is not an overwhelming mint experience. No calories and fun to add to a mixologist's bar repertoire- give it a try for under $2.
Made in USA
Unreal Brands candy was birthed by wunderkind 15-year-old Nicky Bronner, the child of Boston entrepreneur Michael Bronner who founded Digitas, a digital direct marketing company among other behemoth online ventures. Dad's pals Tom Brady, Giselle Bundchen and Matt Damon are now Unreal brand ambassadors.
These candies are made without hydrogenated fat, corn syrup, artificial flavors and synthetic coloring. In place is dairy from hormone-free pasture-raised cows which are massaged daily in New Zealand (kidding) and California. Organic palm kernel oil is used from a sustainable, organic plantation in Brazil. Cacao beans are sourced from Ghana and Ecuador farms. Only natural colors are used, such as red from beets and blue from purple cabbage. Another bonus is Adam Melonas, an Australian chef who worked at a Michelin-starred Madrid restaurant, was enlisted and took two years to perfect their first five candies, which mimic popular candies like Snickers, M&Ms and Reese’s. The Unreal flavors are more intense more real chocolate and less sugar-y sweet. I loved them and recommend to anyone looking to swap for something better to the tune of 30 percent less sugar, 60 percent more protein and 250 percent more fiber than their counterparts in the market. The Unreal candies, priced from .89 cents to $1.29 for individual packages, can be found at CVS, Walgreens and other retailers nationwide.
Super Accurate Fortune Cookies
Made in USA
Full disclosure: Cookie magnate Ray Richmond is a friend and fellow TCA peer of mine. The Studio City resident and former Daily News television critic has unveiled Super Accurate Fortune Cookies, sold in festive party-size boxes of 10 each and themed for the upcoming Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. They can be customized and ordered for special occasions too! We got lucky and bought some before they were sold out the first round. The cookies are now back in stock.
Standard cliches and lame-o standby fortunes like "You will take a trip soon" are replaced with droll and astute comical observations of modern life. The specially flavored holiday versions come in green (mint) and red (strawberry) for Christmas and blue (blueberry) and white (coconut) for Hanukkah. Richmond's cookies are fresh and delicious and a lot of fun to bust out at the holiday table.
Product made in USA (box made in China)
This is a yummy pre-nighty night sip that promotes healthy skin and sound sleep. The box contains 14 delicious, 30-calorie beverage packettes available in chocolate, vanilla and chocolate chai flavors. The mix contains unique collagen to stir into 6 ounces of warm milk (go with this option - almond, hemp, rice, coconut, soy or cow) or water that helps skin, hair and nails while the bio-available forms of AlphaWave L-Theanine and AlphaWave Calming Blend also help relax and put you to sleep. The review sample was Vanilla Dream, which tasted very good thanks to real Madagascar vanilla, and was stamp dated, just like a vitamin, for optimal freshness.
alternaVites - Kids and Adult formula vitamins
Made in USA
Why did these not exist when I was small? Pill haters rejoice! Healthy skin, great skin tone plus immune system health is bolstered by sound sleep, good diet, positive attitude and selecting vitamins and minerals that are highly absorbable, well combined and pure in ingredients.
alternaVites are small, pocket friendly packets that require no water and melt on the tongue much like a Pixy stix. alternaVites equals the benefits of a multivitamin without the pill – it is a high quality vitamin powder that the user can take on the go, pour on their tongue and ingest without water.
It was made for travelers, finicky kids and those of us who hate pill swallowing but love not being laid up with the flu!