It’s the age-old story: Finding gifts that teens will like is so difficult. So how about a few items that might just give them a lift and a smile? We’ve got you covered!
Food Glorious Food
Gift cards for restaurants, Uber Eats, or DoorDash
My 14-year-old son is always asking if we will take him to get food instead of eating what we have in the house—this is especially true for lunches at home or after a late-night soccer practice. It gets exhausting! I want to give him some more control over having the chance to get a treat every now and then. I’m planning to do a small batch of small gift cards to his favorite takeout places so he can get a lunch out and give him control over the decision.
Snack Packs from Universal Yums
The savvy snacker in your life needs Universal Yums—a subscription box sure to feed international cravings all year long. This carefully curated cornucopia highlights snacks from a different country each month, plus an accompanying booklet with maps, recipes, games, and trivia to provide extra food for thought. Plans and prices vary.
Let’s get cooking
A few years ago I got my middle school daughter a kid’s cookbook for Christmas. It was the biggest flop gift that year! She opened it, acted gracious, and then set it aside. A few weeks later, however, she picked it up and tried a recipe. Then another. She now admits that it was the gift she was least excited about but it turned out to be something she loves—and a gift that she still uses constantly!
Ace that cake
My daughter is a baker, and she received a giant cake decorating kit with absolutely everything she would need to make all kinds of incredible cakes. It’s a perfect gift for a teen who has cultivated a love of baking during the pandemic. Bonus: You, all of a sudden, have a ton of beautiful cakes in your life.
You’ve Got Mail
Say it With Print
A good old fashioned print magazine that comes in the actual mail, every month? What a novel experience! Whatever your teen is into, there’s a magazine for that. Have a cat lover? Try Cat Fancy. Budding architect or designer? Try Dwell. Fashionista? Glamour or Vogue. Gamer? Try PC Gamer or Game Informer. Not sure what to choose? Give them a “coupon” they can redeem for the subscription of their choice!
Anyone with an inner Martha Stewart will love unboxing their quarterly Decocrated shipment. Focused on home décor, this stylish subscription box is overflowing with Pinterest-worthy finds and whimsical designs.
Let’s Make Up
Several years ago, my sister-in-law signed up my daughter for a makeup subscription from Ipsy, which provides a monthly grab bag of beauty products to sample. Little did she know that would be a gift that keeps on giving—she has asked her to renew it every year, because she loves testing out new products and getting a surprise in the mail each month.
Give them a Hand
Does your teen like to tinker? Try a subscription box like Creation Crate, geared toward exploring how things work.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Take a break from being online and throw it back by gifting your teen some cute stationery. Their handwritten notes are a great way to bring joy to friends and relatives. You can get great personalized items at Expressionery.
Comfort and Joy
Hug it out
Better sleep and reduced stress, all via a cozy blanket? Bring it on with the Huggaroo, a 15-pound weighted blanket that can be especially comforting for anyone with restless leg syndrome, insomnia, autism, sensory processing disorder, or PTSD.
Got an anxious teen who needs to channel some nervous energy? Try this updated take on the fidget spinner!
Mix it up
In a year when our kids may be missing seeing their friends and family members, give them a way to see those friendly faces every day: right on their bedroom wall. Just upload your favorite photos to MixTiles, and get back lightweight, framed photos that can be stuck and restuck in any configuration on the wall, without damaging the paint. Say cheese!
Put a Good Face on It
The one member of the family our teens never get mad at? The family pet, of course. You can put their best pal on socks, t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, pillows … even an air freshener for their room or car! Check out what these companies have to offer:
Divvy Up Socks
Squishy Faced Crew
Brave New Normal
Cut the Cords
Eliminate the modern day version of the tangled phone cord with wireless earbuds or headphones. Bonus points if they’re noise cancelling. So many great options:
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Mpow X3 ANC Bluetooth Earphones
The Right Angle
With so much time in front of screens, we may as well make it comfortable. An adjustable stand offers so many options, and will help your teen find just the right angle for those zoom meetings!
Music to Their Ears
This Bluetooth speaker can go anywhere you do. It floats, it’s waterproof and shock-proof, and can clip to your backpack.
Unicorns and penguins and pandas, oh my! The menagerie of My Audio Pet animal-shaped Bluetooth mini-speakers is sure to be a hit with any music-loving teen (as well as Oprah, who named My Audio Pet one of her “favorite things” two years in a row).
Sleep better with soothing fan sounds and lots of options for white noise—as well as the pink and brown noise you didn’t know you needed. Ideal for sleep, relaxation, study, or any environment where you’d like more audio control.