A few years ago we used cable channels. My stocking was the Travel Channel. I got a travel pillow, for example.
Last year, my mother came up with this insanity of Harry Potter spells. Each stocking had a number of spells, and you bought things pertinent to those spells. For example, if the spell was Alohomora, you might get a key or a lock. Some of the stockings overlapped, so it was really more complicated than it was worth.
This year we picked our favorite books. I picked John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. It is one of my favorite books, and it's the one that I figured everyone in my family could read without being bored out of their minds (I speak specifically of my father, here.) My mother picked Scarlett, a sequel to Gone With the Wind. My sister picked Confessions of a Shopaholic and my father picked To Kill a Mockingbird.
I had never read any of these other books (including Gone With the Wind...also I don't think I've ever actually sat through that movie...ever. at all. I think I've seen maybe half of it consecutively. That's it.)
I figured Confessions of a Shopaholic would be easiest, so that's where I started. I had seen the movie with my mother and sister - it was cute...we had a good time...Hugh Dancy was pretty, but it wasn't what I would necessarily call my cup of tea. My sister has read all of the Shopaholic book series and is for all intents and purposes in love with it. She and I don't always see eye-to-eye, but having now read the first of this series, I can appreciate her love for it. It didn't make me want to pick up any more of them, but I did get sucked in. I think I finished it in like a day and a half. But when I say sucked in, I don't only mean that it was a page-turner. I mean it got into my head.
By the time I walked out, I'd purchased a gift for one person and a bag for it, a gift for another person and a bag for that, a candle for me, stationary cards for me, tissue paper for the bags...$70. Everyone needs stationary, right? I did the same thing at two other stores over the course of the next week and a half. In the end, the stuff that I bought myself is beautiful, but I probably could have used some of that for, say, these stocking gifts I'm going to have to get. *sigh*