The best gift ideas for 9-12 year olds

Is it me, or are pre-tweens tough to buy for? They feel they’re too old for the toys and dolls they used to love… yet we feel they’re too young for the things they really want (iPhone, concert tickets, etc). It’s a conundrum.

All this year, I listened well and took notes anytime Z said she wanted something. I also took a few creative liberties and gambled on a few gifts that ended up paying off. And, since we celebrated our Christmas early due to upcoming travel, I can report that Z called this her best Christmas ever and LOVED her loot – even though we downsized considerably from years past.

Want to know which gifts so delighted our almost 10-year old tough customer? Here are some highlights!

  • Privacy Pop bed tent. This one was risky, as it was a big ticket gift and I wasn’t sure she’d love it. However, she absolutely adores it and says it’s her favorite gift! The Privacy Pop is easy to put up on any size bed and creates an instant cozy nook for playing (the ultimate bed fort), napping, reading or sleeping. It gives her room a whole new look, she went to sleep happily in her own room the first night we put it up, and the dogs love snuggling with her in there, too. Total win!
  • Billie Eilish merch. Want to prove that Mom and Dad aren’t as lame as these kiddos already seem to think we are? Get them some official merchandise from their favorite musician or band. This shirt went on Z’s bod the second she unwrapped it, and I have a feeling it will never see the inside of a dresser drawer. She loves it!
  • Cordless, noise-cancelling headphones. We travel enough, both by car and air, that a set of noise-cancelling headphones are preferable for Z vs. simple ear buds. These are good quality, highly reviewed and come in cool colors. Z was overjoyed to receive them – and we’ll get some good quality parental conversation time anytime she’s wearing them.
  • Chalkola liquid chalk markers. This spontaneous little stocking stuffer ended up being the hit of Christmas. With these markers, you can doodle all over glass, mirrors and other typically hands-off surfaces. Z decorated our aquarium, sliding glass door and several other windows and mirrors with amusing, adorable slogans and drawings. They wipe off cleanly and provide hours of entertainment. Perfect for road trips, too.
  • A cute mug from LookHuman on Amazon. Sometime this year, I overheard Z remark that she’s always using someone else’s mug when she makes tea or hot chocolate. It’s true – she’s never had her own mug. It may seem a silly thing to buy for a kid’s gift, but let me tell you she absolutely went nuts. She immediately made herself a cup of tea in it. Apparently 9-going on 10 is the age at which kiddos really want their own hot drink mug. Who knew!

So, there you have it – some of our favorite gift ideas from Christmas 2019. Hope this helps if you’re still doing some last-minute shopping for your family or friends.

After the big day, I’d love to hear what some of the favorite holiday gifts were at your house this year. After all, it’s never too early to start planning for next year! Be sure to let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook.

About the author

Proud and loving mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Writer since birth. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.

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