Wanted: Birthday ideas for 10 year old twin girls, on the double!
August 30, 2008 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Tween Filter: My twin nieces turn ten in two weeks and my new reputation as the cool auntie is at stake. I know nothing about kid culture. Help me figure out what to give them for their birthdays, please!

After years of giving the girls presents that left them indifferent (e.g., digital cameras, blown glass paperweights, signet rings) I struck gold last Christmas with outfits endorsed by Hannah Montana. Giving them clothes was only possible then because we had just spent some time together and so I had some idea of their size.

Some limitations... My family sneers at gift cards (deemed meaningless since they evidence no effort or thought), so that approach is out. Since I seldom see them, I view books and CDs as risky options since they might already have whatever I chose. The twin dimension is usually handled by giving them things that are similar, but not identical, e.g.. different colors, etc. They only dress identically now and then, but they share most of their things. The girls' parents are well-off, so they lack for nothing, but are not spoiled.

I don't know the girls all that well, but I'm fond of them and I'd like to do well by them. And I did check out previous threads, but none were quite on point. Thanks to all for your ideas.
posted by carmicha to Shopping (21 answers total)
do they have a wii? if not, it's something they can play together, with friends, or with their parents, and there are lots of really awesome games for the system that they might be interested in, which will make it easier for you to pick out gifts for christmas and their next birthday!
posted by lia at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2008

Unless you know somebody, like a mother or a toy store clerk, who knows exactly what the Cool Thing is now, I wouldn't try to figure it out. It might be just out and therefore now totally lame.

I'd go for presents of makeup sets from Sephora or Ulta -- there are numerous girl-appropriate gift sets that could make them feel so mature to wear. (Unless you know they wouldn't like that sort of thing. I had my phases, in and out of it.)
posted by Countess Elena at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2008

How about an experience (concert, play, etc) rather than a "thing"? That way the twin aspect isn't really a factor too.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:56 PM on August 30, 2008

Have you tried talking to their parents to narrow in on an idea? The surprise is for the kids, not the elders, so there should be no harm in conferring, right?
posted by softsantear at 6:05 PM on August 30, 2008

I think instead of focusing on what presents are going to make them happy, you should simply spend more time with them. Perhaps the reaction to the dresses was more result of bonding than anything else.

Since you can't spend a lot of time with them, it may be hard to do this.

I had a couple of "spinster" great-aunts who lived together, and who really loved church, and who had almost no wit or sense of humour. Needless to say, they held little interest for ten-year-old me (but I didn't dislike them).

However, I can generally recall the books they gave me for Christmas and for my birthday - they were always really good.

As a result, I tend to give books as gifts. It takes some thought (I gave my Dad books he never read for years, but when I switched to books that could be easily picked up and put down - aircraft identification guides, books about stealth aircraft - he liked them more).

There are just a ton of books out there for ten year olds, books they've probably never read before. That's what I would do.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:22 PM on August 30, 2008

10, not 17, is often the appropriate age for a subscription to "Seventeen" magazine. Even if they find "Seventeen" a little lame for whatever reason, I would still expect it to contribute to "cool auntie" status. Cool aunties think you're mature and do grown-uppy things with you. The make-up idea is a good one as well for that reason.
posted by kmennie at 6:51 PM on August 30, 2008

How about a special outing with each of them separately?
posted by ebellicosa at 6:56 PM on August 30, 2008

FWIW, the Hannah Montana latest CD just came out (yeah, I got daughters that age).

Assuming you're in the U.S., a gift certificate to a fake jewelry store (locally for us, it's Claire's) would get squeals of delight. iTunes gift certificate too. I know you say the family sneers at them, but I bet the kids would like to be able to make their own choices about what they get.

Sigh...something related to Demi Lovato, Camp Rock or High School Musical 3--usual Disney stuff. Latest Hairspray movie has Zac Efron (lead actor from original HSM) in it. Subscription to Pop-Star magazine.
posted by idb at 7:21 PM on August 30, 2008

For my ninth or tenth birthday my cool aunt gave me a hairdryer and took me to get my first pedicure. I don't know if those things are now passe to 10 year olds, but it sure seemed grown up to me at the time. It was a bonus that I got to get a pedicure with her, since I didn't see much of her.
posted by nadise at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2008

Any idea what they're into at all? Obviously the Hannah Montana thing was a hit. Just a guess, but I suspect that there are more Hannah Montana-branded things out there :) My niece loved American Girl dolls for a while- watching her with the dolls made me realize that she loved them for their style-able hair. So I got her one of those scary giant Barbie-heads that you can put make-up on. She loved it. If they're into Hannah, I'm sure you can put together some "goodie-bag" HM-branded stuff. Things that won't matter if they've already got it- pencils, lip gloss- stuff like that. In my experience, girls that age like a lot of little things that they can put in a purse. I also love to give Klutz books (or similar- there's a lot of book-and-a-craft books out now that aren't Klutz's). The fashion-y type ones have always been well-received- make your own hair ribbons, etc. Also, try browsing your local craft store- there are kits for making glycerin soap, perfume, lip gloss, etc. For my niece's last birthday, my sister bought a couple of these kits and the girls had their own "spa-party". Those pre-teen years are tough- anything that will make them feel older (without turning them into little Paris Hiltons) will surely be a hit.
posted by dogmom at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2008

Any possibility they'd be into some girly craft-type things -- making beaded necklaces or purses or that sort of thing?
posted by scody at 7:27 PM on August 30, 2008

Trust me. Anything Jonas Brothers.
posted by ericb at 8:04 PM on August 30, 2008

Response by poster: These are great ideas! I'm going to run many of these by their parents, per softsantear, and see what they say. Lia's Wii idea made me think about dance dance revolution and some music game I've read about that sounds like a cross between kareoke and guitar hero. Does that ring any bells?

All of you who suggested girly girl things (e.g., make-up, magazines, etc.) are also on to something I know they'd like but is not my bag, so thanks for being so specific about brand names and craft ideas! I wish I lived closer to them to do fun stuff together (concerts, pedicures, etc.) but we're thousands of miles apart (sigh). All y'all are terrific and thanks for your help!
posted by carmicha at 8:09 PM on August 30, 2008

carmicha: "some music game I've read about that sounds like a cross between kareoke and guitar hero. Does that ring any bells? "

You mean Rock Band?

Also, Karaoke Revolution: Party incorporates DDR.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:35 PM on August 30, 2008

Despite the adult sneering, I'd get them each a gift certificate to the MALL!!

When I was a tween girl, the mall was, by far, the most exciting place in the entire planet. Paris? Pfft. The Great Wall of China? Lame. East Towne Mall of Madison, WI? Favorite place ever. I was there every single weekend.

Bonus points if you actually go shopping with them, at the mall. But find out what mall they like, or even if they like the mall - some malls are totally cool and others are totally lame.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:51 PM on August 30, 2008

A gift coupon to the iTunes store, if they have iPods. It's not personal, but it keeps you out of the minefield.
posted by dws at 10:40 PM on August 30, 2008

iPod shuffles, if they don't have iPods.
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:07 AM on August 31, 2008

I'll give my standard answer for "what gift to give" questions onAskMeFi:
I have grown very fond ofg giving experiences as a gift, instead of "stuff". Make plans to take them to a concert. Or an amusement park. Or a sporting event.

Is it still summer where you're at? Maybe a local water park? If you're on a budget, even taking them out to the movies can be fun!

Focus on giving them great memories.
posted by browse at 8:07 AM on August 31, 2008

I'd say take them out to eat and to a concert. That would have been super cool to me. When I was in jr high one girl's sister took us to an out of town concert and we thought we were total rock stars.
posted by CwgrlUp at 10:16 AM on August 31, 2008

Seconding Jonas Brothers. Stuff from this page looks cool.

Here's their tour schedule. If you can get them tickets, you will be the rockstar auntie of all time (second only to me - I took my niece last weekend.)

Here's their latest cd at Amazon. You could get it and Miley Cyrus' latest.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:04 PM on August 31, 2008

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