Reader Question: Gift Ideas for a 13-Year-Old Girl 🎄
Hi Swistle, I’m hoping you and/or your readers can help. My daughter turns 13 this month and I am at a TOTAL loss as to what to get her.
This is a hard age I feel like. My mom wanted to get her an iPhone and I told her NO. I’m trying to hold out as long as possible, because once you cross that line, there is no going back. Besides, Sophie is not really home alone (I pick her up from school every day and continue my work day at home), and she literally only has one friend and so…it’d be pointless. Not to mention that we have – let me count – SEVEN digital devices already in the home for TWO people.
Sophie doesn’t like to travel. Or Shop. Or do scary things. Or do adventurous things. Or have any desire to get her ears pierced. Or her nails done. We just moved in here in May, so she just redid her room. She’s not really into American Girl Dolls anymore; she doesn’t really play. I’m at a complete and total loss, and so is she as far as giving ideas. HELP??!!?
Let me know,
I love cool coincidences, and this email came in THE DAY AFTER I CHOSE A GIFT FOR A 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL. Also, I’ve been working on ideas for Christmas, because the three eldest kids are getting really hard to buy for, and one of those eldest kids is a girl of approximately this age. So I would love to collect some ideas.
Here is what I bought for someone else’s 13-year-old girl, on the advice of her friend Elizabeth:
An OPI mini nailpolishes set. It was not a Hello Kitty one, but similar, with six different colors. I found it at Marshalls for $6 on a post-Christmas clearance last year and bought two, one for Elizabeth and one to set aside for a future birthday party she might attend, and finally the birthday party presented itself. This might not work for Sophie, since she’s not into having her nails done, but I list it anyway in case it might help with someone else’s 13-year-old girl.
Paint-by-Sticker book. I am a little concerned about giving a potentially frustrating craft to someone entering the peak door-slamming years, but on the other hand it will happen at someone else’s house, so. Also, the easier ones are marked “for kids!,” which I suspect would be displeasing to a 13-year-old. I do recommend having someone TELL the 13-year-old girl that there are grown adult women who found the craft so hard they wanted to cry, because that seems to set expectations at the right level.
Would she like Thinking Putty? There are a ton of kinds to choose from: iridescent, heat-sensitive, magnetic, metallic. But I recommend this only for a Very Careful child. One of my children got some into one of his dresser drawers and onto one of the recliners, and this stuff is TERRIBLE with fabric.
Duct tape crafts are still pretty popular at my kids’ middle school. Can anyone recommend a particular book of duct tape crafts that their child used/liked? If so, I can add a link here later.
Does she like puzzles? Elizabeth has this Ravensburger Happy Animal Buddies one. For her, it’s difficult enough that she needs to work on it with a grown-up or else she gets discouraged—but puzzles are one of the things I like to do with her, so that’s okay. If she wants to do one on her own, she does a 100-piece one; I looked for the ones we have and like, but I’m not seeing them. We have a bunch of Crocodile Creek 100-piece puzzles, but I’m not seeing many of those at all; it looks like they’ve switched mostly to smaller numbers of pieces. Ravensburger is a brand we liked, and Mudpuppy, and Springbok. If I were buying her one now, I’d get her this Mudpuppy Forest Friends one.
Here are a few of the things I’m considering getting for Elizabeth for Christmas:
Clip-in colored hair streaks. She keeps mentioning wanting a colored streak in her hair, but she’s indecisive, and the last time we had color put in her hair (teal ends) they washed out so quickly. This seems like a fun way to avoid those issues.
Pusheen plush. I think I’ve mentioned this one before. We still haven’t bought it for her, because it is my feeling that we have already reached Maximum Stuffed Animal.
Nerf Rebelle gun and darts. Elizabeth and I are of one mind on this issue: (1) We are offended by this marketing. Oh, we’re girls so we have to be appealed to with PASTELS and PRETTY PATTERNS? We’re girls so “rebel” has to be spelled “rebelle,” because a word always means boys by default, and has to be changed if it’s going to refer to girls instead?? (2) Sheepishly, we both suddenly want this Nerf gun and these Nerf darts. (It is the same for me with “women’s” tool kits.)
I have mixed feelings about toy guns to begin with, but Henry is SO KEEN on them that I made some decisions I would completely understand if you came down on the other side of. I don’t think Elizabeth wants this toy enough for me to make that same decision—but on the other hand, I don’t like the idea of being like “yes for boys, no for girls,” even though that’s NOT what I’m saying. Also, I want an excuse to buy the pretty darts. Also, I already floated the idea with Henry and he’s very keen to help me choose WHICH of the Rebelle guns I should buy, and he has many opinions about what makes each one good/bad and knows all about which non-Rebelle Nerf gun each Rebelle Nerf gun is based on, and it appeals to me to call in his expertise on this. I don’t know. We’ll see when we get closer to Christmas.
Tiny Hats on Cats book. This I purchased within 30 seconds of learning of its existence. Then I told Paul NOT to get it from the library if he sees it there. Every year, EVERY year, I buy a new and interesting book for each child; and every year, EVERY year, Paul sees one or more of those books at the library in the week or two before Christmas and brings it home.
Rad Women Worldwide. This isn’t something she added to her wish list, but it’s something I’d like her to have.
More nail polishes. We both like the OPI brand, and I can find them for about $4 each at Marshalls and TJMaxx, so I’m planning to buy some and put them aside. My favorite would be to buy her Christmas-y ones—but then she receives them too late to use them that year.
Footless sleeper. She is 5’4″ and getting perilously close to being too tall for these, but still fits into the biggest size.
I’ve been thinking about a coloring book; she still has and uses these glitter pens (she has a set of warm and a set of cool). I’m not sure about this book in particular, but it’s the sort of thing I’m looking for; I’d love to get more recommendations. I’m also looking for recommendations for coloring implements. I use colored pencils but I’ve heard about…is it gel pens? Is that what people use for coloring books? If so, I’d like to get her a nice big set of those. The glitter pens are really fun but there are only ten colors, and they’re all glittery. I’ll come back and add some links here if some favorites emerge in the comments.
We’re also considering getting older-model Android phones for both twins. Paul handles this completely so I have no link. It’s gotten to the point where them NOT having phones is causing ME inconvenience and stress (they both do assorted after-school activities, and Elizabeth recently went to a sleepover and then I had a concern that could have been alleviated by a text but was not worth a phone call to the other girl’s mother), which was our deciding factor when considering phones for the older boys. So we could relieve a fair amount of our Christmas stress by getting them each one of those plus a Google Play card to buy apps and app-related merchandise.
The problem would be that we’ve set up a precedent for A Big 13-Year-Old Birthday Gift, and if we give them phones for Christmas we need to come up with something else for the birthdays. So maybe we should just hang on awhile longer.
That’s what I’ve got so far. She might want another outfit for her cat, but she hasn’t put any clothes on him in ages so that might be over. I am hoping some of you with children this age can give us more ideas.
Edited to add: People in the comments section are talking about what they wanted/got at that age, and that is such a fun idea. When I was around 13, I got a desk blotter set I really, really wanted (pink, with multicolored hearts, and pink paper, and a pink pen holder that held a pink pen); a pink backrest; pink Reebok sneakers; a pink electric blanket (what, do you think, was Young Swistle’s favorite color?); a boom box (BOOM BOX) that had TWO cassette players (CASSETTES) so you could record from one cassette to the other (MIX TAPES); a little starter make-up set geared toward adolescent girls; a jewelry box; a music box; a purse; pretty stationery; a 110 camera; Bloom County stuff (calendar, books, Opus plushes).
Big hits were ANYTHING chosen by my aunt, because she had a daughter four years older than me, so she gave me things that thrilled my early-teen soul: perfume, a thin gold bracelet, a hot-turquoise button-down shirt, a tapestry vest, a plastic double-strand pearl bead necklace—all stuff my older cousin was interested in and that I was a little too young for but recognized immediately as COOL TEENAGER STUFF.
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