The Christmas stocking by the fire is one of those images that signals Christmas, the warmth of the hearth and fire, family, childhood memories. The stocking—or wooden clog, in Europe—has humble and varied origins, each adapted to different times and places and different families. My own family Christmas tradition puts present opening on Christmas Eve after a dinner of seafood and the carol service at church. Exhausted from opening, teasing, laughing, we would all go to bed after leaving out cheese and a glass of wine and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.
Christmas morning was stocking time with treats from Santa, some exactly the same year after year: fresh tangerines, whole walnuts in their shells, a Droste’s chocolate orange wrapped in foil, which fell into perfect chocolate segments when you unwrapped it and tapped it on the table, the plastic egg filled with silly putty, each of us with our favorite comic book, the small bottle and plastic ring for blowing soap bubbles, an envelope of hot cocoa mix, a pair of mittens with a long string attaching then so they could be threaded through the sleeves of your snowsuit jacket, then put on and off without being lost or misplaced.
There were little surprises designed for each child’s different needs or tastes. For me, the envelope of foreign stamps Dad had saved from his mail all year. For baby brother, a wee new stuffed animal or a book on animals. And for my sister, a hand stitched doll dress. The parents’ stockings were stuffed with intrigue: a skinny jar of martini olives for Dad, a square tin of sardines or smoked octopus, some delicious Mom-made fudge, a jar of sun jam, a tie, a new deck of cards, a small box of replacement colored lights for the tree. For Mom, it was a beautiful little bottle or two of brandy or liqueur, small wrapped cheeses, a packet of fancy crackers, a 2-inch square box of Fannie Farmer’s French Mints, a lacy handkerchief or silky scarf, and packets of English Breakfast Tea.
There was a lot of food stuff going on at Christmas always, and that continues. My husband and I went hog wild on the food side, collecting half bottles of wine, spreads, dips, cheeses, jams and jellies, crackers, dried sausages, olives, pickled this and that, spices, dried fruit, nuts, months’ worth of appetizer time goodies. That little bit of something before dinner or late in the evening with a glass of wine was communion for us. My daughter and her husband still come almost nightly for “a glass of wine and an hors d’oeuvre.”
I am strong believer in consumable gifts, things to eat and drink and read and listen to, not just because they don’t have to find a space in the crowded house but because they make us happy, they become part of our life experiences, part of our stories.
That vision of gift giving fits well with the horde of little 187 ml bottles and other small sized packages of delicious wines available this year for last minute additions to adult stockings or to holiday gift baskets. Festive looking, good quality, available from sweet to dry, affordable, and a perfect size (generous glass!). Pair the sweet with a sweet treat, the dry with a cheese.
My top 4 choices for Wine Stocking Stuffers
- LaMarca Prosecco, the perfect one glass serving of the top-selling Prosecco in the USA, a medium dry Italian sparkler, and the perfect topper for Italy’s favorite cocktail, a shot of Aperol bitters in a champagne flute, topped with chilled prosecco.
- Segura Viudas Cava Brut and Rosé, our top selling Spanish Cava for the past 20 years, this continues to prove its quality. The 187 ml bottles an excellent stocking gift, or a perfect addition to a wedding toast moment!
- Risata Moscato This top selling Moscato d’Asti is now available in a brand new adorable blue glass bottle, sweet and fruity with hints of honey, an authentic Moscato d’Asti. Great stocking stuffer.
- Pulpoloco Sangria, an environmentally friendly “cardboard tube” of all natural, fruit infused, organic Spanish red wine. Fits neatly in a stocking of any size. Chill and sip from the carton or pour over ice. Add a dash of triple sec and top with seltzer for a festive holiday wine cocktail.
Look for these wine stocking stuffers:
- Bollicini Sparkling Brut or Rosé, in pink or blue 187 ml cans, one glass servings of delicious bubbles from Italy. Easy stocking fit
- JP Chenet Bland de Blanc Brut from France, a single serve, quick to chill sparkling from France. Enough for raising one glass to ring in the New Year.
- House Wine Cans, the full range of varietal wines to get with the trend for wine in a can, these are a whole half bottle’s worth, or 3 decent pours. Attractive look also makes them stocking worthy.
- Sella Rosa Black, Rosé, or Platinum in in 250 ml bottle shaped cans bring award winning wines of a popular brand in a popular format. All are semi-sweet, semi-sparkling, two styles that seem to work very well in cans
- Dark Horse Pinot Grigio and Rosé the signature Dark Horse label is well-suited to these 375 ml cans and the wine is good wines.
- Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato, a 187 ml bottle a good choice for those who love sweet wines.
Spirits for Stuffers
Grab a handful of 50 ml spirits for adult stocking stuffers. At a little over 1 ½ oz, a healthy shot, they are great for cocktails. Or put together a gift basket for the home mixologist with: a bottle of basic spirits, vodka, gin, rum, or Bourbon, a jar of olives or cocktail cherries, bitters, lime juice, grenadine, some brightly colored fresh citrus fruits, a cocktail shaker, a muddler, a shot glass, a large round or square ice mold. Add a cocktail recipe book.
Cocktails in a Can for Stuffers
Think about a cocktail in a can as another stocking stuffer idea for adult family and friends. Easy to chill quickly. Fills 2 glasses. I am partial to the New Holland Brewery cocktails in cans, the Holland Mule or Blueberry Gin Lemonade are just delicious. From Coppercraft Brewery, also in Holland, MI, is a good Gin and Tonic.
During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.
Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.