The 2023 Christmas Gift Guide guides are looking a little different this year. Feedback is that readers want candid snaps of what they get from the retailer – what is in boxes! Families, us included will be on tighter budgets this year so we tend to pick a book, a gift of clothing, one or two practical gifts – especially in stockings then a couple of toys. I buy a mix of second-hand and new – always factor in postage costs. My littlest is easier to buy for than my 12-year-old who this year wants online games, Vbucks and a movie pass from Netflix. Stick with their likes and interests so things don’t sit unused on shelves.
We have made it easy to see the retailer, price, postage info etc, followed by our own review as a customer in our product descriptions. (Always check websites’ last postage before Christmas dates.)
P.s Check if websites have discounts to sign up to mailing lists before you buy – every little helps and most offer between 10-20% off on first purchase.
Remember to recycle what packaging you can and buy batteries/have scissors and screwdrivers on hand on Christmas day to avoid toys being trapped in boxes and not working.
Connetix 120 Piece Pastel Creative Pack UK, RRP £115.
Connetix Tiles was launched in June 2019 by two families who met when our children started primary school together. The Connetix Creative Pack features 8 earthy pastel colours and is made up of a huge 120 pieces. It is a great starter option for family play, adults supporting preschoolers (recommended age 3+), and for children playing independently – both my 5-year-old and 12-year-old loved them. The Pastel Creative Pack will encourage STEAM learning – imagination, creativity and encourage open-ended play! All tiles are made using non-toxic ABS plastic that is BPA and Phthalate free, sealed and riveted for extra safety. You can make castles and rockets, towers, coin drops, bridges explore patterns and shapes, create colour sorting boxes, plus so much more. You can add other Connetix packs (I love the clear pack) to grow the collection and they are also compatible with other leading brands. Included in the Pack are 8 x Large squares, 48 x Small squares, 16 x Equilateral triangles, 16 x Right angle triangles, 16 x Isosceles triangles, 8 x Window square pieces, 8 x Hollow square pieces and an Ideas Booklet. It is a versatile gift and what I love is the strength of the magnets, so nothing falls apart, it is a quality gift that will last for years. Shipping £9.23.
Yoto Mini Player (£59.99), Adventure Jacket (£19.99) and Yoto Cards (£5.99-£9.99).
Inspired by Montessori principles the Yoto player is a screen-free speaker that plays fun and educational audio content using either Yoto cards or the Yoto phone app. It is primarily marketed towards children ages 3-12. More than just a speaker the Yoto is designed to be child-controlled and the opportunity for listening, learning and play is endless! See our full REVIEW HERE. The Yoto Mini audio player is the younger sibling of the Yoto which fits in the palm of your hand, ideal for travel. Functionality is brilliant – the controls are simple, the small display offers a useful clock function and shows pixel images, and it has the familiar Yoto card slot. With its simple card system and chunky buttons, the device is easy to use and allows children to select and play their own content independently. You can access all the same music, stories, and FREE online content. You can also use it as a Bluetooth speaker. The Yoto Mini comes with a charging cable (USB) a make-your-own card and instructions for setup. This is quick and simple, download the APP, link through Wi-Fi, and set up an account. If you have a family account, you can add additional devices and share content! The brightly coloured Adventure Jacket helps to protect your Yoto from the bumps, knocks and drops that always happen with children around. They sell in a range of bright colours (7), the silicone carry cases fit snugly over the Yoto Mini, so the buttons are still accessible. They also come with a handy wrist strap. If you already have a player Yoto Cards are the perfect stocking filler – choose from Best Sellers or New Releases! You can select tales by age, creator and genre – single cards sell for under £10. We love the popular character stories such as Peppa Pig, Sesame Street, Meg and Mog (new) and the festive Christmas cards, including the Snowman. Our preference is buying from Yoto directly. We’ve found them to have great customer service, the entire range and you can start to build up Yoto Points which can be used against future purchases. Join Yoto Club for free UK shipping and 10% off all orders.
L.O.L Surprise! Bubble Surprise™ Doll, RRP £10 SALE £8.
From the makers of Bratz, entering into their sixth festive season are the popular L.O.L dolls. For ages 4+ these 3-inch dolls with gigantic eyes that comes with their own tiny accessories that come as ‘surprises’ to open inside a surprise ball. Introducing L.O.L. Surprise Bubble Surprise. Pour the broken heart pieces and water into the top of your L.O.L. Surprise ball, twist, then watch as the glittery bubble reaction changes colour and reveals your own collectable doll and surprises. Use warm water for best results. Will your cute doll cry, spit, tinkle, or colour change in cold water? There are 12 to collect! Complete your Bubble Surprise family with L.O.L. Surprise! Bubble Surprise Pets, Lil Sisters, and more! On Sale £8 Argos.
Gel Blaster Surge, RRP £60.
For older children age 14+ we would like to introduce the award-winning Gel Blaster Surge which takes teens to the next level in awesome outdoor fun. It is a step up from the Nerf foam bullet blaster. Welcome to competitive play! The rechargeable Gel Blaster SURGE shoots water-based beads. This innovative blaster is ready to blast straight out of the box – fully charged with a hopper full of hydrated Gellets. With the Gellets you need to soak them in water for 2+ hours and watch your ammo grow! It features 2 “Blast Modes” for enhanced combat strategy. Choose between semi-automatic (1 Gellet per trigger pull) or Full Automatic (8 Gellets per second when holding down the trigger) and get ready to dominate your battlefield. Two barrels are included to adjust your velocity (White: Maximum, Orange, Minimum). If you want la lighter impact, you can drop the velocity to as low as 90 Feet Per Second with the Orange barrel. For more intensity, you can increase your velocity up to 170 feet per second and shoot over 100 Feet using the White barrel (pre-installed)! This kit contains everything you need for your first epic battle! 1 fully charged Surge blaster, 1 fast charging cable which supports up to 4 hours of play, a pre-loaded gravity fed hopper that holds up to 800 Gellets, x2 barrels for adjustable velocity, 1 pair of safety glasses, and 1 pack of 10,000 Gellets. It’s great toy which can capture the interest of a teenager rather than their consoles. I admit I was worried that this would be awful to clean up after, but the Gellets break on impact and don’t stain, are water-based biodegradable, non-toxic so you don’t have to go around on your hands and knees trying to find little gel beads. Bring the battle to the garden, park or anywhere else you can think of. Order under £40: £3.99. Order over £40: FREE.
Baylis & Harding Dinosaur Pencil Case Gift Set, RR £13.
Founded in 1970 in the Heart of England, with a loyal customer base for their affordable luxury, Baylis & Harding is a British family-owned business that sells designer quality toiletries. They have grown from humble beginnings to become an award-winning, international success. There are a variety of Christmas Gift Sets for all budgets, the Vegan-friendly Dinosaur Pencil Case and bath time Gift Set being a favourite of ours. Make bath time a prehistoric escape with the dinosaur collection. With uplifting and cheerful scents of Jurassic amber, it’s perfect for keeping your dino-stomping explorers fresh and clean for another day of adventures. The perfect essentials for bath time this gift includes a 100ml bath bubbles, 50ml Amber shampoo and 45g dino bath bomb presented in a colourful pixelated dino pencil case. The items are not tested on animals and don’t contain animal-derived materials. Check out the website for stockists – I popped into my local Boots as when it gets nearer the festive season they do fab 3 for 2 deals on Baylis and Harding gifts.
Sonic Death Egg Playset with Sonic Action Figure, RRP £39.99 SALE £29.99.
Sonic the Hedgehog™ is one of the world’s most iconic video game characters of all time. The Death Egg Playset is the perfect gift for Sonic the Hedgehog fans! Not only is it a great display piece at 18L x 25W x 23H cm, but children can also recreate Sonic and Dr. Eggman battles! You slide the Sonic figure along the track inside the Death Egg playset, target the Egg Heart, strike the Egg Heart to defeat Dr. Eggman and watch it explode. After defeating Dr. Eggman, put the Egg Heart back together to play all over again. There are two tracks that you can move Sonic along. Guide your Sonic figure around the track to do a 360 spin. The track works with the included Sonic figure and other Sonic 6cm Figures from (sold separately). The size and attention to detail in the design of this toy are real selling points. The playset does not use batteries. Assembly required. For children age 7+. It is available from B&M. Smyths offers free standard delivery.
Skates Frenzy 205mm Dual Brake Plus Folding Commuter Scooter, RRP £90.95 and SFR Hurricane iii adjustable Quad Roller Skates, RRP £41.95.
Skates is a family-owned company based in Romsey that was launched in 2007. As enthusiastic skaters from a range of backgrounds, they are happy to advise on what product would perfectly suit your needs. A blog favourite we are always impressed how robust and reliable their product quality is. Scooters always go down well in our Guides for children, and we love the Frenzy because of its key features – the easy fold system with carry strap for compact storage and transportation, and the dual braking system – so my eldest with coordination difficulties can brake by hand. The wide deck plate allows for a better stance, and the premium 205mm wheels coupled with the anti-wobble top bar clamp and front cushion suspension all make for a smooth ride. The bars are adjustable for height and Comfort Bar Grips mean you get a good grip. Dimensions are as follows: Height: 87cm – 96cm Length: 91cm Deck Width: 150mm and Weight: 4.76kg. The new hard-wearing premium anodised finish, available in both champagne and titanium colours, make the scooter a stylish ride. My son just likes dinging the warning bell at everyone! Obviously it was too big for a flatlay!
The SFR Hurricane III is a hard boot size-adjustable quad skate which is a better option than blades for new skaters! I LOVE the bright design and printed graphics on the comfort liner. They have an 80s look. The hard-shell cuff offers optimum ankle support while the quick-release buckles make putting these skates on really quick and simple. They also keep feet and ankles really secure and supported. The SFR Hurricane skates are fitted with an easy-to-use size-adjuster system; simply press in the locking button and slide the skate to increase or decrease the size, meaning that the skates can grow with the user’s feet so you do not have to buy a new pair of skates every six months. Features high grip and quality PU (Polyurethane) skate wheels for maximum responsiveness when skating. They are 54mm x 32mm, strong with a smooth spin. They are available in sizes UK 8J – 11J, UK 12J – 2, UK 3 – 6. Easy 30 days returns. Courier Shipping 3-5 day is £2.95 and over £40 is FREE.
Moschino Toy 2 Gift Set, RRP, £61.50 SALE £49.99.
Perfume Direct is a retailer that brings you a collection of specially selected women’s discount perfumes, men’s aftershaves and both men’s and women’s gift sets at affordable prices. A perfect scent for Teens the Moschino Toy 2 Gift Set in the unique scent Bubblegum includes a 50ml perfume in a fab teddy-shaped bottle. A cheerful scent that has the freshness of champagne, citruses, pears and a punch of synthetic sugar making it a fun, nostalgic reminder of childhood sweets and summer fruits. Packaged in a bright pink box the set also includes bold pink tubes of 50ml Shower Gel and 50ml Body Lotion. The set is such a great price considering what is included. Get 10% off when you download the APP or sign up via email. All orders over £50 will qualify for Free Shipping (Royal Mail Tracked 48) if below this, items will be sent via Royal Mail Tracked 24 – £3.99 (1-2 working days).
Little Mermaid Live Action Ursula Magic Cauldron, RRP £50.
All kids love making garden mudpies, spells and potions with ingredients in the kitchen! Go one step better with the amazing Live Action Ursula Magic Cauldron. Little Mermaid fans can pretend to cast spells like the sea witch. The toy is motion activated (like magic). Wave your hands over the cauldron to activate lights, music and phrases from Ursula. There are so many other fun features! Place the seashell necklace onto the rim of the cauldron to pretend to capture Ariel’s voice! You’ll hear Ariel singing just like in the movie! Dip the colour-changing Ariel figurine into cold water inside the cauldron to change her mermaid tail to human legs! Once she’s a human, you can change her back to a mermaid again with warm water too! The magic doesn’t stop there! See the included spell book for recipes to make additional spells and potions. The cauldron also plays cackle sounds and phrases from Ursula, as well as her signature song Poor Unfortunate Souls. I love that the toy has two play modes, one with water and one non water (less messy). Pour water into the cauldron and see it bubble. The kit contains a plentiful 11 accessories – 1 Cauldron, 2 Fizzies, 1 Seashell Necklace, 1 Ariel Figurine, 2 Potion Bottles, 1 Beaker, 1 Funnel, 1 Eye Dropper, 1 Stir Stick and 1 Spell Book. You can reuse it again and again. IT is a decent size at H38.1, W27.3, D 20.32cm. Batteries are required: 3 x AA (included). For ages 3 years and over. Delivery is £3.95. Overall a highly recommended toy.
EE IMO Q2 Pro 16GB Mobile Phone, RRP £34.99.
With prices soaring, if your Tweens are asking for a mobile the EE IMO Q2 Pro is a low-cost model that doesn’t compromise on performance or design. This device is the perfect alternative to expensive high street brands and great for the parents on a budget. We let our son have a mobile as soon as he started walking to school when he started attending secondary. It was a combination of a security measure, and his friends were getting mobiles so we wanted him to have one that you can download games on but also wouldn’t break the bank if it got dropped or lost. This model comes in Blue and with 16GB of storage (expandable memory up to 32GB when using microSD card slot), so there is plenty of free space for saving your favourite videos and photos on your IMO Q2 Pro. My son loves PokémonGo so you would need the extra storage for large Apps like that. The mobile runs Google’s Android 11 Go Edition and you download Apps through Play Store, simple. The phone is pocket sized, lightweight and has a 4 inch TFT LCD display. The screen resolution is a decent 800 x 480 pixels and the camera is dual with a selfie front camera 2MP and rear 5MP. Good enough for fun snaps rather than professional photography. With an 1800 mAh battery, IMO Q2 Pro gives you up to 15 days of impressive standby time. You won’t have to worry about re-charging your phone every day. A feature I like is IMO Face Unlock so you can be sure your phone is safe and secure. It comes with a manufacturer’s 1 year guarantee, and this pay as you go phone comes with an EE SIM. Helpful tip – Download Google Family Link to monitor usage and set limits.
TOMY Jixelz Magic Moves Set, RRP £14.99 and Screwball Scramble Level Up, RRP £32.99.
From last-minute stocking fillers and fun-filled games to keep family and friends entertained, to that all-important gift under the Christmas tree, TOMY will guarantee there’s a perfect gift for little ones and big-kids alike this year. Suitable for ages 6+ the Jixelz Magic Moves Set is the perfect gift for creative children – a fusion of a micro jigsaw puzzle and art set. The set contains 1250 colourful pieces, and all the pieces can be stored in the clever packaging. Jixelz packs transform into a storage box, simply remove and recycle the card wrap to reveal! There are different themes available – This kit includes two templates: a unicorn and llama! Alternatively, mix and match the pieces to design creations. The design keeps the pieces securely locked together so there is no need for ironing, glue, or water. I like that you can display them upright. With no complicated instructions, everyone can join in. You can also combine sets to make GIANT constructions.
For retro game fans the classic screwball scramble has had a ‘level up’! This gravity-defying game swaps the horizontal for the vertical, as your marble climbs from the bottom to the top, over a dozen new obstacles such as the Corkscrew, Bridge, Ladder, and Swinging Passage. Level Up is suitable for 1-4 players, for ages 5+. With just three controls on the base, its perfect for a test of hand-eye coordination, timing, and dexterity. No batteries required! Play solo to set a time and then beat it or go head-to-head with family and friends. Fastest up the maze wins! A cool element to the design is you can line up the three Screwball models and play together for increased challenge. The toy is a decent, but still easily storable size of 33.5 x 10 x 27 cm. Both can be purchased at retailers such as Amazon and Smyths.
Rainbow High Colour & Create Fashion DIY Doll, RRP £33.99.
For creative children and those that loves collectible dolls then check out the custom DIY Rainbow High doll. The colourful, distinct, and inclusive fashion doll line encourages kids to be creative in their stories, their art and their personalities. Rainbow High Colour & Create Fashion DIY Doll has blue eyes, long straight white hair, and white outfit set with a bonus top. It also comes with Washable Rainbow Markers so you can colour, create, and play over and over. The included rainbow washable markers come in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. It is ideal for Kids 4-12 years old. I love that you can colour the clothes but also the hair, shoes and scrunchie. They can be super simple polka dots, hearts and stripes, or you can get more advanced and create a tie die look. I love the long eye lashes and glass eyes, the size of the doll (13 inches), curvy body shapes and posable limbs. The doll is fully articulated and easy to customise and play with.
Geomag Glitter 60-Piece Set, RRP £38.99.
Designed for children age 3+ Swiss made Geomag create magnetic construction kits, comprising of strong magnetic rods and steel balls that spark creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills in kids. The glitter set is for those who love a bit of sparkle. The sets are versatile and value for money. You can follow templates in the instruction manual or just get creative with this educational STEM learning toy. The rods and balls are chunky and satisfying to pick up and are well suited for play by children and adults alike. The box includes 28x spheres, 28x magnetic rods, 2x plastic bases. All the rods are made from recycled plastic – great for the environment. As an additional bonus, his set is compatible with other Geomag sets to make bigger structures to keep kids entertained for hours.
Oral-B Kids Electric Toothbrush Frozen Giftset – Vitality PRO, RRP £50.
Oral B Electric toothbrushes remove up to 100% more plaque versus a regular manual toothbrush and is the number 1 recommended brand by dentists. My daughter has been asking for a ‘buzzy’ toothbrush and rather than buy single use options we have waited until she is old enough for an Oral-B electric toothbrush. Select a model designed for children and it means cleaning will be gentle but still effective. Recommended use by dentists for children is aged 3+. A feature I like is that this brush has 2 brushing modes, including sensitive mode and the round brush heads have extra soft bristles. We have a mini-Frozen fan, so this design is perfect (check out other options such as Spiderman!) for motivating children to brush with their favourite characters. See if you can spy Olaf. The toothbrush has a handy blue grip and simple on button. The giftset comes with a handy, and really nicely decorated storage case. The pack includes 4 themed stickers are included to customise the handle. The rechargable battery gives an 8-day charge, the built in timer encourages 2 minutes of brushing and it also works with the free Disney Magic Timer app by Oral-B. You can buy a pack of 4 replacements heads with Disney Frozen 2 decals for £15.99. Sign up for 10% off your first order. The site offers Next Day Delivery for £4.99.
Aqua Gelz Magical Mermaidz Activity Playset, RRP £25.00.
John Adams are experts in imagination and play. Suppliers of toys, games, science sets, craft kits and much more for children to explore. Craft toys keep children entertained for hours and can be used over and over so make great gifts. The Aqua Gelz Magical Mermaidz Playset allows children to create colourful, fun and squishy creations in just a few minutes! Squeeze the Aqua Gelz (x 6 colourful) liquid into the supplied character moulds (8 x reusable), sprinkle with magic dust (4 colours) to make them glitter then place into the solution, mix and watch as they set in seconds. Display and play with your cool Aqua Gelz creations in the display tank which is H26.8, W26.8, D10cm. Ideal for ages 5 years and over the set makes over 30 Aqua Gelz creations.
Miko Mini Learning AI Robot, RRP £82.
Miko’s newest launch, the Miko Mini is powered by AI. Designed for children ages 5 and up, the Miko AI robots help boost learning, plays games, and interacts with kids by using face and voice recognition. Check out our Miko 3 review for a peek at the larger version. Like its predecessor, the Miko Mini is a wonderful toy companion and has many of the same features. Miko Mini robots are available in two colours Purple and Blue. You say ‘Hey Miko’ to start talking. It can tell jokes, riddles, and facts at a child’s request. Ask, who painted the Mona Lisa? I am really impressed by all the science questions you can ask Miko Mini – such as how do earthquakes happen? It has a vast array of ‘facial expressions’, greetings, and sounds like Can you sound like a fox? The Miko Mini is 115 L X 137 W X 165 H mm so has a smaller screen (2 inch) but it also has a lower, more affordable price point at $119 USD/around £82. The Miko Mini arrives boxed, with a C-type cord, and a Quick Start guide. Set up is easy. Connect Miko Mini to your secure WiFi network per instructions. I would advise you do this Christmas Eve then wrap it up so Miko Mini is ready to chat with your kids immediately upon opening! Once connected, the bot unlocks access to various skills, games and educational content. Differences beyond dimensions and price – Mini Miko offers 1-way audio/ video calling rather than 2 way, Miko 3 content is housed on the device without the need for a companion app, Miko 3 is a touch screen whilst Miko Mini is voice-led. Both make revolutionary toys. The Miko Companion app means children can also access video and app content from a tablet or phone which I like. The Miko Mini can access the premium Max premium content through subscription (from top brands like Disney, Paramount and Lingokids) not on the device but on alternative devices. The easy-to-use parent’s app means you can set limits, review progress, and much more. I like that you set age restrictions for suitable content and the wide-angle HD camera has a privacy shutter. The closed system with enhanced encryption ensures your family’s data is protected. If we are talking functionality the wide-angle IPS resolution screen display is very good and the high-performance speakers mean, clear sound. It has multiple microphones and operational switches on its ‘head’. Miko Mini charges in approximately 90 minutes, which is very reasonable, and the battery lasts up to 4 hours on standby mode and up to 1 hour during active gameplay. This is perhaps one of the few downsides but considering how much it has running in that time it is understandable. The robot moves around (including dancing!) on three small, rubberised wheels for stability. Time of flight range sensors means the Miko Mino navigates itself around its environment. It is made from a robust plastic ABS body which is good to know when being played with by excitable children.
Baby Annabell Lunch Time Feeding Set, RRP £13.
Lots of our little ones will be asking Santa for dolls, or already have them, so clothing and accessories make ideal stocking fillers. The UK’s favourite doll brand Baby Annabell sells the Lunch Time Feeding Set which includes an Adorable Pear-shaped lunch box with 2 compartments where you can put 2 food inserts (fruit compote or baby porridge) and a pink spoon with sound effects. Touch the yellow part of the spoon to Baby Annabell’s lips and you will hear eating noises. This compact feeding accessory can easily be popped into Baby Annabell’s Changing Bag or Stroller making it perfect for feeding Baby Annabell out and about. Boost the imagination and offer new possibilities and stimuli for play. The set is suitable for play with 16cm, 36cm and 43cm Baby Annabell dolls and for children age 3+. It comes with 3 x LRAA / AG13 Batteries included. The Feeding Set comes in 100% plastic free packaging.
Exploding Kittens I Want My Teeth Back, RRP £20 and Hurry Up Chicken Butt, RRP £20.
Exploding Kittens is a leading game and entertainment company started by former Xbox game designer Elan Lee and Matt Inman, with a mission to inspire people to connect, laugh, and play fun games in the physical world. It is the #1 most-backed project in Kickstarter history, and they have sold over 11 million games. They have made sure the signature cartoon-style characters and illustrations have been playfully reimagined for a younger audience in a new line of four tabletop games created for children ages 4+. These games include I Want My Teeth Back: An introductory strategy game (for 2-4 platers) that’s easy to learn and play for kids but also challenging for adults. In this game, players strategically decide when to spin a wheel for an opportunity to collect Meef’s missing teeth. With 57 cards and a multitude of pieces, it promises endless laughs. The first one to collect a full “mouthful” of the teeth wins. The game helps critical thinking and math skills whilst engaging children with bright colour board and fun characters. Gameplay takes about 10 minutes, ideal for shorter attention spans. Also, Hurry Up Chicken Butt: Inspired by the classic game of “hot potato,” this version turns up the fun by requiring players to complete silly challenges before passing the chicken. Did I want it for the name -maybe! The brightly coloured box includes 1 Chicken Shaker, 6 Playmats and 45 Activity Cards. The timer requires 2xAAA batteries. It is a simple, energetic game but a lot of fun – my 5-year-old loves it. I like that it encourages little ones to get up, jump, shake etc. It is a perfect game for 2-6 players. Sign up to receive 10% off your first order when buying on the website where shipping to the UK is £9.88, or buy off Amazon with FREE Prime delivery.
I hope these ideas have helped give you some ideas for Christmas! Remember if you can pick wrapping paper that can be recycled!
#AD. We were gifted the products for the purpose of inclusion, our thoughts and views are our own.