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Mrs. Hannigan may have been surrounded by little girls in Annie, but this year I’m surrounded by teens! I spend part of my day with 13 year olds in my middle school computer science classroom and then head home to a 13 year old and almost 16 year old.
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Parenting and teaching teens provides an interesting perspective on ages 13+, especially when I take time to listen. The things I hear from my own kids, see my students looking at in between classwork, and am told by those who to my room at lunch to play computer games with their friends is fascinating.
You may think all they want is gift cards to let them shop for what they want but the best gifts for teens go beyond the envelope. This year stop and listen to figure out what your teen is always talking about. How do they spend their time when they’re not at school? Are there certain games they’re always playing with their friends? What are the things they are never without that could use an upgrade? What are their hopes and dreams for the future that you could help support?
Teens are very much in the moment but they’re also thinking ahead to their futures.
This year I’m doing my Best Gifts for Teens a little differently. Instead of a long list of items, I’ve sorted them by interest and included gift cards to places where they can purchase what they want to foster growing interests. I also asked my 8th grade students what they want and have included their picks as part of my list!
Chances are one of these categories fits the teen you know and love but hopefully it will also inspire creative thinking about an unexpected gift that they’re sure to love. After all, gifting them with the unexpected demonstrates how much you truly care and are really paying attention to them, their needs, and hopes and dreams.
Huge thanks to my 8th graders who contributed to this list! May you get everything you dream of!
Best Gifts for Teens
Gifts for Music Loving Teens
Every teen loves listening to music and even if it’s maddening that they won’t take their earbuds our when you’re trying to talk to them, meet them where they are and show them that you love them with any of these items. They’re the best gifts for teens who love music!
- AirPods with Charging Case ($139)— If the iPhone 11 Pro is high on their wish list but not in the budget, upgrade their Apple EarPods with the newest AirPods that will let them go wireless when listening to their favorite music. (Saha,
- Beats Solo Pro ($299)— If you have a teen who is more of a fan of the classic over the ear headphones, the Beats Solo Pro are coveted by my student, Erik. As someone who regularly listens to music, Erik says these are his pick “because they’re wireless and they sound good.”
- Customized GelaSkins Case ($35-40 depending on the model of your phone)— Let your teen express themselves with a customized case from GelaSkins. I’m really picky about the cases I use to protect my phone and have been really pleased with the one I created through GelaSkins. Not only did the artwork I chose come out beautifully (it was as vibrant as I’d hoped!) but I’ve been impressed by the quality of my case that wraps around the corners of my phone that has protected it from many bumps and drops.
- Amazon Echo Show ($89.99 but on sale for $79.99)— So many times our teens come home, retreat to their rooms and slip on headphones or tuck in earbuds, but an Amazon Echo Show will let them listen to their favorite music but does so much more. The 5.5” display features Alexa who is always ready to help your teen manage their calendar, make to-do lists, figure out the weather so they can * maybe * put on jeans instead of shorts, watch movies, keep up with current events, stream shows, voice and video call friends, and more! From streaming favorite music from services like Spotify, providing homework assistance, setting a morning alarm to wake up in time for school, and an array of other organizational and entertainment features, the Amazon Echo Show is the perfect addition to any teen’s room.
- Gift of Private Lessons— Nothing gets teens unplugging more than the gift of private lessons to encourage their interests but also to help them improve their skills.
Great gift cards for music lovers:
- Favorite local concert venue to experience live music
- Local record store to stock up on vinyl
- iTunes gift card to add more songs to their digital music library
- Spotify (there’s a discounted rate for students!)
Gifts for Teens Who Love Gaming
New gaming systems were on the list of many of my teenage students. Here are the gaming systems, games, and accessories they’re wishing for.
- XBOX One S($299.99) or PlayStation 4 ($299)— Beselot tells me that these two consoles are the most popular and are his picks because of the “very cool graphics.”
- Logitech G935 Wireless Surround Sound Gaming Headset ($169.99 but currently $99.99 from Amazon)— Those who love to immerse themselves in virtual worlds with friends will appreciate the Logitech G935 Wireless Surround Sound Gaming Headset to take game play to the next level. Called the most advanced wireless gaming headset from Logitech to date, this headset delivers premium sound and freedom from wires. The large cushiony over the ear style features 50mm drivers that let you hear more details during game play and the enhanced 6 mm microphone provides more clarity to your gamer’s communication. Gamers can customize the lights on their headset using the downloadable Logitech G hub software and turn lighting on and off. With default lighting on, this wireless headset has a battery life of 8 hours and a full 12 hours when switched off.
- Nintendo Switch Lite ($199.99)— “I am a die-hard Pokemon fan,” my student, John, told me. “I want the Nintendo Switch Lite because it’s more affordable and I can finally buy Pokemon Sword and Shield.”
- Pokemon Sword and Shield ($119)— I’ve seen Pokemon Sword and Shield advertised but haven’t had a chance to play myself. Jonathan explained why he wants this family friendly game. “They are the next step in the Pokemon Mythos, and are a must buy for any Switch owners. The game is an extension in the Pokemon Universe exploring the Galgar region and getting the new starters Scorbunny, Grooky, and Sobble. They go to a wide array of areas and fight the gym leaders there and meet a wide array of characters. You can choose almost everything about you, from name to hairstyle, clothes is a really personal experience. It has so many Pokemon for your child to collect it will keep them engaged for hours. It’s a wonderful game and perfect for children as it’s family friendly.” Thanks Jonathan!
Great gift cards for gamers:
- If you know what console your teen has, a gift card to the Nintendo Store, Xbox, and PlayStation are always appreciated
- Unsure of what your gaming teen relative has? You can’t go wrong with a GameStop or Best Buy gift card that will let them choose games and accessories for their system.
Gifts for Athletic Teens and Sports Fans
Keep teens active over the winter with these items or give gift cards that will inspire them to take their game play to the next level with gear upgrades or a chance to see the pros play.
- IndoBoard ($159)— If your athlete is looking for a way to do some training in the winter, IndoBoard is a wooden balance board designed to improve balance, stability, core strength, coordination, and agility. The natural wood logo IndoBoard is a popular choice but it also comes in an array of patterns and colors to fit the personality of your teen.
- Hoverboard with Bluetooth Speaker ($129.95)— Even though he didn’t tell me why he wants a hoverboard, I think we can all agree that any teen would love one, especially this one that features a Bluetooth speaker that plays music as it’s being ridden. Have a tween who would love a hoverboard? I’m giving one away over on my Tween Gift Guide!
- HydroFlask ($34.95) — Not just for VSCO girls, Logan told me a HydroFlask is on his wish list because “they’re good water bottles that keep water cold.”
- Trip to iFly for indoor skydiving, TopGolf, or GoApe ziplining— If you’re wanting your teen to spend more time with you, plan an excursion! A family trip to iFly, TopGolf, GoApe, etc. may take you outside your comfort zone but it’s a great way to bond with your teen.
- Season Ski Passes— Nothing gets our family to unplug more than a day on the slopes! We’ve always love skiing but found it more cost effective to buy season passes to a local ski resort than paying the single or two-day lift ticket price. Take a look at the cost of season tickets and calculate how often you’ll go and it might be a better investment for your family too!
Great gift cards for athletes and sports fans:
- Fanatics to shop for gear from their favorite team or player
- StubHub for tickets to a local sporting event
- Local bike shop or skateboard store, etc. to upgrade their equipment
Gifts for Fashionable Teens
Stylish teens who keep up with the trends but also want to express their own style will be on the lookout for things that help set them apart. Instead of fast fashion, think outside the box with these picks.
- Custom Apparel from Notion (starting at $39)— For those who have their own unique style and turn their noses up at fast fashion, custom printed apparel from Notion makes a great gift. This Canadian based print factory creates high quality custom merchandise for men, women, children, and home with no minimums. I recently created two of my own chiffon scarves using Notion and have been impressed with the print quality and also the quality of the material used. The site features an array of tops and bottoms for men and women, is easy to use, items ship quickly to the U.S., and products are of the highest quality.
- Nike Air Force Ones ($75)— An says she wants Air Force Ones because these shoes have “a platform, and I really like platform shoes, especially for my height. I think it fits my style with clothes I could pair with it. Also, it looks cool.”
- Lasercut Earrings ($10)— With 29 different styles of laser cut cherry wood earrings that vary from feathery dangles, geometric shapes that go with every outfit, to darling studs, Pew Pew Lasercraft’s Etsy store has a pair for every teen. Get free shipping with code: TECHSAVVYMAMA
Great gift cards for fashionistas:
- You can’t go wrong with gift cards to stores like Vans, Nike, American Eagle, Aeropostale, Urban Outfitters, PacSun, H&M, DSW, etc. to help them feed their fashion addiction
- Beauty lovers would love a gift card to Ulta
Gifts That Let Teens Express Themselves
From room décor that will allow them to personalize their space to art supplies that promote self-expression, here are three great gifts for creative teens.
- RGB Light Kit ($22.99 with another 15% off on Amazon)— “You can stick RGB lights to your wall, hang it up, put it under your bed, and put it in places where you need light. There are many colors and there is a remote that you use to change the color of the lights depending on your mood or to your favorite colors. There are also buttons on the remote that you could use to change the speed and colors.” -Ngoc Tram
- Cinema Lightbox ($18.99)— “It’s a nice thing to wake up to in the morning,” Shristi says about this colorful light changing box with customizable word and symbolizes. She says it’s a great way to write names or inspirational quotes.
- 27 Piece Acrylic Painting Set ($21.43)— “I find it really calming,” Stephany says of painting. This 27 piece acrylic set has everything a teen artist needs to express themselves artistically
Great gift cards for creative teens:
- Gift cards to art & craft stores such as Michael’s, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby (please let’s not discuss their politics- thanks!), etc. will come in handy as your teen needs to restock supplies or pursue new creative interests
Gifts for Gadget Loving Teens
I love the suggestions of these gadgets from my students because they demonstrate that teens are thinking about the here and now but also about their futures and what tools they need to be most successful.
- Canon EOS ($2819.78)— “I want this camera because I’ve heard is one of the best cameras for taking pictures,” Laura told me. She aspires to be a photographer and likes to take pictures but finds that “with my phone, the effects are not the same as the camera’s.”
- MacBook Air ($459 for an Amazon renewed machine)— In addition to her Canon EOS dreams, Laura wishes for a MacBook Air because “it is a perfect computer.” She prefers the air because it’s a bit smaller and would be perfect for doing her school assignments at home. Something I can fully support as her computer science teacher!
- Apple Watch Series 3 ($169)— “I can basically have my phone on my wrist,” Logan told me and I don’t disagree. Neither did his friend, Dean, who also put an Apple Watch on his wish list
- Logitech MK470 Slim Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo ($49.99)- Minimalist gadget loving teens will love the space saving design of this ultra-slim, compact, and quiet wireless keyboard and mouse combo that will make their desk seem even more clean and sleek. It’s a great combo at a budget friendly price that can also be stashed in their backpack for on the go productivity.
Great gift cards for gadget lovers:
- Help your teen defray the cost of the high ticket gadgets they covet with gift cards to Best Buy, the Apple Store, or Amazon. Parents- Help your teen by coordinating gift cards from relatives to ensure they’re gifting ones to the same store.
3 Things Teens Want That You Might Never Think Of
The joy of asking my students about their wish lists is that they came up with a couple items that I would have never thought of!
- Burrito Blanket ($18.95)— One student put this down without an explanation but since was already on my list after my own teen daughter spotted it, well…here it is! For under $20, your teen can also wrap themselves up like a burrito while they watch Netflix. It also makes a great prop for Tik Toks!
- Throne of Eldraine Collector Booster Pack ($274.99)— I admit, I know nothing about Magic the Gathering but Ben, who is far more in the know than I am, shared that he wants this because “it’s a very good value, and high return product.” “It is also from one of the best sets which is very prominent in modern, pioneer, and standard. If you actually want to get what you need for a deck buy singles from your local game store, but in terms of monetary value this product is very good.” Thanks Ben!
- Bulova Men’s Diamond Watch ($186.98)— In the age of Apple Watches, Besu told me “I want to have a nice-looking expensive watch.” Ok, fair enough!
Enter to Win a $80 Gift Card to Notion!
Notion.ca is providing an $80 gift card to a very lucky Tech Savvy reader this holiday season to gift your teen with the ability to create custom apparel. I love this Canadian-based print factory’s array of tops and bottoms for men and women that are of the highest quality. Your teen will have fun customizing tops, bottoms, or accessories using this easy to use site that allows them to create items as unique as they are! To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES:
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen)
- Best Subscription Boxes
- Outdoor Adventures
- Gadget Lovers
- Frequent Fliers
- Dog Lovers
I hope you enjoy this year’s picks and wish you happy and stress-free holiday shopping!
Samples were received to facilitate this post and affiliate links are included. No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway and all opinions are my own.