I love finding many tiny surprises in a gift, and it would be lovely to be able to give a gift like this to someone. The problem is finding enough small and interesting items. Of course, one could fill the whole calendar, stocking or surprise gift with small, edible items, like candy, chocolate or chewing gum, but that's not as much fun as finding something different from your gift.
I also love giving gifts, so I have been thinking about what I could put in gifts like this. I decided to share a generic list of items that are good for anyone. Choose something from all of the groups, several items from a few groups or all items from one group. Just choose the style and colors according to the receiver.
Even though one gets key rings as ads from all sources, there seems to be always need for some more. It isn't unusual that even children are carrying keys today.
Brooches, pins and buttons
My 18 years old niece collects buttons and pins and her back bag is filled with them. A brooch does not need to be flowery and girly.
I love fridge magnets and buy these as souvenirs and mementos. Magnets are nice for a magnetic memo board too.
Decorated clothes pins or clips
Clothes pins can be used as clips to keep papers together or to hang notes on the wall.
The receiver's initial
It could be a metal key ring, wooden shape or embroidered badge.
Candy, chewing gum, other edibles
Edibles are a quick and easy way of satisfying the gift opener, and the only way to appeal to taste buds.
Teabags, small packs of coffee or cocoa
If your target likes hot drinks, you can add a couple of portion packages of his / her favorite drink.
Miniature packages of cosmetics
Boys aren't usually very interested in this kind of things, but could use a small bottle of moisturizer or cologne. Girls are usually happy about a tiny bottle of nail polish or perfume, but here too, choose the gift according to the receiver. Tomboys won't get glad about girly stuff. This is also a good gift for travelers.
There are neutral packages of these too, and even boys can have dry lips.
Tiny case of tiger balm
I carry a tiny, red tin of tiger balm in my handbag all the time. I like the visual package and I think tiger balm can be used for many purposes. The tiny tin lasts surprisingly long time.
Small, sewn case can be folded into a very tiny item, and these are very useful, to hold together your cards and tickets; to protect and personalize your iPod, MP3 player, Game Boy, mobile or other gadget or for other purposes, like for paper tissues or feminine sanitary accessories.
Another small and useful item in today's computerized world.
If the gift receiver likes "back to school" items or stationery, add erasers, pen sharpeners, miniature pencils, pens, crayons or colored pencils in the package.
Especially children love rubber stamps and stamping.
Tiny craft supplies
If the receiver is a scrapbooker or works with altered books and art journaling, there's a lot of different supplies that can be put into small places, like brads and embellishments. Also beading and sewing have many options for small items.
Stickers, scraps, ephemera, stamps, tiny artwork
Pretty, funny, colorful pictures, pictures of the receiver's favorite subject, can be fun to get, even when one doesn't use these in their craft or art.
Vintage toys, miniatures and figurines
It seems the items were smaller back in time. I remember these tiny plastic horses and cows from my childhood, tin soldiers, small cars and other such things one could find inside easter chocolate eggs. When I was little, a friend of mine had an Advent calendar with a tiny plastic toy in each calendar box, and I remember being very envious. One can find a box of diverse items from flea markets and car boot or garage sales.
They do make small toys even today, like plastic animals or marbles.
Tiny Stuffed Animals
These are especially suitable for the outer decoration of the gift, peeping out from a stocking or hugging the surprise ball.
Visit a store selling items intended for doll houses or miniature railways and you'll find a lot of tiny things to hide inside a surprise ball or Advent calendar.
Worry dolls are tiny, Guatemalaalan dolls made of wood and yarn. They are traditionally used to transfer the owner's worries and nightmares into the doll and thus removing them.
Jewelry can be very small items, like rings, pendants, chains and earrings.
You could give someone a whole charm bracelet in an Advent calendar. Give the bracelet itself on Christmas.
In some New Age stores they sell polished stones. These are very pretty to look at and nice to hold, and usually inexpensive.
Matchbook items, like matchbook notepads, sewing kits etc.
I have seen matchbook notepads, matchbook games, matchbook sewing kits, matchbook nail files, matchbook art, matchbook poetry, matchbook candy favors, even a matchbook first aid kits.
I would like to find a scratch ticket from the surprise present.
Gift cards and money
You can always give the receiver a gift card. If the gift card doesn't fold into small enough, you can add a note with instructions on how to find the gift card or just telling that the gift is a gift card.
Self-made gift cards are also an idea.
If you can't think of anything else, give money. Especially children and teenagers appreciate this present very much.