Another thing children seem to love are torches. I don't really blame them. I have a thing about torches too (my Maglite 3-cell is much loved and was a Christmas present). Millets currently has an offer on Eurohike head torches for children, £5.99. They come in pink or green camo.
The best present we ever bought our then one year old was this little horsey from Holz Toys. Holz does some great wooden toys, but most are expensive. When I first became a parent I was obsessed with my child having 'tasteful' wooden toys but I soon learned that children haven't always got the same idea.
The walker horse is £49 and our big little girl still rides it every day, these days with her sister stuck on the front. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Bath stuff is always a great fall-back present for grown ups and to be frank, I'd prefer to be given a nice bubble bath over some of the things I get given that just go into the cupboard (that sounds ungrateful but I hate waste). Although expensive, Aromatherapy Associates produces the best bath oils. Jo Malone and This Works' is a good second but AA stuff has a very high percentage of essential oils in it. The Relax bath oil (it used to be called Deep Relax and I don't know why they had to muck about with the name) knocks you out, be warned! I fall asleep in the bath when I used it.
The next suggestion may seem odd, but roll with me. It's a series of British Film Institute DVDs called British Transport Films. I first discovered them a few years ago and have every single one ever issued. They are fantastic. I mean properly wonderful. Yes they're largely train based, and yes some of the films (there are several on each DVD) are a bit anoraky. But they're wonderfully nostalgic (and for me, nostalgia isn't a dirty word), evocative, informative and the narration! Why don't people speak like that anymore?
Here they all are in a boxed set, but you can buy them individually.
There's one story that follows the journey of a suitcase which is just spectacular. And another where they prop a camera on top of a building in - I think - Marylebone and follow a day in the life. If you've ever lived in London you'll particularly love this.
Talking of nostalgia...I know Ladybird books are probably not seen as very PC these days but, well, you see, I don't really care. They're just lovely. There's a boxed set for boys and one for girls. Of course you don't need to stay to the script...
One of the most useful presents I was ever given was the Muji screwdriver set. It has one master 'head' into which you put the ends of various crosshead and slot head (plus a bradadl what ever that is) screw driver heads. The great thing about it is that they're always there together and you will use them hundreds of times, to take the backs of toys, clocks, tighten up your specs (the littlest one is really teeny). Buy it, buy several to give to people. It doesn't matter if they already have tool boxes they'll still use this set.
Once you're in Muji, or on the page of the on-line store, it's a great place to buy little presents. The PP porfolios are wonderful to put torn out pages of magazines - so you can collect your recipes or whatever all in one place. I also use one to put together the 101 notices that come home from school and then chuck them out at the end of the term. More later.