Preteen Gift Guide!



As we prepare for the upcoming holidays, Christopher and I are now in a position where we have a PRETEEN to get presents for!

Here we are, on the cusp of a new holiday season and with a child who has much different hopes for the holidays than she used to have. Well, she's always wanted some form of technology (which she rarely gets because we are #meanparents) but otherwise her preferences are pretty different nowadays than they were even a year ago.

So I thought I'd put together this list of some potential gift ideas that we have either already gotten Jess recently and were a big hit, or that we plan on getting her this upcoming Christmas!  ...Fingers crossed that she doesn't read this. Jess, if you're reading this right now you need to sign off or you're grounded!

Okay. Good.  Now that that's settled ;) ...

Before we begin I just want to disclose that some of the below links are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through them, I will earn a commission. This does not affect the pricing of any items for you at all.  Please know that I will only ever recommend an item on my site that I truly believe to be useful or awesome, and in this case, preteen-approved! :)

ALRIGHT, now on to the list!


Galaxy Backpack - I bought this for Jess at the start of the school year and she loves it!  It's a regular sized school backpack which has done a great job holding up so far (and we're admittedly not the most gentle with our bags and whatnot in this house) with an awesome galaxy pattern all over it.  She has a similar patterned sweatshirt (which I talked about here) that she loves, so the two of them together is just hard-core galaxy awesomeness.  I'm very happy to have found a backpack that is practical but that she also really loves. I would highly recommend this if you're looking for a new bag for your middle schooler!

Art Supplies - I'm sorry in advance if this sounds super cheesy, but I'm totally in the camp that all children are artists.  Now, all children may not end up being particularly proficient in visual art, like Jessica is, but all kids are artists and it's awesome to encourage them to continue to produce art as they get older and things like drawing and coloring stop being as "cool" in some social circles.  Jess is a KILLER artist (she's been better at drawing than me since I first met her when she was seven. Honest to goodness.) so we always end up getting her some kind of art supply as part of her Christmas presents every year.  It's something we love to encourage in her and I never intend to stop.  We're specifically looking at this art set right now, although I'm still fishing around amazon to make sure it's the best choice!


Board Games - We are totally a board game household, so this is another no brainer for us.  We are LOVING Sorry right now, which we don't own but do play when we go over to GK & Yeti (my parent's grandparent names) house. Our home alternative is Trouble, which is also fun but is a little bit of a younger-focused alternative than Sorry is.  We also really love Clue, if you're looking for time-tested board game options.  As far as options I'm looking into for Jess this year, I've been thinking about this game because it looks hilarious (and it has an adult expansion pack which just seems extra hysterical if that works for the adults in your family), but I've never actually played it myself!  Anyone out there have any info or thoughts?  Yes? No? Maybe?

Books - Every year we do the classic "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" option for presents for Jess, so books are ALWAYS on the present list.  Obviously you know your child(ren) better than I do, so you'll know their reading taste, but I do have to warn you to not knock it 'til you try it.  When I first saw that there were books about Shakespeare that were put into texting form for preteens, I threw up in my mouth a little. (What can I say? I love Shakespeare!  I'm a purist!)  But then Jess happened to borrow one from a friend at school and loved it!  Now we've gotten her several of them and it's been an awesome resource, especially when we've been able to take her to the plays that the books are based on!  Love it!  (For the record, they're called OMG Shakespeare and they also have OMG Classics with some Jane Austen and Charles Dickens options, which is probably what we'll go for this time for Jessica.  Like I said, don't knock it 'til you try it!)

This photo has nothing to do with presents, but who doesn't like a knight-in-shining-armor selfie? AHAHA

Practical stuff - Okay, so this one is admittedly less exciting than the other categories, but Christmas is a perfect time to get your preteen some of the practical stuff - shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.etc.  It's partially a perfect time because it's convenient but it's also great because it gives you a reason to give them new versions of things that you may already want to get them started on - separate shampoo and conditioner rather than the two-in-one stuff, or brand-new deodorant to encourage use of that now that puberty is here, or a nice new hairbrush that'll comb through tangles super easily.... You get the picture!  It's practical and it's also a great, non-embarrassing way to introduce some new stuff to your kiddo.


Alright!  I hope this list was helpful and lead you to some links for items that are totally Jess-approved!  As you can probably see, we don't have a crazy Christmas in our house.  We'll get Jess a few more items than these (probably some new clothes suited to her taste and an item or two from her list, which we don't have yet) but we just don't go wild at Christmas.  For us, it's about spending time together with our family and really enjoying the season and everything it stands for.

I hope it ends up being exactly what you want it to be this year, too! :)


Hi, I'm Grady! Welcome to my blog :) A little about me? I'm a smitten newlywed and brand-new stepmom living in New Hampshire. My day job is boring on paper but great in real life (just like Dunder Mifflin!), and when I'm not working I love to spend time with my family, perform in or manage productions at the theatre, and eat ice cream while listening to yet another financial management podcast.  I write about my marriage, step-parenthood, and whatever else is going on.  Be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, and subscribe to my blog!

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