Mumsnet Christmas Gift Guide

There's no escaping it, it's that time of year already - Slade's belting out in the shops and your children are nagging at you to buy a calendar that sprouts chocolate on a daily basis. In a bid to calm the rising panic we've gathered together some of your very best ideas for Christmas gifts for all the age-groups, plus a few top tips on coping with it all. Meanwhile if you've had a brainwave, found a bargain or just want to add a few inspirational thoughts of your own, do post them here.

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Babies

  • My daughter's favourite things to play with are plastic cups/bowls/plates etc from the kitchen cupboards! We have a toy tea set - she plays with it for hours. (JARM)
  • My friend bought her child some stacking cups and I can honestly say I have never seen a child as happy and intrigued in my life! (NBG)
  • For a first Christmas, get something practical and wrap it up. I remember wrapping up some weaning spoons as a stocking filler for my young baby - at that age they don't mind what they get! (iota)
  • Try something like a silver charm bracelet which you can keep safe and add a new charm to when a significant date comes along. The bracelet will build up over the years and it'll be a lovely thing for her to keep when she gets older. (nomdeplume)
  • Choose a toy that will grow with them. One of our best gifts was a box of chunky Mega Bloks bricks. Used as a baby for just bashing, then as a toddler for stacking up and bashing and then, for building things like the Eiffel Tower/Castles (and bashing) it's lasted for years. (Willow)

Top Tip

Going to someone else's house for your festivities? Check what their ideas of Christmas are. My in-laws didn't open prezzies until 4pm – we were gagging to go at 8am! (CaptainCavemansMummy)

Toddlers

  • Get an empty cardboard box, fill with blown up balloons, close, and wrap. Toddlers will love this and have more fun with it than most of the other stuff that is bought for them! (speedymum)
  • If you can afford it, we've found a Wheelybug the best toy ever...our daughter uses it all the time to learn to 'kneel-walk', walk and barge into things! (mamado)
  • Don't be afraid to buy a boy a doll and boys lurve buggies. (MrsBadger)
  • Paperpod do cardboard toys – like houses and forts. My son has the rocket and loves it. (Lullabyloo)
  • A ball is one of the most fun things to get and toddlers of any age love them.. (pointydog)
  • This won't work if you hate TV merchandising, but my daughter saw a talking Upsy Daisy from In the Night Garden and nearly collapsed with excitement. So, even though I struggle to see what the fuss is about, I think it'll make it into her stocking. (Muncher)

Top Tip

On Christmas Eve, assemble the bikes/scooters/castles etc you have bought for your children, preferably with the help of a few stiff drinks. Do NOT leave it till Christmas Day to open the box and discover that a vital part is missing/you can't find a screwdriver and/or batteries. Also, open up all boxes containing dolls, plastic toys etc and undo all the fiddly packaging. (Pamina3)

Boys age 4 to 8

  • Playmobil is unbelievably brilliant and has consistently been the thing my son he will play with for hours - on cost per play it is a clear winner in our house. (anchovy).
  • Lego is the biggest hit in our house (All buggiedout) while K'nex is fantastic, my four year old loves it, he plays with it for at least an hour a day. (Colditz)
  • Dressing up outfits are usually a hit. Jokers' Masquerade a great cowboy outfit, and there are loads of other sites that cover everyone from Scooby Doo to Power Rangers. (twixfits)
  • A scooter works for boys or girls of this age. If they're a bit nervous start them off on the three wheel micro-scooter before hitting two wheels. Don't forget the helmet! (VictoriaR)

Top Tip

Put a big clock in the children's room, with the face clearly marked with the time they can get up on Christmas morning… "because Father Christmas may not have been before then". (Mammamic) Or get them a Bunny Alarm Clock on Christmas Eve and set it to a time you can cope with. (BigBertha)

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Girls 4 to 8

  • My daughter's absolutely most played with thing are her babies. Baby Annabel, plus other assorted dolls, pram/cot/highchair/car seat etc, and t hen all the paraphernalia of nappies/clothes/dummy/bottles etc. She is desperate for a boy Baby Born for Christmas. (bozza)
  • Dressing up clothes are eternally popular. If you've got a girl that likes fluttering around being a fairy, Myriad's wings are perfect. (wishingchair)
  • If you're getting inline skates, they MUST have knee pads, elbow, wrist guards, helmet! If you don't have the pads, I'm sure they will go off it really quickly! (EmsMum) Roller Skates (with four wheels) are sometimes a bit more stable. (Cll)
  • All little girls will love Pippi Longstocking illustrated by Lauren Child of Charlie and Lola fame. My daughter and all her friends are in love with it! (foxinsocks) or what about Think Pink? (cod)

Top Tip

If your children wake up way too early on Christmas morning, bribe them by offering an extra small "tree pressie" for each hour they go back to sleep for. (They don't need to know you were going to give them these anyway!) (Galaxy)

Boys 9 to 12

  • We made a booklet of 'promises' to last throughout the year, with everything from 'pancakes for breakfast', a trip into town to squander £20, a trip to the leisure pool (which I hate as it is a hellish experience for adults...!) and a trip to a theme park (carefully dated to allow for the cheap admission day). (fullmoonfiend)
  • Hot Wheels sets are always popular with boys of any age and any personality. All my son's friends from 2 to 12 play with his Hot Wheels when they come over. (SofiaAmes)
  • A kite gets children outside, it's great fun and my son can go out with his mates with it. (malo)
  • Triominoes is a great game for boys, even if they think they're only into Yu-Gi-Oh. (cod)
  • We gave the Guinness Book of Records last year (HUGE success) and this year have found a similar sized book called "Oh Yuck!" which is full of gruesome and gross facts about all sorts of things (biology mostly) which I'm hoping will be just as successful. (MintyDixCharrington)
  • Books are always a big hit here - as long as one of them is the Beano annual (auntyquated) or how about he makes his own with the Beano comic maker? (quandary), Or try Spy Dog or a Footie Annual for football fans.
  • Marble runs are great fun for them and you. (champagnesupernova)
  • Amazon vouchers sound boring to us, perhaps but work for boys or girls. My son got one for his birthday and was so thrilled, it's now on his Christmas list - lots of excitement about searching Amazon for the book/DVD/Nintendo game he really wanted. (Porpoise)

Top Tip

Go for lots of essentials in stockings. That way if you're spending money, at least some of it is on things you would have had to buy anyway, e.g. a character toothbrush instead of usual plain one, fancy shampoo or shower gel and pens, paper, rubbers. (perpetualworrier)

Girls 9 to 12

  • Crafty girls will love fancy colouring books (lullabyloo) or what about this skirt you can colour in yourself? (cremolafoam)
  • This is the full-on sleepover era, so a trolley bag or other overnight bag to take on sleepovers is a great idea. Get Jacqueline Wilson's Sleepovers book to go with it and for fans a Jacqueline Wilson diary as well. (MP4)
  • Musical instruments are popular with both sexes, but if you haven't got one a little electronic keyboard is great. (princesspeahead)
  • A proper digital camera rather than a children's one, as the children's ones are quite expensive and I've heard that the pics are a bit fuzzy. (Rachmumoftwo) If getting a camera, make sure you get one with a decent rechargeable battery – we only managed five pics before our batteries died last year. (Giggi)
  • Girls love sticker makers, I would really recommend the Xyron which I use for my crafting, much easier to use than some of the children's ones out there. (katz)

Top Tip

Get Skype and a webcam for far-flung grandparents so that they can watch the children open their presents. Both sets of our parents were able to open their presents with our boys, even though they were in Oz and the UK and we were in Germany. It was magical for all of us. (CalifornifamousFANGjo)

Teenagers

  • For boys? Lynx, Lynx and more Lynx (makealist)
  • Surfer accessories from Fat Face or White Stuff wallets, badges, bracelets etc and iTunes gift cards will go down a treat (maryannsingleton)
  • Movie lovers will probably appreciate a Love Film subscription of their own while boys always like jokey presents, like Racing nuns (champagnesupernova)
  • For girls? If you have the time and energy, it might be nice to do a "hamper" of stuff - Eg: pamper pack with bubble bath, lipgloss, hair stuff, nail varnish etc OR girls' night in pack with popping corn, hot chocolate, marshmallows, DVD or rental voucher (janeite)
  • For animal lovers you can organise for them to be a zookeeper for a day. Not cheap, and minimum age usually 14, but at least it's different! (MP4)

Top Tip

If you're buying for your lovely adult friends, buy them the same thing each. That way you can dispose of them all with one click of a button. Rather like being President Bush. (Motherinferior)

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Husbands/partners

  • I was going for personalised mousemat with a picture of the children on it, but he uses a laptop, so I'm getting photo cufflinks– it's a nice way of reminding him of them when he's at work. (Coffeemonster)
  • A boxset of DVDs are usually well received, we never saw the Sopranos but it's the kind of thing my husband would love. (twixfits). I buy a series or two of Seinfeld every Christmas, perfect for when you only have half an hour to relax before bed and need a laugh. (Biza)
  • My husband loves cookery programmes, so I am going to try and make him a windowsill herb garden. (sockmonkey)
  • Bottles of good vodka, scotch or vino always go down well - just buy when they are on special offer in the supermarket then try not to drink them yourself! (sparkletastic)
  • Even non sporty types will like Beating the odds or for a fun jokey present, ask him to grow a new wife! (cod)

Top Tip

For tricky partners, friends, godfathers or grandmas try a magazine subscription. If you're really feeling idle you can sort half your list this way! (Giggi)

You

  • I usually get some toiletry/cosmetics things. I have let people know the brands I like. I'd rather get these sorts of things as I can use them up and not have another object cluttering up my attic. (pruni)
  • I would love some GHD hair straighteners. (nbg)
  • I want a decent alarm clock that I can plug my iPod into. I detest waking up to cheesy pop/dance and people that are too chirpy in the morning. (personalclown)
  • I use Silver by Mail for silver jewellery presents (and for me too). (tinygang)
  • Chocolates are an ever popular failsafe option whether from Chocolate Trading Company, Hotel Chocolat, The Chocolate Society, Melt or Rococo.
  • I am looking forward to getting some Montezuma chocolates online. The husband has been informed. (WhenSantaWentQuietlyMad)
  • A voucher for Brora, Figleaves (or real life lingerie store) or SpaceNK – anywhere luxy I wouldn't buy from ordinarily. Plus a "voucher" for an afternoon without kids to go for a massage/pedicure etc. (NoNo)
  • If you've got anyone with money to burn on you, then an Iphone is a truly wonderful thing - an i-pod, email, phone and camera all a simple caress away and it's so beautiful you'll find yourself wanting to stroke it on the hour. (JustineMumsnet)
  • Lessons for something like dry slope skiing, anything to try something different and be able to get out the house and not "be a mummy" for a while! (lizzylou)

Top Tip

If all else fails, do it yourself: "I'll buy myself a present. I have more taste than him" (Cod)

Grandparents

  • A voucher offering x hours of your time, to do something they hate (ironing, cleaning the windows, cooking a special meal, etc.). I'd love someone to offer me TIME especially if they can do a bit of DIY... hint, hint! (cat64)
  • Tea at the Ritz vouchers have been a hit the couple of times we've got them for family and friends. (Roobie)
  • We buy vouchers! They can buy what the hell they want then! If not, I find hampers from M&S and the like go down well. (JARM) We make up our own, MUCH cheaper and nicer than buying the pre-made ones. Shove in a few homemade biccies or jams if you are that way inclined." (LittleLapin)
  • A memory-book of photos of your children, beautifully bound with leather or linen covers (tuttitfrutti)
  • For parents who have everything, buy them something they wouldn't get themselves, vouchers for local theatre or National Trust membership (chocolateshoes)
  • I got the children to do mugs, plates and bowls in the pottery shop. It was a day out and the staff helped them paint their hands and feet so they could do "feet plates" for granny, A big hit. (chalkie) An alternative on this theme is to frame a piece of your child's artwork for relatives' Christmas presents! (yackertyyack) Or use your own photos to make personalised calendars/mugs etc

Top Tip

Always wrap up a tin of family size posh biscuits and a bottle of wine in a bottle bag for emergency gifts. It covers most people and is easy to dispose of if not needed. (lemontart)

Happy (online) shopping!
MNHQ

Last updated: over 1 year ago