5 Top Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids Under $25

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The top Christmas gift ideas for kids aren't that expensive. I share some of the best toys under $25 that will be a hit as a Christmas gift.

Believe it or not, the Holidays are upon us, which means many parents will be looking for the top Christmas gift ideas for kids. Americans plan to spend nearly $1,000 on Christmas gifts this year, according to the National Retail Foundation. That can lead to serious monetary issues, especially if you’ve not budgeted for the expense.

With three young kids we know how much our children get marketed to and that many toys are expensive. With a little work you can find affordable presents your children and your wallet will love.

Top Affordable Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids


We stretch our Christmas budget as much as we can to get value for what we do spend. If you try, you can find gifts around the $25 mark that will be a hit. As an aside, we’ve also written about Christmas gift ideas for your wife if you’re looking for those as well.

Also, don’t forget to use Capital One Shopping (formerly Wikibuy) if you’re buying gifts for your children online. The browser extension helps you find active discount codes to help you save more on your purchases.

The extension is free to use, and also helps you compare prices to find a better deal.

1. Princess Bedtime Stories Book


If your daughter is anything like ours she wants to be a Disney princess and is usually in some sort of princess dress. We bought her the Disney Princess Bedtime Stories book several years ago at Costco and she still reads that thing.

Of course, it has proved to be a great value.

What makes this one of the top Christmas gift ideas for kids is that you can get it on Amazon for a low cost.

If princesses aren’t your thing, they also have the Pixar Storybook Collection book, which is full of stories about Cars, Monsters, Inc. and the Toy Story movies. Our kids all love it.

The quality on each of the books is great and has withstood our three kids beating on them – which is saying a lot!

I will also add that if you plan on doing much of your shopping on Amazon this Christmas, read our favorite hacks to save money shopping on Amazon.

2. Frozen Elsa Doll

What best Christmas gift ideas for kids list would be complete without a Frozen item or two? I’m not a fan of Frozen by any means, but our kids love it.

One of our daughter’s favorite toys is the Frozen Sparkle Princess Elsa doll.

It’s relatively inexpensive, which makes it a great gift. I will note it does have small parts so be aware of that. According to Amazon it’s one of the best Christmas gifts for girls and I know my daughter agrees.

3. Fashion Headbands


The final girl gift on our list of top Christmas gift ideas for kids is Fashion Headbands. This is a good catch all gift for any girl that loves to dress up.

What our daughter likes about this set is that it allows her to customize the kind of headband she can wear. It has a number of different accessories that go with it so she can make it what she wants it to be.

**Looking for awesome deals at Amazon? Visit the Holiday Gifting Hub to find the best deals.**

I will add that like with the Frozen doll above it has small parts that you’d want to keep away from a toddler. But, at just under $20 this should be included in the best Christmas gift ideas for kids out there.

4. Lightning McQueen Car


If your son loves the Cars movies and likes matchbox cars then he’ll love this Lightning McQueen car.

We purchased a car similar to it when we were at Disneyland and wish we would have waited because it is much cheaper on Amazon. In the time they’ve had the car they’ve spent hours reenacting scenes and having an overall great time with it.

It’s a good size and sturdy which is what makes it one of the top Christmas gift ideas for kids out there for the price.

5. Jake’s Musical Pirate Ship Bucky


This is a bit over the price point, but is still a fun gift for many kids.

If your child likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates the Musical Pirate Ship Bucky will be a hit with them.

It’s sturdy and has a number of different features that makes this one of the best Christmas gifts for boys – our sons have played with this for hours since receiving the gift.


What to Remember When Buying Christmas Presents


It really should come down to the thought and not going out and spending money needlessly. That is especially the case if you’re looking for last minute Christmas gifts.

Temptation to overspend is real, but if you don’t fall prey to it you can stay on budget.

Amazon is a great resource to use, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member as you can get the free two-day shipping I mentioned in the beginning. As they’re constantly changing prices to reflect the market they can be a great way to save money on your last minute Christmas ideas.

*Related: Overwhelmed with buying for your kids? Check out our guide on the Four gift rule for Christmas to help manage your Christmas shopping*

If there was nothing on our list that piques your interest, you can also check out the Amazon Toy List to find the best gift ideas by areas of interest. I will also add that if you don’t know what you’re spending this year, to start a budget now for next year so you’re not caught by surprise.


What would you add to the top Christmas gifts for kids list? How much do you budget for Christmas shopping per year, or do you set a budget?

*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for Capital One Shopping using the links provided.


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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Thomas @ I need money asap! says:

    Spending $800/yr on Christmas gifts doesn’t surprise me. We used to spend a similar amount until we started doing gift exchanges with each family. Actually with my inlaws we only do children gift exchange where the parents pull names for the children and buy just one gift. It’s good for the kids too. They were getting piles of gifts, too much really. Now they get three, one from mom/dad, one from an aunt/uncle during gift exchange, and they always get one from gram/gramps.

    • John Schmoll says:

      We were close to it as well Thomas. We’ve cut the budget by more than half for our kids and the amount we cut usually just goes into their college fund. They get so much crap from our parents that we really don’t need to spend much at all.

  • Robin @ The Thrifty Peach says:

    We have a 3 year old daughter and have somehow managed to avoid everything that is Frozen. It’s like a Christmas miracle.

  • Rebecca says:

    We are trying to get creative this year and think outside the “toy” for our little one who are 2 and 5. Our family hobbies are to camp, hike and play games. For camping they will get their own personal hot dog/marshmallow roasting sticks. For hiking they will get kid sized hydration back packs. Then they will each get a board game that we can play Christmas morning. This will come in a under 50 for each kid total and no new toys! I am still brainstorming what to get my teenager. They seem to be more expensive!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Those are awesome ideas Rebecca! I love the idea of pairing things you like to do as a family with a gift especially for them. Plus it’s relatively frugal to boot – double bonus in my book. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    What little girl wouldn’t love that Frozen Elsa doll? That would be perfect for all of the little girls in my family.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Great list here, John! My kids LOVE the Lego sets: hours of entertainment there and great for the mind as well. Have a great weekend, my friend!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Laurie! You can’t go wrong with Legos. That is of course assuming they can get them away from me. 🙂

  • Rebecca @ Stapler Confession s says:

    We used to spend $100 on our son, but after a few years we saw that he got a lot of gifts from family and it was as honestly overwhelming to us, nevermind our little guy — it took him a week to open them all!
    So, we cut back to $50 last year and it didn’t even phase him.

    • John Schmoll says:

      We’ve seen the same thing Rebecca. With 3 sets of grandparents they get more than enough stuff. We like to buy a very small handful of things and save the rest for more important things for them. We also like to space out the gifts over the span of a week or so as it helps with the overwhelming feeling.

  • James (SavvyJames) says:

    I’ve got a ton of shopping to do this upcoming season. This list should be helpful. Good stuff!

  • Amos says:

    Christmas is around the corner and since I don’t have kids myself, I will be looking out for offers and take some gifts to relative’s children, or I may make a visit to a nearby chu

  • Michelle says:

    Anything frozen related would be a hit for the little girls. I have not met one who has not loved the movie.

  • Latoya @ Femme Frugality says:

    We set a budget this year and we set a limit to the amount of gifts we purchase. With all that everyone else purchases, it helps us save money. And just about all ours was done on Amazon!

  • Faye says:

    When it is time for kids to give gifts I try to teach them that everything is not about the money you spend. It is about the love that goes into the gift. I worked as a nanny and I used this way of gift giving to teach about putting your thoughts and time into a gift. For little kids we made ornaments that had their hand prints on them and their picture on the back. Everyone loved it. For older kids I try to teach a skill that will help them make their gifts. You can make a lot with some wood and time. You can make a jewelry box or bird feeder and spend less that $5. Plus I have the older kids earn the money for gifts so that they learn how to earn and save the money for the gift to others. That is another skill that they learn along the way.

    If they love to cook have a cookie day and give cookies or homemade candy. That way you spend time with the kids and they learn the skill of cooking.

    Make Christmas giving fun and teach that gift giving is about not just giving gift that cost a lot, but has a lot of thought and love behind each gift.

  • Jennifer says:

    I guess most kids whant material things for Christmas but gifting an activity day or a day trip to somewhere nice are also cheap and good options

    • John Schmoll says:

      Yep, those are great ideas. Something that creates memories is always a preference of ours vs. just buying something that may not last a year.

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