Gifts for Children

Gifts for Newly Adopted Girls

Books

Books that celebrate the newcomer as an adoptee or honor her heritage help her feel welcomed and comfortable -- and will be special keepsakes throughout her life. According to Kirkus Review, Todd Parr's book "We Belong Together" for ages 2 to 5 is reassuring to adoptees -- and the repetition and brightly colored illustrations will appeal to a young girl or a girl who is just beginning to learn English. Other keepsake books for newly adopted girls include "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born" by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and "Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale" by Karen Katz -- both which feature beautiful art work and are recommended for ages 4 to 8.

A Lifebook

Cindy Probst, an adoptive mother and social worker, encourages adoptive families to create a lifebook. A lifebook is the adoptee's story of her life before she was adopted -- told from her perspective. You can purchase a lifebook online -- and in some cases, even customize it to suit the adoptee's unique situation. But if you're crafty, you might want to create your own homemade lifebook for the adoptee, using scrapbook papers and including folders within the book to hold keepsakes and mementos.

A Gift Basket

The Adoptive Families website stresses the importance of the initial bonding between parents and child. A gift basket filled with activities for the adoptee to do with her new parents will show thoughtfulness while helping to encourage a healthy attachment. Fill the basket with a deck of cards or age-appropriate board games that the family can play together. Include different colors of nail polish so the adoptee and her mom can take turns painting each other's nails. You might also want to include a movie that the family can watch together.

Gift Certificate

A gift card for a family outing will promote bonding while also giving the girl a new and exciting experience. For a younger adoptee, passes to the zoo or a gift certificate to the neighborhood ice cream shop are sure to impress. For a school-aged adoptee, tickets to a movie, passes to a local museum or a gift certificate for mother-daughter pedicures might go over well.

Unique Ways to Gift Wrap Baby Items

Paper

Even when you wrap your gifts in paper, you have opportunities to be ultra-creative. For example, you can blow up a page of a calendar with the baby's due date circled in a bright pink or blue color and wrap the present with the date in a very visible spot on the package. Or, type out congratulatory messages on plain paper and include your name. Copy and print out the paper, wrap the gift in the paper -- and eliminate the necessity of a greeting card. If you're giving the gift after the baby is born, wrap it in the local newspaper that came out on the day the baby was born. The proud parents can then save your gift wrap to commemorate this day for years to come.

Blankets

You can also wrap a gift in a blanket. Choose a baby blanket that is large enough to cover your gift, or if necessary, purchase more than one. Thin but soft receiving blankets are especially useful for this application. Use old-fashioned diaper pins to secure the "package" instead of scotch tape. Add a pink, blue or yellow bow for even more impact.

Fabric

For a "green" gift wrap, utilize fabric instead of paper to wrap the gift. Choose material that is eye appealing with colorful baby motifs -- or that matches the theme of the baby's room. The new mom can then use the fabric later to make an item for the infant's nursery or can re-use it to wrap a baby gift for another child in the future. If sewing is one of your talents, stitch a bag with a drawstring and place the gift inside. The mom can then use the bag for laundry, storage and/or travel.

Containers

You can also fill larger gifts with smaller purchases. For example, if your budget allows it, buy a toy box and fill it up with infant and toddler playthings that the child can enjoy for months -- or even years -- to come. All you need to add is a giant bow or ribbon and a heartfelt card for a perfect present. On a smaller scale, fill a child's decorative trash can, colorful plastic storage container or a small, reusable wicker basket with diaper necessities, clothing, bottles or blankets and decorate with a ribbon and/or bow.

What Is Customary to Give Day Care Teachers for Christmas?

Amount

The cost of the gift is often a primary concern for parents, especially at the holidays when you're spending money on multiple gifts. A general price range for teacher gifts is between $10 and $25, according to etiquette expert Peggy Post in a Good Housekeeping article. Anything more becomes too extravagant and unnecessary. Check with your child's day care to determine if they have restrictions on gifts. Some schools limit the monetary value of teacher gifts.

Type of Gift

Teacher gifts fall under two categories: homemade or store-bought. Homemade gift items include food treats, decorations, ornaments and cards. Some teachers prefer not to get homemade food because of dietary preferences or simply because they aren't sure of the preparation conditions or ingredients. A card is a simple, inexpensive homemade option that even a young child can make. Let your tot dip her hand in paint and stamp it on the card, for example. Store-bought gifts include anything you can buy at a store and gift cards. A gift card is often a safe route if you know what the teacher likes.

Alternative Gift Ideas

Since teachers get a lot of "stuff" as gifts, some parents consider alternative gift options. One idea is to coordinate a class Christmas gift by asking all of the parents to contribute cash for one large gift. This cuts down on the amount of small things the teacher receives and allows for something nicer than each individual could afford. Another option is to buy a gift that the teacher can use in the classroom. Buy a children's book with your child's name inscribed in the front for a personal touch. A game or toy that the day care class can use is another option.

Gifts to Avoid

While any gift is a kind gesture to show your appreciation for the day care teacher's work, certain gifts are so common they should be avoided. As a general rule, skip anything adorned with apples or the words "#1 Teacher." She likely already has a collection -- or has tossed similar gifts. Teachers have lots of students but only a small amount of space to store items such as mugs, candles, lotion and decorations. Cash is also a no-no, according to Emily Post, who says cash can look like you're trying to bribe the teacher or can make a teacher feel uncomfortable. A gift card is a more appropriate way to give the teacher cash value for something specific.

Gift Exchange Ideas for a Kid's Birthday Party

Children's Books

Every attending child could use a good book to add to his home collection. Ask parents to bring a wrapped children's book to the party. Place the wrapped books in a pile and have the children sit in a circle around the pile. Place numbered slips of paper in a hat corresponding to the number of kids in the circle, and let each kid draw a slip. The child who has the number one will be the first person to pick a book from the pile and then each child with the subsequent number can choose a book. Continue playing until each kid picks a book.

Edible Gifts

Edible gifts can take the place of a birthday dessert for children. Tell parents and kids to prepare a batch of homemade cookies and place them in a decorative tin. Assign a certain type of cookie for each child to make so you will end up with an assortment of cookies at the party. Place the tins on a large table. Select the birthday child to be the first to pick a cookie from each tin on the table. Once she has selected her cookies, let each child make a plate of cookies by taking one cookie from each tin. Kids can also put one of each cookie in a favor bag to take home.

Stuffed Animals

Young children love to cuddle up with a stuffed animal before going to bed. Ask parents of party guests to bring a wrapped stuffed animal to the party allowing every child to leave with a new cuddle buddy. Have the children sit in a large circle and play some music. Give the children one of the wrapped stuffed toys to pass around. Randomly stop the music. The child holding the gift when the music stops gets to keep the gift and is then out of the game. Continue playing until every child receives a gift to open.

Gift Cards

Older children or teens will appreciate giving and receiving gift cards as it allows them to purchase a small item they want or to use it toward a larger item. Ask guests to purchase gift cards from different stores in small amounts -- such as five dollars -- and bring them to the party in white envelopes. While guests are in another room, hide all the envelopes in different places throughout your party room. Guests must look around the room to find the envelopes. The first envelope that the party guest finds he gets to keep. Continue playing until all cards are found.

Teen Girl Items to Buy for Christmas

Technology Gifts

Teens are hooked on technology more than ever before, so electronic gadgets under the Christmas tree will please most teen girls. Tablets, one-piece mobile computers that allow users to access the Internet, read e-books, take photos and and play games, are popular. MP3 players are available in a variety of trendy colors and are perfect for music lovers. Personalized cell phone cases, digital key chains and novelty USB drives and ear buds are lower-priced tech options today's savvy teen girl will appreciate. Prepaid cell phones can help you and your teen stay connected, with no contract and no huge monthly bills.

Gift Cards

Give the teen girl on your Christmas list a gift card so she can shop for herself. For teens interested in the latest fashion trends, purchase a gift card to a clothing or cosmetics store. For the studious girl, choose a book or computer store card. Discount retailers offer a wide variety of products if you aren't sure what your recipient likes to shop for. Consider giving the gift of fun with a card to a local restaurant or coffee shop, nail salon, movie theater or bowling alley.

Hobby Gifts

One way to make a Christmas gift personal is to buy something that relates to a hobby the recipient has, according to Leah Ingram, author of "Gifts Anytime: How to Find the Perfect Present for Any Occasion." A teen painter will appreciate some high-quality paints, sketch pads or books on technique. Buy a girl interested in photography a camera strap or new lens. Make a gift basket for a teen baker with cupcake wrappers in fun designs, pure vanilla extract, cookie cutters and cake decorating tools. Teenaged fitness buffs will enjoy a personalized water bottle, yoga mat or athletic hairbands.

Stocking Stuffers

Gifts need not be extravagant or expensive to be enjoyed by teen girls. Beauty items such as nail polish, lip gloss or body lotions are popular with teens. Choose fun items like novelty earrings, clip-in faux hair extensions or colorful, patterned socks. For a festive, seasonal gift, purchase touchscreen texting gloves, furry earmuffs or a tin of hot cocoa packets. Paperback books, blank journals or metallic gel pens are appropriate small gifts. Commemorate a special year with a personalized Christmas tree ornament.

Technology Gifts for Teens

Smartphones

At the time of publication, approximately 47 percent of all teens who own a cell phone have a smartphone. If your teen is in the remaining 53 percent who don't have one yet, a smartphone might be a gift worth considering. Not only will your teen be able to call you and talk to her friends outside of school, but smartphones serve a variety of educational purposes. Most have a calculator, and many have graphing calculators as well. Your teen can download apps that help her forecast the weather, practice math skills and catch up on current events. Smartphones can also access the Internet and email, which can be a convenient way for your teen to stay on top of her studies and extracurricular responsibilities.

Computers

Your teen likely is assigned homework that requires research, and the Internet makes research easily available to teens. Not surprisingly, 95 percent of teens use the Internet, according to the the Pew Research Center. Many teens also enjoy playing games and chatting with friends online, and a new computer is a good way to help your child pursue these activities. If you do give your teen a computer, consider making it a gift to the entire family or requiring him to use it in a public location in your home, such as the kitchen or living room. This helps you keep tabs on your child to ensure that he's using the computer only for age-appropriate purposes.

Tablets

Tablets are larger than smartphones and smaller than laptop or notebook computers, making them a portable device for your teen to take to school and other activities. The Pew Research Center notes that 23 percent of teens own a tablet-type device. If you can trust your teen to use the tablet for appropriate purposes, it makes a sought-after gift. Most tablets allow your teen to access the Internet so she can study and communicate in any location. Your teen can also download books to her tablet, as well as a wide variety of apps that can help her stay organized.

Additional Gifts

Video game consoles are common among teens, especially boys, and a new system is sure to please your teen. If your child already has a game console, a few new games make a good gift as well. A device that allows your teen to download his own music is another technological gift that many teens enjoy. You might consider a device that allows your teen to do karaoke on his portable music device, "PC Magazine" recommends. Gift cards to download music or apps are another welcome gift for many teens.

Unusual Gifts for Teens

Collectible Gifts

Consider picking out a special souvenir for a teen who is passionate about a particular musician, actor, movie, television show or sports team. Jerseys, signed album covers, collectible DVD box sets or replicas of movie props are all gifts that show a teen that you've been paying attention to what matters to her. Look for unique items on online auction sites or at stores that specialize in entertainment-related collectibles.

Cool Furniture

A gift that helps your teen personalize his living space is sure to be a hit. A teen who likes video games might appreciate a specialized gaming chair that has integrated speakers and rumbles when he shoots the bad guys on screen. A teen who enjoys crafting might like a natural lighting lamp that makes it easier to see the fine details in the projects she's working on. As an added bonus, these types of gifts are things a teen can eventually use to furnish her college dorm room or first apartment.

Eco-Friendly Gifts

Teens who are concerned about the environment are likely to appreciate eco-friendly gifts from socially responsible companies. Reusable water bottles, shopping bags or lunch kits in trendy patterns are inexpensive gifts that eco-friendly teens can enjoy on a daily basis. Treat a teen who is interested in cooking to a gift basket filled with organic gourmet treats. A fashionable teen girl might love a new Fair Trade necklace or bracelet made by artisans from an impoverished country.

Travel-Related Gifts

Many teens dream of being able to travel around the world. If your budget permits it, a prepaid trip from a company that specializes in travel for teens would be an unforgettable gift idea. If you can't afford the cost of a trip, attractive luggage or a coffee table book about a place your teen would love to visit is the next best thing.

Scavenger Hunt Gift

If you really must give your teen a gift certificate or cash, make the presentation more exciting by creating a scavenger hunt where your teen must search for clues in order to find the envelope with the gift. Your scavenger hunt can take place entirely in your home or take your teen across town searching for clues at her favorite restaurant or in the nearest shopping mall. If your clues are in scattered locations, however, make sure the actual gift is hidden someplace safe.

Trendy Gifts for Expecting Parents

Funny Baby Accessories

Give a chuckle with a gift that reflects your sense of humor. Buy a pacifier that is as decorative as it is effective in quieting an upset infant; select one that features comical red lips, funny looking teeth, a mustache or a playful phrase. To add some excitement to changing the new one’s oft-stained onesie, purchase a collection of cloths featuring phrases or images that you know the new parents will find funny, like one featuring the term “chick magnet” for a soon-to-arrive baby boy.

Trendy Teaching Toys

Many moms and dads, eager to produce a prodigy, start teaching their new little ones as soon as they make their debuts. If the parents in question are of this eager variety, try a trendy teaching toy. Purchase a collection of Baby Einstein CDs for the proud parents. Or, try an early reading system or a book about baby sign language that mom and dad can use to teach the little one to communicate even before she can speak.

Entertainment

The arrival of a new baby often leaves parents frazzled and with no time for anything, especially on the leisurely end of the spectrum. Provide the parents-to-be an easy way to make leisure activities fit into their newly hectic lives. Purchase a gift subscription to an online movie or TV show streaming system. With this gift, the recipients can skip the movie theater or forget catching their favorite shows when they air, allowing them to take breaks from tending to baby. For parents of the literary bend, buy a collection of current bestsellers, giving them some trendy lit to explore between the bottle-feedings and diaper changes.

Nursery Décor

A well-decorated nursery can help mom and dad feel like they have it a bit more together during those first crazy days of parenting. If the parents-to-be have settled on a name, purchase a piece of nursery art that features baby's name. If they haven’t, buy an original work or set of prints that reflects the theme they have selected for baby's slumber space.

Unique Online Gifts for New Babies

Subscription Services

Use the Internet to arrange a delivery service of diapers and wipes, books or toys. Incredibundles.com offers subscriptions that can be delivered in three or four installments during the baby's first year with developmentally appropriate books and toys. EarthBaby offers a weekly delivery of compostable diapers and later picks the soiled diapers up to be professionally composted. The Honest Company -- founded by actress Jessica Alba -- gives gift options of one-, three- or six-month delivery options of modern designed, sustainable diapers and wipes.

Stock

You can purchase a share of stock as a baby gift -- a gift that has the potential to keep growing and earning while also providing learning opportunities for the little one as he grows. Some companies offer authentic stock certificates that you may choose to have framed as part of your gift. Purchase stock in a company that the child will recognize during the early years -- such as the Walt Disney Company, McDonald's or Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Personalized Gifts

Create a unique baby gift by personalizing an item with the baby's name or initials. Pottery Barn Kids offers personalization for a variety of sweet gift items including blankets, towels, diaper covers, hats, wooden blocks and cups. In addition to plates and wall hangings, the Corner Stork has the option of creating a personalized storybook with the new little one as the star character. For a godchild, consider personalizing a small children's Bible, prayer book or keepsake ornament at Celebrate Your Faith.

Gifts for the Whole Family

Adjusting to life with a new baby can be difficult. Help the entire family out by giving them a gift that will relieve some of the stresses as they adjust to the new addition. Consider arranging a house cleaning service through a company such as Merry Maids or Molly Maid. As leaving the house can also be a challenge for new parents, arrange to have groceries delivered to them in the comfort of their home using a service such as Peapod. Not only are you giving a gift to the new parents, but you are also giving the baby the gift of less-stressed parents who have a little extra time to devote to him.

Gift Ideas for High School Graduation

Monetary Gifts

Cash or a check are practical gifts that your graduate will surely appreciate. He might use it for summer fun, to buy dorm room supplies or to start a savings account. Do not give more than you can comfortably afford to; remember that it's the thought that counts and give what you would have spent on a store-bought gift. For fun, you can purchase an inexpensive piggy bank or wallet and put the money inside, or simply present it in a graduation card with a personal written message.

Technology Gifts

Young adults use technology every day, so consider an electronic gift for your graduate. With a tablet computer your recipient can read books, browse the internet and manage email, watch videos and choose from a huge selection of fun and useful apps. A USB drive, available in novelty shapes and trendy colors, is perfect for the graduate who has a vast collection of digital data to store. For tech-savvy fitness buffs, Good Housekeeping recommends activity tracking wristbands, which track calories burned, steps taken and also function as watches.

School Supplies

The college-bound graduate needs supplies for school whether she commutes or lives on campus. A messenger bag, personal planner or travel auto mug will help make a commuter's life easier. For the future dorm resident, choose a laundry bag, lapdesk with lamp attached or a mini refrigerator. You might also purchase your graduate a quality dictionary and thesaurus, or a book relating to the major or career he is pursuing. Encourage your graduate's collegiate pride by purchasing a sweatshirt, hat or umbrella from the college she is set to attend.

Gift Cards

A gift card is a great gift for a high school graduate because it allows him to treat himself. A tech-savvy graduate will appreciate a gift card for a computer store or iTunes, while a bookstore gift card is perfect for one with academic interests. Consider a gas card for the graduate who will be commuting to work or school. Gift cards to movie theaters or restaurants will allow your recipient to enjoy the summer following graduation or splurge on a night out during his freshman year. For the graduate who has everything, consider a Mastercard or Visa gift card.

Novelty Gifts for Teenagers

T-Shirts

The trick to buying a T-shirt that will prompt a shout of glee from a teenager is choosing the right color and design. Simply choose the teen's favorite color, and then think about what sets her heart racing. Whether it's a pink shirt with steampunk gears printed on the front or a black tee with her favorite singer, this gift is sure to please. For the best selection, look online rather than in the juniors section of a department store.

Tech Accessories

If you opt for a tech accessory for an uber-connected teen, you'll have plenty to choose from. You can buy speakers that look like bangles for an MP3 player, funky charms to cover earbuds and gloves that have "smart touch" technology so teens can use their electronic devices while keeping their mitts warm. It's also easy to purchase a custom cover for a teen's mobile device or laptop by uploading photos or art to websites that let you personalize products with your own designs.

Food

Give a teen a pack of bacon-flavored gumballs so he can take them to school and gross out his friends. Cheese in aerosol cans is fun and perfect for the occasional teen food fight. Don't overlook any marshmallow bunnies left over from Easter, as teens can put two of them in the microwave holding cocktail swords and watch the hilarious fight that ensues as they blow up into gooey treats. Health-conscious teens will likely enjoy treats that aren't available in the average supermarket, such as seaweed snacks, wasabi-flavored chips and kombucha.

Home Decor

Even if a teen's room isn't likely to make the pages of "Elle Decor" anytime soon, that doesn't mean he won't enjoy a gift that will liven up his space. Lighting makes a fun gift, as you can choose from lamps shaped like pieces in the game Tetris for the gamer, disco balls for dancers or earthy Himalayan salt lamps for teens who have a hippie vibe. Pillows shaped like a sneaker or a friendly monster may also delight. Novelty clocks are also fun, such as the one that races across the room when the alarm goes off or the wall clock that features algebraic equations in lieu of numbers.