You don't usually put books in stockings but Kevin Guilfoile's A Drive Into the Gap is so reasonably priced ($6.95) and such a compact size (69 pages) that it fits perfectly into the stocking-stuffer category. It's also bloody brilliant, so a nice surprise to share with the reader in your life who likes books about fathers and sons, baseball, writing or heartfelt real-life mysteries. Special bonus if they know who Roberto Clemente was.
Basically, anyone who enjoys a good story which, in this case, also happens to be true.
I bought A Drive Into the Gap after reading Walter Biggins' review at Bookslut. It's about Guilfoile's father, who has Alzheimer's, and the mystery behind the bat that Clemente used for his 3,000 hit. It's also a bit about baseball, which Guilfoile's father worked in, and storytelling - especially about mythic moments - and about how Barry Bonds is a jerk. (I knew it!!!) (Okay this is only a couple of pages in the book but still, I KNEW IT!!!)
It's just a lovely little book, a quick but thoughtful read, and something different from standard stocking fare.
I also recommend some of the Field Notes notebooks as unexpected gifts. They are surprisingly addictive - you wouldn't think little notebooks would be so useful in the electronic age but they are. I love mine and use them to keep track of the different writing projects (big and small) that I'm involved in, as well as the standard daily "To Do" list.
Oh - and put some pens in the stockings! These are SEVEN YEAR pens and they are very reasonably priced and super cool. Pens are always good for the stocking. (I always put in scratch-off lottery tickets and coffee cards too.) (Oh and magnets which are always a good thing!) (And bookmarks!!!!) (And I buy an issue of a magazine that I think my husband would like but hasn't picked up.) (This doesn't fit in the stocking, but I put it underneath it.)
Hmmmm, what else? Oh - I also always put in Burt's Bees lip balm because, well, you can never have enough lip balm in the winter.
I love stocking stuffers. They make me happy. :)