Though the holiday season may be officially over, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner believes these stocking stuffers are still worthwhile purchases for the new year and beyond. In this episode of Rule Breaker Investing, we look at gifts that truly keep on giving: shares of high-quality companies that even your kids will appreciate.

So while it may be too late to put these under the tree (which now sits on the curb awaiting disposal), they do make for wonderful new year's resolutions.

A transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Dec. 7, 2016.

David Gardner: Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing. Happy December. Arguably one of the top months of every year -- arguably. For me I think it is. And I came across this Jason Moser tweet. Jason Moser, of course, who you know from podcast fame in The Motley Fool and an analyst here at The Motley Fool. And I retweeted this because I loved it. It was on December 3 and Jason went with:

Holiday gift idea for your kids:

1. Open custodial online brokerage account.

2. Buy stock.

3. Repeat Step 2 for all future holidays.

Love it. He was reacting to a MarketWatch fact. We'll assume this is not fake news. The median working-age American couple only has $5,000 saved for retirement. Presumably you can Google that and look it up on MarketWatch, which is certainly disconcerting now. The good news is that's working age. So often, if you are like a lot of people, you don't really get to start saving in earnest until you get past some tuition and maybe your own student debt, so a lot of us start small.

But the good news is if you're a Foolish investor -- if you're patient -- if you're doing a lot of the things I try to coach you to do every week in this podcast [and] across all our Motley Fool podcasts (growing love for stocks, helping the world invest better), I think you can get up way, way above $5,000. But that's a good place to start. And if that's where the average -- well, the median working-age American couple is -- darn it, we'll start from there and go forward. The good news is you have something saved, because a lot of people don't.

But why did Jason's tweet jump out at me? Well, because it's something that I've thought a lot about in the past and talked some about. Probably here on our podcast. Definitely at The Motley Fool's been behind this for a long time. And it's the idea that yeah, giving a gift of stock is a great idea.

So my theme this week [is] we're going to make some stock picks. I'm going to make some stock picks this week. Five stocks to put under your tree. And I'll get to those in a little bit, but first I just want to talk a little bit about gift giving.

I think most of us, most of the time when we think of gifts, we think of something physical. Something tangible. For us as little kids, we loved to see toys. We were less excited, maybe, by invisible things or semi-visible things like, let's say, a check. A check for $25. Often Mom or Dad [would] say, "Oh, it's so great that Gramps gave you $25. We're going to deposit that for you in your account." And if you're seven years old, that doesn't (at least it didn't to me) sound that exciting.

We like tangible things. It doesn't necessarily change that much as we become adults. We think in terms of tangible things and that certainly is a worthy gift. One of my favorite tangible things to give every year is board games. I shared with you last week a few that I would recommend if you're looking around for a gift idea this holiday season, but that's category one.

However, we had a dad who raised my brother Tom and me to think more about category two, especially as we get a little older. Teenage years. College years. Adult years. And that's experiences. So taking a friend out for lunch. Buying tickets to a play. These kinds of things where years from now you may have already put away the chip dish that you received (the fourth one that you already had), but you'll never forget that time that you spent going to the play with your grandfather. Or taking a surprise trip with your spouse or partner. Experiences. We can give those as gifts. I think they work great because they create memories. So we love category two.

But what Jason did is he opened up one of my favorite things -- I'm going with category three -- and that is the gifts that truly keep on giving. And I can't think of a better idea than shares of public companies that you admire. That you want your giftee to enjoy watching grow over the course of time.

So [of] these three categories, only one of these categories involves a gift that truly gains in value over time. Now, the holiday season wouldn't be as rich if it didn't have all three categories of gifts, but the first one is obvious to most of us; the second one is a little subtle; the third one is often invisible or not even thought of, and I don't think the world should work that way.

So I'm here to suggest that you consider giving a gift of stock. Open up that custodial online brokerage account. You can search our site,, to see how to do that. We have discount brokerage partners. You may already have a brokerage account. You can open up a custodial account for a child in your life, and then buy them stock, and put it under the tree, and I've got five ideas for you this week. And my five ideas all conform to a few traits because, after all, if you're going to put these under the tree (I'm aiming this for kids), it needs to have a few things going on.

First of all, I think you need to be able to explain to them the company, the stock that you've bought for them. If you haven't already had a little stock market talk with them anyway, you should do that, and I don't care what age they are. The earlier you can start letting kids know that they can become part owners of the companies that make the products and services that they love, the better. So if you've not already had that talk, have that talk before that day underneath the tree so there's some context. But then, for each of the five companies I'm going to present you with, I think they're very explainable to kids, and I think that's important.

Also, I think each of these companies has a little bit of magic associated with it. It kind of fits with the anticipation of the morning of December 25, at least in my household. Each of these companies does something that feels special. There's a little bit of Santa running through each of the ticker symbols and the companies behind them that I'm sharing with you this week. I think that's important, as well, for putting stock underneath the tree.

So we're not going to have any insurance companies this week. We're not going to have any semiconductor companies this week. Those might be great stocks, and I've talked about them in the year past. By the way, this is the 76th weekly podcast for Rule Breaker Investing, so I've been working with you for more than a year now. We've talked about those kinds of companies -- we will in the future -- but these are stocks we're putting underneath the tree.

And the final thing I'll mention is none of these stocks is named "Disney". And that's because I think you should already have given children in your life shares of Disney because, of course, it conforms to everything that I think makes for the classically good stock gift that grows in value over time and helps teach a child how business works, how life works and, indeed, that you can be a part owner of things you love. And often that's one of the best ways to profit.

So I still have my elves working on this list of stocks, but I have to do a little housekeeping before we get to it. First of all, let me just mention that if you're new to our podcast, you can subscribe to Rule Breaker Investing on iTunes, or Spotify, or your favorite subscription service for podcasts, and that means we'll pop up every week on your phone. In your life. We'd love it if you'd do that. I would especially appreciate a gift from you this week. I'd love for you to review this podcast. Throw me some stars, as I've been saying in recent weeks. Give us a review. Let us know how we're doing. That would be a wonderful gift (category two) that you could do for us. The better reviews we get, the more people find out about Motley Fool podcasts, the more the world begins to invest.

Now, again, before I present this list, let me mention two things about my lists. This is probably the eighth or ninth list that I've done of stock picks on this show. I tend to do it once every couple of months, and two things happen when I do this. One, I like to give a time frame. So the time frame, of course, for this week's picks is going to be five-plus years. After all, we want your kids to grow up with these companies, so this is a five-plus years.

And the second thing that I do is I type these into Motley Fool CAPS. So if you go to, my screen name is TMFSpiffyPop. You can find me, there. I hope you already have in the past. And I will have picked these stocks, so you can see me hold myself accountable using our CAPS platform. You can see whether we beat the market with this list, as badly as we seem to have already beaten the market with a few of the lists we've already reviewed. So it's always fun to check back in over time. That's one thing that I think is so important to do -- score yourself and learn -- so I always do that with my stock picks and these will be no exception.

And by the way. I should mention at the top of each person's scorecard on CAPS it shows their most recent picks. You're only going to see one from this week's show that shows up on the top of my list. That's because I already have the other four as active picks. But I will be -- for the one that I don't -- featuring it right at the top of my scorecard with a fresh pick made this week.

All right. Stock number one this week. These are going to be alphabetical. This ticker symbol starts with two As. Do you know where I'm headed? I bet you do. Apple. So for each of the stocks I'm going to present this week, I'm going to mention three things you can talk about with your kids as they unwrap and find out what they've just gotten from you under the tree.

And I think the first thing you want to do, if and when you give Apple shares to a child, is you want to show them the logo. You might even want to quiz them and say, "Hey, honey. What does this mean?" And I bet, at least if you have any iPhones, iPads, or any Apple gear kicking around your house, your child of any age will probably know pretty quickly. And that's a good lesson right there, because the logo and the brand is a critical item for me when I think about what I want to be invested in for years.

Apple has, by many accounts, the number one most-recognized brand in the world, and that, itself, is a short and simple lesson to talk about under the tree: the best-known brand in the world. You can point out, "Hey, honey, you just knew this at the age of six. Well, it's actually the best-known one in the world and I just gave you some shares of that company."

Number two. This company focuses (think about this) on making as many people worldwide as comfortable as possible using technology. That's the way -- one way, anyway -- I think about Apple. And just think about that. This is, I believe, the number one most valuable stock company in the world among public companies. At least, as of this podcast, it's tripping the gauge at $612 billion. By the way, for those keeping score at home, that's about $75 billion more than Alphabet, which comes in at number two, at least in the universe that I follow.

So just think about that. The company that is the most valuable in the world. How have they done that? In an age of increasing technological sophistication, this company has tried to make it as convenient, as accessible as possible. It just works. A great lesson.

And number three. And this one is from my producer, Rick Engdahl, an Engdahl special, and I love this point, Rick. Apple, for so many people, inspires them toward creativity. Certainly so many creative class professionals use and have always used, for decades, Apple gear.

But whether it's taking pictures, and cropping pictures, and flipping them around, and coloring them, and sending them to friends, or really shooting a movie, a commercial movie [and] everything in between, Apple truly has harnessed and unleashed, for a few decades, probably more creativity visually than any company in the world. Although maybe the people at LucasArts might argue box office numbers, it's been truly remarkable, and each of those three points is worthy of talking about underneath the tree.

All right. Stock number two, staying alphabetical as I mentioned (by ticker symbol, though). This is another "A," and I think would make an outstanding gift for kids over the next 30-plus years. And here's the little talk we're going to have about Amazon.

First of all, I think we're going to have a Santa Claus talk. Now, everybody listening to this podcast knows that Santa Claus is real. I think it's worth pointing out, though, that Santa is probably busier than at any point in history. After all, there are now seven-plus billion human beings on the planet. That's way more than have ever been around before. And if you think about the amount of work that Santa has to do on that one special night of every year, you can see that he could use some help.

And my sources suggest that he's sometimes outsourcing these days, a little bit, to this particular company, I certainly have benefited a lot from the deliveries that I have gotten from Amazon supplementing the work that Santa does, and I've enjoyed using Amazon to give some gifts, as well. I think that increasingly Amazon is making a lot of the holiday season possible for many, many people worldwide. So you have an opportunity to talk a little bit about Santa maybe outsourcing, a little bit, to this company. And if you had to ask of all the companies worldwide which one might Santa be partnered with, I think this one would come, at least first, to my mind.

Point number two. I think it's worth letting kids know that if you do something really, really well, the world is going to want more from you. So you know the story of Amazon. I do, too. It started off just by selling books online, and this is about 20 years ago. So now, 20 years later, Amazon sells so many different things online.

And the reason that Amazon has been able to expand its business to become the largest e-commerce portal in the world is because the company focused on you and me, first. Jeff Bezos, the CEO, his vision was always for Amazon to be "the most customer-centric company in the world." And whether you would agree that he's achieved that or not (and I personally do agree with him), but whether you agree with that or not, they're making an awfully good stab at it and the world has asked more and more of that company.

And so I think it's a great lesson for kids: that if you do something really well, people are going to want you to do more. And you have an opportunity if you're an entrepreneur to grow -- or just as a person to grow -- as you do more and more for more people. Amazon is a tremendous 20-year success story demonstration of that point.

And then number three for kids [is] I think it's just worth talking a little bit about the name. I always enjoy etymologies of words, anyway; or thinking about names and why are things named that way. And I think it was clear to me, anyway, from early on that Jeff Bezos could have named his site something like or or something like that; but the truth is from day one he called it Amazon.

And if you think about that great, big river, and you think about all of the commerce that flows through Amazon today; and you think about his decision not to give it a very obvious dot-com name, but really a name that would stand on its own. A beautiful name that has the letters A to Z, if you've ever looked at the logo (at least the older-school logo had a little arrow pointing from the A to the Z) they've got everything covered. I think you have an opportunity to talk some about names. And maybe this could get into a talk with a child about how you selected his or her name, or one of their middle names, and a little bit of etymology or family history, there.

Stock number three, and we're staying with the As. Yes, I did start. I sorted my Supernova universe (the 200-plus companies that I follow) from A to Z. I just started at the top. And I had already found my third one before I even got to the letter B. There might be a little bit of... What would that be, Rick? Alphabet-centrism? Some bias toward the A's and not the Z's present in this week's podcast? Perhaps, so. Number three is Activision Blizzard.

Now, depending on who your child is and what age he or she is, maybe there already is some Activision Blizzard underneath the tree this year. For example, Skylanders. Lots of younger kids are into that game, and you might have some gear or the games in the Skylander universe. That's Activision Blizzard.

Hearthstone for an older child or maybe like me -- an older adult -- a wonderful game. Call of Duty for teenagers and up. The classic first-person shooter. Or how about for the whole world at large (as Activision Blizzard has now reached 1 billion customers), Candy Crush Saga. That reaches lots and lots of people. So conversation number one is about how you can be buying the company as well as the product that you love. And probably it doesn't take looking too far for a child to see these names and brands and realize who they are and what this company's about.

I think conversation number two for Activision Blizzard -- well, it's in the name right there -- how companies combine, because Activision and Blizzard were separate companies. In fact, it was December of 2007 when Activision, with its present CEO, Bobby Kotick, announced that the company and its assets would merge with fellow games developer and publisher of Vivendi Games, the French company. Vivendi owned Blizzard Entertainment at the time. Later this company got spun off and went independent as its own entity, Activision Blizzard.

But Activision brought over the Call of Duty series. It brought Guitar Hero. It brought Tony Hawk, if you remember those video games, or Skylanders, as I mentioned. And that merged with Blizzard some of the brands that I love, like Diablo and Hearthstone. StarCraft. Warcraft. And those companies came together to form Activision Blizzard. So I think you have a little bit of a conversation, there, about mergers and things that sometimes work or often don't work (if you think of AOL/Time Warner). Or maybe in your own professional life, you have a viewpoint about whether mergers are good or bad.

In this case, I think it's worked out really wonderfully well over the last year, adding King Digital, which is not in the Activision Blizzard name, but has added a lot with Candy Crush Saga. So that's conversation number two on this one.

And then conversation number three for Activision Blizzard -- let's talk a little bit about sizing. I like simple numbers. I like simple math. Fifth-grade math. That's how I like to keep my investing. And I've always talked about market cap, a lot, on Rule Breaker Investing. It's a quick way to size up the value of different things in the world.

So the market cap -- just a quick reminder -- is nothing more than the share price of the company multiplied by the number of shares of that company. And when you do that math, you end up with the total value of that company. Now I'm not adjusting for enterprise value. I'm not adding in debt or subtracting it. But for the purposes that we're talking about now -- just big, simple numbers -- it's the price tag if you wanted to buy the company.

And I often liken it to walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, let's say, and there are price tags and everything. And you can kind of see the relative sizing and differences in pricing, one product to another. I think that's great to be able to do with the stock market. Ironically, and perhaps sadly, I think a lot of times people do that looking at the share price, itself, and they'll see one stock at $117 a share, and another stock at $17 a share, and they'll think that the one that's $117 is much bigger than the one at $17 and those things have nothing to do with each other. The function of a price per share is simply how many shares exist at that price, and when you multiply them together, you get market cap.

So maybe too much math to talk about under the tree, here. Maybe too much excitement about what the next gift is. Maybe this is an opportunity on boxing day, the day after, to discuss this with a child. Here's some market caps real quick. How about the two companies we just covered? Apple -- Apple tips the scales at about $610 billion and about $350 billion. So Apple almost twice the size of Amazon. Activision Blizzard, our third company, is at about $27 billion. In other words, less than one-tenth of Amazon and less than one-twentieth of Apple.

I think it's great, not just for kids, but for adults to recognize the relative sizing, because when I ask myself which stock is more likely to go up five or 10 times in value over the next five to 10 years, usually I look at the smaller market caps, just because it's really hard to take a $600 billion market (Apple's), and even see that double. Certainly not overnight, but anytime soon. Now, Apple has a lot built into it. It pays a dividend these days and there's a lot more stability in a massive company like that, and it's a great gift to put under the tree for a child, but it's good to have a sense of the different sizes of these companies.

Now, company number four (speaking of sizing), we're going back to massive because let's face it. Stocks that you're putting under the tree are probably going to be well-known companies. Big brands. Big consumer-focused companies. And Facebook, stock number four, ticker symbol (FB), of course, is one of those.

And I think the first conversation you want to have about Facebook -- besides the market cap, which I'll mention, which is $331 billion [David said "million" at 00:22:20], so just a little bit smaller than Amazon, these days -- is the frequency of use of a product or service.

Now, I personally am not on Facebook. I am @DavidGFool on Twitter. I know many of you are active on Facebook. We have a great Motley Fool Podcast group. We just had our thousandth joiner of the Motley Fool Podcast group on Facebook. I know many, many people use Facebook for a lot of hours, and that's conversation number one. Perhaps you, or your spouse or partner, uses Facebook a lot. Perhaps your child, even if quite young, has precociously noticed that you might be spending too much time on Facebook.

I think it's a great opportunity to mention the value of products or services that we are using every day. That might go for what you're stocking in your refrigerator, or what you're tapping into online. Facebook is a tremendous example of this, and even if you're not on it, I bet you can point out Uncle Larry, and make a joke about Uncle Larry who spends too much time on Facebook. We all know people who are using Facebook, and that's an important point for kids.

So the frequency of use of a product or service. One of the classic lines from the Gillette CEO of yore was "I love waking up, every day, because I know everyone's beard has grown a little bit more overnight, and they have to use my product," with their razor and blades business model. Kind of a cliché example, but these are the companies, often, that we should be not just using ourselves, but owning shares ourselves, and I think it's a great example of stocks to give to kids. So that's number one.

Conversation number two about Facebook is the "how they make money" conversation. I think often it's very evident to kids, if they have a Skylanders video game, how the company makes money. You buy the product, the company takes in the money. Facebook, though, a little subtler. In fact, Facebook had a lot of skeptics on Wall Street that this company could ever really make that much money just as, in one era beforehand, Google. The biggest question about Google, as it prepared to go public, is how are these guys actually going to make money?

And so I think the important lesson, here, is that this company makes money with a free product for the most part, and I think most kids can probably get this. Depending on their familiarity with Facebook, or their age, maybe they won't. But, of course, Facebook primarily makes money the same way Google does, through advertising dollars.

So we are freely using services like Google and Facebook -- and through the advertising relationships that they have spanning the Earth with advertisers who know a lot about you and me, and therefore they can pitch the right products to you or me -- that's a good lesson for kids to know. And so in contrast to my previous three stocks (our other three stocks under the tree, so far), those companies all clearly sell products. This one doesn't. "So son, daughter, how do you think they make money?"

And then number three, and the final conversation about Facebook (I think it's kind of related to the previous point), but not just products cost money. Something else also costs money. Time is money, friend, and that's really good to make sure kids understand, as well. So while, on the face of it, Facebook is completely free (there's an opportunity to moralize a little bit, here, if you like to moralize, sometimes, about social media) the amount of time that you or I [are] spending on Facebook, or in my case playing board games, or whatever it is that you're sinking lots of time into; that time comes at a very subtle and sometimes very great cost. So being more cost conscious, specifically in the area of time. That thing that seems to not be green or gold -- that didn't seem to have hard currency associated with it -- I think it's a really great point to get across not just to kids, but like a lot of things I'm saying this week, to adults, as well.

OK. That leaves us with our fifth and final company. A little bit of magic. A little bit of Santa to unwrap underneath the tree. This company certainly fulfills that for me, personally. Perhaps for you, too. Number five is Netflix.

Netflix, by the way, has a market cap... I'll pause for a sec. Let you throw out a number as you're driving your car or jogging right now. What do you think Netflix's market cap is? By the way, if you're within 20%, you can score yourself a star. All right, you got it? All right. The answer is $52 billion. So if you were anywhere from $40-60 [billion], you're good. If not, you need to go back to market cap school.

OK. So Netflix -- I think conversation number one with kids about Netflix is the way the company started out, which is, "You know, son, daughter. Back before we had streaming..." And by the way, Netflix has such a popular offering for kids shows in streaming today. A lot of kids growing up these days with Netflix. Watching [the] kids Saturday morning shows basically on Netflix, commercial free, when, at least my recollection of my Saturday mornings as a kid is that there were a ton of commercials mixed into all of the cartoons.

So the first conversation is how Netflix started, which is that it took, before streaming, back when we rented DVDs or even VHS tapes (back before then), it took late fees out of the equation. So you can point out to your child, who will not even understand the concept, presumably, of having to go down to a store and pick up a VHS tape, and then make sure you return it by Thursday, [or] otherwise you're going to start racking up late fees (which I did consistently as an irresponsible, young adult), they took that out of the equation altogether and that made people happy.

And that's a really important point about entrepreneurism (the type that succeeds, anyway, out in the marketplace), which is you're generally going to win when you make people happy. And when you change the game to make people happy -- when you change how people rent videos, as Netflix has done more than once, now, through different evolutions -- there's a lot of value to be created. So that's point number one. Change the game and make people happy.

I think conversation number two, for kids about Netflix, is maybe a lesson, a talk about mistakes. Because it wasn't so long ago that Netflix went through a death-defying drop. The year was 2011. The stock had hit a recent high of $45 a share -- this is all in post-split terms, so $45 a share in modern-day parlance -- and it dropped in one year (less than one year) from $45 to $10.

And a lot of us will remember that as the time of the Qwikster fiasco, a decision made by Reed Hastings, himself, to split streaming from DVD. To split your queue, if you were keeping one, as I did. My queue always numbers more than 100 things on Netflix. I will die never watching hundreds of things that I had on Netflix. The whole customer experience was disrupted. Consumers didn't like it, the marketplace didn't like it, Wall Street didn't like it, and Netflix stock cratered, based on some bad decisions, $45 a share to $10 a share.

Today, you can point out to your son or daughter the stock is more like $120. It's up 12x since those really tough lows. I think there's a great lesson about being willing to take risks, which is what Hastings did back then. About failing, which is going to be what happens, sometimes, when you take risks. But I think the lesson is ... Do you remember this? One of my USA core values -- five core values that I see in our country -- one of them is the word "resilience."

You know, the great line ... I used this a lot with my kids growing up. Maybe not under the tree, but "winners are losers who didn't quit." Or the old Vince Lombardi line, "It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you got back up." I think that's really an important conversation. Netflix is a great example as your son or daughter opens this up underneath the tree this month.

And the final conversation -- I think I've already foreshadowed it -- but I think you can talk about those kids shows. The offering that Netflix has for kids is tremendous. It's a big competitive advantage in this age of everybody trying to have the next Game of Thrones (thinking about very expensive series aimed at adults), and Netflix has a bunch of those. We tend to forget the large number of us who are below the age of 18 and think about what offerings you want to pay ($8-10 a month) in order to bring that into your household advertising free. So I think, for me, it's a reminder for kids (and I'm going to close with this), that finding products and services that you really like is a great way to find a stock that you should buy.

My brother Tom and I spoke at the Alexandria, Virginia Chamber of Commerce this morning as I tape here on Tuesday, December 6. It was good to see our local brethren at the AVA Chamber of Commerce. Shout out to any new listeners this week from Alexandria.

But we had an opportunity to tell, again, that brief story, that iconic story that we have of how we started investing, which is that our dad would take us into the Safeway in Washington, DC, where we grew up, and he'd say, "Hey, kids, look. Chocolate pudding. We own some of the company that makes that chocolate pudding. Let's go get more chocolate pudding." Made him a great dad. A very popular dad.

But the lesson that he was giving us we remember to this day, and I'm sharing it out here, this week, on Rule Breaker Investing and it's that life is like chocolate pudding. There's a lot of great stuff out there and beyond just the pudding, itself, you can be a part owner of the company that makes the chocolate pudding in your life and in your child's life. And that's why I think you should start wrapping up some stocks underneath the tree.

All right. So as we close, you can check out past episodes of [Rule Breaker Investing] and all the Motley Fool podcasts at our podcast center. Just go to and while you're there you can check out our flagship service and that's Motley Fool Stock Advisor. A new issue of Motley Fool Stock Advisor comes out the third Friday of the month with two new stock recommendations from me and my brother Tom Gardner. You can check it out by going to the podcast center and scroll to the bottom of the page. That's

And that brings me to next week. Next week I'm going to launch a tribute to one of my favorite living investment greats, so it's a month of gratitude and gifts. I'm going to send a love letter out to one of my favorite investors of our time on next week's show. I hope you'll join me. In the meantime, happy shopping and Fool on!

As always, people on this program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Learn more about Rule Breaker Investing at