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Best Gifts for 12-Year-Old Girls (Christmas, Birthday, Hanukkah, or Just Because)

Guides for planning themed parties are my specialty as well as gift guides.

Find just the right presents for birthdays or holidays (or just because).

Find just the right presents for birthdays or holidays (or just because).

What Gifts Do 12-Year-Old Girls Want?

Buying gifts for anyone can be hard. This is especially true when you’re trying to find a gift for a 12-year-old girl. At that age girls are getting pickier and pickier. Toys don’t spark their interest much and they’re becoming increasingly fashion-conscious.

When I asked a group of 12-year-olds what they would want as gifts, they were a bit indecisive but agreed that clothes, electronics, and kits to make accessories were all high on the list.

If you’re looking to buy a gift for the 12-year-old in your life, then read on as this list was compiled with the help of 12-year-olds (with just a dash of an adult point of view).

9 Presents for Tween Girls

  1. Retro-Cool Instant Cameras
  2. Rainbow Looms
  3. DIY Beading Kits
  4. Books a 12-Year-Old Girl Will Love
  5. Lessons or Classes: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
  6. Fun Experiences With Her Friends
  7. Clothes and Shoes (or Gift Cards)
  8. A Gift for Your Tween Girl's Room
  9. Cute Techie Gifts
The Fujifilm Instax is a mini instant camera.

The Fujifilm Instax is a mini instant camera.

1. Retro-Cool Instant Cameras

Remember film? Brands like Polaroid, Fujifilm, and Kodak now make retro-cool instant cameras for the 2020s. Girls who grew up with just phone cameras will love the novelty of these—they might not have ever seen analog photography in action before. With instant cameras, they can experience the best of both worlds: immediate results and physical photographs. They can trade photo keepsakes with their friends or use the pictures to decorate their rooms.

2. Rainbow Looms

A rainbow loom is one of the best gifts for tweens out there. If they already have one, then getting them a band-sorting container filled with new rubber bands would be a great addition. Be sure to get one with the metallic, glittered, and glow-in-the-dark bands! I think this makes a great gift as it lets their creativity go wild, is a nice hobby, and is not too expensive. Even better, it’s something you can do together.

If you want to find some exciting new projects to do, check out Made by Mommy’s YouTube channel for some fantastic ideas.

3. DIY Beading Kits

With some colorful beads, girls can make bracelets, necklaces, and other accessories for themselves and for their friends. Many of these kits come with letter beads too, so they can spell out names or words. Beading kits can provide your girl with a creative, inexpensive hobby (like the Rainbow Loom), and these kits often have a cool vintage vibe (like the instant camera).

4. Books a 12-Year-Old Girl Will Love

We’re living in a renaissance for Young Adult (YA) literature and what’s better is that young adults are actually reading them! That means a book will be a welcome present rather than an unwanted homework assignment.

In addition to The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Divergent, and other blockbuster series, your 12 year old may really enjoy Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which is one of my niece’s favorites. Books are always a great gift, no matter what age group you're getting them for. Since Hunger Games and the others are obvious choices, you may want to dig deeper and get her one of the books below, which she likely won't have already read:

  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This novel tells the true story of a captive gorilla named Ivan who lives in a glass cage inside a shopping mall. When he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, Ivan looks at his life and his home through a new set of eyes.
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. In this novel, sixth-grader Miranda is “dumped” by her best friend Sal for unknown reasons and soon starts receiving mysterious notes that uncannily predict the future. The mystery at the center of this novel makes it an incredibly compelling read. Set in New York City in the late 1970s, this book does a wonderful job of capturing the inner-life of kids on the cusp of adulthood.

You can find more reading lists for tweens and teens at A Mighty Girl, Imagination Soup, Everead Books, and Goodreads.

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Read More From Holidappy

5. Lessons or Classes: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

If she’s ever expressed interest in an activity or always wanted to paint or ride horses, you could easily sign her up for some lessons—maybe it would be just the thing. A gift like this can keep on giving for years. Here are some ideas:

Arts, Crafts, and Music



Graphic design






Instruments (guitar, piano, drums, etc.)


Knitting or crocheting



Writing (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screenwriting)

Music production

Jewelry making

Making comics


Sports, Dance, and Performance


Horseback riding

Comedy (stand-up, improv, sketch)









Ice skating

Hip hop

Martial arts


Folk dance






Boba tea is a fun treat she could enjoy with her friends.

Boba tea is a fun treat she could enjoy with her friends.

6. Fun Experiences With Her Friends

Organize something fun with her friends! They could have a pizza or sushi lunch, a boba tea hangout session, or a good old-fashioned slumber party.

If need be, you can take it outside. Taking her and a group of her friends—no siblings allowed—to a water park or an amusement park or for a day at the beach can often be an amazing gift.

The experience and the memory can often be worth more than the most expensive gift.

7. Clothes and Shoes (or Gift Cards)

Shoes and clothes are always a great gift, since most girls are thrilled to get them and you’re giving them something that’s actually useful.

Dr. Martens have apparently made a huge comeback. They’re really popular these days and come in a number of fun colors and patterns. I had a pair when I was a kid, and while they weren't as cool as they are today, I can say these are some of the most durable shoes I ever had. I wore them for years, so they were worth every cent.

However, for clothes—since girls can be really picky about what they will or won’t wear—you’re probably better off letting her pick them out herself. So, either a gift certificate or a fun shopping trip together would be ideal.

Pillows, curtains, or other decorative pieces are good options if you'd like to get her something for her room.

Pillows, curtains, or other decorative pieces are good options if you'd like to get her something for her room.

8. A Gift for Your Tween Girl's Room

A girl’s room is the only space she can truly make her own. So, getting a nice comforter set, some awesome art, or framed posters would go a long way to helping them express themselves. Most girls want something that’s fun, with bright colors, and not too childish. New pillows or a cool-looking lamp would also be great ideas.

9. Cute Techie Gifts

  • Laptop Covers: If she already has a laptop, you can get all sorts of cute covers and decals to turn the boring black or silver into something stylish and totally hers.
  • Flash Drives: Cute USB flash drives also make good gifts too. The cuter they are, the more popular they are. It's adorable and practical. A Rainbow Dash-shaped one is really cute—the girls loved it.
  • Pop Sockets and Phone Cases: If she has a phone, she may want some accessories. Pop Socket phone grips are currently popular.

Is 12 Too Young for a Cell Phone?

Well, this is a bit of a toughie. I got my first phone when I was 13, as they were just becoming widely available back then and I know my mother felt a lot safer with me having one. I was really responsible with it—it was a prepaid one so I was always careful on how much I've spent on texting and calling.

If you think she’s responsible enough to handle a cell phone then it could be a great gift—for both of you. But if not, then I would avoid giving one as a gift since there’s no turning back once they have one.

They will probably want an iPhone or something similar but that is way too expensive and not something a 12-year-old needs. Keep it simple: a phone that can text and call and isn't expensive.

More Gift Ideas for Tween and Teen Girls


anominous on October 02, 2020:

these are real cleche

me on May 12, 2020:

all these comments seem really rude. These were good ideas.

Elyja on April 26, 2020:

I’m 11, almost twelve and I would like black dock martins and MCR on vinyl. So many of these things are so stereotypical. All of these are so “girly”, please consider that at 12, every single girl is incredibly different.

Roxanne on December 02, 2019:

I think that a lot of these gifts are a little bit childish. I do like the lessons one though. It is a good idea. I just think that most 12-year-olds want more grown-up things. I don't want to be stereotypical or anything but it's just a suggestion.

Mystery Woman on November 19, 2019:

I am almost 12 and I don't have any interest in any of these gifts.

Mystery human on July 15, 2018:

I’m almost 12 and all I want are stickbots

blurgh on July 06, 2018:

Honestly, the only thing I liked on here as an almost twelve year old was the books, which I have already read. But, I mean, stupid stereotypical gifts like shoes and clothes? I hate getting gifts like that, especially since I usually don't like them. Just give me a dog or put me on a club soccer team and I'll be happy.

ClicheEquestrians on February 19, 2017:

I'm 12 and honestly none of this appeals apart from black Doc Martens, I'd rather horse tack and dark clothing with Schleich and Breyer, not... these?!

:) on October 02, 2016:

I got a phone when I was 6. And now I have an iphone 7 and everybody has a phone. I go to the beach everyday with my friends and im 12. this is not a very good list 12 year olds will love..

Hailie on November 10, 2015:

Honestly I'm looking to make a list because my birthday is coming up and I need to play my birthday party im turning 12 and I don't even know what I want so I need to make a list for my friends so they can choose something get me something and I don't even know

Nada on September 16, 2015:

I think some of the ideas may seem childish to you young girls-but as parents we want you to enjoy your childhood. Stop trying to grow up faster then you need to. My 12 year old likes American Girl Dolls and im glad she does . Id rather her have them then a bunch of electronic gadgets that just get lost or broken anyways.

A......L on August 26, 2015:

some of these would work but some of them are not at all the right gift for girls the age of twelve

sandra on August 07, 2015:

Sorry but I don't think that these gifts are age appropriate, in this generation 12 year old girls would rather something like a shopping spree with friends or gift cards and phone cases or even tickets for a concert. No offence but your suggestions would be for a younger agr group.

Cadi on July 14, 2015:

Im 12, and not many of these appeal to me personally. I think some of these are a little sterotypical and under aged. Some girls may want rainbow loom, but a lot of 12 year olds nowadays are kind of "over it" :) I think really only 4 of these would work out, but a few girls may agree with the other ones! :)

A person on June 29, 2015:

Guys this could have been posted a long time ago so yes I agree with you my little pony is off the chart but there were some great ideas. :D

Bella Coleman on June 14, 2015:

I'm a 12 year old. I like things here but My little pony is not a 12 year old thing it is a 5-6 years of age not a 12-13 years of age

jasmine wilkinson on June 11, 2015:

I think girls my age 12-13 would like to do more stuff like blind makeover and watch movies till 5:00 in the morning. But some of those ideas were good. ;)

Summer on April 27, 2015:

This Isn't very good, rainbow loom is over rated and i don't know who would want that like i am honestly saying none of these appeal to me or any of my friends! You under aged us i would want a throw blanket or some makeup perfume hollister stuff a phone case i mean come on

Jenny Scholter on January 13, 2015:

I thing you see 12 years old people like little kids. 12 old people isn't big, but is bigger than you thing. I'm sorry, but is my opinion.It's a new world with new behaviors and have to accept that, as it is normal.

Macy on December 16, 2014:

I am 14 and I'm a pegasisister and most people that like mlp are Teens like me and my sister who's 12

Caroline on November 27, 2014:

I like little kid toys. But really, MY LITTLE PONY

jasslin on October 29, 2014:

these are amazing ideas i love so much

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