Kids are what make the holidays the extra-special, warm and fuzzy occasion that they are. While we adults see all the merrymaking through jaded eyes, they're just thrilled to be unwrapping boxes with their new favorite things inside! Which is why our favorite part of the holiday season is choosing gifts for the little ones.
Start here for our roundup of presents for babies, toddlers, tweens and teens,
all with budding interests and personality traits of their own. Happy shopping!
Vintage toys are all the rage, they make perfect presents since most of the materials used are natural and the original designs are based on developmental milestones. This Melissa and Doug Deluxe Band 17-piece Set will keep your baby jamming all the way until bedtime ($49.99, toysrus.com)! What child doesn't love to spell their name? With this puzzle, your baby can practice spelling and using letters ($21.99, backtobasicstoys.com). Pretty enough to look like artwork if they happen to be left out in the living room, these nesting toys representing Fire, Water, Earth and Air by Grimm's Spiel and Holz (104.95, childtrek.com) should help unlock babie's imagination as well as teach them about the four elements.
Care for the environment and your baby by dolling them up from head to toe in the cutest organic couture around. Start off with the mommy-friendly design of these adorable organic cotton kimono jumpsuits from Kate Quinn organics ($57.60 for a 2-pack, katequinnorganics.com). Then bundle up your bundle of joy in this cozy jumper by Oscar & Belle ($54, oscarandbelle.com). Finish it all off with these recycled fleece booties ($31.95, happygreenbaby.com) and your baby will be styling and environmentally concious to boot!
Does your toddler seem to be gobbling up information as soon as you can dish it out? Engage their minds with toys to challenge and educate them! To make sure your baby grows up speaking both English and Spanish, stock the library with bi-lingual kids books like this new series from Cheech Marin ($13.50 ea, amazon.com). Strike a pose with this cool, indestructible digital camera (59.99, vtech.com) and make sure your little ones stay a step ahead of the game with a personal laptop from educational toy maker Leapfrog ($44.99, leapfrog.com) which turns any TV into your child's first PC.
Playtime just got a whole lot more action-packed. Keep your rough & tumble toddlers--and all their friends!--stimulated with Hasbro Playskool's Honeybee Hop ($13, amazon.com) and the outdoors-friendly Rocking Seesaw ($70, hearthsong.com). And for kids who want to channel their inner Speed Racer, the Adventure Squad role playing helmet and steering wheel ($27, amazon.com) will do the trick. Ready, set, fun!
This Pixar boxed set will satisfy even the most discriminating of film connoisseur's, featuring a bunch of the award winning animation studios hits, from Toy Story to Ratatouille ($109.99, amazon.com).
Let your young director be in control of his movie choices with this portable DVD player that also has cool Sega games in case the movie gets boring ($ 79.99, amazon.com). Pick up this cool popcorn maker ($199, kotulas.com) to round out the home theater experience!
Stoke the flames of creativity with these gifts that encourage imagination and expression. Start of your little rock star with a brand new Nintendo DS system ($129.99, iplayforme.com) and Guitar Hero ($34.99, amazon.com). Got a writer on your hands? Help them get published with Illustory, a writing and publishing kit just for kids ($19.99, creatively-ever-after.com). Or encourage their artistic abilities with the new Crayola Color Explosion Glow Board, ($20.99, target.com).
For everyone's favorite sk8ter boy or girl, Paul Rodriguez's brand new chromed out Plan B deck will make them want to pop a wheelie (59.99, dorosports.com). Hook them up with a cool Alien Workshop backpack so they can take their show on the road ($29.99, skaterwarehouse.com) and make sure they're rocking only freshest kicks with this pair of NIKE SB's ($150, jumpmansneakers.com).
If the tween girl in your life spends all her free time playing in mami's makeup drawer or analyzing Selena Gomez's latest outfit, then you know what to do. Give the budding beauty junkie a Make Your Own Lip Balm kit that comes with adorable tins for her favorite flavors ($48.40, amazon.com). And for the fashionista in the making, a Fashion Magazine Design Studio ($25, hearthsong.com) and Custom Hangbag Design Kit by Imagine This ($450, fao.com) will provide an outlet for her creative inspiration. Don't be surprised if she wins Project Runway in 10 years.
There's no shortage of presents for a girly girl, but few are as special as Vestalife's iPod Ladybug Speakers in cherry red ($110, target.com). While she listens to her favorite songs, she'll love creating her own stylish accessory with this Silk Scarf Painting Kit by Alex ($21, amazon.com), lathering herself in sweet treats courtesy of Dylan's Candy Coconut Bon Bon Collection ($16-$22 each, sephora.com) or inventing her own scent with The Body Shop's mix and match eau de toilettes ($30, thebodyshop-usa.com). All that's missing now is the tiara! Go here for a chance to win your own Vastalife iPod Ladybug Speakers. Good luck!
He's just a teen, but your hipster kid is already putting together an indie rock band and collecting street art paraphernalia, which means anything less than the most creative holiday gift won't do. Don't fret. Start out with something simple, like kidrobot's subversive Reindeer Dunny toy ($10, kidrobot.com), then pique his interest with a Roll Up Drum Kit for his PC ($60, hammacher.com). Finally, bring it home with a personal touch via customizable vinyl room decor ($12 for 4 squares, wall-pops.com) and design-your-own Converse sneakers (prices vary, converse.com). Voila--you've earned your cool points.