Every year, well, for the last two years (I hope it becomes a tradition), I have made these little animals for stocking stuffers. It started once I realized that, as much as my family appreciates my creations, they would rather receive things they actually need/want for Christmas. Since I still wanted to make something, I started making these. The octupi were crocheted the first year, the elephants were knit this past Christmas.
Amigurumi (lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features.*
*Definition from Wikipedia