gift ideas for teensI love shopping, especially when it comes to gifts. I enjoy of thinking about what a person might like and then carefully planning the perfect present. As a mom, sometimes gifts for my children also have a logical, practical component, like something they need or something that will make their routines easier. But gifts for teens? That’s become a whole new playing field.  

A quick Google search for “gifts for teenagers” brings up list upon list of boring necessities, all the newest tech gear, and everything you would ever need for a makeover. My teens have all those necessities. They already own all the tech they could ask for. And they’re not into beauty products.

If you are struggling with teen gifting, here are some wonderful options for that “hard to impress” teen that will knock their socks off. (And then they’ll proceed to leave those socks on the floor for days.)

Take a trip

When my oldest turned 16, we took him away for a weekend. It was just him, my husband, and me. We road tripped to Maine and visited the International Cryptozoological Museum, as my son is really into Bigfoot. We spent the weekend exploring Portland and bonding in such a fun way.  

It doesn’t have to be a huge vacation. But — especially if you have multiple children — a night away with just your teen can be really meaningful. Tie it into one of your child’s interests, and then let them lead the way. It’s a really fun way to reconnect.

Enjoy an experience together

A night away might be too much, but experiences right in Boston can be just as fun! This one can be tricky for teens, because there is a tough period between being a kid and meeting age requirements for more adult adventures. However, with a little digging, you can find some great places. Go for a race in an indoor go-kart. Take a trip to the Seaport, grab a bite, and play a few holes of mini golf. Take the energy down a notch and visit an art studio to paint a plate to be used for the birthday cake. There are a ton of options for experience gifts for teens — it just take a careful eye to find the right one.

Give the gift of responsibility

OK, hear me out on this one. My son got a phone for his 14th birthday, and he was so excited about having the phone. But we had talked so much about the responsibility that comes with a phone, including internet responsibility, so it was more than just a device that we were handing over. As a birthday gift, consider pushing your teen’s bedtime or curfew back even 15 minutes, vowing to check in on their room cleanliness a little less, or allowing them to get to and from school on their own. Giving them a small bit of independence and responsibility can be the first feeling of being “grown up” (but not too fast!).

Stick with the old reliables

When I asked my three boys — ages 17, 16, and 15 — what their favorite gifts have been, they mentioned gift cards, collectibles, and Lego sets. So, you can never go wrong with any interest-driven gift. When it doubt? Pull back and go for the obvious gift.

Michelle Mady
Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool teacher and Assistant Director at a small private preschool and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys born in 2005, 2007 and 2008, plus two girls born in 2012 and 2015. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early education teachers and is an adjunct professor for The School Of Mom. She also runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.