11 best Christmas stocking fillers

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With the centuries-old tradition of the Christmas stocking seeing the stocking itself physically growing from a regular, ordinary sock to a size that’d easily accommodate a Blu-ray player, it's become necessary to fill your loved ones' festive footwear without breaking the bank.

Here we have just the music-, film- and tech-related gifts to cram those super-sized stockings hanging by the fireplace.

Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin and Beyond: The Story of Rock's Greatest Manager

An authorised biography on one of history's most important music managers (the "fifth member of Led Zeppelin") has almost instant appeal - even if the cumbersome mouthful of a name is somewhat off-putting. 

Author of Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd, Mark Blake brings together new interviews with Led Zeppelin's surviving members, material from Grant's extensive archives and Grant's never-before-published final interview to produce a scrupulous portrait of the music titan.

JVC HA-ETR40

If you know a loved one looking for in-ear headphones for those gnarly gym sessions (which will no doubt be all the gnarlier in the post-Christmas period), you may as well write their name on these JVCs in-ears, which are now less than half the price of when we awarded them four stars. 

No matter the price, sport headphones need to do two things: fit securely and comfortably, and sound decent. And these get it in one. 

Amazon Echo Input

How do you make any ol' speaker smart (i.e capable of being voice controlled)? There's no punchline exactly, but there is an answer: by connecting it to an Echo Input. One of Amazon's newest products is also one of its most interesting. 

The disc-shaped Echo Input simply connects to an existing speaker via a 3.5mm jack or Bluetooth to gift it voice functionality. So when a ‘dumb’ speaker is connected to it, it can also be added to a multi-room music group.

Belkin Pocket Power Bank (5000 mAh)

Admit it: seeing the message “low battery” pop up on your smartphone screen is enough to ruin your day. But the existence of portable chargers means you needn’t worry about dead battery anxiety kicking in.

This practical, portable 5000mAh power bank can recharge your phone 1.5 times over ­– perfect for charging everything from smartphones and tablets to smart watches, fitness bands and even wireless headphones.

Solo: A Star Wars Story 4K Blu-ray

Because if you can't make the most of your 4K home cinema over the Christmas period, then when can you? Nothing in the galaxy looks far, far away in the super-sharp, beautifully-coloured 4K transfer of the second Star Wars anthology film (following Rogue One). Nothing sounds less than spectacular in it through a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 presentation, either. 

Oh and the film itself: a very decent action-packed, family-friendly addition to the saga.

Jastek 5-in-1 universal USB charging cable

For anyone with multiple smart devices, this universal charging cable could qualify as the gift of all gifts. And at only £8, that’s quite a win for the giver as well as the receiver. The cluster of cables features all the usual USB ports – USB-A, USB-C, micro USB, mini USB and Lightning – so it can charge almost any mobile device (iOS, Android or other), portable music player, and perhaps even a DAC, too.

Apple iTunes Gift Card

It's not like Apple to be generous – have you seen the price of an iPhone XS Max? – but we're willing to stretch the compliment to the tech giant now it's offering a batch of 4K films for the same price as HD downloads through its iTunes service. 

A £25 card will cover the purchase of at least a couple of 4K films in its catalogue (new releases in 4K and HDR are often £10.99).

Just make sure the movie buff you’re buying it for has an Apple TV 4K box...

Abbey Road mug

"Oh great, another mug", said no-one ever when receiving one printed with London's most iconic recording studio (even if they really could've done without an 18th mug to squeeze into their cupboard). Perfect for that Christmas evening eggnog... and the tea and/or coffee every night after. 

View the Abbey Road mug 

Ólafur Arnalds - re:member vinyl

As we noted in our National Album Day article, Ólafur Arnalds takes an intriguing approach to his craft with his latest studio album. Here, specially developed software uses the notes he plays on a control piano to generate complementary algorithm-derived notes and melodies from two secondary pianos. The result: an atmospheric, rhythmically complex album packed with dense but emotion-tugging compositions.

View the Ólafur Arnalds - re:member vinyl

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust turntable slip mat

It seems rather fitting that a turntable is given an alter-ego when it isn't spinning records by wearing a Ziggy Stardust slip mat. Not a Bowie fan? (Shame on them.) There are over 70 cork slip mat designs to choose from, including Stormtrooper and The Beatles ones.

Chocolate smartphone

Is a Christmas stocking even filled if it doesn't contain any chocolate? A more, err, 21st-century alternative to traditional chocolate money, this choccy smartphone is a suitable treat for someone who rarely puts down their smartphone down. We bet they even take a selfie eating it. 

(Handily, it's also an add-on item at Amazon.)