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
One time gifts
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 princess puppets - 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 Luxury Townhouse - 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 Seven Seater Van for Christmas, so I went ahead and added that on to what I'd already gotten her.
An EzyRoller Ride On - 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.
An instant camera - 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.
Diving toys - 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 set of six translucent sharks. They are light color and tricky to find in the pool (but not impossible).
BrickStix - Both of my girls love Lego and asked for these cool re-usable stickers to add much fun to the Lego they already have. They make a great gift for the stocking.
Mix & Makeup Lip Shimmer 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 popsicle-shaped containers, and then have a slightly sticky lip gloss to wear forever. It has mixed reviews on Amazon, but 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. I also 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. Additionally, on her list this year are the Lego Friends Panda Jungle and the Jungle Rescue Base. 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 last year, 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.
Plush craft pillow - 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.
A cute wallet - 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 over 35 different designs in all different colors, so there's definitely something for every kid.
A stainless steel water bottle - 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 18 ounces which is a good amount for a long day out but not too heavy.
Fun rain boots - 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.
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 birdie on top is a cute bonus.
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.
Really nice slippers - I love fleece-lined slippers and wear them from October to April every year. I'm almost never without my slippers. If your girl has kid-sized feet, these are really nice ones. If she has bigger feet, go for the Snoozies brand which is my #1 favorite.
Rainbow Dash hoodie - 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'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 everything, 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 an Anker bluetooth speaker, and it works like magic. We use ours in the car to play audiobooks, Sparkle stories, and music from my phone, but little girls would love to use it in their bedrooms or the backyard or anywhere! Anker speakers have awesome, crisp, clear, loud sound that you can hear anywhere. If you girl isn't a pink girl, this one comes in silver, gold, and black, too.
Gumball machine and of course gumballs to fill it - These are just plain fun. Joe has an old jelly bean machine that my girls love even though some of the parts are missing. I'm thinking about getting them this one to replace it.
A new pretty bike - 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) 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!
An iPod Touch - Both of my kids have and LOVE old iPhones that their dad and I have outgrown. They listen to music, play games, and surf the internet on their phones which are effectively iPod Touches at this point because they have no cellular service or data plan. If they didn't have these, I would be getting them iPod Touches as their big gift because I think they are great for kids - as long as there are limits to screen time and they abide by those limits.
Minecraft - Both of my girls are gaga over Minecraft. You can get it for virtually every major video game system (hence the link), 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.
Movies - Little girls love to watch movies, and mine is no exception. Finding a DVD in her stocking would delight her. Here are a few of her current favorites:
- 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 musicfeatures 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 are spin art and sun art. This particular 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. Fair warning: you'll need to get refills for it. 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 bit 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 our princess castle, but half of the pieces were lost (we've had it for at least 6 years, since Grace was little), so I bought her a new one this year for Christmas. I think it's my favorite Play-doh set ever. She also asked for the Rapunzel 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.)
Fashion Plates - 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.
Pretend & Play Cash Register - 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.
A canopy for her bed - 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 Junior, Sleeping Queens, and Kitten Caboodle are Allie's favorite games right now, and I highly recommend both. She also really likes Spot It, Headbanz, 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. There's also a Despicable Me version that I think my girls would prefer. Electronic Guess Who is a big hit in our house (it's not the same as the traditional version, much sturdier and better) and so is Gobblet Gobblers Tic Tac Toe. Grace asked her grandparents for Despicable Me 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.
Perplexus - Depending on your girl's dexterity, you may want the Rookie version (which I have linked) or the 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 kit 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 - 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.
Cooking set - 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 in the Kitchen course from Katie Kimball (which we also bought last year and LOVED).
An American Girl doll - 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.
A real jewelry box - 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.
Photo blanket - Collage.com sent us two of their amazing blankets for review, and I am 100% sold on them. Grace ordered a 60"x80" Sherpa blanket which has a wool-like fuzzy side and a smooth fleece side with the photos printed on. Allie ordered a 90"x90" blanket that was soft fleece on both sides with the photos printed on one side. I cannot gush enough about these blankets. They both have put their blankets on their beds instead of their old comforters, and they are plenty warm but not sweaty and perfect for chilly fall and winter nights. I lay down with Allie every night (and usually fall asleep), and I am totally jealous of her big, soft blanket. The pictures look great, lots of vibrant colors and details, and it is so nice to sleep under. I want one for my own bed! I've asked Joe to get me one for Christmas. I promise that your tween girl will be over the moon for one of these.
You are my sunshine necklace - I have sung You Are My Sunshine to my sweet girls nearly every night of their entire lives, so as you might imagine, it is a very special saying to us. I also greet them every morning by saying, "Good morning Sunshine," even when they're grumpy and looking miserable. It's just our thing. So I love this necklace with its cute little charms (one's a birthstone), but what I love most about it is that the "You are my sunshine" is on the back, so no one has to know that it's a sweet sentiment from mother to daughter. Everyone can just think that it's a cute sun, unless she chooses to share the meaning behind it.
Unique nail polish in rose gold, holographic, or multicolor - What I love about this brand is that it is all vegan and cruelty-free. Grace loves nail polish, and metallic nails are on trend this year. 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.
Gorgeous 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) - You may be thinking that this gift is a bit young for your tween, but hold on a minute. It's 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 older daughter's #2 requested gift last year, right after her Kindle. She's almost five feet tall, so I went with the hammock chair for her even though the Hugglepod was on her Christmas list.
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.
A nice bean bag chair - 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 this brand 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.
I'm really into the subscription boxes this year, partly because we do a 100% debt-free Christmas and it will allow me to spread out the cost via monthly payments over the next 3-6 months. I'm looking into these:
Kiwi Crate - I have to be honest and admit that I was underwhelmed when I opened the Kiwi Crate pinball box. It was full of plastic pieces and I thought, "Where's the creativity and thought in that?" Boy was I wrong. I asked Allie if she wanted to help me on a project, and she did. By the time we got to step three in the enclosed instructions, she was ELATED. She made the entire thing with just a little bit of instruction reading help from me, and she has not stopped playing with it four hours later. She has made and remade and remade her obstacles. She tries all kinds of configurations of spinny bits and rubber bands and bumpers. She is on at least her fifteenth iteration of the pinball game, and I don't see an end in sight. I'm so beyond thrilled with this box and can't wait to get the next one.
Both of my girls are getting a Munchpak Mini subscription this year. Munchpak is a weekly, biweekly, or monthly subscription box where you get a mix of savory and sweet snacks from around the world. The Mini contains 5 snack-sized items, and I opted for the monthly option. Learn More about Munchpak
Little Sous is the perfect subscription box for this age group because it teaches a real life skill (cooking) using real, kid-sized tools and detailed but simple instructions. Another thing I love about Little Sous is that it provides an experience with mom or dad; this isn't something your child will do on her own. I love that it will lead to making happy memories together.
We Craft Box - I said above that what I like about Orange Art Box is that it is open ended, and that is true. But there is also something really nice about having a craft project with instructions, something that you can recreate to learn certain skills and feel a sense of accomplishment without having to come up with all the ideas yourself. There is tremendous value in both together - process art (Orange Art Box above) and product art (We Craft Box). I am going to do both with Allie this year.