Christmas gift ideas for school kids
The anticipation for school-going kids is different for any other age, because they get to write a Christmas letter to Father Christmas directly.
The breathless excitement of how Father Christmas might respond on Christmas morning, Christmas carols and mum and dad's deferred "let's wait and see what Father Christmas brings" when requests for big purchase items are made during the year add to all the excitement.
You can be sure that as the cookies and milk are laid out for the big guy and the carrots put out for the reindeer, a silent wish will be muttered one last time, before sleepy eyes finally give in on Christmas eve.
For family and friends of school going kids, knowing what to buy can be a wee bit tricky. It would definitely be a good idea to check in with mum and dad so you don't accidently buy something Father Christmas will be dropping off and ruin the surprise.
Smart toy ideas
We asked a few retailers what they thought their best sellers would be this Christmas and this is what they came back with:
Books: Always a hit with school kids, who will be learning to read and developing their skills. The Lemony Snicket and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are both great options.
Summer gear: Togs, beach towels, jandals and themed shirts are always popular.
Girl's toys: Furby is back! The hit from the 1990s is back and smarter than ever. For the non-Furby fan, some fun kids' beauty products will be a sure favourite and for the more traditional, Cabbage Patch dolls have made a huge comeback.
Boys' toys: Lego is always a hit for boys, as well as the Hail-Fire Nerf gun (a gun that shoots foam bullets) the popular Bop-It is also a great option.
Clever games: For little kids who aren't so little any more but aren't yet tweens, there's the Creative Group and Small World Craft Range, available for both boys and girls.
Gender Neutral: Bikes, piggy banks, and talking robots - there are so many gifts available for every kind of personality at this age.
Think outside the Christmas box
Something long-term: At this stage, it might be a good idea to look at giving the school going-child in your family something that will help them develop skills that will help them in the future. For example, you could buy them a special money box and with a bit of a "deposit". Tell them that for birthdays, you will gift them a little money, which they should save for a bigger purchase they would really like. Not only will they feel ever so grown up about having their own cash, but they will be learning the valuable lesson of planning and saving, staving off short term gratification for long term gain.
Something a bit dear: For many families, the special extras that come up during the year can put significant strain on the family budget. Maybe the school going kid in your family is going to be having a school camp coming up, or maybe they would love to take guitar lessons, but mum and dad can only afford two a month and not four. In this instance, you could make a big difference to mum and dad without them feeling like they have let their child down. Find out if there are any big expenses (or big dreams) for next year and, if you can help out, gift a contribution for this.
Something to make memories: Gifts are great, they are exciting, they make Christmas magical, but quality time and memories are something children carry through with them for the rest of their lives. For Granny and Grandad, why not gift a special trip? Perhaps a date to the movies with your grandchild, or a real special weekend, just the three of you. If they have younger siblings (who perhaps steal the limelight at Christmas time) it will give them a sense of independence and feel very special indeed. Save the money you would have spent on a gift and use it for a real special treat. Not only will the time you spend with them make them feel very grown up (especially a trip into town, catching the bus together, going to a "real" restaurant for a special meal) but the memory of your time together is something they will carry with them for many Christmases to come.
Tell us: What was the best Christmas gift your school-going child ever received?