I love Christmas shopping. I think it's super fun to think about what my girls want and will enjoy and then set out to find the best gifts at the best price. I do virtually all of my shopping online, so there's the added thrill of the delivery man coming and leaving me presents for weeks before Christmas. It's a little tricky in that Allie still believes in Santa and is totally confused by all the packages that I won't let her open, but we roll with that.
Allie is 8, and will be 9 the week of Christmas, so she is really on the top end of this gift guide. I started it three years ago, when she was 5 turning 6, and I have added on to it as the years have gone by. I think that girls a little younger would like a lot of the unique gifts on the list as well as girls a little older. Honestly, I did copy a few things straight over from my gift guide for tween and teen girls, too, because there are some things that I know both of my girls would love to have.
I made this list primarily from Allie's lengthy Christmas list, but she also helped me to explore some websites and come up with a few things that she might want but didn't ask for. So everything here has been specifically added by my own little girlie.
Note: We are not crazy, and Allie is not getting everything on this list.
Also, anything from the non-tech gifts list would be great for this age.
Thinking about doing Elf on the Shelf for your girl? Here's a great way to introduce your elf plus 26 unique ideas for it to do!
The Best Christmas Gifts for Girls Ages 6-8
Back in the fall, a PR rep sent me a refill pack of bands for a loom similar to this one, but no actual loom which totally confused me. Allie didn't understand what to do with them either. So we went on to Amazon and found a real, metal loom that she could use to make DIY pot holders, and she was thrilled. I didn't want to buy a plastic one because we've had at least three of those over the course of my little family's existence, and they always get broken in about three days. So anyway, we bought this metal one, and it works perfectly and is very sturdy and is not going to get broken. Allie loves it and carefully weaves her bands with the little hook accessory (also sturdy metal) and I've already had to buy more replacement bands. And also, we have little square pot holders everywhere. There are worse things.
Pretend Puppet Theater (hanging door version) and farm animal puppet set – I seriously considered buying this Melissa & Doug set as Allie's big Christmas present last year, but ultimately decided on the next thing instead. She loves to put on puppet shows when we go to the library (where there is a large freestanding puppet theater), and she could go on and on for a long time. I was actually bummed that I didn't have enough money for both the next thing and this, but that's the way it goes. I can always get this next year if she's still into puppets.
Calico Critters Country Home – Allie did not specifically ask for this, but she loves the 2 families of Calico Critters that she bought with her own money over the summer (the sandy cat family and twins and deer family). Most of the pieces and dolls for the girls' beloved Loving Family dollhouse we have had for 8+ years have all been lost. So I got Allie a big Calico Critters house set that comes with some furniture, and I got her a couple of extra furniture sets (the living room and sandbox/swimming pool) as well as a bunch of new families (the chocolate lab family and triplets, the bunny family, twins, and grandparents, and the chipmunk family) for Christmas this year. I know it's the perfect gift for this year, and she is going to be delighted with it. She did ask for the Calico Critters Family Van for Christmas, so I went ahead and added that on to what I'd already gotten her.
Friends, this is amazing, and if we had a flat place for Allie to ride on it, she would absolutely be getting this fun gift for Christmas this year. I still might get it for her for her birthday in fact and move the car out of the garage and let her ride it in there. This all comes from something they used to have at Hersheypark which Allie called the "mini bumper cars." They were these exact ride on toys, where you move the handlebars back and forth to make the car go. She loved them and asked to ride them several times every single trip to HP. Unfortunately, as capitalism does, the park got rid of them and put in pay to play Skeeball this year. Allie was devastated and cries about it every time we walk past the new Skeeball area. The weight limit is 150 pounds which means Allie will be able to ride this little car for many years to come.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - 100 Inspiring Young Change Makers – My teen has loved the Rebel Girls series since the first one came out. Each of the books features 100 women and girls who have changed the world. There is a one page biography of each person, along with a full-page painting of her. The biographies are written in a way that makes them accessible to young children but also interesting to older girls. I highly recommend any book in the series, but the newest one (100 Inspiring Young Change Makers) is Grace's favorite because it's written by and features women between the ages of 11 and 30.
These are all the rage this year, and I bought one for my teenage girl (although I know my young lady would love it too). It's a splurge, but I know she'll love using it on Christmas morning. They are basically new versions of the Polaroid camera that we remember from the 80s and 90s except with much better picture quality.
I got Allie this set of diving toys in May, and she played with them all summer long. If your girl spends any time at all in a pool, you need to get her this set of toys. Allie's favorite part is the translucent sharks. They are light color and tricky to find in the pool (but not impossible).
Create Your Own Lip Balm Kit – I didn't originally intend to get this for Allie, but she saw it on YouTube (the bane of my shopping life) and said it was the coolest thing ever. It is a kit where you mix up your own colors of lip gloss from scratch, pack them in to little containers, and then have a slightly sticky lip gloss to wear forever. It has great reviews on Amazon, so I think I'm going to get it for her just for the fun factor of making her own stuff.
Lego - These days, Allie asks for Lego and only Lego for Christmas. She loves Harry Potter and has every Harry Potter Lego set made in the last five years sitting built on our piano. (They are normally for ages 9 and up, so probably not appropriate for this age unless you're doing it with them.) I got her the new set of Harry Potter mini figures. She will be excited for those because Lego for her is just another means of playing with dolls. If your kids do more free play, do yourself a favor and get a Lay N Go activity mat. We have three of them, and they have saved my sanity many times over the years. You just shovel the Lego back onto the mat, pick it up, pull the drawstring, and everything is cleaned up. Easy peasy.
Build & Bloom Gear Kit – Along the same lines of Lego are these flowers made up of gears. Girls can build them in any way they want, and then turn the gears to make the flowers spin. They are pretty big and will require a nice, flat open space to play, but Allie asked for them this year. I thought they were pretty neat, too.
Mystery Hatchimal – I know these were the gift years ago, but they are still very popular, and both of my girls asked for one for Christmas this year. Only one of them is getting one (which I'm a little worried about), but I'm hoping for the best. Also, there are twin Hatchimals, but from what I've read, they are not as nice as the singletons and don't interact as much.
Both of my girls like these cute little pillow craft kits. You get a little pillow, a ton of tiny fabric squares, and a punch tool. To make the pillow, you punch a square into a little hole in the pillow. It's very simple but takes a long time because there are so many. I think Grace completed hers in a couple of days, and Allie took closer to a week or maybe two because she only worked on her sporadically.
Allie is getting to an age where she wants to have her money close at hand (because she likes to spend it!). This particular brand has 5 different designs in all different colors, so there's something for every kid.
This may not be the most exciting gift, but it is definitely something your girl will use day in and day out for a long time. I have a thing about plastic water bottles. I think they make the water taste bad, even the expensive ones, so I always go with stainless. I have a 40 ounce bottle personally, but that's a little much for my girls to carry. Theirs are 14 ounces which is a good amount for a long day out but not too heavy. There are 40 (40!) different designs to choose from.
My girls love rain boots. I don't know why, but they are kind of obsessed. I like to send them when the girls go camping with their Girl Scout troop because they make things so much easier. They're not warm, so no good for the snow, but they are super fun for the other 3 seasons of the year. There are 40 different designs for these too.
A cute umbrella – Do all kids love umbrellas? Both of mine do. Allie especially enjoys putting hers up in the car and in the house. If you walk anywhere at all, I think a nice kids' umbrella is a necessity. Adult sizes are too unwieldy for little hands, but a lot of kids' umbrellas are too small to do any good. This one is a nice size, and the little flower on top is a cute bonus. There are 21 different designs to choose from.
Bearpaw boots – My 12-year-old and I both have Bearpaw boots for the winter, and we both LOVE them. She has natural tan, and I have black and dark red. They're our go-to shoes now, for every occasion from church to our afternoon walks. They are warm but not sweaty being made of natural wool inside, and they are very durable. The pair she had last year still look brand new despite being worn almost every day of the winter. Allie didn't get these this year; she wanted ones with a fringe. But she has already found that they are not as warm and comfy as Grace's and mine.
This is my favorite item of clothing that either of my kids has ever owned. Allie has had this hoodie (in different sizes) for about 4 years, and she LOVES it. She wears it all the time, even at times she should be wearing a heavier coat. I think the Easter bunny gave her the first one, and I bought it because I thought it was super cute. If your girl is even a little bit into rainbows or My Little Ponies, you can't go wrong with this. There are also versions for Pinky Pie and Twilight Sparkle if you girl isn't into rainbows.
A giant swing – We got our girls one of these a few Christmases ago, and they love it. They still play with it every time they're outside, and they can swing with each other or with their friends. It has a 660 pound weight limit and will last forever. It's a great addition to our swing set. Love, love, love this.
A slackline kit – We're always on the lookout for what's new and exciting at my house, and this kit is it this year. My girls love to play on the slackline at the playground, and they would love to have one at home - if we had two adjacent trees that would work, which we don't. Basically, this is a wide tightrope that you hook up between two sturdy trees. It comes with an arm line for balance, too. Your kids can practice walking back and forth on it and balancing and jumping and doing all kinds of tricks. I think it would be super cool to have and may try to get Joe to rig up a post in the yard that would be as good as a tree.
A trampoline – Okay, so this is not new and exciting but rather an old standard. We have had a trampoline for years, and our kids love jumping on it. My in-laws and our pediatrician hate it and say that it's dangerous, but I think it's awesome for physical fitness and stamina. Plus it's just plain fun. I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be light enough to jump with the girls on it.
A badminton/volleyball set – This set is super cool, and if I didn't already have the girls' Christmas gifts already ordered, I would be buying it for them this year. I love badminton and think it would be really fun to teach the girls, plus girls this age like to swing racquets at everyhing, am I right? The set is great because it comes with the net, racquets, birdies, boundary lines, the works. It has great reviews, too.
Bluetooth speaker – I have a clip-on bluetooth speaker and love it, too. Your girl can use it in her bedroom, the backyard, or anywhere to play audiobooks, podcasts, and music from her phone. It can clip on to her backpack, purse, or keys, so it's super convenient and hard to lose. These speakers have awesome, crisp, clear, loud sound that you can hear anywhere. If she isn't a pink girl, this one comes in thirteen different colors.
If your girl doesn't already have a bike, you should definitely consider one this year. Bikes are great exercise and fun, especially if you have a flat place to learn to ride. Allie got her bike at Walmart (prices are better than Amazon), and she rode her brand new bike the whole way through the store to get to the checkout. Bikes are always a hit. Don't forget the bike helmet to go along with it, but I recommend that you take your girlie to the store to fit her for a helmet after Christmas. They are much more effective when they fit properly.
Real walkie talkies – Grace got real walkie talkies (not the pretend kid kind which don't work at all) for Christmas when she was 7 or 8, and they are still in use. The nice thing about real ones, intended for camping or hunting, is that they work when one kid is outside and the other is inside or when one is in the front yard and the other in the backyard. We even tested them when one kid was in the car driving away and the other was in the house. They worked up to a mile from home!
Minecraft – Both of my girls are gaga over Minecraft. You can get it for virtually every major video game system (I linked the Nintendo Switch one but you can get it for Mac, Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, and everything else you can think of), but my girls both play on the mobile version that we have on our iPad and iPhones. I think it's great for problem solving and analytical thinking, and I allow them to play pretty much every day.
- Moana - This is without question my favorite Disney movie ever. No prince! The parents don't die! The girl saves the day! People listen to her! She's strong and powerful! Yes, there is a guy who helps her and teaches her some stuff, but it's ultimately about her, her bravery, and her problem solving. When the guy leaves her stranded, she comes through to save her people.
- Trolls - Spring for the party edition if you get this; it has all kinds of special music features which my girls love. There is lots of singing and dancing in this movie, too, which makes it fun. It is also a girl power kind of story where the princess saves her friends from being eaten by the Bergen. She has the help of a boy troll who becomes her romantic interest at the end of the movie, but that doesn't detract from the overall story which is about being happy with yourself and your life. It's a good one.
- Sing - This is a cute movie about a singing contest and an accidental deception and perseverance. We all liked it and thought it was cute with a good message in the end. It has great music.
- Zootopia - This is another one with a very strong female main character who believes she can do anything and then does it. She also has the help of a guy, but they don't fall in love or anything, and together, they save the entire city. It's an awesome story. I love it. Also, the parents don't die.
- Brave - Another girl power story where the parents don't die and the girl saves the day. Actually, first she makes a huge mess out of everything, but she redeems herself and her family in the end. She also doesn't get married, which is a big part of the storyline because her parents are trying to choose a husband for her, and she's not having any of that nonsense. Love this story. Be warned, though, there are some scary parts especially if your girl is very sensitive.
Craft kits - Allie loves crafts, and she loves headbands, so I know this make your own headbands kit would be a huge hit with her, as would this make your own bracelet kit. We've had a few of these window cling kits, and they have all been beloved. In fact, the window stickers are still on the windows in her bedroom! Sand art is always popular, as is sun art. This spin art set has no batteries; it's all hand powered which I really like. We bought it in 2015, and it's still going strong. We haven't had any luck mixing our own paints for spin art. The consistency is always off. Allie is interested in learning to sew, so I thought this animal set would be really fun for her. Jewelry and Shrinky Dinks are a big hit for her, too. Craft kits are like gold around here.
Play-doh - Even though I thought she was a little old for it, Allie asked for Play-doh again this Christmas. She still loves it as much as ever and plays with it at least once a week. The thing she plays with the most is the My Little Pony kit. I think it's my favorite Play-doh set ever. She also asked for the ice cream party set which I think I sent on to her grandparents. She showed me how amazing it was on YouTube. (Have I ever mentioned that I hate when she watches YouTube? It's like one giant product advertisement.)
I had fashion plates when I was a little girl, and I got them for Allie last Christmas. She loves them. Basically, there three sets of plates that make up whole girls. You choose a head, a body, and legs and that makes up an outfit. Then you put down a piece of paper and rub a crayon over it to show your pretty design. Then you color it. These are a fun, low tech activity for quiet days. I got Allie this particular set because it comes with a carrying case that has spots for everything. It's very easy for her to keep them organized.
Allie got this last year for Christmas from her grandparents (at my suggestion), and it has been a huge hit ever since. She plays with it often and whenever she has a friend over, they always fight over who gets to be the cashier and who has to be the customer. The cash register counts up the money you put in which helps with coin recognition and counting skills. I love this, and so does Allie, and so do her friends.
My girls have bunk beds, and they will have for as long as they live in our home. (We have a 3-bedroom house, but I need a room for my home office.) So unfortunately, Allie will never be getting a fancy bed canopy, despite the fact that she asks for one for Christmas every single year.
Games - We are huge game players. SKIP-BO and Sleeping Queens are Allie's favorite games right now, and I highly recommend both. She also really likes Spot It, Hedbanz, and Pass the Pigs. We play Rat-A-Tat Cat and Zeus on the Loose a lot. Emoji UNO would be a great choice for this age group as emojis are big right now. Guess Who is a big hit in our house and so is Gobblet Gobblers Tic Tac Toe. Grace asked her grandparents for Labyrinth this year for Christmas, and I'm hoping they get it for her because I think both girls will love it. I have my eye on Bounce Off because the first review on Amazon says it's like beer pong for kids, and that was one of my favorite hobbies in college. Learning games like Money Bags and Math Dice, Jr. are great for this age, too.
Depending on your girl's dexterity, you may want the Rookie version (which I have linked) or the original grown up version. Either way, these are fun little balls that your girl (and you!) will come back to over and over. They are mazes inside, and you have to guide a tiny ball through the path to get to the end. Allie has a pretty simple one, and she can get through it to the end about half of the time. I'm not replacing it just yet, but may get her a more advanced one next year.
Marble Run – Allie has been asking for a marble run set all year long. Basically, it is a series of tubes, drops, and ramps that you put together in whatever configuration you want. It's like a giant puzzle except there is no right way to build it. After you build it, you drop a marble in the top and let it roll down through the channels. They are pretty neat.
A digging kit – Allie has loved these for as long as I can remember. In fact, I have purchased this exact one four times. She doesn't remember from one year to the next, and she gets so excited to dig out the gems. It's basically a bunch of polished gems mixed into some kind of plaster-type material and hardened. You dig out the plaster and have the gems.
Books - Allie is still very much into picture books, so I would recommend anything from my list of 101 Picture Books to Read Before You Grow Up. If you wanted a read aloud to give your girl, you could go for something from my list of 101 Chapter Books to Read Before You Grow Up, and I have a list of our very favorite audio books at 30 Best Audio Books for Kids and Families. Check out 101 Best Christmas Books for suggestions, too.
Insect Lore Butterfly Kit – This is the original raise your own butterflies kit. You get the kit, and then you get the larvae, and you watch them eat the stuff they're sent with, make chrysalises, and then turn into butterflies. I recommend actually ordering them in the summer so you can release them outside, but you can do it in the winter and just keep them in their net habitat for their whole life. It's an awesome experience that we've done several years in a row. We've also done the ladybug kid which is almost as cool.
Stuffed animals - I know most of us have a love hate relationship with stuffed animals, but I do like the Beanie Boos. I think they're cute, and Allie is gaga over them. We are definitely NOT getting the vicious looking ones that are around this year. There's also a huge and really cute Pusheen unicorn that she has asked for, but I got it for her sister already and don't plan on getting it for her.
Math Shark is a really neat math game. It allows you to practice facts even though you're really playing. My older daughter who hates math, was not impressed by the Math Shark, but my younger daughter plays it all the time. In fact, when our first one died, I had to buy a new one to replace it because my younger daughter was so disappointed. It covers everything from basic single digit addition and subtraction to multiplying and dividing fractions and percents.
I got this cooking set from Curious Chef for Allie last year, and she loved it. She's used it off and on all year long, and it never leaves the kitchen. I highly recommend this one, especially if you pair it with the Kids Cook Real Food course from Katie Kimball (which we also bought last year and LOVED).
My girls have been really into American Girl dolls for years, and their obsession does not appear to be letting up any time soon. I bought my older daughter's real American Girl doll when she was 7, and I've always told Allie that she could get one when she turned 7, too. This year, she is getting one. A much cheaper alternative is a Wellie Wishers doll which is also made by American Girl but is half the price of the bigger dolls. Allie already has one of them and loves it, but I think the big doll is going to be a huge hit this year.
Our girls are starting to collect more jewelry, and they need a place to store it and keep it organized. I think this box is pretty and functional and would be a great starter piece that would hold lots of items for years to come.
Unique nail polish in rose gold or multicolor - What I love about this brand is that it is all vegan and cruelty-free. Allie loves nail polish. She loves to paint her nails, and the more unique, the better. ILNP's polishes are so cool and interesting, and they make great stocking stuffers by themselves or under the tree gifts in packages.
Glitter washi tape – Grace covers everything in washi or duct tape. I prefer the washi because it is easier to get off after she changes her mind. This particular package is all silver and gold patterns, which makes it seem really fancy and sophisticated for our older girls. If you're looking for a set with more rolls of tape, take a look at these which we have. They're great, just not as fancy as the metallic ones
Hugglepod (for smaller bodies) or hammock chair (for larger bodies) – This is a single person hanging seat. That means that no little sibling can climb in and bug her while she's reading or drawing or listening to music, unlike when she's lying in her bed or sitting on the couch. This was my daughter's #2 requested gift last year, right after her Kindle.
Also, after my older daughter received her hammock chair, my younger daughter became very jealous and cried every time she walked into their shared bedroom for weeks. We ended up putting up a second hammock chair in our living room (not specifically for her, but mostly just to keep the peace and give her a place to hang out away from her sister), and she sits in it daily.
Razor scooter – Grace rides her Razor scooter almost every single day. She loves to zip by Allie and I as we do our daily walk. She recently got a concussion from falling off her scooter with no helmet though, so if you go this route, make sure to take her to a store, fit her for an appropriately sized bike helmet, and make sure she wears it.
These chairs are pricey, but they are amazing. My kids have had them for about a year, they sit on them every day, and they are not the least bit flattened. Sometimes, Grace lines them up side by side and sleeps on them. (Allie is still little enough to curl up on just one to sleep.) When we were bean bag chair shopping, we decided to go with the Amazon Basics based on the recommendation of a friend, and we bought them assuming the girls would be able to use them for many years and eventually take them off to college some day. That's still the plan.
Snipe Hunt –Grace was excited about this little toy/game. It comes with two snipes, and the object of the game is to find them. So if two people are playing, they each hide one snipe in secret, and then the other person tries to find it. If the finding takes too long, the snipes' eyes start to blink, and if it takes even longer, they start to chirp. Grace loves to hide things for her sister to find, and she loves to find things that Allie has hidden, so this is perfect for her.