2009 Gift Guide for Girls

The 2009 holiday gift-giving season has finally arrived. But this year many families are scaling back expenditures; others are trying to stay “green” with fewer plastic and battery-laden toys cluttering up the house. So for the little girls on your list, what are the meaningful and high-quality gifts that can be enjoyed throughout the year?

Girls ages 2 to 4: Girls at this age will appreciate a creative outlet. Consider giving a large wooden easel with a smock and paint supplies, or a magic wall panel with a dry-erase board and magnets. To make playtime seem more magical, consider a canopy playhouse or even a simple tent. For the doll lovers on your list, check out eco-friendly designs such as Earth Friends. If you shared a special event or vacation with her this year, collect the pictures and make her a printed photo book (available from Snapfish, Shutterfly, or any other major online photo gift resource).

For this age group, there are plenty of experiences that you can share as well. Give her art, music, gymnastics, or dance lessons, or promise her a day at the zoo or a kids’ play center. For a special treat, wrap her a special ballet present: a pink tutu and a pair of tickets to a local dance performance.

Girls ages 5 to 7: Girls at this age will love the opportunity to expand their world. Give her a butterfly garden so she can hatch and release her own butterflies. Or for an organized little girl, consider a personalized wall calendar that she can adjust each day to keep track of seasons, weather, and special events. For the social type, give her a sleeping bag (which you can personalize with her initials or her name) to prepare for future slumber parties. Also check out Eco Dolls that look like “real” girls, with companion books about environmental learning adventures.

For an experiential gift, promise her a day at a museum or a trip to a concert. Also consider special theme ideas such as a tea party package (a new dress and a promise for a formal tea party at a local hotel or restaurant) or a day at the movies (a date for a matinee with popcorn).

Girls ages 8 to 12: “Tween” girls’ love the opportunity to share with friends and keep special secrets. Creative types may enjoy a jewelry kit to make friendship bracelets. If she’s a jewelry collector, give her a fancy new jewelry box or case. To help her record her special time with her friends, give her a small digital camera. And let her keep her secrets safe by giving her a journal or locking diary.

Above all, don’t forget the gifts of time that you can give your favorite tween. Depending on what she loves to do, give her a day of beauty (a trip to the salon for a manicure and pedicure), a day of excitement (with tickets to watch her favorite sports team), or a day at the theater (with a special lunch before the show). Even better, consider a class that you and she might take together – jewelry making, scrapbooking, ceramics, cake decorating – anything that she might enjoy doing and would have fun learning with you.

Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money or waste a lot of packaging to make a gift memorable. The best gifts are the ones that will help your little girl discover something new about herself, which is something she will treasure forever.

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