Needing Advice on What to Buy for My 2 Preteen Boys for Christmas

Updated on March 04, 2008
M.M. asks from Knoxville, TN
20 answers

I am at a loss as to what to buy for my 2 preteen boys and even my 8 almost 9 year old boy. They are too old to play with toys...they enjoy video games but those can get expensive. Of course they will receive some clothes but I am totally at a loss as to what preteen boys like. I want to be fair to all of my children so we always set a maximum price to spend on each child. However, you can buy a lot more for younger kids for say, 100 dollars, but 2 video games cost at least that if not more. I don't want my older kids to feel they are getting slighted and that the younger children received more presents then them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. This is already worrying me because I want to be fair to all.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses to my request. I started thinking last night (I couldn't sleep) and I thought about getting each child one of those rubbermaid totes and for the younger children fill it with age appropriate toys and clothes. For the older children, they would also get a tote which will have clothes in it and I really like the idea of putting their money in the tote. That way they can pick out their own toys for Christmas. Either that or a gift card to walmart. They love walmart. Then I could put a big bow on each tote and write their names on each tote. What does anyone think about this idea? Again, thanks for the great advice.

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answers from Mobile on

I would suggest I Pods, Playstation Games, DDR (dance, dance, revolution I think), prepaid music download cards, a gift card to the mall, tennis shoes (that you normally wouldn't buy), dvds, fly pens

Hope this helps.




answers from Dothan on

I explain to my older children about the cost. I explain to them that just because it looks like more was spent on their younger sister, it was not. I tell them that I can get much more for her for the same cost as say one video game.

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answers from Chattanooga on

I love the ideas already posted, but I especially think that the $100's in 1's is fabulous! What about doing that with gift cards but only in 10's or 25's. wrap them all up and make a scavenger hunt for them. that sound like so much fun. A friend of mine has celebrated this tradition since she was a little girl and now she has children and her mom (grandma!) is still doing a treasure hunt! She still loves it even though she is in her 30's.
Christmas is about memories, and caring for our familiy not always the quantity. If we have fun WITH our children they usually---even the teens--remember, the laughter, and true joy of family life for years and years to come.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

I have an 11 year old son and what I have always done is pre-shop for Christmas with him. I set an overall price limit so he can pick one big item or several smaller items. I also will look for video games that he wants at places like GameStop - they sell used games but most come with a warranty.

I always have little more budget than he knows about so I, or Santa, can slip in one or two wish list presents as surprises.

Have a wonderful holiday with your family !!!



answers from Memphis on

It is harder the older they get, I have a 16 year old. Start saving now for those years. I also have a 12 year old son. I found a Nintendo DS bundle ( if yours doesn't have one yet)at, that comes with two games and one game cartridge has 4 games on it, accessory kit and the system for $149. That is only $20 more than the system itself. I also have a 14 yr old daughter, she is getting one too.
Then there is always gift cards, that seems best as they get older. Just make a big deal about it, hide it in a box of their favorite candy or put it with their favorite movie. Then there is always the underwear, hide it under a pkg of them, and the box in a box, in a box, in a box, lol.
Good luck and God bless you. Hope your family has a great Holiday. T.



answers from Birmingham on

Are you sure they wouldn't like to play with Legos or Bionicles? My 10-yr-old son is crazy over these, as are many of his friends. The Star Wars legos are particularly popular and range from $15 - $100. Lego website also has games to play online.
What about sports gear or model cars/planes/trains? Webkinz are very popular right now also, even among boys that age.
Jigsaw puzzles and board games can be good. And you might want a book of MadLibs for the whole family.



answers from Shreveport on

I can't really help you with new ideas about what to buy your older boys for Christmas, but I will say there are stores that sell used video games a lot cheaper. Game Stop sells games that people "trade in" and sometimes they are as cheap as 9 bucks..depending on what you want to buy. The games are not damaged, just some people may not like the game after they buy it or they beat the game and trade it in. Also movie rental stores sometimes sell games at discount price.
I don't know how your boys would like money for a gift, but once I hit a certain hard-to-buy-for age, my grandparents and parents would just give me money and I was able to save it or spend it on whatever I wanted. It might seem like that isn't putting much thought into a gift, but I know when I was a teen..I would liked the freedom to buy what I really wanted.
Just a thought.



answers from Baton Rouge on

First of all, I'd like to say "Cheers to you" for being a mom of 6! I only have one right now, and she's a handful :)

Maybe you can get your preteen boys some CDs of their favorite bands or DVDs of their favorite movies or TV shows. Also, check around on eBay, you may be able to find video games, DVDs, & CDs cheap. I'm not sure if the boys like board games, but maybe that's an option too. (Monopoly, Battleship, etc).

Also, I just bought my 9 year old niece this controller at Wal-Mart for about $19 that has about 5 "classic" games built in (Pac-Man, Connect 4, etc), where all you do is plug in the controller to the TV and you can pick what game you want to play. I tried to find it on Wal-Mart's website, but I can't remember the name of it. But it's not the one with the Atari like joystick, it looks like a regular controller.



answers from Fayetteville on

The most wonderful Christmas I ever had was when my mom and dad wrapped up a huge was the only one I had under the tree(I was a little disappointed about that). On Christmas morning, I unwrapped it, and inside was a bunch of shipping peanuts, shredded paper, and a brick in the bottom. Mixed in with the shredded papaer was $100 of $1 bills. I bought my own Christmas presents for the next 2 months! Let us know if we help you at all. : )



answers from Mobile on

My husband is a teacher at a middle school and what I hear a lot of the students saying is that they are confused because they are too old for toys but too young not to love getting toys at Christmas. The discovery channel store has some great ideas. Also, visit a hobby store like Hobbytown USA - even my Dad loves that store. Models they can build are fantastic as long as it isn't too complicated where they lose interest. Another great place I go for ideas is Good luck and happy holidays!



answers from Knoxville on

If your boys are creative try paint sets or writing materials. Boys also like trading cards and collectible figures. model cars and die cast kits. role playing games would be inexpensive if you get them a starter set. remote control cars are great. my boys like zip zaps. They make a lot of great connectors sets like magnetics. puzzles are good. There are stores like smart toys and books that have invention sets and telescopes. There's rollerblades. Or think about a pet like lizards or snakes or amphipians. Most lizards dont require a lot of attention or maintenance. Good luck!!!



answers from Huntsville on

Check ou I saw this catalog at a neighbor's house who has a boy about the same age. There are neat things in there like chemistry sets, building a hydrodynamic plant, a robotic insect kit, build a small electric race car, a game called Great States (that I'm eyeing for later when my kids are older), a small pottery wheel, a kit to help you learn how to draw race cars, a game called Gambit that got the Parent's Choice Siler Award, a microscope, several different building projects (a skyscraper, model home, etc.).....

Most of the products in that catalog are geared toward a younger age group, but these items are definitely for the older ages. Hope this helps!




answers from New Orleans on

I have two grandsons that are 12 and 14. I like to go to the discovery isle at Target or Toys R Us and look at the learning items like telescopes, or things that will peak their imagination. Also musical instruments like keyboards, guitar and karoke machines are popular. I also buy kits that can be assembled and painted for them. Even tho the highlight of their life seems to be video games, they do enjoy the things that I get them. It also gives me great joy when they finish them and show them to me. I am trying to buy things that pry them off the couch into some sort of activity.



answers from Shreveport on

You would be surprised at what you can find at the dollar store, possibly a model car, smelly soap etc, get them a gift card to game stop, they sell used games and movies, honestly the gift cards work best with the older ones, then just look at walmart for odds and ends, weights, things for their room, cd holders etc.



answers from Springfield on

they are never to old for toys, but generally if you are in a quandry about what to buy, ask them for some ideas. ask them what they have been dreaming about for christmas or even birthdays, and then go from there. they may not get everything they want, but at least they might get something that they are wanting.



answers from Hattiesburg on

We do gift cards.
You cn buy several in smaller deminsions, or one big one.
Make sure they are for a store with many selections... WalMart or Best Buy, or one with onlne options....
My nephew likes books, so we do Books A Million or Barnes and Noble, my younger cousin loves electronics, so we do Best Buy.
I think they have a much fun feeling "grown" and choosing their own gifts as anything we could choose to wrap for them. Plus, they get the experience of managing their own mooney and the wonderful life lessons that come with that.
As they get older, you can include them in the gift planning/buying. Let them know "This year we will spend $150 per family member. What do you think we should get for little brother?" This allows hem participate in creating the holiday (a wonderful lesson in giving) and allows them some insight into just how far a dollar goes... allieviating some of the jealousy and comparing. Once they understand the concept that the same amount is being spent on each, they will focus less on how many gifts that buys. (Ask my daughter if she would like 3 gifts otaling 100 or the MP3 player on her list that costs 100 alone, and she will answer the MP3 player).
Or, you can change your routine and purchase equal numbers of gifts, spreading the same total dollar amount around. You could easily get two or three gifts for the 2 and 4 year old for less than 80, allowing a little more to be shared among the older ones.
My mother always made sure we had the same number of packages... it works if you are creative. (A walkman and some lip gloss and a few hair bobs - a BB gun and a camoflage hat and scarf)
Hope this helps,
L. G



answers from Jackson on

I have 3 children and they are grown now but we always ask for a Christmas list of what they wanted andtold them we would spend a certain amount on them and anything else we spent was ours to choose .but that they could make a list and pick things they wanted because as they get older it gets harder to buy for them I had one that collected John Deere items one that played video game systems and our youngest always seem to get alot of things because she wanted little inexpesive things mostly but it never seem to bother the boys because they got what they ask for on there list.



answers from Memphis on

I have 2 children, boy (14) and a girl (11). I have the children to give us a list of 5 things that they would like an then we choose 3 of the 5, so we can surprise them and they don't know which 3 we will chose for them, but it is something that they wanted and asked for, so you cannot go wrong there. My son is also into video games; you can purchase video games offline from or, or chose only one game off each list, you can also tell them since the games are so expensive and you have other sisters and brothers that we have to provide for you are only allowed one game each unless it is over a certain amount. If the game is $60, let them know this will be the only video/toy you will receive for Christmas (along with their clothes,etc.) My son has known since 9 or 10 that games are expensive and you can chose one if it is over a certain amount; my son is a very humble and appreciative child when it comes to things like this. He always has been; his sister on the other hand is different, but understands this is what she chose, then this is what you get as she gets older she becomes more appreciative of things. Best of luck and I hope this works out for you and your family.



answers from New Orleans on

I am finding myself having issues with being "fair" this year. Last year i got my 9 year old son an ipod that cost over $100, and my 1 year old daughter that little bouncy zebra that was about $40. These gifts were supposed to be from Santa b/c that's what my son asked santa for. A few dyas later i heard him telling his grandma that santa brought his siter this "big ole" toy and all he got was a little tiny ipod. I figure this year i will look at it froma childs point of view...they have no concept of money or the price of toys (especially since santa brought it) so this year i will get them each "x" number of gifts from us and 1 "big" gift from santa, By big I mean size. We also have a 9 month old this christmas who could care less what's in all those shiny boxes, but it doesn't mean we won't buy her anything you know. I haven't tried it yet but I'm hoping that it works. My youngest are girls so there is so much stuff i could get them, and my oldest in 10 yr boy who loves video games too.



answers from Johnson City on

If you want to get them video games check at gamestop. They sell used games for all systems sometimes you can find them for 1.99-29.99 they are older games but they are guaranteed to work. they have an online store Also check out mp3 players `

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