Your average pre-teen girl can be a pretty tricky customer to cater for at the best of times, Christmas being no exception. And with my nine year old having a birthday the day after Boxing Day, I'm doubly on the lookout for inspiration.
The trouble is, girls of this age often aspire to being much older than they really are. And they're a mass of contradictions - they may spend ages chatting to their mates about which is better - John or Edward? - but at home they may still play with dolls. My daughter's list for Santa would probably consist of an iPhone, permission to wear make up and fifty quid.
She won't be getting any of these.
Instead, how about something like this?
This disco alarm clock is a great gift for any girl who's been enjoying the X Factor (isn't that all of them?). When the alarm goes off, you wake up to a spinning ball of light and the sound of funky disco music. It's £19.99, available here from Argos.
And to go with that, Argos also have a Hello Kitty Stereo CD Boombox (with radio included). It's girly without being too juvenile. Long gone are the days when you could simply buy something pink and know that your daughter would go for it. Pre-teens tend to prefer their pink stuff to have more of a funky edge to it. And if you're getting a music player, how about the audiobook of Hetty Feather, the latest Jaqueline Wilson best seller, read by the author herself.
If your daughter's a bookworm, encourage the habit with a set of books like this from The Book People. It's a great site for children's book bargains. And the best place to curl up with a book is obviously a beanbag - check out here at Play.com, but let me know if you hear of any good offers because I'm in the market to place a big order.
So what will you be buying for your eights and overs this year?