With only a few days remaining to purchase last-minute gifts for kids, parents may be looking for a few extra items for stockings or to place under the tree. Maybe the must-have requests were sold out or simply out of the budget. Or perhaps parents spent a little more on one child than the other and are looking for items to make up the difference. Some parents also just wait until the last minute to shop!
If parents are heading out to the stores to complete their shopping list for Christmas, here are a few great Christmas gift ideas for kids to place under the tree…or in the stocking!
Extra Items for Under the Tree
Depending on your child’s age, the must-have or much-loved presents for Christmas may vary. Younger kids may love action figures, board games or stuffed animals, while older tweens and teens may favor tech and video games.
Parents’ budgets may vary, and focusing on specific products, stores or brands isn’t necessarily the best shopping tactic…especially for toddlers who aren’t going to be so focused on a brand or name. Instead, focus on buying items for your toddler that speak to their loves. Look for games and toys that feature:
- Learning potential: This can be games or toys that help toddlers identify letters or numbers
- Colors: Bright colors may be appealing, but color identification and toys that help with this skill also can be crucial for learning.
- Favorite Characters: Toys and plushies may immediately be a hit with your toddler if they include a favorite show, cartoon or specific character.
- Specific Interests: Your two-year old may already like specific sports or activities. Parents may choose toys or games that focus on these interests.
- Creative elements: Clay or other moldable substances may be a hit for toddlers. Just make sure clay or dough is safe for their age!
Of course, books also are a great gift…even for toddlers. Choose age-appropriate books with colorful illustrations or even interactive features. Some books prompt children to press a particular button for noises that help narrate the story. Others include textures that encourage children to interact with the book or story.
Elementary-age children can have a wide-range of interests. Some may love a specific doll, action figure, or playset, while others may be more interested in technology or educational toys. For elementary-age kids, think about their personal interests and hobbies when choosing gifts. Here are some ideas, based on interest:
- A telescope
- Books about planets and stars
- A moon light for their room
- A star projector
- Gift a computer programming class
- Robotics kits/toys
- Engineering toys/models
- Architecture models/kits
- Books on storytelling
- Personalized pens
- Readability (a subscription to Readability can be a great gift for children who may be struggling to read at grade level)
- New dance leotards
- Monogrammed dance bag
- Dance games (dance mats!)
- Puppets (for future playwrights)
- Puppet theater
- Soundtrack to a favorite musical
- An easel
- Sketch pads
- Coloring books
- Art supplies (including paints, markers, etc.)
- Craft kits
Tweens & Teens
Tweens and teens can be a difficult age for gift hunting. Parents might prefer to just stick to their child’s particular gift list. And, really, this age group may be VERY specific about what they want…or need. What if their wants, however, don’t fit into the budget? A specific brand or gadget may simply be too expensive. Here are a few ideas that will likely be a hit with most teens:
- Gift cards to a favorite store or online shopping destination (this can be Google Play or the App Store for Apple)
- Money (yes, this is impersonal…but it could be very much appreciated!)
- Books by favorite authors
- Funky room accessories (think lava lamps, salt lamps, bean bag chairs, fun pillows, fuzzy rugs, etc.)
- Bath bubbles, bombs, shower gel or lotion in a favorite scent
- Funny pajama pants
- Video Games
- Video Game Consoles
The List is Fulfilled! Now It’s Time to Stuff the Stocking!
Maybe you’ve checked off everything on your child’s list. Have you purchased stocking stuffers, yet? The little gifts we place in our children’s stockings can be cute, practical, wacky or even sentimental. Stocking stuffers can be tailored to your child’s personality and their interests, and parents can have some fun choosing these smaller options.
Stocking stuffers aren’t meant to be pricey, but luxury items (like jewelry) can be a generous surprise. If you haven’t stocked up on stocking stuffers, try these gift ideas (in a variety of price points).
Tiny jewelry gifts fit nicely into a stocking, but these gifts don’t have to be expensive. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings can be inexpensive costume jewelry or pricier gold, silver or gemstone. If you’re looking for fine jewelry, big department stores may have sales during the holiday.
When gifting jewelry to young children, though, please keep safety in mind. Smaller kids can choke on earrings or pendants. If you’re unsure if an item is appropriate, don’t buy it…or ask your pediatrician.
The stocking is the perfect place to stash holiday candies. Choose bagged candy your child will love or opt for candy canes or other holiday-themed treats. Don’t want to give sweets? Opt for savory items instead!
Small cars or dolls tuck away easily into the Christmas stocking. Just be sure to give a gift safely; tiny toys could be a choking hazard for smaller children.
A stuffed toy peeping out of the stocking is a hit! Even teens may still love the occasional stuffie or plushie! Choose your child’s favorite character from a book, television show or cartoon.
Mascara, small eyeshadow palettes, lipstick, blush, eyeliner and other cosmetics are great stocking stuffers for teens or tweens.
Stuff a stocking full of scented bath bombs. You may even find festively themed bombs filled with surprises!
Stash a gift card to the App Store, Google Play or even a favorite store in your child’s stocking.
You can never have too many Pop Sockets! Pop one in the stocking!
Sock monkeys, Slinky, and other retro toys all make cute and unique stocking stuffers.
Fill the stocking with a new charging cable, ear phones, or other tech accessories.
Get healthy and add some festive fruit to the stocking. The New York Times notes that stuffing an orange into a stocking is an old European tradition. Apples, pears and other fruits also make yummy stocking additions.
Don’t choose boring old white socks, stuff the stocking with festive holiday socks or fuzzy and colorful socks. Choose the most outrageous socks you can find!
For the budding artist, fill the stocking with art supplies. This can be paints, paintbrushes, or other artistic tools.
Theme the Stocking
Get creative and choose a theme for your child’s stocking. Think rainbow/unicorn, tie dye, characters, beauty/personal care, automobiles, etc. Pick a theme that fits your child, and find gifts and stocking treats for your theme.
Gifts with a personal touch also make sentimental stocking stuffers. This can be a photo gift, an engraved locket, a special ornament or even a handmade item.
In need of more stocking stuffers? Head to your local dollar store and check out the options. This is a great way to find small gifts and toys for your child’s stocking.
The Big Family Gifts
Maybe parents are buying for multiple kids, and perhaps those children have everything they need. If the budget allows, parents may decide to buy a family present. This would be a big gift that kids share, but the gift (or gifts) might be higher budget. Here are some investment gifts for kids to share:
- A new game console (with games)
- A new computer
- Virtual reality headsets
- Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure
If parents opt for a family gift or one big gift for the kids to share, they also may buy a few small presents for each child, too (budget allowing). Parents can theme smaller gifts to the big gift. If, for example, the shared present is a new game console, each child can be gifted a game or game gift card. For shared tablets, parents can give each child an app gift card.
What if There is No Christmas Budget?
Covid has hit many families hard, and that might mean that Christmas might look very different. Some families might have faced financial hardship related to job loss or even the virus itself. If there isn’t a budget for Christmas this year, presents don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful. And, yes, there are free presents.
Parents can create coupon books for children; these unique custom books may include special privileges, unique adventures or maybe more one-on-one time. Parents also could make gifts like knitted hats and gloves, scarves or blankets. Even stuffed animals can be created out of scraps of fabric, old clothes or other items.
Christmas is a time to remember what’s important, and, for so many families, health, happiness and having each other can be better than anything stashed under the tree and wrapped with a pretty bow. No matter what gift you give your children this year, help them to understand that family, time together and the little moments are the most amazing gifts of all.