Dress-Up Gifts for Children {Unique Ideas for Christmas}

Join me each Thursday in December as I will be sharing some unique Christmas gift ideas that move beyond Toys-R-Us, won’t break the bank, will outlast 2013, and, hopefully, create beautiful memories for your children.


Not a day goes by that my little girls don’t dress up. While the sky’s the limit for what or who they become, they typically pretend to be princesses, fairies, kitty cats, or Princesses Hildegarde & Sofia. The stories they create as they prance around in flowing gowns or pajamas with ears and a tail conjure up memories of my own dress-up days when my brother and I would make-believe with our cousins that we were characters on “Wheel of Fortune” {my brother, the only boy, was called “Sajak Pat”} or victims of Jonathan {Jason of Friday the 13th‘s lesser-known, but more psychotic, cousin}. These memories still bring a smile to my face as I recall the dress-up clothes my grandmother let us wear and the parts we each played in childhood.

I want the same for my girls. Not the scary stuff, but the magical, beautiful, fun memories that only creative play can create. That’s why we have oodles of dress-up clothes.

If you’re looking for a gift idea that will encourage more creativity in your child’s play or if you have a child who simply loves to dress up and pretend, then here’s an easy but meaningful and unique gift idea for Christmas. Whether you buy or make it yourself, you control the cost. But the memories your child will make through imaginative play will last a lifetime.

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Costumes & Accessories

Most of my girls’ dress-up clothes were former Halloween costumes — many of which I picked up used at consignment sales. However, when I’m searching for the best quality dress-up attire, I look for Melissa & Doug brand. They’re the most durable and affordable.

Here are some great options:

Melissa & Doug Doctor Role Play Set {Includes a lab coat, mask, stethoscope, and other doctor’s tools. But I think one would be remiss to give just this set without a blood pressure cuff! I’d add the pretend & play doctor set below.

 Learning Resources Pretend & Play Doctor Set (19 pieces including a battery-operated cell phone, stethoscope, and pager plus bandages, forceps, blood pressure gauge and more; housed in a plastic clamp-tight case). This kit has it all, which is probably why it’s an Amazon best-seller.

More Amazon Best-Sellers

Sofia the First|| Sofia’s Transforming Dress {transforms from ball gown to ballerina in one easy step}

 Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Costume Set {Includes a bright red machine-washable jacket with reflective material, fire chief helmet, “fire extinguisher,” bullhorn with sound effects, & a badge for personalizing}

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 2.52.15 PMBruder Construction Toy Hard Hat paired with this Fisher-Price Drillin’ Action Tool Set {includes drill with replaceable bits, hammer, nails, & caddy}

Melissa & Doug Chef Role Play Costume Set {Includes a washable chef’s hat & jacket, measuring spoons, 3 wooden utensils & an oven mitt plus name tag for personalizing}

 Melissa & Doug Police Officer Role Play Costume Set {Includes a washable police jacket & cap, shiny police badge, whistle, walkie-talkie with sound effects, handcuffs, and a ticket}

Pink 5-Piece Flower Fairy Princess Costume {Includes tulle tutu, wand, halo, wings, & tiara}

If your kids like The Wizard of Oz, this is the kit for you. The Wizard of Oz dress-up trunk comes with Dorothy, Glinda, & Wicked Witch costumes. Pair it with the movie for a wonderful gift under $40.

Make it Yourself Costumes

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 3.14.46 PM

“DIY Toy Story Costumes” || MamaGab features a vlog showing how to use what you have to make Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, & Woody costumes.

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No-Sew Super Hero Capes || The Jolly Mom offers a free cape template.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 3.35.18 PMNo-Sew Scientist, Pirate, & Super Hero Costumes || Coffee Cups & Crayons

Dress-up Trunks/Storage

Currently, all of the girls’ dress-up is in an extra-large wooden basket that slides under their bunk bed. However, that basket is maxed out, so we’re looking at moving all the dress-up to a toy box in the closet. Here are some nice toy boxes for all those costumes and accessories.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 2.09.27 PM If you’re in the market for a good quality toy box, the KidKraft Limited Edition Toybox has great reviews. Made of wood and available in white, black, natural, cherry, and honey, this is the perfect way to house all those costumes and dress-up accessories in one place. The toy box also doubles as a bench, and its safety latch protects little fingers from getting pinched.

My favorite toy box for girls is this Personalized Modern Touch Toy Box because not only can you have your child’s name printed on it, but it also doubles as a bench, too. Plus, it’s a gorgeous way to hide dress-up clothes and accessories. Even if your child’s name is not listed, the company will accommodate you.

A more affordable option is this Disney Mickey Mouse collapsible storage trunk. Under $20 and made of soft canvas, this trunk might not be as durable as the ones above, but it’s cute and fairly spacious. Plus, unlike most toy boxes with heavy lids, with this one you don’t have to worry about the lid slamming on someone’s fingers or head.

Encourage creative play and foster a child’s imagination with dress-up clothes and accessories. In so doing, you will help them create memories to last a lifetime.

Your TurnDo you have fond memories of dress-up when you were younger?

What kinds of things did you dress up in?




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  1. I didn’t do a lot of dress up when I was little, but in middle school my best friend had oodles of dance costumes that we’d wear…that was fun. 🙂 My girls LOVEEEE dress up. I purchased a Thirty-One Gifts large utility tote for their clothes and it works SO well (when they remember to put all of their costumes away!). The coolest items in their dress-up tote are the handmade gloves that Will’s Gram sent them. They were hers in the 60s – the kind of gloves that ladies wore when they were out & about. Dainty, crocheted, and lovely. The girls call them their “fancy gloves” (said with an attempted British accent).

    Fun post, with fun ideas! Thanks 🙂
    Lisha recently posted…Update – Elizabeth’s SurgeryMy Profile

    • That’s so cute, Lisha. My girls love anything that’s fancy, too. It’s funny because I never dressed up in fancy clothes. I was more a tom boy, but both of my older two love dresses and frilly things.

  2. We made a dress up box for my oldest when she was around 3 years old and she LOVED it! If you start early, costume jewelry is easy to find at garage sales and is usually very inexpensive! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Oooh, good idea, Jenny. I never think about dress up at yard sales, but that would be a great place to look! Thanks, and thanks for commenting!

  3. We grew up playing dress up too! So many wonderful memories. We don’t have a lot in our collection yet, but Kenna loves pretending with even just blankets. Can’t wait to see what all she make believes over the years.

    • Our collection has been an accumulation over the years. I try to add a piece or two at birthdays, Christmas, and random times throughout the year. The Goodwill is a great place to find good stuff. Enjoy making memories with your kids!

  4. How fun! What a great idea for a Christmas gift, Keri! My little girl is just beginning to dress up. For the last 2 days she’s been undressing and coming back out of her room wearing her swim bottoms and a different pair of pants (usually pjs) and been super proud of her clothes-changing accomplishments. She’d really enjoy this gift idea.
    Jelli recently posted…11 No-Bake Christmas TreatsMy Profile

  5. These are great ideas! I was recently looking at pictures of a trunk of dress-up clothes that my older daughter got for her birthday one year. She was delighted!

    My girls are now 11 and 13, but they’ll still pull out some “costumes” from time to time and pretend to be characters out of books.
    Tracey recently posted…Counting Blessings on a MondayMy Profile

  6. LOVE the ideas. I am a homeschool mom to 5 girls so you can imagine what dress up would look like over here. But they love it. I love it. What a great idea right before Christmas when I am still adding few gift ideas to the list. Thanks for sharing.
    Katheryn @ The Healthy and Fit Homeschool Mom recently posted…25 Days of Christmas – Day 18My Profile

    • Thanks, Katheryn. Dress-up is so fun and affordable. My girls are entertained for hours by a new-to-them scarf and costume jewelry. I hope you find some fun new dress up things for your girls. Merry Christmas!