25 Christmas gift ideas for children and young relatives
Yes, it's that time of the year again. Christmas is upon us and with all the festivities comes great responsibility.
If you're in charge of choosing a gift for a child, you could make this year's December 25 their best yet. Because while us adults are content with another pair of socks or the latest good-for-nothing gadget, kids will spend weeks thinking about what they might have the pleasure of opening on the big day. Christmas and the legend of Santa Claus counts for a great deal as a kid, so you should always look to carry on the good work of old St. Nick.
Still stuck for ideas? You're forgiven. Tastes and interests among the younger generation may have changed a little since your own sleepless nights on Christmas Eve, so we'll give you 25 - yes, 25 - suggestions to get you started.
1. Remote-controlled car
You may remember the remote-controlled car popping up in your own Christmas stocking. Here's an update: they're no longer as bulky as the real thing and now come in all shapes and sizes. So whether you're spending £10 or £100, you can always find a vehicle to match your budget. Just remember the batteries!
2. Cuddly toy
Cuddly toys are great for relatives that always seem to have a new one every time you go round. Be careful, though; just because someone has an old and worn-out bear on their bookshelf, that doesn't mean to say they're still 'into' soft toys so to speak. If you know they are, why not keep it current and buy them a plush toy of their favourite film character? Buy them something they'll cherish for years.
Again, keep it themed and you'll make them the talk of the playground. You might also want to check how old their existing container is, as you don't want to be upsetting any parents.
Yes, you're reading this correctly; socks are great for kids if you make sure they're novelty enough. Pairs that have been designed in the style of Converse trainers, faces of monsters and film characters are ideal stocking fillers.
Move over, dressing gown. Be gone, bed socks. The onesie is bringing comfort to children around the nation. This is a huge market for retailers so you should be able to find one that fits in with their tastes.
Sweets are now perfectly acceptable forms of stocking filler fodder, so don't feel you have to stuff your child's sock with expensive goodies. Find something they like and won't crumble too much when the presents start piling up. If you wish to turn this into a proper present, gumball machines are always a safe bet.
7. Desktop games
If you can't fit a snooker, ice hockey or table tennis table in their stocking, go for the next best thing - the desktop version. Fun, stylish and compact, these games make you feel like you're playing in a mini arcade when you're quite clearly in your own kitchen.
8. Baking kit
You might think a baking kit would only be suitable for a girl, but watch a boy's face light up at the prospect of putting together a tray full or cookies or brownies. Just be sure to monitor how much they eat before their turkey and sprouts.
9. Creative stationery
Drumstick pencils, custom-made mousemats, themed post-its - they all offer a different take on something a child wouldn't usually enjoy. Who knew learning could be so fun!
First task: find out the child's favourite film character, athlete or pop group. Second task: look online to see whether they have a calendar available and buy the best one. Third task: relax - that was easy!
Hint, hint, tidy your room, hint - get a bin that adds something to a child's room and they'll be pleased to use it. In short, this is anything that does a good job of disguising its function. Containers with a basketball hoop above them for long-range throws are a prime example.
12. Board game
With little inspiration to work off, you'll have to be the judge on this one. Perhaps try choosing something the whole family can enjoy after the Christmas dinner. Turn off the TV and let the battle commence.
Children under the age of at least 15 are far too young to have mobile phones, right? Let them tell the time the traditional way with a colourful watch.
14. Alarm clock
If they've got a watch, what about an alarm clock for helping them get up in the morning? Find one with a radio function and they can listen to their favourite tunes while they get ready for school.
15. Savings bank
Long live the piggy bank indeed. While us adults have become reliant on debit cards and chip-and-pin, children are still scraping together their pocket money in makeshift containers. For the boys, give them a safe that wouldn't look out of place at your local bank but only locks with a basic mechanism. As for the girls, find a secure box emblazoned with bright pinks, purples and yellows and you won't go far wrong.
Whatever your child likes to watch in the evening or when they get home from school, give them the chance to play it back whenever they like. You'd be surprised what's available in a box set these days.
17. Action figure/doll
You can surprise yourself with this one. Are Action Man and Barbie still clinging onto the store shelf after all these years, or has something bigger and better stolen the limelight? Visit your local toy store to find out.
An entry-level version of a guitar or drum kit could make a rockstar out of your young relative yet. Perhaps you could subtly ask them what they wouldn't mind taking up, or what their hero in their favourite band plays.
19. Mini skateboard
Much to the delight of stocking fillers around the world, skateboards now come in super-mini sizes as well. Complete with a trainer-esque top for optimum grip, these creations are the 'must-have' piece of street kit and provide a welcome break from the hefty mountain bike.
20. Play tent
Sick and tired of the sofa cushions being used to build a den? Give the little tykes a reason to leave it well alone by providing a ready-made hut. These pop up out of the bag and should give your kids the privacy they crave. Just remember the password!
Providing fun for all the family since what seems like the beginning of time, jigsaws are still worth of a place in the stockings of today. Choose a picture the child will want to complete and watch them put in the hours to get it finished.
Is the latest book in your child's favourite series just about to hit the shelves? Have a good look at what they're reading and ask them what they're into at present. They'll be none the wiser!
Any kid that loves music will find use in a sound system. You don't have to make it a Bose or Bang and Olufsen but you might want something with a treble and bass control. Chances are the neighbours won't appreciate One Direction as much as your child does.
A picture of their idol in glorious A2 will always go down well, even if they've already got one of them on their wall. The more the merrier in this case, as you can never take too many glances at Superman, Batman, Beyonce and co.
25. School bag
A rucksack or satchel can still transform a school uniform to this very day. Whether you're looking for something with their favourite brand, pop group or cartoon character, the web should give you what you want.
And there we have it - 25 suggestions to work off. Buying presents for a child is never the easiest of tasks but you can't beat that smile of approval. Good luck and merry Christmas!