Boys like noise, bad smells, grime, and adventure. Remember this and a) you'll never run out ways to entertain an eight year old dude; and b) finding them awesome gifts will be wicked fun. We can think of quite a few big lads who'd be pretty thrilled to receive some of these from santa too...
Backpack by LAYER x layer
Model boat kit from Hobbymasters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Octopus pins by potatopotato