(In be)Tween Christmas shopping

The word tween is a relatively new one. It literally means ‘in between’. In this case, in between child and teenager (with teenagers of course being between kids and adults). Tweens are aged 9 to 12. I am currently the proud owner of two of the male of the species and they are REALLY FLIPPING DIFFICULT TO BUY FOR.

It’s fun buying Christmas presents for babies and toddlers, isn’t it? So many cute little things. And little 5 year old girls, they’re fun to buy for too… Teenagers – you can buy them cool clothes in adult sizes and maybe some make-up.

But tweens?! Tween BOYS?!

What the blinking flip do you buy for them?!

My boys like the usual technology and games, but actually I suspect they like them a bit less than most boys of their age. After all, my eldest is the boys whose birthday presents came straight out of the 1950s

If you ask tween boys what they want for Christmas, they will usually grunt something or say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t care’. If you SUGGEST something that they don’t want, they will be very happy to say what they don’t want, but they won’t give you an alternative of something they actually DO want.

So you look round the shops for inspiration. And there is… Nothing.

They’re too big for toys, but too young for a lot of stuff aimed at adults.

Boys keep growing and they’re hard on clothes. Maybe some clothes would be good? So you look in the shops… Same problem. A lot of shops don’t stock above a 9-10 and even those that make them up to teenage sizes (thank you Next!) don’t actually have them in store, so you have to order them.

Guess what, clothes manufacturers?! There is an awful lot of growing to do between age 10 and man size! So where are the clothes for these tweens?

I’m a big fan of family Christmas cards We’re not a crafting type of family, I like proper SHOP-BOUGHT cards (sorry, I know that’s almost blasphemous to admit). Cards that say ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ or ‘husband’. But cards that actually suit the sons and daughter and husband I have at home. Again, the son cards are either super-cute babyish Father Christmas, snowmen and reindeers or for grown men. There is a huge gap in the market there for older kids. Yes, I could go online and order them from Funky Pigeon or wherever, but that takes a while and frankly the whole Christmas shopping lark is time consuming enough as it is.

So when I’ve wandered round the shops, looked online, talked to my kids and thought deeply about the whole Christmas shopping thing and STILL not come up with a solution, guess what happens?

The grandparents and uncles and aunties ask what they can get for them.

Because you can bet your bottom dollar quid that if their own parents don’t know what to get them, nobody else is going to know. So suddenly I’m left with an even bigger puzzle – working to budgets of varying sizes for two boys who have no idea what they want and a whole world of retailers who have no ideal solutions.

Do you have tween boys in your life? What do you buy them for Christmas? Is technology really the only answer?

Author: Sarah Mummy

Share This Post On


  1. I am ok for Max’s big present, shock horror, he wants a game! But little bits and pieces are far harder. When we cleared his room back in the summer to make it more grown up, I came across loads of craft/science kits etc that had never even been opened, so this year am getting far less crap- it just doesn’t get used! I have gone for books mostly, non fiction, related to his interests, and a few novelty items connected to his love of games- but it is WAY easier getting stuff for the big girl and the small boy! Do you have an M and Co? I find them ok for boys clothes too, although Next is my favourite- ours is the size of a postage stamp so I have to order everything in too!

    Post a Reply
  2. I don’t have tween boys, I have little boys. My 3 year old wants ‘presents’ and chocolate for Christmas. My 5 year old has a list as long as your arm that starts with lego and then goes through every type of lego you can think of!

    Post a Reply
  3. Oh Sarah I so get what you’re saying!! Just the same here – I manage to get my son (8) sorted with non-Nintendo related gifts and then two sets of grandparents and 4 sets of aunts and uncles want ideas!!!!! I love how great they are saying what they don’t want too. So tough xx

    Post a Reply
  4. Oh I am not looking forward to this stage at all! I am still at the easy bit with a six and two year old.

    Post a Reply
  5. It’s so hard isn’t it? I buy a lot of “disposable” gifts like food for my tweens but they are gamers so largely tech! Popping over from #pocolo

    Post a Reply
  6. My boys are 4 and 6 (and a baby) so still easy to buy for although I do find it tiring when other family members want to know what to get them and I have to think up masses of suggestions! My 6yo likes science things – chemistry sets etc but I don’t know if that works over the age of 8? Books and DVD’s are a big hit in our house too!

    Post a Reply
  7. Granted they’re not easy and I have quite a few tween boys to buy for. This year I’ve bought sets of Michael Morpurgo books and bags of popcorn with cinema vouchers (often appreciated as it gives them something to do after Christmas when they’re bored). Oh, and I most definitely feel your pain over having to supply gift suggestions for the rest of the family!

    Post a Reply
  8. Lol I have all girls so definitely don’t know about boys and I don’t think I’m looking forward to the tween years!! 🙂 #PoCoLo

    Post a Reply
  9. I think it gets harder and harder to buy for them as they get older and it don’t get no easier!! Even in their teens they don’t know what they want but then sulk they didn’t get what they wanted haha. dreading buying my 19 year old this year, not got a clue what to buy him, think Santa will leave him some money this year …

    Post a Reply
  10. Once the kids in our lives get to about 8 I just give them cash at Xmas & on birthdays , so much easier that way as they can buy whatever they want… not very original I know, but it keeps them happy 😉 #PoCoLo

    Post a Reply
  11. Thanks very much, everyone. I’m with you on the science kits etc, Sonya! They seem like a good idea, but never get used.
    Vouchers are definitely good for other’s people’s kids – and I know mine really appreciate them too, but you can’t really get them for your own kids, can you?!
    Clare – that is such an amazing list, thanks!
    Izzie – I love your cinema idea 🙂

    Post a Reply
  12. I have a girl tween and this is the first year for ages she’s been easy to buy for…..It’s all One Direction stuff….lol I wouldn’t have a clue to buy for a boy that age….My nephew is 12 and he’s getting vouchers to buy x-box games….lol

    Post a Reply
  13. My nephew is a tween and sooooo hard to buy for. He’s at that age where he likes labels but things aren’t available in his size (and are extortionate) and he would gladly accept money so its starting to go that way. So last few times he’s had a game, money, footy things,

    Post a Reply
  14. My cousins are tween boys mostly now; oh my goodness it is HARD! I feel for you and am not looking forward to this stage. I think when my brother was that age he mostly got money and then from parents he would get games for our (allegedly joint) games console. x

    Post a Reply
  15. This sounds like the worlds biggest nightmare – I have no idea!! I love the phrase blinking flip too!! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo – hope someone solves the dilemma! X

    Post a Reply
  16. I am finding it hard enough for Beth so no doubt your having a mare as boys are so much harder x

    Post a Reply
  17. Thanks very much, everyone. It seems like money and vouchers are the way forward for other people’s kids. I certainly don’t object when people give them to my sons.
    MG – makes me laugh about the allegedly joint games console!

    Post a Reply
  18. Half Pint is 11, and his Christmas stash consists of a tablet, and lots and lots of books. Other than that, I’m stumped…

    Post a Reply
  19. My almost 9 years old is all about technology and football so I buy electronics (games, new xBOx, tablet, etc), a new football shirt, and whatever knickknacks Arsenal has put out this year and he still doesn’t have. I dread the day he will have them all…
    But I agree with you completely about the lack of options, and the clothes problems. Can’t understand where I can find nice clothes…
    It is such a problem shopping for them…

    Post a Reply
  20. I think males are the most difficult to buy for full stop, let alone tween models. What about books?Long shot perhaps but always worth encouraging… Good luck. #pocolo

    Post a Reply
  21. Sounds like Half Pint is going to have a good Christmas, Sarah Anne!
    My younger son is similar to your boys, Orli, but I don’t think I’m as generous as you! They don’t get new technology very often – they’ve had their Wii since 2008! My younger saved up and bought himself a laptop, but I’ve never bought them a tablet or computer.
    They do love reading, makemeanearthmother, but they like to choose their own books!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: