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3G2S "Top Picks" 2012 Holiday Gift Guide for Tweens

1. The World According To Me Personalized Book Kit ($39.95) - This is a book kit from the creators of the well-known I See Me! personalized books.  One thing that makes this book even more special than the other personalized books offered on is that it includes your child's artwork and words, in addition to the usual personalization.  Included inside the ready-to-wrap box is an instruction booklet (which also contains interview questions for your child), paper for drawing each themed picture, extra blank paper, a pack of 10 thin markers, and a postage paid envelope.  Of course this book kit can be gifted to a child of any age, but I think it is especially perfect for a child between the ages of 8 to 11.  At this age, a tween is still very much a child and still has a wonderful imagination, but he or she is beginning to truly develop a drawing style and has the patience to put a lot of detail into the illustrations.  Our nearly 9 year old son thoroughly enjoyed this project.  It takes approximately 3 weeks for the finished book to be shipped to you after you have submitted all the interview responses and artwork by mail or online.  Our son just cannot wait to see how his book turned out!  To shop for this and other personalized books, visit

2. My Friendship Bracelet Maker Kit($24.99) - This is one of 6 craft kits made by the Choose Friendship Company, all designed around the theme of "friendship."  This particular kit is the one that started it all and includes the Friendship Bracelet Maker, 56 skeins of floss in 14 different colors, and easy-to-follow instructions.  There are many more tutorials for fun patterns available online.  Although this product is recommended for ages 6 and up, I think it is a perfect gift for an older child, who will have better dexterity and a longer attention span.  I had to teach myself how to make a few patterns before I could teach our nearly 9 year old son and I am still working my way through the beginner patterns.  The online video tutorials are such a huge help.  Like with knitting, weaving friendship bracelets is a very therapeutic hobby.  It is the perfect activity for a tween who needs a quiet activity to focus on in order to escape his or her hectic life.  It is also a wonderful creative outlet and your child will be so proud to show off and share these bracelets with his or her friends.  You can find the My Friendship Bracelet Maker at many major toy and craft retailers nationwide.  Visit to find out more about this and other products by the Choose Friendship Company.

3. The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 1: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs & More!($24.95) - This is the first of two very different LEGO books that are new from No Starch Press for Fall 2012.  Although this book does teach the reader how to build specific models, it also does an amazing job at inspiring the reader to use his or her imagination to create something great.  My son found the bright and colorful photos to be captivating and refused to put the book down until he had looked through it twice.  This hardcover book is currently selling on for $15.48 with Free Super Saver Shipping.

The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide (Now in Color)($24.95) - Now this book is a very handy how-to LEGO manual.  It will help the reader learn new ways to build things, how to build sturdier structures, and how to get around certain obstacles, such as running out of a specific type of brick.  While my son read through this book, I heard him say "Hey!  I didn't know that!!" many times.  It would definitely be an interesting read for any LEGO fan.  This paperback book is currently selling on for $16.14 with Free Super Saver Shipping.

4.  Gap Kids x Junk Food Tees ($26.95) - If you are considering buying your tween clothing for Christmas, you must make it something super-cool.  Nothing is cooler than the t-shirts from Junk Food Clothing.  This brand has been seen on the children of famed celebrities, such Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, and Heidi Klum.  For Fall/Winter 2012, Junk Food Tees have arrived at your local Gap Kids store, making it even easier for you to shop for these sought after shirts.  These long-sleeved shirts are currently available in-store and online in raglans, hooded tees, and layered tees with Star Wars and superhero themes.  Our son just loves the stylized artwork of the Millennium Falcon on his long-sleeved pullover hoodie.  The shirt is also extremely soft because it is a polyester/cotton/rayon blend.  Visit or your local Gap Kids store to see all the shirt designs currently available.  The selection will vary from store to store.

5.  Kidz Bop Christmas! CD($13.98) - New for 2012, this Kidz Bop Holiday music CD (or any Kidz Bop CD for that matter) would make an affordable gift or a nice stocking stuffer that can be enjoyed for years to come.  If you are not familiar with the music brand Kidz Bop, it is a series of music CDs where young Kidz Bop singers record popular hits in kid-friendly versions.  What I love most about these songs is that they usually maintain the sound of the original music.  This CD includes some of my favorite Christmas songs, such as "All I Want For Christmas Is You", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", and "Jingle Bell Rock."  Visit to listen to samples of all 15 Christmas songs.  This CD is currently selling on Amazon for $10.00 with Free Super Saver Shipping.  You can also download the Kidz Bop Christmas! MP3 for $5.99.

6.  Guinness World Records 2013 ($28.95) - This hardcover book is my nearly 9 year old son's most-wanted book for Christmas.  Since receiving his first Guinness World Records book 4 years ago, he was hooked and has anxiously awaited for the release of the next one every year to follow.  When asked what his favorite record was for the 2013 edition, my son said the man that holds the record for the largest muscles.  Although this book would be fascinating to adults as well, I think the Guinness World Records book does an especially good job at encouraging tweens to read something other than fiction.  The book is also filled with interesting full-color photos that make you want to find out more.  You can find this book at most major book retailers, such as, Barnes & Noble, and Scholastic Books.  It is currently selling on Amazon for just $16.30 with Free Super Saver Shipping.  To learn more about how to set a world record of your own, visit

Although complimentary product samples were sent to facilitate this gift guide, all opinions expressed are my own.