CDs can be a good idea for stockings, although they don't always fit very well. With that in mind, here are a few ideas of gifts you can get to stuff your favorite folk music fan's stocking this Christmas.
For people like me that are terrible at harmonica, but still want to have some intstrument to carry around everywhere, a kazoo is the way to go. It's not just for clowns and children, either. Check out the options behind this link - sure, there's your standard plastic Hohner kazoo. But, you can also put some smiles on faces with gifts like a trumpet kazoo; a Humbucker electric kazoo with a built-in pickup. A kazoo shaped like a tractor, and one with a horn on top like an old timey record player. You could go nuts and fill someone's entire stocking with different kinds of kazoos if you wanted to. (I'm sure they'd love that.) Anyhow, kazoo is always a great instrument to just have fun and be silly with, but I've also seen numerous artists use kazoos to make their songs that much more creative. If you know any serious musicians, help them shake up their act with a new kazoo this Christmas.
I like Dunlop Tortex pics because they're easy to grip and are a nice medium size and shape for people with skinny or thick fingers. They come in various thicknesses, too, so your hardcore players looking for a thicker, fuller sound can opt for a thicker pick; those going for a softer strum or picking style can opt for a thinner pick. It's always good to have some options, and Dunlop's fun rainbow color scheme is a nice alternative to your boring black or grey Fender picks. Besides, guitar (and other stringed instrument) players are always losing pics, too, so it's not like your folksinger friend is going to say, "Oh, I already have that!"
Speaking of guitar picks, it's always fun to have some guitar-themed jewelry around. Whether your favorite folk fan is a musician themselves, or just a fan, these necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made out of guitar picks are always a fun token gift. If you're looking for something a little fancier than a plastic pick necklace, there are some gorgeous silver pieces here either in the shape of, or modeled after your traditional guitar pick. Great options for anyone who loves guitars, banjos, mandolins, or basses.
The great thing about harmonicas is that, aside from your own two hands and your singing voice, it's one of the most portable instruments you can find. I'm told the fact that I'm a terrible harmonica player is no indication of how easy it is to learn how to play. So, if you or your favorite folk music fan is looking for an instrument to play, this would be a great stocking stuffer. It's also a wonderful introduction to instrumental music for even the youngest kids in the family. Children love blowing music through a harmonica. Just be prepared for the cacophony if you give out more than one.
I went to Merlefest for the first time in 2011 and found it to be a wonderful festival, jampacked with everything from folk to bluegrass, alt-country, classic rock, traditional country, and some semblance of indie-pop-grass-country-rock. Whatever their cup of tea, a weekend at Merlfest is definitely a good gift for your favorite folk music fan. And, in 2012, they're celebrating 25 years with everyone from standards (Doc Watson, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush) to newcomers (Deep Dark Woods, Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks, and more).