For Christmas I received a joint gift with my niece, it was a kit to make doll clothes (similar kit here). The kit was easy to follow and made two jumpers, a blouse and a stuffed dog.
Even though this was a pretty easy kit, I learned a lot. I'm a beginner so I have a long way to go with things. The blouse has set-in sleeves and that was a bit tricky and required several redos, but I eventually got them on with only a few puckers. One thing that killed me was sewing the facing to the bodice at the underarm. I could not for the life of me sew it without puckering. It drove me nuts and eventually I gave up and figured my niece won't care. :) Overall I really enjoyed making the clothes and learning some new techniques. I hope my niece will like them as much as I do!
Another Christmas gift I got was The Sewing Book
It contains a wealth of information in one beautifully done book. It has already proven to be quite handy having so many technique how-to's in one place. I would definitely recommend this book!