For the past couple years my daughter (12) has known some of what she was getting. I wouldn't buy her Uggs without her picking out the style she liked and trying them on last year and she had to try on the north face jacket too. The ipad WAS a surprise though because I kept telling her she was not getting that everytime she asked for one! So some things are a surprise and others are not. She has an amazon wish list for family and friends that want to buy her gifts.