Brilliant Christmas gifts for children and teens

Zoe Gunn

3 November 2021

Gifts so great they won’t just play with the box they came in

3 November 2021 | Zoe Gunn

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n paper, you might think your well-heeled aunt or discerning grandfather are the hardest people to buy for. In reality, however, it will be anyone under the age of 16. Kids, after all, know what they want and won’t be afraid to tell you if they don’t get it.

Whether you’re buying for your own brood or have a bevy of nieces and nephews to impress, we’ve found the best children's Christmas gifts guaranteed to surprise, delight and, most importantly, prove to them that you’re the cool adult in the family.

The best gifts for babies and toddlers

Bamford

The first festive season with a newborn can be, to put it mildly, trying. There’s just something about surviving on three hours sleep a night that makes one less then jolly, we find. Ease the pain for new parents with Bamford’s baby hamper, which is packed with organic balms, powders, washes and oils perfect for a soothing bath time (and, with any luck, a long peaceful sleep).

Baby hamper, £175, bamford.com

Banwood

Know a toddler with a taste for luxury? Spending in excess of £1,000 on a bike that doesn’t even have peddles may seem absurd, but this collaboration between balance bike specialist Banwood and designer Douglas Mont, of Rispal Paris, is a thing of beauty. Inspired by bicycles from the 1950s and 60s, it’s finished with Michelin tires, a handmade leather saddle and a dazzling gold frame.

Banwood x Rispal Icon One balance bike, £1,050, harrods.com

My 1st Years

My 1st Years made its name on offering high quality, genuinely useful toys, clothes and baby items, almost all of which can be personalised. This makes it the ideal brand to have in your back pocket for gifts guaranteed to please both parent and child. Take, for example, this adorable knitted dinosaur toy and winter accessories set. If mummy and daddy don’t have it on their Instagram feed within minutes we’ll eat our elegantly monogrammed hat.

Personalised hat and mittens, £22, my1styears.com; Personalised knitted dinosaur toy, £28, my1styears.com

The best gifts for children

Pepa & Co

Are you a parent to a child with a social life as active as any adult? You’ll be well versed in Pepa & Co’s gorgeous range of traditional children's party clothes, then. Founded by Pepa Gonzalez in 2013, and inspired by her years working as a nanny for high-profile international families, if you style your family on the Cambridges, this is the brand for you. This pretty, hand-smocked dress and Fair Isle sweater are in equal parts cute, sophisticated and comfortable.

Hand-smocked occasion dress, £340, pepaandcompany.com; Knitted Fair Isle jumper, £83, pepaandcompany.com

Dragons of Walton Street

A bed may not seem like the kind of gift that’s going to set your child’s world alight. I think we can all agree, however, that these are not just any beds. Crafted by the inimitable Dragons of Walton Street – which is famed for its traditional rocking horses – whether your child harbours dreams of being a pilot, heading out on safari, being James Bond or becoming a princess, there’s a bed to make their wish come true. Whether you’ll be able to calm them down enough to actually go to sleep, is another question.

HB16 helicopter bed, from £39,995, dragonsofwaltonstreet.com; Princess Carriage bed, from £16,995, dragonsofwaltonstreet.com

FAO Schwarz

Clothes and furniture are all well and good but, let’s be honest, most kids just want toys. For this, savvy parents know to tun to FAO Schwarz. Its toys are ingeniously designed to entertain, keep kids active and be educational. This piano dance mat is a case in point. Pre-loaded with five classical songs, children can learn to play along or record their own compositions. 

FAO Schwarz piano dance mat, £100, selfridges.com

The best gifts for teens

Lomography

A cross between a Polaroid and a fully functioning DSLR, Lomography’s instant cameras are ideal for budding photographers. Unlike most instant cameras, the Lomo’Instant comes with an expansive range of features, including interchangeable lenses, three shooting modes and multiple exposure options. This limited-edition version, created in collaboration with Thai artist Gongkan, will give them a taste of grown-up photography while still being fun.

Lomo’Instant Gongkan Edition camera and lenses, £105, lomography.com

Polo Ralph Lauren

After spending all week in school uniform, a teen’s weekend clothes are an important way for them to express their personal style – and this is where you’ll get your cool adult credentials. First, you’ll want to be buying them a recognisable label (Polo Ralph Lauren is ideal). Next, you’ll need to tap into the prevailing streetwear trend but in a way that is playful and age-appropriate. These bright looks will pair perfectly with the box-fresh trainers they’ve been begging their parents for.

Polo Ralph Lauren tie-dye sweatshirt, £99, johnlewis.com; Tie-dye joggers, £79, johnlewis.com; Polo Ralph Lauren logo hoodies, £89, johnlewis.com; Logo print joggers, £75, johnlewis.com

Monica Vinader

The teen years are also the perfect time to introduce them to the glittering world of grown-up jewellery – but we’re not suggesting you should deck them out in diamonds just yet. Monica Vinader’s expansive collection of demi-fine designs will give them something to treasure without breaking the bank (and, hopefully, prevent them from raiding your jewellery box). These gold vermeil sapphire huggies are both covetable and youthful while the brand’s collection of unisex chains are great for both cool girls and edgy boys.

Skinny sapphire huggie earrings, £125, monicavinader.com; Vintage chain necklace, £195, monicavinader.com

Read more: The best Christmas gifts for him