Kids + Teens

2012 Children’s Holiday Gift Guide

We’re making a list and checking it twice! The Children’s Publishing Group knows lots of kids who have been nice this year, and we’ve been scouring the stores—and the Chronicle Books catalog—looking for just the right gift. Publicist Lara Starr and Editorial Assistant Taylor Norman share some ideas for the young ones on your list.

Lara’s List

My middle-schooler Max has been fascinated by gears, machines, and how things work since he was a toddler, so his gifts have always been heavy on building toys, science kits, and programmable robots.

This year he’s asked for a 3 in 1 All Terrain Robot.

And he’s getting one because the kit allows him to put it together, take it apart, and build a completely different robot, so (hopefully) it will keep him interested and occupied for more than an hour or two.

He’s also gotten big into the latest season of Dr. Who, so I can’t resist getting him his own Sonic Screwdriver.

I’m honestly not sure what he’s going to do with it, but I’ve been assured by other Dr. Who fans that he’ll love it.

Minecraft is also a popular pastime for him and his pals, so this Minecraft Sticky Notecube is the perfect stocking stuffer.

And, because his mom is a book person, he’s of course getting a book or two as well.

The professor in The Templeton Twins Have an Idea is also fascinated with machines and how things work. Max will love the adventure of Professor Templeton’s twins Abigail and John, the hilarious narrator who tells the story, and it’ll get him thinking about how to protect the intellectual property of his future inventions.

I love my son, and he is many wonderful things, but he is not a girl. Luckily, my dear friend Sandy’s four-year-old daughter Gianna is, so I get my “girl fix” buying the pink, princess-y presents she’s asked for.

A “Prince and Princess Dancing Outside with a Rainbow” might be hard to find, but I think I can help Santa with some of the other things on the list.

“A Purple Watch with Roses”

“Dream Light Unicorn”

“A Piggy Bank with Princess Things”

And, since her “Auntie Lara” always gives books, she’s getting a personalized copy of A Day in the Life of a Princess from MyChronicleBooks!

The books are so fun to personalize and she’ll love to see her name throughout.

And just because I like to spoil her, I’m going to get her the lunch box and placemat too.

Order MyChronicleBooks personalized books and gifts by December 6th for guaranteed ground delivery by Christmas!

Taylor’s List

I have three new babies to shop for this Christmas: two to come in the next month, one who arrived some time ago.

First up for next month: Little baby Flynn (as in Errol, mid-swashbuckle, pre-moral crisis), the first son of my high school boyfriend’s sister (yep). The great thing about this age is that this little guy could be anybody. But that sort of increases the pressure. This age is incredibly, terrifyingly formative, so the gift should be carefully considered. I love these blocks from House Industries at Heath Ceramics: Blocks are one of the most basic, perennial baby toys, and these have the added bonus of looking pretty, too. A sophisticated palette and debossed letters make them as perfect for little hands as they are for a coffee table centerpiece. No one will know they’re sticky from looking at them. Plus, the set includes punctuation, which widens their potential: They’re everything from alphabet instruction to found poetry to love notes.

Neutraface Slab Blocks

For slightly older kids, they also have a really neat Eames House, which my little brother would have been obsessed with as a toddler.

And for design-conscious parents, festive Holiday Blocks.

Next: a gift for the yet-to-be-born yet-to-be-gendered child of a dear friend who teaches fourth grade. My goal was to find something mildly (not abrasively) educational for a smart kid of either gender. What better than the one-two punch of MoMA String-Along Books and MoMA Stroller Cards? These are perfect distractions for short attention spans, excellent developers of basic motor skills, and sly introductions to reading and art. The baby will practically be né Renaissance.

And for the first of my high school friends to have a baby, something that takes a bit of planning but will be well worth it in the end. Wendy Tsao created Child’s Own Studio after stumbling onto the brilliant idea of making stuffed animals based on her son’s drawings; now, she’s combined her favorite art form with an ingenious business. She’s made about 400 stuffed animals commissioned by customers online; if you catch her before her wait list fills up, you can submit one of your own kid’s drawings and pay a ridiculously reasonable amount of money for her to bring it to life. Really, this is a gift for a parent. But it’s a pretty neat idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing Catalina’s creation in the plush (so to speak).

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