Wonderbly personalised Christmas books sitting under a Christmas tree

Imagination-boosting Christmas gifts for kids

It’s kind of a mega deal, this Christmas business, and no one loves the magic of it more than babies and kids. But, what to get them to really fire up the imaginations and be the best aunt/uncle/parent/all-round person always involves a fair bit of research. Fun research, but research nonetheless. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to bring you some totally excellent Christmas gift ideas for kids, all in a handy little (okay, sort of little) list.

Perhaps the elves in question are into puzzles, imaginative play, or music? Maybe they just love love love their favorite film characters? Even if they’re just beginning to ‘coo’ and ‘caa’, we’ve rounded up some of the world’s top retailers and found plenty to please. And you can include their name on some of these presents, which means you can mark personalized Christmas gifts for kids as one less thing to do this season. Then, you can use the time saved to whizz around the ice rink or perfect your chocolate to whipped cream cocoa ratio. Thank us later.

For the kids who take play very seriously

There are loads of benefits to imaginative play. You know, those games that involve pretend-eating Play-Doh cookies, playing a doctors’ patient, or admiring your little buddy’s makeshift superhero cape? Role-play helps kids manage stress and understand the world, which is good to keep in mind whenever an enthusiastic child sits you on a tiny chair and offers you a muddy-looking ‘coffee’ in an old egg cup.

Luckily, you don’t need to look very far to find some great role-play toys that are just begging to be handled by grubby little paws. Let’s start with Melissa & Doug’s range of wooden preschool toys, which routinely appear on Top Ten lists the world over. Their Barber Role-Play Set looks a lot of fun, and far less unnerving than a child asking to play hairdressers while brandishing craft scissors. Imaginative young game-players might also appreciate the Brew & Serve Coffee set – as might you (well, it’s definitely better than mud in an old egg cup). And, perhaps more surprisingly, their Super Smile Dentist play set is an oft-recommended best-seller that comes complete with its own dentist drill.

Lastly, little ones who love immersing themselves in alternate worlds might get a kick out of our newest festive personalized book, Your Night Before Christmas. Based on the famous poem, it takes inquisitive kids on a nighttime journey to recover their name and find Santa Claus himself. Because at Wonderbly we, too, take imagination very seriously.

Your Treasury of Nursery Rhymes Christmas Edition book

For giddy little gamers and puzzle-lovers

If you know anything about educational play, you may well have heard of the Numberblocks. These cubed characters obsessed with counting are loved by pre-schoolers, and after online retailer Amazon included the Numberblocks Learning Resources MathLink Cubes – a set of Numberblocks and maths games – in their 2022 Top Ten they’re expected to be a Christmas bestseller. Also promising to be popular is Osmo’s Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad. It requires a screen, yes, but it also involves getting hands-on with learning games and encourages creativity and problem-solving.

Another Amazon bestseller is Throw Throw Avocado by Exploding Kittens. As the name indicates, this is not your traditional Christmas board game, but it’d definitely inject some energy into the post-dinner slump. Basically, you collect cards while throwing (and avoiding) large squishy avocados, which sounds like a winning formula for high-energy older kids who don’t want to sit with Grandad and learn to play chess.

However, if the little elves in your life (or, indeed, the bigger elves) prefer less exhausting Christmas afternoon activities, our Where Are You? Extended Christmas Edition personalised book might be just the ticket. It’s less throwing things at family members; more teamwork and puzzle-solving. Think search-and-find, not fruit-and-veg.

Where are You? Christmas Edition book

For the ‘let’s watch it again! (and again!)’ movie fans

If you’ve ever sat in a cinema with a child under six, you’ll know literally nothing guarantees they will sit still. Even so, we try, and thus screen-time is a fact of life. Many children will happily re-watch their favorite shows until the sound becomes something akin to white noise, albeit at a higher and more irritating pitch. Perhaps you’ve had this experience with Frozen? Now, we have nothing against Let It Go, but if you’d like to encourage a Frozen-loving child to let go of the TV remote on Christmas Day, the Disney Frozen Ultimate Arendelle Castle might persuade them. Toy manufacturer Mattel thinks it’ll be one of their biggest festive hitters, so it’s worth a shot.

Unsurprisingly, given her sell-out summer, Barbie is another Mattel creation putting her best foot forward this Christmas. Younger ones may not have seen the record-breaking Barbie movie but this doll will never go out of fashion, so why not introduce them? With multiple versions of Barbie, Ken, the Dreamhouse and the pink convertible, there are Barbie gifts to suit every budget. 

Alternatively, you could put the little character in your life in a show of their own with our 12 Days of Christmas book. Add up to 3 kids and 1-2 adult names and, voila, you’ve got a personalized book that’ll take them on a journey to rival any movie. And no bursting into song! Unless anyone wants to.

Illustrations from Your Treasury of Nursery Rhymes Christmas Edition book

For the tiniest elves

Another regular on many a Top Ten Toys for Christmas list is this Fisher-Price Mix and Learn Music Table – a lovely way to introduce noise-makers to music and melody. Suitable for babies 6-36 months, it adapts as they grow and comes with an actual DJ deck (of sorts). Because if you know a little one who’ll be making a racket Christmas morning, it might as well involve a (play) piano.

If they’re more into building than mixing, that’s fine. The experts over at Lego have compiled a list of construction projects they expect to be popular this Christmas, including the DUPLO Town Amusement Park. DUPLO is Lego’s toddler range, suitable for children aged 2+. This particular set also brings in elements of role-play so, no-brainer – right?

Finally, we have a whole range of personalised books designed to take even the littlest ones on incredible adventures. Countdown to a special Christmas with First Christmas For You, put them centre-stage in Your Treasury of Nursery Rhymes: Christmas Edition, or shine a light on sibling bonds with Me and My Big Sibling. Books are for life, but we do think Christmas is a great time to start sharing stories.