Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for… the Godchild you haven’t seen since last Christmas
Some people approach buying gifts for a child with a sense of fear. How are they to dissect the youth psyche and come up with some item that these truly foreign entities might like? Might consider of any consequence? Might play with for a semi-redeeming five minutes? How are they to establish the interests, likes and dislikes, of some kid they never see? How are they to know what’s cool anymore? Well, if ‘some people’ is in fact ‘you’ then we must say chill. Breathe. Put down the Toys’r'Us catalogue. Buying for children, like Coppers, is a process it is possible to negotiate unmauled if you stay calm and sober and keep your wits about you.
Let us proceed. Here are some major facts about minors.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
A child may be your godchild, but they may not actually be all that young. Though there is great shame to be found in having to ask the parents of your godchild about the child’s age, try to remember what you were doing when they were born or what you wore to their christening. This should give you a good idea of year and, thus, age. Presents should be bought accordingly.
If your godchild is in their teens, then a grown up kid deserves a grown up present. Scent is a good one for both guys and gals. Find out the one they regularly wear or take some time to find one that would suit them.
Polo by Ralph Lauren has also been around yon block, but a) it’s Ralph Lauren, b) it’s Ralph Lauren and c) it’s Ralph Lauren.
Chuck ‘em some Chucks
Even if said child is indeed a child, albeit an older one, it’s always worth remembering that most kids can’t wait to be older, cooler and equipped with freedom. If your gift happens to be something that an older kid has (and is still suitable!), you will have scored major points with the nine to twelve-year-olds. If there’s a cousin or sibling that’s looked up to, just buy something that kid owns. Genius.
Converse. They’re good for a boy or a girl, and particularly cool for nerdy kids because a) The Doctor wore them (well, the last one did) and b) they now come in all sorts of comic book character designs like Wonder Woman and Batman. Mega.
Little Ladies Who Lunch
Problematic pre-teen who you haven’t seen in ages? Vouchers may seem like a cop-out, but kids like shopping trips and autonomy and at this age they’re really just coming into their own on both fronts. Remember to buy and wrap a selection box along with it, so you look a little like you made an effort. Bonus points if you agree to take them out to use their voucher.
If they have an iPhone/iPod/iPad then an iTunes voucher is a sound investment. Failing that look to An Post’s trusty One4All voucher while will allow them to buy practically anything under the sun. If your pre-teen is also precocious (and a girl, if we’re honest) then it would be hugely cute of you to get a voucher for some eaterie near her house so she can take the girls for lunch. D’awww. Do that one. Our ovaries are aching just thinking about it.
Just the Ticket
There’s always the option of quality time. You could completely sacrifice yourself and get tickets to a concert/panto/movie, etc. Pantos are fairly foolproof for primary school girls, and you sort them out with some schoolyard bragging rights. You’re so sound. Meantime, there are plenty of bands playing in the new year that could reduce both you and a child to tears… for very different reasons.
Go Gadget Go
Kids are people too. People like gadgets. Kids like gadgets. If you can afford to throw money at the problem, a child would like an Apple product or a shiny whatsit just as much as any grown up would.
- The HTC Explorer: Perfect entry-level smartphone, and you can nab it for €99 on prepay with Three.
- Audio Earmuffs and touchscreen gloves for the winter-beaten music and smartphone enthusiast. Their parents will think you’re all concerned about the kid’s welfare and everything. Oh, you.
- And on the subject of music enthusiasts… Beats headphones will set you back around €200 – but hey, they’re cool, right?
Penney for ‘em…
Babies and toddlers are easy to shop for. Go to the Early Learning Centre. Go to anywhere that sells toys. Make sure it doesn’t have small parts. Exchange your cash for pretty much anything. They’ll prefer the wrapping paper anyway. Get some clothes and their parents will be grateful. Remember to buy ‘something that they’ll grow into’. That’s what an Irish mammy would do.
However, if you’re buying for a baby, you’ve obviously new to your godparenting role. A Penney’s babygrow may spook your child-owning friends about your level of commitment to their wee offspring. Put all of their doubts to bed… by confirming them with a small note on the gift which says ‘you’re lucky anyone said yes to being responsible for another mouth in this recession’. We’re joking, you charmless bastard.
Crack a spine…
To thine own self be true. If you want to get them an educational gift like books, then do. It might not be the coolest gift ever, but it does show that you care about them and where they’re headed.
- If they liked The Hunger Games then sort ‘em out with a copy of Divergent, another dystopian winner with a cool female protagonist.
- If they liked Twilight then try to give them some sense of self-worth with a kick-ass not-taking-no-shit-from-no-boys feminist heroine like Jeane in Sarra Manning’s Adorkable.
- If they like TV’s The Walking Dead or Revolution then post-apocalyptic classic Z for Zachariah is a must. Apparently, there’s a feature film in the works…
- If they’re a thoughtful boy then they might like Looking for Alaska by John Green. The same author released The Fault in Our Stars this year to much acclaim, but it’s a bit more of a girls’ buke.
- If they liked Harry Potter then Ireland’s own Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy is magic to the brim, and dark enough for an older child.
- If they’re not big readers but they do like fun (and who doesn’t?) then brilliant comedy man David O’Doherty’s books 100 Facts About Pandas and 100 Facts About Sharks contain lots of entertaining lies.
Moves Like Jagger
Just because they’re teeny-tiny doesn’t mean they can’t have proper swag. The only problem with buying your pre-school godchild something like Master Moves Mickey is that… well, you may just want to keep him yourself. We recommend taking advantage of any gift-wrapping service in-store so you don’t have to look at him once you get him home and risk falling desperately in love. Mickey has 15 moves and 8 songs, plus funny interactive dances that’ll get everyone moving, including but not limited to Nana, Granddad, and Missus McGill who just came in for a dropeen and a couple of Quality Street.
Yeah, we’re smitten.
You can get Master Moves Mickey from Smyth’s.
It’s a boy/girl thing…
Gender norms are silly. Girls can like trains and boys can like dolls. Give the gift of non-conformity. If you look at your godchild and you see a small boy who would adore a Baby Born or a teenage girl who has her eye on Modern Warfare then go for it. (Though in the case of video games, do buy for the correct console, oldtimer.)
For gamer kids we suggest…
- If they’re really small but have gamer or techy mums and dads, an Apptivity title is a seriously cool choice. You buy the little Apptivity toy, mam or dad downloads the free app, and suddenly Junior is playing Hot Wheels on the iPad. You can also pick up WWE, Batman, and Angry Birds versions. Isn’t living in the future the business?
- If they’re Pokémon fans (they are), Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are go!
- If they’re inquisitive (they are), Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is bound to please. Plus we guess it’s educational. Bonus!
- If you’re one of those huffy types who thinks video games rot children’s minds, then you could purchase an app-turned-board game, like Angry Birds Knock On Wood. Just like the app, you knock down the pigs from the tower by flinging the titular avian heroes at them via an actual slingshot. Take that, technology!
- If they don’t have Minecraft, it is your solemn duty as a human being to get them Minecraft.
- If they’re older, you’ll need to scour their games library and chat with the ‘rents before purchasing. You may think yourself quite the show-stopper if you arrive on Christmas Day with Halo 4, but it’s all for naught if (a) they bought it on release day or (b) their ma and da do not approve of ten-year-olds playing PEGI 16s. Be sensible. And for the love of Dog, don’t go buying anything like GTA or Max Payne for underlings – they’re rated 18s for a reason. Would you buy your godchild a copy of Scarface for Christmas? No. So cop on.
Our last piece of advice is this. In the unlikely event that you’re friends with your godchild on Facebook, then goddamn it, check their Likes! Bands? TV shows? Clothing brands? How much more of a pointer do you need – stick some keywords into Google and away you go.