Actually this gift ideas for teens post has been a challenge this year. Usually it’s easy because the boys present me with lists full of ideas on the last day of the October half term, This year, despite persistent requests, I have only had one and it has the sum total of two ideas on it. Why? They tell me that there isn’t much they actually want. Apparently there is a lack of newness out there – there are no ‘must have’ clothing brands that they like, no new games consoles, no new phones that are within the realms of affordability. It’s interesting.
Does this mean they don’t actually want anything on Christmas Day? Erm no! When I suggested that Father Christmas was feeling his age and that we should maybe let him conserve his energy for younger children, I was met with doleful stares. Foolishly, when each of them reached their later childhood years and started asking questions, I told them that Father Christmas comes as long as you say you believe in him. So, at the ages of 20, 16 and 14 they are savvy enough to believe in him firmly.
Whenever I have had a chance to sit next to them on the sofa over the last few weeks, I have nonchalantly flicked through catalogues and websites, knowing that I would catch their attention. These are the things that have garnered interest and so, as they come from the mouths of genuine teens, I share them with you.
Gift ideas for teens
Pocket photo printer
This is the only pricey gift that I’m including but I am reliably informed that every student wants one. It carries on from last year’s craze for the relaunch of the Polaroid camera. I am told that everyone still loves the cameras but the problem is that they’re bulky to carry around with you if you’re going out to a bar or club. However if you have one of these tiny pocket sized photo printers, the problem is solved.
At first I was confused as to why they want them when they have smart phones and printers in their rooms. Apparently the reason is that you take so many photos on your phone that you flick through them once but then nothing else happens with them. However it’s really social printing these off to share ‘in the moment’ and it’s great to have lots of these little pictures dotted round your room.
When you remember how exciting it used to be when we were teens and you got your photos from a party developed, this makes sense. It’s nice to have the physical manifestation of good times around you isn’t it?
Personalised driving lessons fund pot
The content of this could be as big or as small as you like but it’s a good way to get someone who is approaching their 17th birthday thinking about driving lessons. Have you noticed that teens somehow assume they are a rite of passage – and that insurance will just happen… and that once they pass they will have unlimited access to a car?!
This is a great way of introducing the idea that the whole thing is a very expensive business (especially if your son then needs two lots of surgery due to rugby related injuries with long recovery periods and so the whole investment goes down the drain)!
Not sure what they were thinking when they put those coppers in the shot…9p doesn’t even buy you a Freddo these days!
Personalised driving lessons fund money box
Movie bucket list poster
When the youngest was 9 and the eldest was 15, we found we were straddling an awkward age gap and so that winter we introduced movie Sundays. I have to say that it was one of my happiest winters ever. Mr MC is a bit of a movie buff and so each week he picked something that he thought they needed to watch as part of their cultural reference. It sounds as though I’m talking about obscure French classics, I’m not. We covered things like The Goonies, Forest Gump, Field of Dreams and Stand By Me. It’s great because they now understand the lines that people quote so often such as “build it and they will come,” and “life is like a box of chocolates”…
Anyway, I digress. I can’t help thinking this 100 movies bucket list would be a great family project if you could get your teens to sit with you for long enough to watch a movie each week.
Scratch off movie poster bucket list
If you worry about their necks and eyes because they spend so much time squinting at their phone screen, this is a good idea. It’s a great way for them to hold a cinema night in their bedroom or just to go through endless videos on YouTube with their friends. All you need is a blank wall.
Despite the fact that I continually remind them that fragrance is a luxury, my boys drown themselves in it and can easily go through a bottle of aftershave in a matter of weeks. They have a nose for the expensive stuff but I’ve found that they also really like anything that has vintage appeal which is great because it is often more reasonably priced. (This is where I apologise for some of these ideas having a male focus – if I tried to do girl specific gifts I would be guessing and that’s no good).
Alternatively these Ralph Lauren coffrets are great if you’re buying for a boy that you don’t know so well – and each bottle is 30ml so they’ll last a while. They’re currently price matched so they have 17% off.
I don’t know whether you have a basin in your house that is forever muddy. I do and it is because of this stuff which is a cult product amongst the middle son and his friends. Why they can’t just use the stuff on the rugby pitch I don’t know.
Moving on to a bit of fun. As I’ve told you before, the only Christmas disappointments we’ve had in our house have been the years when I haven’t included some kind of toy in each boy’s stocking.
I find that at Christmas they’re full of brotherly bonhomie and willing to play with each other so something like this is great fun and it makes a change from them shooting things on their games consoles.
The Emoji Game
This looks like a good family game and I like the fact that it might help me to understand the difference between the many emojis that look the same! It comes from the lovely people at The Present Finder. I am always keen to support them because rather than being a tax shirking conglomerate, they are a family owned company. I know lots of readers were delighted with them last year, especially with their swift overseas delivery so do have a look through their website, they have gifts for all ages.
Teens always like to outdo each other and this is more a test of mental agility than knowledge which makes it fairer, particularly if you are playing with mixed generations.
Game of Phones
Or… we can be completely millennial and engage them on their favourite level – with their phones! One player picks a card from the top of the deck and everyone has 60 seconds to respond using their phone. It could be that you have to google something or find a selfie that describes a mood. It has great reviews.
Falling Water Putty
The youngest was always a fan of silly putty and this looks as though it is a more grown up version. It’s just the sort of thing they like to pull out of their stockings and mess around with. It stretches and yet it also bounces like a ball.
Culture by stealth
I’m always pleased when I find something that has an educational twist and yet won’t be met with a roll of the eyes. These Shakespearean insults will lodge in their brains for life – and it’s better than staring at a cereal packet in the mornings.
One of my three still makes mistakes with his ‘abbreviating apostrophes.’ This book might be more on a teen’s level than Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It’s the sort that works cunningly if you leave it in a bathroom.
A book that will make a difference to their lives
Beautifully designed and thought provoking, this book shows how the reader, as an individual, can make a difference to the world. There are hands on practical pages as well as inspirational ones. It is part of a great series – in fact you could probably buy a gift for each member of your family from this collection. You can see the other books here.
One: How many people does it take to make a difference?
Camping cutlery tool
My dad and brothers always had an obsession with pen knives and it was a running joke in our family that a boyfriend had been accepted if he was given a pen knife for Christmas. Mr MC still has the one that he was awarded and in fact has adopted the habit. He now has a pen knife attached to each of his sets of keys.
Of course these days the men in my family are forever looking for new ones to give each other. I spotted this camping cutlery tool – which would also be good for anyone who is doing a Duke of Edinburgh expedition soon. When the youngest went on his practice recently, he was pilloried for packing separate items of cutlery!
Cartridge case torch
They never grow out of torches do they? I remember they were always some of the most successful presents when my nephews were little and my boys still love torches, even though they have them on their phones. This one has the added appeal of being made from a shotgun cartridge. I think it’s aimed at the hunting, shooting and fishing brigade but lots of boys would love it too.
Portable phone charger
This is a failsafe gift, it seems teens can never have enough portable chargers. These are the size of a credit card and slim enough to be tucked into a jeans pocket.
Ultra long power cable
Another gift that you can’t go wrong with. Two metres long, this is perfect or any teen who lies on a bed or a sofa for hours using their phone – that’s most of them then.
Obligatory socks and underpants
Declared by my chaps to be the most comfortable undies known to man, each sale raises money to promote awareness of testicular cancer. I’m featuring Oddballs for the second year running because I like what they do. I have been reliably informed that the socks aren’t as good as the boxers though.
I am forever on the lookout for socks that are a bit fun but adhere to school rules which state that only navy or grey must show at the ankle. I’m delighted to have found these.
Better than a selection box…
Bubbles that you can add your own flavour to. I can imagine these would be fun after Christmas dinner.
Chocolate for tech lovers…
Or should you have a teen who is aspiring unrealistically to a new iPad you could always pop this in their stocking!
One for the ghoulish child…
Double Decker selection box
However if you’re looking for a selection box, you can’t beat this double decker one
Giant Galaxy selection box
There is a giant version for lovers of Galaxy chocolate too.
Insulated ‘brown paper’ lunch bag
Functional rather than fun but I’m including it anyway. My two don’t have space in their backpacks for proper lunch boxes so at the moment they recycle plastic bags for their lunches. This would take up the same amount of space but be far more leak proof, stopping the problems we have with exploding yoghurts and mushy fruit. It’s also available on a three for two offer.
Insulated ‘brown paper’ lunch bag
Chilli jelly beans
I’m ending with a daft one – chilli jelly beans. They’re regular jelly beans but not as you know it! A taste explosion in escalating heat levels.
So, I really hope this gift ideas for teens post has been helpful. I know they are hard to buy for – I really hope that a new clothing brand will launch for them next year which would make it easier. Apparently Jack Wills is still ok although it’s the long sleeved tops that you find in this collection that are more popular now than the traditional hoodies. Finally the Uniqlo collaboration with the artist KAWS launches on Friday. Yes – it’s Peanuts to us but it is predicted to sell through as quickly to teens as Inès de La Fressange does to us so there’s another idea for you.
I will be collating all of the Black Friday offers in a post that I will publish early on Friday morning. A new trick this year is that some retailers are changing their offers throughout the day so keep popping back. I will update them as soon as the new offer comes in. It’s going to be an interesting one – some retailers are opting out completely, others are doing it bigger than ever before. A sign of the times but like it or not, you may as well benefit from it. In the meantime, here are the offers that have started already.
Early Black Friday Sales
Baukjen: different offers every day. Today and tomorrow (21/22 Nov) it is 20% off plus a gift from Baukjen that is hand picked according to what you buy (i.e. same size, similar style). I tested this last time they did it and was sent a really nice white cold shoulder t-shirt when I bought a white jersey top. Available here with code TOME17
Boden – 30% off everything here with code N6D5
Warehouse: 20% off everything here
Hope Fashion 20% off everything here, enter BARKINGMAD at checkout
Joules Black Friday event on now – various discounts up to 50%
The John Lewis price match page – price matching all supplier and competitor offers
La Redoute – 40% off everything with code BLACKFRIDAY
Debenhams – cyber week here, up to 50% off
Clarins – 10% off everything here and 6 free samples of your choice
MacDonald Hotels – up to 40% off winter warmer breaks across the UK and Europe – including Christmas markets
Disclosure: ‘gift ideas for teens’ is not a sponsored post
Recent posts you may have missed
Midlifechic edit: relaxed Christmas party outfit ideas
Midlifechic edit: chic Christmas gifts for women
Midlifechic edit: best Christmas dresses
Midlifechic edit: chic Christmas jumpers
Midlifechic edit: Advent calendars
A party dressing project – what to wear for different occasions
A palette inspired by toffee apples
Side stripe trousers and a midlife wedding
Leather leggings for women over 40
A cornucopia of recent outfits
Launching the Midlifechic Boutique
On children growing away – how a stair carpet floored me
How many pairs of shoes do you actually need?
The relaunch of iconic label Issa
What to buy from Hush’s Autumn collection
A guide to AW17 – the shapes and colours to look out for
Back to work – a desk to dinner project
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo – exclusive launch with Midlifechic