When I was pregnant the first time, I was certain I was going to raise my daughter in a gender-neutral way.
There would be no pink, no purple. No princesses.
There would be baby dolls and a dollhouse, but no Barbies. There would be stuffed animals and My Little Ponies, but also cars and trains and guns and pirates.
I knew that gender is a cultural phenomena, that the princess mentality is learned, and that girls absent Barbies and princesses and lives swathed in pink could grow up to be strong, confident, independent women.
I have two daughters now, and the oldest is 6 (and a half!). I was so wrong in so many ways.
- Some girls are born princesses. Grace never saw or heard the p-word before she was 2, but as soon as she heard it, she knew it described her.
- Some girls love pink and purple. Grace's infant bedding was blue and white. Her toddler bedding was bright colors - red, yellow, blue, and green. And as soon as she could talk, she said, My love pink and purple.
- Some girls are frilly. Take Fancy Nancy, for example. They just have a penchant for lace and ruffles and dresses and fashion. And makeup, as I have discovered.
- You may not allow Barbies or princesses to be purchased or enter your home, but they will enter her life. And she may grab onto them with both hands and fall madly in love.
- If you buy a girly girl trains, she will mother them. I gave up on my gender neutrality the day Grace wrapped her (very expensive) Thomas the Train engines in washcloths and rocked them to sleep. She sang to them. She patted their backs and cooed.
Pink and purple and princess and Barbies reign supreme, and there's nothing I can do about it.
I will note, for the record, that Allie is a wee bit less girly than Grace. Allie likes to play pirates and fight, and she prefers her Prince Eric doll to any of the girl dolls.
But this is a minor distinction. She's still very girly.
The point of this post was to share gift suggestions for girly girls.
If you have Amazon Prime, you can order gifts right up until midnight on Saturday, December 21 and get them shipped free before Christmas. See below the gift list for details.
Christmas Gift Suggestions for Girly Girls
- New pajamas, preferably a a nightgown with chiffon (This is the one Grace wanted, but it didn't come in her size, so we ended up at the Disney Store instead.) - Our family tradition is that the girls get two presents to open on Christmas Eve. They are gifts from Joe and I; one always contains new jammies.They wear those new pajamas to bed, and all of our Christmas morning pictures feature their cute new pajamas. Both of my girls prefer nightgowns that are shiny or silky or have many ruffles and chiffon. It's just a given.
- Girly clothing and accessories - My girls are getting sparkly pink cowgirl boots, pink rain boots, and silver sparkly flats (in little girl sizes and big girl sizes) this year. You can't go wrong with sparkles, ruffles, and flowers at my house.
- Along the same lines, you can't go wrong with dress-up clothes. Allie is getting a closet full of Disney Princess Dress-Up Dresses this year (thanks to a $10 per dress sale at Walmart on Thanksgiving Day), Red Riding Hood Cape, and a unicorn kit. (Some of those are for her birthday the week after Christmas.)
- Apple iPad - A lot of people recommended last year that I buy Grace a LeapPad or some such electronic tablet for kids, but I don't understand. Why spend a few hundred dollars on a kids tablet and games to go with it when you can spend a comparable amount on a real iPad? Both Grace and Allie both love our iPad. They
argue over itplay with it all the time. We have a variety of apps ranging from educational to dress-up to music to fun and games and a pink OtterBox case. The iPad is our very best toy/game/device ever.
- A real digital camera - I got Grace a kids' camera once, and it was terrible. The batteries died every hour, the camera took horrible, dark, blurry pictures, the internal memory would allow her to take only 8 pictures at a time, and I ended up throwing it out because it frustrated Grace and I so much. She's still very into taking pictures, and the ones she takes with my camera are decent. I got her a Kodak EasyShare Camera three years ago, and she's taken thousands of pictures with it. Allie broke the battery door, which is now taped on, but it's stood up to a lot of kid-abuse.
- Rainbow Loom - If this craze hasn't already hit your home, succumb to the pressure! There's a YouTube channel where the creators of the Rainbow Loom post videos of their newest designs. We only order from the original Rainbow Loom website to make sure we're not getting counterfeit products.
- A fabulous doll house - We have had the Loving Family Grand Doll house at for at least three years, and we picked up different furniture and people for gifts. Grace still loves that doll house (and it's in her bedroom), but it isn't big enough for Barbies. This past summer, a friend found us a magnificent wooden dollhouse at a yard sale, too. The new one is big enough for Grace's Barbie dolls, so it lives in the living room.
- A puppet theater - We don't have a suitable doorway for this, but Grace would love to have it. She plays with the puppet theater at our MOPS group hour after hour.
- My Learning Tower - This isn't really a toy; it's so much better. We received Grace's Learning Tower for a review in 2009. We have always loved it, from the very first day. Three years later, Grace and Allie both climb up into it almost every day. Grace helps cook and do dishes; Allie beats things with kitchen tools. We all hang out in the kitchen, and that time together is priceless. (Read my full Learning Tower review from 2009)
- A Fashion Design Kit - Grace tells people lately that she likes to design clothes and is going to be a fashion designer when she grows up. My Style Studio: Design & Trace Your Own Fashions& Style Studio Extra Stuffis great for older girls, or Melissa & Doug Fashion Plates is better for younger girls. Grace has both, but I wish I had waited on the My Style Studio; she's a little too young for it.
- Play-Doh Prettiest Princess Castle - This is one of those toys that has really stood the test of time. Both of my girls have played with it most days for over a year. They drag it out as soon at every opportunity - or leave it sitting out all the time. Allie likes it even more than Grace does, but they both enjoy it.
- Pillow Pets Dream Lites - My mom got my girls Pillow Pets for every Christmas since Pillow Pets came out. First it was the originals, then the minis, then the Dream Lites last year. This year, I really wanted to let it go, but I couldn't. I got the new Jumbo Glow Lites at Walmart this year. I couldn't help myself. I recommend getting them at a store in-person because it seems like they're sending small ones but charging for Jumbo ones a lot online.
- Interactive animals - Earlier this year, I got a free iPad app that was a story book about some cute puppies. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a serious obsession with Jingle and Bell, a set of super expensive interactive stuffed animal and book sets. I succumbed. Actually, I got Grace Bell and I got Allie a yellow kitty (I think) named Posey. Jingle and Bell talk to each other, in addition to talking to their books, but I thought Allie might rather have the yellow kitty instead of the boy puppy. I've waffled at least six times since, so who knows what I'll keep in the end.
- Littlest Pet Shop pets - Grace still plays with her Littlest Pets at least once or twice a week. I think they're awesome, too.
- A big box of craft supplies - Girly girls love stickers and paint and paper and brushes and markers. But especially stickers. And glitter. Then get more glitter and some double-sided tape. And glitter glue. And glitter crayons. And some glitter paper, if you can find it (look in the scrapbook aisle).
- Jewelry-making supplies - Both of my girls love to string beads or pop beads like Pop-Arty Beads. Remember pop beads? I had tons of them when I was a little girl.
- Or a craft kit like Blingles Glimmer Studio(where you get to make your own glitter stickers) or Glitzi Globes Dome Maker (where you get to make your own glitter snow globes!) I got both of these free from a PR rep but probably would have gotten them anyway as they're at the top of the Amazon Hot Toys Wish List and just plain awesome. Grace was just harassing me about getting her a little Hello Kitty snow globe kit at the store the other day, and I didn't buy it because I knew she was getting this. She's going to be so excited!
- A journal and pink pens - Grace really wants the Password Journal (but isn't getting it because I ran out of budget). She would love it with a pack of pink pens. I love these ones, but they write black ink. Pilot G2 makes awesome pens that write in pink, but they only come in a many colored set.
- Pink sequin Bible - Sometimes, we need an actual Bible for reading. The story of Esther, for example, was not in any of our story Bibles, but we needed it for our Jesse tree devotions. We needed a Bible that was written in language a child could understand; this one is the International Children's Bible (ICB) translation. This particular Bible is made for girly girls; it really is pretty.
- Books! - Girly girls are smart girls! Grace loves Gigi, God's Little Princess, Fancy Nancy (especially her new chapter books and Fanciest Doll in the Universe), Barbie's Fairytale Collection, and the Disney Princess Story Collection. I let her pick some of the books she'd get for Christmas this year, and the last four were all in our bag. There were more, but they're already wrapped, so I can't just go peek at them.
- Stocking stuffers - Color My Bath! (Got them last year and they are amazing! and both girls love them. Needed to replace.), Disney Princess Bubble Bath, some Mini Lalaloopsy dolls, and a couple of Disney Princess Palace Pets Furry Tail Friends.
I know my list leans toward younger girls, and I didn't try to make a comprehensive list. Please feel free to add your suggestions below.
What are your gift ideas?