Holiday Guide: What to Gift the Kids and Teens in Your Life

Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc for Getty Images

Everyone knows the holiday season is all about bringing joy and happiness to kids. Sure we try to make it special for adults—and we succeed most times—but at the end of the day, this special time is all about the little ones. 

Lately, my two and five-year-old kids are in full-blown holiday mood. Maybe it’s because we recently trekked to Sesame Place to see the Christmas celebration, or perhaps it’s because Amazon mailed its annual holiday gift guide and they highlighted every single item they adore. Whatever the reason, my kids are ready for Santa to gift them everything they desire, and I’m ready to gift them what they want and what they dont know they want. I’m all about thoughtful gifts that are functional and fun, 

From your neighbor’s preteen to your teenaged babysitter and your cousin’s new baby, here’s a list of gifts that make every kid, at every age, feel special. 

Tummy time can be a baby’s least favorite activity. I get it. The floor is hard and their mommy’s lap is much warmer and softer. But, building their neck and shoulder muscles is important for childhood development. Gift them this space-themed mirror, squeaker, and colorful toy to help stimulate their senses with style. 

Crate and Barrel Deep Space Baby Tummy Time Toy, $69,
There’s something about a ride-on toy that gives kids a touch of independence. It’s as ridding it officially makes them a “big kid.” My two-year-old is always ready to prove she’s ready to take on the world and this is the perfect toy to help her. I love it because it’s just like the real thing— even the emblem, windshield, mirrors, and (working) LED lights look real. Best of all it only takes 15 to 30 minutes to assemble. And, when I’ll have one million other gifts to wrap this is music to my ears. 

Target Mini 6V Cooper Powered Ride-On, $180,

If I’m being honest, I’m not a fan of advent calendars. Opening them daily seems like another unwanted task I have to complete during an already hectic time of the year. However, I’m teaching my toddler how to count and want her to understand days of the week, so advent calendars seem to be the perfect tool. I can’t promise I’ll stick with it every day, but when my little ones face lights up from the tiny surprises, I’m certain I’ll make it a priority. 

Fisher-Price Little People Advent Calendar, Count Down to Christmas with Your Toddler’s Favorite Little People Friends & Fun yule time Accessories, $60,

Kids become what they see, that’s why I try to expose my children to all types of toys and experiences. So you can imagine my delight when Netflix dropped Ada Twist, Scientist, a series about a young Black girl who loves scientific experiments. To take my love a step further, I’m gifting her this Ada Twist doll who says her signature phrases, while donning a lab coat. My biggest conundrum: can I play with her too?

Walmart Just Play Ada Twist, Scientist Ada Twist Lab Doll with Sounds, Preschool Ages 3 up, $28,

My two-year-old is very picky when it comes to shoes. One day she’s all about pink boots, the next she only wants to wear metallic, sparkled slip ons. I can’t win. However, I quickly learned that the name of the game is to present her with a multitude of options to minimize the tantrums. These boots will be a welcomed, stylish addition to her collection and will come in hand when she needs a quick change. 

Sperry Little Kid’s Saltwater Animal Duck Boot, $70,

Hot Wheels toys are classic holiday gifts and this ultimate garage has over 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Many reviewers claim it to be sturdy, easy to assemble, and my favorite, “it’s a toy they’ll use for many years to come.”

Target Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage, $100,

Sleepovers are a big deal for my tykes. Whenever cousins are in town they are guaranteed to ask, “will they spend the night?” I love having kids over too; however, space is always an issue. This bunk bed allows for kids to have their own bed while not taking up too much room. Plus the 4-inch guardrail around the top bed keeps them safe throughout the night. I’m sold!

Delta Children Convertible Twin Bunk Bed with Ladder and Guardrails, $350,
Where Brooklyn at? Apparently right in their closet. I’m gifting this comfy, knit sweater to all the little girls in my life. I’m certain the small touches of gold will make them feel chic and stylish. 

Janie and Jack Kimberly Goldson Brooklyn Sweater, $50,

I’m the unofficial cheerleader in my home. There I said it. Whenever my kids play basketball, I’m there cheering on each move and celebrating each slam dunk in a major way. But, these days mama is tired and I’m willing to give the job to someone else. Enter KidiGo Basketball Hoop, an interactive scoreboard that keeps score and cheers on little players, highlighting each dunk with lights and sounds. Best of all? The backboard attaches over most doors and it includes padded door hooks. Did someone say “game on?!”

VTech KidiGo Basketball Hoop, $30,

Nothing says a merry and bright holiday better than a gift that highlights the importance of representation. Whenever I’m buying for my kids or other loved ones, I make it a point to purchase inclusive toys. I’m hoping my daughter will learn to respect disabled individuals as she plays with this Barbie who comes with a working wheelchair. Plus she moves at various joints, making her functional outside of the wheelchair, too. Genius! 

Barbie Fashionistas Doll with Wheelchair, $16,

I have a budding photographer on my hands. Every time I turn around, my son is eager to take photos with my phone or digital camera. I want to encourage his creativity by gifting him a “real camera” but I’m also factoring in his age, readiness, parent controls, and above all, durability. This KidiZoom Digital Camera checks all the boxes. It’s age-appropriate, made of hard plastic, and kids can even play games between photo shoots while parent controls can set daily time and printing limits. It’s the perfect option for kids not quite ready for a real digital camera.

VTech KidiZoom PrintCam Digital Camera and Printer, $50,

Most sneakers kids wear today are ugly. The soles are chunky with mega drawstring laces and the patterns and prints are too bold to mention. Can we say dad sneakers are taking over? If you’re looking to introduce your teen to a classic sneaker (think the 80s with a nod to 90s flair) that’s stylish and functional, this is your go-to. 

New Balance 515 V3 Sneaker, $70,

Weighted blankets are great for bedtime, but don’t get it twisted, they are perfect for your Netflix-loving teen who is always down for a nap (or two). This chunky weighted blanket soothes and calms without trapping their body heat underneath. 

California Design Den Chunky Hand-Knitted Weighted Blanket, $133,

Everyone seems to be on fence about using Airpods vs. noise-canceling headphones. Do you want to look cool or drown out the noise? There are benefits for each type, but regardless of where your teen falls, we can all agree that having a deep, rich bass is the ultimate flex. These headphones offer that and much more. Users will adore that they can make phone calls, activate Siri or Google Assistant and control music with simple buttons on the earcups. Sounds like you just made their decision a bit easier. 

Yamaha Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, $200,

Need a gift for the teen who has everything? FabFitFun is a lifestyle membership, but it’s best known for its flagship product, the FabFitFun Box. The colorful box includes a huge selection of full-size products across beauty, fashion, fitness, wellness, home, and tech – delivered each season. Not only will she thank you during the holidays, but every season to come. 

FabFitFun Winter Box, $50,

Show me a teen who doesn’t love a selfie-and he or she probably doesn’t exist. Allow them to use the rotating and goosenecks arms from this selfie stick to find the perfect angle. They’ll also enjoy a remote control and LED light, but sadly fancy filters are not included. 

Fotodiox Selfie Starlite Stix Vlog Light Kit, $120,

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter


Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

When you sign up for the EBONY newsletter, you’ll be the first to know about all the latest news and updates that are important to you. Gain access to exclusive interviews, videos, special events, and product giveaways delivered right to your inbox!