Saturday, December 09, 2017

#HGG2017: Gifts for Teens

Teenagers are notoriously difficult to buy for. They have very specific tastes, don't tend to actually talk to adults all that much about what they like, and often the items they really want are rather expensive pieces of the latest tech. So what's a parent, grandparent. aunt, uncle, etc., to do?

In my experience, teen girls are a bit easier, as they are often quite happy with nice bath products or a pretty scarf. Teen boys are a nightmare. However, if you stick with the general categories of music, tech, video games, and clothes, you can generally hit the mark.


When I was a teenager, we listened to vinyl and cassettes. After moving into CDs for a number of years, music is generally all streamed now. My 22 year-old listens to music via streaming services, or with iTunes downloads, exclusively, and has for years. Purchasing a CD for a teen will get you a raised eyebrow and a confused look. Trust me. Gift them an iTunes or Google Play giftcard, so they can download the tracks they want, or gift them a subscription to a streaming service, like Spotify or Google Play Music.

Another option, to help them enjoy their music with friends, or while they are busy doing something else - a Bluetooth speaker. These speakers are generally quite compact and portable, and connect wirelessly to your teen's phone, tablet, laptop, however they are listening. We've been listening to the Altec Lansing Jacket H2O III. It's got great sound, a 100 ft wireless range, and a 10 hour battery life. You can either connect wirelessly or via an audio input cable, depending on your audio source. This one is super sturdy and encased in a silicone case. Perfect for outdoor use, even on the lake or by the pool, as it's dustproof, snowproof, shockproof, and waterproof up to 3 metres. Plus, it floats! If it falls in you won't have to go diving for it. The Jacket H2O III is compatible with iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices and has on onboard microphone so you can take calls hands-free through it as well. This will take whatever your teen can throw at it, and keep giving them excellent sound to enjoy their tunes.


Every time I enter one of their rooms and attempt to speak to either of my boys, they have their headphones on. They are on their devices, either listening to music, or watching YouTube videos or Netflix and don't want to be disturbed. Headphones, therefore are an excellent gifting option.

Headphones can range greatly in price, from $20 - $500 or more. Look for a brand you trust, and you don't need to go overboard on price. On-ear headphones seem to be the preferred style with teens these days. I prefer wireless myself, although my boys don't seem to care. Just keep in mind that, if you have a kid who is always fiddling with things, those wires are very tempting and can get damaged if played with too much. Also, I stay away from noise cancelling for the teens, because I want them to hear me when I call them down to dinner. Check out Best Buy, online or in-store for a great selection.

Video Games

If you have a gamer on your list, a gift card to a spot like EB Games is a great option. They can go online or in-store to choose their own gift. Or, if you know the system they play on, choose a gift card specifically for that system; they can use the gift card within the system's own e-store to purchase and download the latest game releases without having to worry about physical discs. Seriously - teens are all about digital media, not cluttering up the shelves. PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo all offer gift cards, which can be purchased at major retailers, like EB Games, Best Buy, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Metro, and so many more, in varying denominations.


Let's start off by saying that, while most teens, both male and female, appreciate new clothes, they may not appreciate the specific clothes we pick out for them. So, unless you are very familiar with the brands, styles, and colours they are currently wearing, this one can be tricky. I have had success with getting very specific guidelines from my nephew for things like "a DC or Element hoodie in black, navy, or grey, size medium." But short of that level of help, a gift card to their favourite store will be a surefire hit. Ask them or their parents where they like to shop. American Eagle, H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters are generally safe bets. Or consider a generic mall gift card so they can shop where they like and check out who has sales.

Bonus Idea

If you know their favourite coffee shop, pick up a gift card for them there. Starbucks, Tim Horton's, Second Cup, wherever they hang out with their friends or pop into on lunch break. They will appreciate that you're covering their daily latte fix! My big guy still looks expectantly for his Timmie's gift cards each year :)

And, if you don't love the idea of giving gift cards alone, you could consider including a gift card with an inexpensive scarf or slouchy toque, or even a small box of chocolates. I've found these go over well with the teens too.

Disclosure: I received complimentary review product from Altec Lansing. No financial compensation has been received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own or those of my family.

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