The holidays have arrived, and amid the making of your list and checking it twice, what better time to consider one of three stocking stuffer stocks that you can place by the chimney with care.

These are large-capitalization companies with demonstrated business models in established markets -- i.e. stocks of old reliable companies that have seen recessions/bad times come, and seen them go.

Further, in you have grade-school-age children, these three companies are the kind of stock that you can buy for child's college fund, and in 10 years, you'll be really glad you did.

General Electric - The Mutual Fund in One Company

For a quick-read on the U.S. economy, review General Electric (GE).  

It's often been said that diversified industrial giant GE is 'a mutual fund in one company,' but the company is in fact an even more-telling barometer than that.

In fact, one can argue that, As GE goes, so goes the United States -- the company's operations represent that large a portion of U.S. economy -- industry, heavy equipment, technology, energy, home and business, military contracts, commercial aviation, media, green technology, and finance.

General Electric's stock Friday traded up 5 cents Friday to $17.69.

The Thomson Reuters First Call FY2011/FY2012 EPS estimates for GE are $1.37 to $1.57.

CVS: There's A Reason the Drug Store Chain Has Grown

Wal-Mart (WMT) grabs many of the business press headlines -- favorable and unfavorable -- for store location and business tactics, but lesser-known CVS's (CVS) business model and operation is just as cunning.

A devastating store deployer, 7,200-store, 41-state CVS has helped transform the drug store sector from a neighborhood-oriented, proprietor-owned sector in to a methodical, scalable, profitable corporate business model. Further, there are ample opportunities for market share increases in Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona.

CVS's shares Friday rose 27 cents to $40.78.

Long-term, the CVS story remains enviable: a new pharmacy benefits management agreement contract with Aetna (AET) will boost the top line and its position as the largest provider of prescriptions and related health care services in the United States points to an impressive total, average, annual return on equity for shareholders, in the years ahead.

The Thomson Reuters First Call FY2011/FY2012 EPS estimates for CVS are $2.79 to $3.22.

Intel: Semiconductor Star

It goes without saying that microprocessor giant Intel (INTC) will remain at the forefront of semiconductor technology as the second decade of the globalization era progresses.

Intel's new 32-nanometer and 22-nanometer chips should once again outperform the field, regarding an improved chip to meet the multi-media, multi-thread, simultaneous-application demands of today's office environment.

A strong balance sheet, a superior distribution network, a pervasive global presence, and one of the most respected brands in the world add to INTC's positive story. Intel remains the strongest company in the microprocessor sector

There is some concern that Intel has been slow to capture market share in the portable sector, but for now desktop PC and server demand will more than suffice.

Intel's shares riday rose 27 cents to $23.95.  

An annual dividend of 84 cents provides an exclamation point: an opportunity for decent growth, with a dividend. That's about as good as one can get in today's challenging investment environment.

The Thomson Reuters First Call FY2011/FY2012 EPS estimates for INTC are $2.36 and $2.39. 

A Triad of Opportunity

The U.S. economic recovery appears to be gaining momentum. Jobless claims have downtrended to 364,000 and appear to be headed even lower. Corporate earnings growth is adequate and companies are sitting on roughly $2 trillion in cash. The manufacturing sector continues to expand. Auto sales are increasing at a decent pace. Consumer sentiment is firming, and now it appears the U.S. housing sector is starting to show signs of stabilization. 

In other words, 2012 could be a year when U.S. GDP growth exceeds expectation -- which would mean good things for General Electric, CVS, and Intel, and of course, for those who own their shares.