I should not be blogging, I should be Christmas shopping. For the last 14 years I have had it all done and dusted by the week after half term. This year is proving to be very different and my boys are starting to behave like the children in the Paypal ad – normally they know they are banned from going down into the cellar by now but the cellar is bare…completely bare. So, I sat down today to crack on with and it occurred to me that I can’t be the only one (please don’t let me be the only one). There must be lots of you out there who have just been too busy and are now feeling a bit panicky. Which is why I am blogging and Christmas shopping at the same time. I’m just going to create a whole long list of Christmas gifts for teenagers as I go that might help you too.
So, starting with the minefield that is clothes. My boys have all put clothes on their list, thankfully the middle one also gave links to shops such as Top Man and New Look. Sadly when I click these links I have left it so long that most items are out of stock. The eldest of course has simply put ‘lots of clothes from brands you know I like’ which basically means anything expensive with a designer logo – as always, he’s aspiring to an executive lifestyle with a student budget. The youngest simply likes ‘Jack Wills or anything with stripes’ I’ve formed him well – he rocks a breton with style.
Normally I would start with both Jack Wills and Superdry. I’m vetoing Superdry this year because I have had such a bad customer service experience with them over the last few weeks. I won’t go into great detail because it’s boring but one of their wind cheaters fell apart after a few wears, they asked me to post it back and then I couldn’t get any response from them. It was only when I took it public on Twitter that anything happened and even then it was a poor experience. In the meantime, the middle one has been on his various exploits without a coat and the weather has been wreaking havoc with his hair – you can imagine the levels of distress! (By the way can you believe we had another ‘wrong bus’ adventure last night)….
So, Jack Wills it is for us this year. They have 30% off at the moment (use code FRIENDS) and I have a kind of professional respect for them too – they’ve managed to politely fend off the issue of parents wearing the teenage brand simply by the styling. I think many of us still mourn the demise of Aubin & Wills – I wore it a lot – and there are a few pieces at JW for Midlifers but not many. Anyway here goes – Christmas gifts for teenagers and I apologise in advance for there not being many ideas for girls, I’ve tried but I’m pretty clueless.
Mr Wills Hoodie – I’m sticking with discreet branding because I know my sons prefer it that way. If you have a teenage boy that you don’t know well to buy for, these are a pretty safe bet.
Waterside hoodie – if they’re one of those boys you suspect has everything, go for an unusual (and festive) colour.
Who doesn’t love lounge pants, especially at Christmas
Henley Superdry – a thrifty tip from me, these are sold as nightwear so are cheaper but my boys often wear them with jeans because their friends don’t have them having only looked at the main t-shirt section.
Vintage backpack – I’m actually adding this because I really like it, if I wore backpacks more often, it would definitely be on my own wishlist
… and this checked scarf, it reminds me of my old school scarf (although that was navy, white and burgundy)
and these Chelsea boots – you see this is what happens when I look at girls’ things, I see things I want to add to my list
and these velvet jeans – last one I promise but I was contacted by a reader last week who told me how good velvet trousers are
back on track now – I love this navy velvet bow tie, it would subtly set a chap above the rest without being too showy
a simple stocking filler – we can never have enough water bottles in our house
ditto with travel pass holders.
Moving on from Jack Wills to other things I’ve spotted
Man bowl – for all teenage boys who eat copious amounts of cereal
Punchbag laundry bag – genius way of getting rid of the floordrobe and dealing with hormonal tempers all in one go
and a more discreet cheeky water bottle
Gentlemen’s drinking games, for those of you with rugby playing student types
I still use the same techniques as when they were toddlers to get them to eat vegetables – and they still work – corn on the cob skewers
Hot chilli hand warmers – great for games or training days
Everyone always loves a head scratcher and it brings up the debate as to why you can’t tickle yourself
Now another top tip for you. All of the fragrance training I have done this year has opened my eyes to the fragrance industry. I wish I could tell you some of things I now know, suffice to say that I’ve gone right off some of the exclusive fragrance houses that I used to aspire to because they just sub their fragrance concocting out to huge conglomerates who are busy developing shampoo and washing powder fragrance at the same time. There is none of the crafting behind it that they lead you to believe, just pound signs. However others use proper noses and actually Zara is one of these. How they then sell their fragrance at the price they do is beyond me but it is really great quality – better than many of the brands that are charging £70 for a 50ml EDT. Zara Man Uomo and Zara Man Silver. (Worth bearing in mind for your own perfumes too).
They even do a range for younger boys aged up to 14 years which is much kinder to their skin – boys EDT.
This hand grip is the sort of thing that my sister-in-law often buys and it is always a big success
Buying them a digital skipping rope is much cheaper than a gym membership
One of my friend’s sons is having problems with his skin and after trying lots of things, they’ve found that this Liz Earle cleanse and polish kit works
Another older boy’s gift – an ice form for making shot glasses, at least it brings out their creative side
Lava lamps are particularly good for brightening up student rooms, I can’t believe that they can’t put posters up these days – do you remember that was a big part of deciding whether you were going to like someone or not when you checked out their ‘art’
20Q is already seen as a vintage relaunch – can you believe it? It’s only 10 years since they were everywhere but 2 years ago I spent hours trying to track them down, eventually buying a couple on Ebay because I knew my then 10 year old would love it and he still does.
Some of you may remember the tender scene I posted a few months ago of Mr MC teaching the middle one how to shave. I’ve learned a bit late what an important step into manhood it is, after all they don’t have anything concrete like periods starting, so with the youngest I’m going to make a bit more of a big deal out of it and buy something like this double edged razor starter shaving set, it’s a gift that the other two regular shavers would welcome too.
My eldest loves books like this guide to wine, he’s keen to avoid all imaginable social gaffes in the future!
Furry bobble hats are still a thing this year, although in more muted colours
Portable chargers are endlessly welcome, in fact my middle son lives in such fear of running out of charge that he always has 3 on him at any one time (handy for when he gets on a bus to beyond)
Fox socks are a youthful yet stylish way to add a bit of colour to an outfit
All boys love sharks – shark boxers
Finally you’re never too old for a spud gun. I remember one Christmas when it rained all day and the eldest who was about 7 at the time resorted to shooting his out of the cat flap. The potato pieces ended up lodged in the decking and the ground went from under our feet whenever we went outside for the next few months.
So, I hope that’s helped a bit and now a really must crack on. Don’t forget I’m doing extra posts at the moment as I have so much to talk about, here’s my extra one for this week talking about Links of London if you missed it – as so many of you have said, there are some lovely things there to put on your own wish list.
I’m feeling very relieved on the work front at the moment having this week launched a new website, a new catalogue and finalised all of the new designs and fragrances for our Christmas 2016 ranges (yes 2016 – I’m working a whole year ahead). So I can blog on Monday with a clear conscience. Next week I’ll be posting some final gift ideas and, having had so many requests recently, I’ll be talking about 3 brands I’ve found that cater for those who have curves. Happy planning everyone.
Other Christmas posts you might like: