Christmas isn’t so merry if your kiddos aren’t squealing with delight when they open their presents.

The holidays aren’t all about the gifts, but they sure are a great way to bring joy to the lives of your loved ones. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, it’s easy to buy lackluster — or outdated — items around the holidays.

The top toy trends this year are far different from those of 2016. Childrens’ interests are in constant flux, whether it is influenced by their age or by where they live. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the endless options and advertising noise telling you what to buy kids and teens, we’ve researched the perfect gifts this Christmas.

Hands-On Gifts for Toddlers

During the first 12-36 months, toddlers are impressionable. They experience major cognitive development, which is why they need safe toys that support learning.

The VTech Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe is the obvious standout toy this year. It has appearances on nearly every 2017 list of best toddler toys. The interactive desk has clip-on attachment pages — some of which are sold separately. These feature educational games toddlers will enjoy. The desk also has an internal chalkboard and art station that will help your toddler’s inner artist shine while stimulating creative brain development.

All of the top toy contenders for 2017 focus on playful learning. That includes the LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven, which teaches measurements and temperature, and the VTech Count and Learn Turtle, a toy that introduces numbers to children.

Toys and Games for Kids

As we researched toys for kids, we noticed most retailers loosely define these youngsters as between 4-9 years old. Children in this age group are full of energy. They crave frequent interaction, so when looking for toys and games, find a gift that will engage their active minds.

Some of the most popular kids gifts in 2016 are no longer relevant this year. While Star Wars-related toys and Hatchimals remain popular, demand for toys related to Pokemon, Skylanders, and Minecraft franchises are in decline.

Interest in Disney’s Tsum Tsum stuffed toys continues to fluctuate. A safer bet would be picking up the collectible Funko Pop figures, key chains, and plushies, which have been growing in interest month over month.

Kids toys and games should focus on creating, building, and playing while still being culturally relevant. Unlike toddlers, though, it’s important to note that kids are largely aware of pop culture and the behavior of their peers.

Give kids the gift of interactive fun this holiday season with toys that they can play with their friends. Check out a collectible LOL Big Surprise doll that your child will be excited to bring to the next classroom show and tell.

What Preteens Want

Preteens — also called tweens — are a unique group too often ignored. This group’s characteristics are sometimes difficult to pinpoint.

Generally representing the age group from 10-13 years of age, it’s important to consider their current interests when selecting a gift. Preteens are in limbo between childhood and their upcoming teen years, and their individuality is in full force at this time.

Gifts that strike the right balance between playful and mature are essential as you decide what to buy your preteen. Delicately pleasing their interests without being too elementary or overly sophisticated is challenging. But it’s not impossible.

Giving fun tech gadgets like the Nintendo Switch video game console is a foolproof way to capture the attention of any tween boy. Ideal gifts for preteen girls tend to revolve around personal style and accessories.

Pick up stocking stuffers from youth fashion retailer Aeropostale if you want to make your tween girl swoon this Christmas. Not only does the store stock its shelves with well-priced and trendy clothing and accessories, it also holds major sales and discounts year round. This can help offset the costly gift-giving season.

Cool Gift Ideas for Teenagers

Teens aren’t easily impressed with the gimmicky gifts that once appealed to their younger selves. Teenagers prefer gifts that enrich their lifestyle and bring them closer to the real world they’ll soon be entering.

Focusing less on play and more on enhancement, gifts that teenagers want in 2017 are authentic and smart. More teens than ever want gifts related to travel, self-improvement, and even fitness.

Teenagers are also tech obsessed — especially with smartphones. These days they’re connecting with friends and sharing experiences through social media. The release of the iPhone X before the holidays has positioned it to be the must-have gift for teens this Christmas.

Before running to purchase a pricey phone for a very special teenager this holiday season, check out the latest iPhone deals from the Apple Store or popular retailers like Newegg. You might be able to save a few extra bucks for the other gifts on your list.

Other great go-to gifts for teens are digital music accessories. Popular with both teen girls and boys, bluetooth headphones from Beats by Dre are popping up on just about every internet list of essential gifts for teenagers. Additionally, Crosley record turntables are making a big comeback with the recent trend of vintage sounds in mainstream music. If your teen is into streaming video online, the Mevo Plus live editing camera will be a hit with them.

Grab Your Gift List and Get Shopping

Now that you know exactly which gifts to buy all of the special kids and teens you care about this year, get your shopping done before it’s too late — even before December — to beat the swarms of people vying for these in-demand items.

Brainstorming gift ideas is always a daunting task, so make it easy and organize your shopping approach by age group. The presents on this list are guaranteed to light up faces the moment they’re unwrapped.

The faster your amazing presents are pinpointed, purchased, and wrapped, the more you can focus on what’s really important at Christmas — celebrating a time of joy with your friends and family.