A girl who is turning 13 is presenting her gift-buying friends with the best of both worlds. She is still near enough to childhood to enjoy some age-appropriate games and toys, and her entrance into the teen years means that she may also be becoming interested in music, fashion and more adult pursuits. Friends play a very important part in the life of a girl of 13, so consider what you know about her interests and tastes – you won't have to spend very much to give her a gift she will appreciate.
You don't need expensive department-store makeup to experiment with the latest trends. Buy her bottles of nail polish in yellow, blue, silver and green; they can be found inexpensively in pharmacies or a dollar store. Find a pretty basket or tin and fill it with bath gel, fragrant soap, body lotion and a bath puff – throw in an inflatable bath pillow if she has a bathtub. Watch the sales and check out the beauty-supply stores for interesting hair gels, conditioners or vivid temporary hair dyes.
If you have access to a computer and a collection of great tunes, you can make your friend a gift she'll love without spending anything at all. Put together a mix “tape” of her favorite songs – be sure to include some songs that you've listened to together – and record it in her favorite format. You can burn a CD and print an insert for a jewel case that features pictures of the two of you, or simply decorate an envelope to hold the disc. You can also give her a card containing the playlist, with a promise to load the mix onto her MP3 player as soon as she likes.
You're ahead of the game already if you have any crafting skill, because you can give a gift that is personalized and homemade. A long knitted or crocheted scarf in her favorite colors would be a welcome gift; if you can bead, make her a long, long necklace or some outrageous earrings that are just her style. Someone with a favorite animal would appreciate a stuffed version – and it will be all the better for having been made especially for her.
Food gifts can be very inexpensive to make but will look quite elegant if you package them with flair. Bake her favorite cookies and pack them in an outsize cardboard Chinese food box; tuck vividly colored tissue around the cookies to cushion them. Make chocolate-dipped strawberries or truffles and present them on a delicate china plate you've rescued from a thrift store. Even a giant batch of homemade party mix can look pretty if you pour it into a huge glass jar or vase; cover the top with plastic wrap so it won't go stale, then stick bows and streamers to the plastic wrap.
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