Medically Approved

Stocking stuffer ideas that boost health and happiness 

8 minute read
Christmas stockings hung on a fireplace

Need holiday gift help? Tuck in some comfort and joy with stocking stuffer ideas that are easy on the pocketbook and tailored for the ones you love. 

Nancy Fitzgerald

By Nancy Fitzgerald

If you’re hitting a wall trying to find unique and smile-worthy surprises, take heart. We’ve got stocking stuffer ideas for everyone. To make sure that this year’s gifts measure up to the anticipation of the holidays, check out the Optum Store guide to affordable, fun treats for everyone in your circle.

Withings smartwatches and Theragun massagers
For more gift ideas, check out all our selections at Optum Store

Stocking stuffers for athletes Stocking stuffers for athletes

Whether they’re up at dawn for an early-morning run or lifting weights in the basement, the athletes in your life are all about persistence and determination. Here are some little ways to cheer them on:

MDSolarSciences Solar Stick, SPF 40, tinted $24. Perfect for on-the-go application — pop into your gym bag, backpack or pocket. The stick glides on flawlessly and delivers powerful protection with an all-mineral sunscreen formula. Mineral sunscreens are especially great for folks with sensitive skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Swimming laps at the pool or diving into the ocean on vacation? No sweat — it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Kanjo Acupressure Foot Pain Relief Ball Set, $18. Healthy feet are happy feet — especially for athletes. For runners, those tootsies are more vulnerable to injury than any other body part. So treat them well with the Kanjo Acupressure Foot Pain Relief Balls. Just place them under your feet when you’re watching TV, reading or sitting at your desk. Their spikes will ease general foot pain, as well as the aches in your heel and arch caused by plantar fasciitis. Studies show that a good foot massage can reduce pain and anxiety. Kneading your soles can also improve athletic performance, decreasing muscle tightness and boosting range of motion. /p>

Person wrapping gifts
Looking for a few big-ticket gift ideas? Check out these

Stocking stuffers for beauty buffs Stocking stuffers for beauty buffs

When it comes to beauty booty, good things almost always come in small packages — so holiday stockings were made for them. If you’ve got a glam fan in your life who loves trying out the latest trends, fill their stockings with these treats.

MDSolarSciences Mineral BB Crème SPF 50 (sheer tinted), $39. This makeup multitasks just like you do. It’s a sunscreen, an anti-aging cream and a sheer-tinted, flawless foundation all in one. Made with naturally derived zinc oxide (great for sensitive skin), it’s infused with niacinamide to reduce discoloration and redness.

In a recent study in the journal Antioxidants, niacinamide was found to help reduce pores and skin unevenness. It also improved wrinkles and minimized roughness and dark spots. It makes skin beautiful and healthy — always a winning combo.

Olly Undeniable Beauty Gummies (Hair, Skin, Nails and Biotin), $14.99. Get gorgeous from the inside out. Olly Undeniable Beauty supplements are designed to support your body’s natural production of keratin, a protein that’s a core component of skin and nails. Supplemental keratin, like the kind in these yummy gummies, can make your hair appear shinier, according to recent research. They also contain biotin, which can help your body metabolize fats and protein and may help keep your hair and nails healthy. Plus, vitamin C, a key nutrient in the production of collagen, helps give skin its youthful glow. Bonus: These ruby-red-grapefruit gummies taste really yummy.

Coola Classic Liplux Organic Hydrating Lip Oil, SPF 30, $18. This organic lip oil uses vitamin E to protect sensitive skin from the ravages of the sun. It also features jojoba oils, natural plant compounds that can help restore a natural shine to your lips. Slick it across your lips for instant gloss and a plumper pucker. Hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, it’s sure to bring a smile.

Stocking stuffers for health enthusiasts Stocking stuffers for health enthusiasts

Staying healthy can be a full-time job! Help your health-minded loved ones stay on track with fun — and functional — stocking stuffers that fit in your pocket and purse.

Bare Republic Bare Hands Hand Sanitizer Spray, Citrus Cooler, $4.99. Trying not to get sick? Who isn’t? That makes this handy, fresh-scented and hydrating hand-sanitizer spray the perfect stocking stuffer for just about anyone. Wipe away germs (and worries) with this plant-based sanitizer. It has a soothing blend of aloe and other ingredients that keep your skin feeling clean and smelling fresh. The 60% alcohol concentration follows CDC guidelines, making it 99.9% effective at killing many common germs. Sensitive to scents? There’s a fragrance-free version, too.

MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Sunscreen SPF 50, $30. There are sunscreens — and then there are sunscreens. With an SPF of 50, the health hound in your life will be thrilled to find this in her stocking. The all-mineral zinc oxide sunscreen is powerful but super lightweight, with no white residue, and delivers a silky-smooth matte finish that gives your skin a healthy, polished look. (It can also double as a makeup primer.) Its high SPF helps head off signs of photoaging, like wrinkling, spider veins and blotchiness. It’s mild and oil-free, so no clogged pores either.

Nature’s Truth Essential Oils, $6 each. Does a whiff of coffee make you bound out of bed in the morning ready to jump into your day? That’s because your sense of smell is powerful. It’s the idea behind aromatherapy: When you inhale the scent of an essential oil, the molecules travel via your olfactory nerves to your brain and work their magic on the amygdala, your emotional control center.

Research shows that aromatherapy can be an effective way to help manage pain and balance mood. Some of the well-researched essential oils to try: lavender, in Nature’s Truth Good Nite blend ($6), to improve mood and to calm; lemon to boost mood and control nausea; and spearmint, in Nature’s Truth Happiness blend ($6), which can help awaken and uplift.

Stocking stuffers for tweens and teens Stocking stuffers for tweens and teens

reVive Light Therapy Poof Portable Acne Treatment, $24.99. Every teenager in your life is unique, but here’s something nearly all have in common: acne, which affects 85% of people ages 12 to 24, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And a breakout can ruin any kid’s day. So give them a tool to zap those zits.

The reVive Light Therapy stick slips right into a backpack or purse, so it can go where they do. With medical-grade blue LED, it reaches deep into skin to zap acne-causing bacteria, while it soothes and calms redness, inflammation and irritation, and even prevents future flare-ups. And blue light therapy can really work: In a study from the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, participants with mild to moderate acne received 10- or 20-minute treatments over 4 weeks and saw a significant reduction in the number of spots.

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Neon Stick SPF 50, $7.99. When your tweens head outdoors, they won’t need a reminder to apply sunscreen. With these mineral-active sticks, they can artfully help block powerful UV rays while they enjoy the awesome colors and scents from food-grade ingredients. Choose from Neon Electric Blue (blueberry scent) or Wicked Purple (grape scent). Kids can start by applying a full layer of sunscreen, then use the bold color sticks for touch-ups by drawing designs on each other’s faces. They’ll know it’s time to reapply when the color starts to wear off. Perfect for summer days at the beach or pool, winter ski trips or long afternoons on the soccer field.

COOLA Mineral Liplux Organic Tinted Lip Balms SPF 30, $18 each. In colors like Coral Reef, Summer Crush and Firecracker, this bomb balm looks like a lip tint but acts like a sunscreen. It blocks out harmful rays with a mineral shield made up of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, best for protecting sensitive skin. It’s infused with antioxidants and mongongo oil, a natural moisturizer. The oil replenishes skin to keep it soft and smooth — even after hours at the beach or on the slopes. Can't decide on a color? Get the triple-pack ($39.99) and toss a couple of these lip balms into her holiday stocking. Layering two shades makes for a fun, one-of-a-kind look.

Check out a larger selection of holiday gifts and more. The Optum Store has your shopping all wrapped up.

Additional sources
Antioxidants and skin health: Scientia Pharmaceutica. June 3, 2020. Contribution of Topical Antioxidants to Maintain Healthy Skin—A Review
Sunscreen safety: American Academy of Dermatology Association. 2019. Is Sunscreen Safe?
Runners foot health: American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. 2021. Runners: Fit Feet Finish Faster.
Foot massage and athletic performance: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2017. Acute Effects of Different Self-Massage Volumes on the FMS™ Overhead Deep Squat Performance”
Foot massage and pain: Pain Management Nursing. 2020. “Efficacy of Precise Foot Massage Therapy on Pain and Anxiety Following Cardiac Surgery: Pilot Study.”
Niacinamide benefits: Antioxidants 2021. “Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Evidence for the Applications of Nictinamide (Niacinamide) to Control Skin Aging and Pigmentation.”
Keratin for skin and nails: The Scientific World Journal. 2014. "A Clinical Trial to Investigate the Effect of Cynatine HNS on Hair and Nail Parameter”
Hand sanitizer guidelines: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Show Me the Science: When and How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings.
Aromatherapy and pain: Pain Research and Treatment. 2016. “The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”
Benefits of essential oils: Johns Hopkins Medicine. Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work?
Lavender and mood: Central Asian Journal of Global Health. 2020. “A Systemic Review of Effects of Aromatherapy with Lavendar Essential Oil on Depression.”
Blue light treatment and acne: The Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2005. “An Open Study to Determine the Efficacy of Blue Light in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Acne.”
Acne statistics: American Academy of Dermatology Association. 2016. Skin Conditions by the Numbers.