Need to buy the perfect present for a tot, tyke or preteen? We’ve rounded up oodles of ideas for all of the cool kids on your holiday shopping list.
The Retreat Backpack for Youth ($85) from Herschel is a scaled-down version of the brand’s popular bag for adults. It comes in an adorable assortment of patterns, including stickers, flowers and tugboats, along with solid colours such as fuchsia and blue. The bag is perfectly sized to fit kids aged five to seven.
Chocolate Activity Box
The Santa’s Workshop Activity Box ($22) from Purdys Chocolatier includes all kinds of milk chocolate and white chocolate goodies. After the tasty treats are gone, the box transforms into a four-player board game. Other palate-pleasing picks for cool kids include the Dear Santa Chocolate Bar ($5), Milk Chocolate Santa Lolly ($2.75), White Chocolate Jolly St. Nick ($4.50), Yetimallow Bar ($4.50) and Chocolate Coins ($9.50).
A sweet tale about overcoming fear, Fiona the Fruit Bat ($22.95) is also filled with fascinating facts about bats, including the science of echolocation. Author and biologist Dan Riskin has spent years studying the winged creatures. For ages three to seven.
Necklace, Pendant and Earrings
The Pavé Web Slinger Necklace Set ($255) from Pandora is sure to delight any fan of both sparkly jewellery and Marvel’s Spider-Man. This eye-catching set includes a necklace, pendant and stud earrings, crafted from sterling silver and accented with cubic zirconia.
Available at Nordstrom, the Plan World Set of 5 Cars ($65) from Plantoys features a truck, bus, sedan, SUV and wagon, all crafted from chemical-free rubberwood and coloured using water-based dyes. For ages three and up.
The Youth Sorel Explorer Cozy Boot ($125) is the very definition of cozy, with its fleece lining (to keep toes toasty warm) and waterproof overlays (to stop snow and slush from seeping in). Sorel has long been known for crafting boots that can stand up to Mother Nature’s worst winter weather — and look good at the same time.
The Dyson Cord-Free Toy Vacuum ($44.99) from BuyBuy Baby will have cool kids clamouring to help come clean-up time. This easy-to-assemble toy vacuum can even pick up small bits of paper and tiny beads. For ages three to six.
Monkey noodles and stress balls and infinity cubes, oh my! Each day of the Fidget Countdown To Christmas! Advent Calendar ($69.99) from Showcase is filled with fidgety fun, from popping games to sensory rings to Squish-icky Glitter Ballz. For ages four and up.
Trampoline and gaming console
The two-piece Chocolate PJ Set ($38) from Montreal company Petit Lem features an adorable bear cub print. Made out of organically grown cotton rib, these long-sleeved pyjamas keep cool kids warm on chilly winter nights.
Paint by Numbers
The Wonder Co. Dinosaur Paint by Numbers ($12.99) from Indigo includes everything an aspiring Frida Kahlo or Vincent van Gogh needs to get started: canvas, paint brushes and pots of paint. For ages five and up.
Santa ABC ($14.99) by George Fewster teaches wee ones the alphabet, from Astronaut Santa to Zombie Santa. This whimsical board book depicts the jolly old elf as a barista, ninja, Olympic snowboarder, Viking and more. For ages three to seven.
The Blåvingad collection from IKEA includes soft and cuddly versions of creatures from the deep blue sea, such as a turtle ($9.99), orca ($19.99), octopus ($19.99) and blue whale ($39.99) with a zippered mouth, ideal for storing pyjamas — or stashing pirate treasure.
Available in six fun colours, the Blok 33 (US$179) is a sturdy but stylish Swiss-made watch designed specifically for cool kids. This waterproof analogue timepiece features a rotating bezel divided into four time “bloks” — of five, 10, 15 and 30 minutes — to help kids visualize the passing of time. Plus, each Blok watch has a 10-year battery life.
The Kid Made Modern Over the Rainbow Craft Kit ($34.99) from Nordstrom has everything needed to keep a kid busy for hours — or days — including fuzzy sticks, paper straws, pompoms, beads, glitter sheets, cording and googly eyes. All that’s needed is a dash of imagination. For ages six and up.
The Baby 1996 Retro Nuptse One-Piece ($199.99) from The North Face has 700-fill goose down, which is warm but still extremely compressible, and fold-over mitts, to avoid the hassle of mittens going astray.
It just doesn’t get any more whimsical than a pair of pink or blue Jester slippers ($59) from Toronto company Betterfelt. And these adorable creations don’t just look good — they do good, too. Made from ethically sourced New Zealand wool felt (a sustainable material that naturally protects against dirt and odours), the slippers are handcrafted by artisans in Nepal who receive fair wages. Betterfelt even pays for the artisans’ children’s education.
Book of Weird Facts
The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers: A Tour of Your Useless Parts, Flaws, and Other Weird Bits ($24.95) by Rachel Poliquin explores the extremely odd world of the human body. Kids can follow along with tour guides Wisdom Tooth and Disappearing Kidney as they examine goosebumps, hiccups, the appendix and other oddities of evolution. For ages seven to 11.
Cool kids can whiz along at 8 kilometres per hour on the Gyrocopters Glow Kids Electric Scooter ($349.99) from The Bay, with rainbow-coloured LEDs popping the whole way. The easy-to-access rear-fender foot brake makes stopping simple, while the adjustable-height handlebar means the scooter can grow with the child. The scooter’s lithium battery takes about two hours to charge. For ages three to eight.
Each Pasha Beaded Bracelet ($35) from Suetables is made by hand and features freshwater pearl beads along with seed beads in a rainbow of colours. This cheerful piece of jewellery looks great either worn on its own or stacked with other fun bracelets from the Canadian company.
The long-sleeved Little Happiness Dress ($68) from Little Yogi is sure to spread happiness, putting a smile on any child’s face. The Quebec company uses bamboo and organic cotton fabrics to make comfy kids’ clothing in colours and styles that defy typical gender expectations.
Cool kids and awesome adults alike love how comfy and lightweight Native Shoes are. The footwear is also undeniably fun, especially the Jefferson Disney Print ($55), part of the Disney x Native Shoes Collection.
Outfit the whole family in matching holiday pyjamas from Nest Designs. The Eric Carle Candy Cane Lane print comes on organic cotton PJs for babies ($38), kids ($43), women ($82) and men ($82) — and even on a quilted bamboo blanket ($142).
Garmin has a Vivofit Jr. 3 ($119.99) for every pop-culture taste, including Black Panther, Star Wars: The Mandalorian and Disney Princess. The swim-friendly fitness tracker monitors kids’ daily steps, activity and sleep. Parents can easily assign tasks and chores — and designate rewards — using a smartphone app.
How many more sleeps until Old Saint Nick comes? The Mini Maison Gingerbread Countdown Calendar ($34.99) from Indigo helps cool kids count down the days, and this charming wooden calendar can be reused year after year. For ages one and up.
Made from recycled polyester, the Black and White Checkered Hooded Sherpa Jacket ($85) from Miles the Label features an elasticized waistband and cuffs, to keep out the winter chill. The Montreal brand focuses on durability and sustainability in all of its styles for cool kids.
The Radio Flyer 3-in-1 EZ Fold Wagon with Canopy ($259.99) from BuyBuy Baby offers triple the fun at playtime since it can be used as a covered wagon, an open wagon or a bench seat. For ages three to 10.
Even on the wettest winter days, kids stay dry and comfy in a Heritage Newt Suit ($99.95) from MEC. This redesigned suit uses waterproof fabric and fully taped seams to withstand even the soggiest weather. Long zippers make the whole thing easy-peasy to get on and off.
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Custom Water Bottle
Perhaps you know VistaPrint only as the place to order business cards and brochures, but the online shop also sells a whole array of items that can be customized for holiday giving, from pillows and jigsaw puzzles to fleece blankets and Christmas tree ornaments. Available in five colours, the double-walled Kids’ Water Bottle ($28.99) can be personalized with a name and a cheerful graphic, such as a heart or a car.
Celebrity chef Duff Goldman — host of Kids Baking Championship — collected dozens of his favourite recipes in Super Good Cookies for Kids ($27.99). Easy-to-follow instructions help budding bakers whip up tasty treats such as rainbow checkerboard cookies, white chocolate gingersnaps, tuiles, Danish stroopwafel and milk chocolate butterscotch cookies. For ages eight to 12.
Cup and Straw
Crafted from food-grade silicone, the toddler-friendly Born To Be Wild Kids Cup with Straw ($18) from Loulou Lollipop is available in an array of colours, each with a different animal on the straw. The Vancouver brand was founded by twin sisters who started out making teething necklaces.
Cool kids are free to write and draw — and dream — within the pages of a Wonder Co. Squishy Notebook ($16.99) from Indigo. Each one is adorned with a squishy dinosaur or skiing penguin. For ages five and up.
Bath time becomes a little more fragrant and fruity — not to mention fun — with the Berries and Bubbles Bath Ritual Gift Set ($29) from The Body Shop. The set contains Berry Bath Blend, a hydrating bath foam; a bath sponge, for gentle exfoliation; and moisturizing Strawberry Body Yogurt.
Custom Clothing Stamp
Kids enjoy personalizing hoodies, socks, notebooks and more using The Name Stamp, while parents enjoy losing fewer items — and spending less time sorting socks. The stamps, which come in adorable shapes such as squirrels (US$29.99) and friendly animals (US$29.99), can each be used more than 1,000 times.
The entire family can join in the festive fun by wearing matching holiday PJs from Current Tyed. The Winter Berry design is available on pyjama sets for women ($89.99), men ($89.99) and kids ($49.99), and also on a nightgown for children ($44.99). They’re made from a blend of bamboo and spandex.
BiMoo tablecloths ($39.95) are designed to be coloured, washed and reused. Each one is based on a theme such as animals, planets, emotions and Christmas. The company also makes double-sided colouring placements ($19.95). Recommended for ages two to four (but they’re fun for ages two to 10).
Waterproof but breathable, the insulated 2L One Piece ($299.99) from Burton was made for frolicking in the snow. This durable snowsuit was also designed to last as long as possible, with its reinforced knee panels and extendable sleeves and pantlegs.
Plush Pet Replica
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Celebrate a child’s favourite furbaby by getting a stuffed-animal replica made of their precious pet. Cuddle Clones captures all the distinctive details of a beloved cat or dog in a custom plush toy (US$399) — and donates meals and toys to shelter pets at the same time.