My guys are getting harder and harder to shop for — at least where fun gifts are concerned. While, yes, they do need new skis every couple of years as well as other more practical/useful items, I find myself missing toys on Christmas morning.
We did get the boys these hoverboards last Christmas, just because they’re fun (both to receive and use), and the year before, we completely blew their minds with Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets — a gift that will likely never be topped — so I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with something that teenagers might find a little exciting to open.
So. After much perusing, thinking, hunting and discussion, I’ve come up with 29 gift ideas for teens that might actually make them smile. Most are useful, and many of these items are things my guys (or their friends) currently want, have and love, or need.
29 Cool Gift Ideas For Teenagers They’ll Actually Be Excited To Open
I was trying to strike the right balance between a gift that’s fun to open and a gift they could actually use (I hate throwing away junk the day after Christmas). Hopefully there’s something in this list that would be a big win, or maybe this list will even generate a new idea — and, in that case, share your thoughts in the comments below. I welcome any and all help. 🙂
And, hey — when you’re done here, head over to our holiday gift idea hub for more seriously cool gift ideas for all your loved ones (or whoever).
Teen Gift Ideas: Something For Their Room
Teens really love to be able to make their space their own. Whether it’s decorating the walls or adding some fun decor, make their rooms a bit more enjoyable and welcoming.
Nobody needs a mini fridge in their bedroom (especially in these tiny city houses of ours), but Raines peeked over my shoulder and swooned when he saw this one by Frigidaire. He claims it would be perfect for long study sessions. Noted.
For the kid who still loves to color! Not only is this peel-and-stick stuff seriously sophisticated, but it can be colored in with markers. Love it.
Useful, useful, useful. This Apple charging station comes in four colors, can charge multiple devices at once, and has over 4,000 four-star reviews.
Both of my boys have started stealing my silk pillowcases, which…annoying — especially since the Slip silk pillowcases I use are $89! I just realized that Quince makes 100% silk pillowcases for $39, so both boys are getting one in their stockings this year. (I’m going to buy them black ones, so we can tell the difference between theirs and my white ones.)
For a kid interested in photography — or, heck, even decorating their bedroom — I love the idea of this little printer. It works with their phone and prints photos on sticky-backed paper.
Another way to make a space their own, these lightbox signs are surprisingly fun. We have one, and the kids love changing it often. The changes are not always…appropriate. But whatever.
I adore this cool bedside light. Both boys are very into ambiance (my word, not theirs), and lighting makes a big difference. Admittedly, this vibe is more Raines than Pax. (The lights I got for Pax are in last year’s gift guide for teens.)
Teen Gift Ideas: For An Epic Movie Night
Movie nights are a staple in my house, and these gift ideas are a few ways to make them even more fun.
These popcorn seasonings would be a cute set to pop into their stockings — or would make a fun gift with…
…this personal popcorn popper. It’s easy to use (microwave) and, since my guys are freaking always hungry, great for late-night snacks.
My oldest is at an age where he and his friends are really into movie nights. OK, most are horror flicks (they’re in that phase of life), but they might actually get a kick out of going through this list of movies too.
This small but powerful mini projector by KODAK works with a cellphone and has more than 2,000 five-star reviews. I can see my boys getting a big kick out of this one.
Teen Gift Ideas: Something For Their Face
And by “something,” I mean makeup and/or skincare. Here are our favorites…
Ogee — a natural, organic brand based in Vermont — makes the best set I’ve ever used for simple contouring. So, if you have a teen who wants to contour (or, heck, even start wearing makeup), this set is virtually foolproof. The results are stunning, and you don’t have to worry about them putting tons of chemicals on their skin. These products multitask too: I use them on my cheeks, lips and eyes.
I’ve yet to meet a teen (or tween) girl who does’t want something from Glossier. The Dewy Look set seems like the most exciting option (but there are a ton to choose from).
This Oil-Control Discovery Set by Biossance is my favorite skincare set for teenage skin. Raines has been using it for years, and it works really, really well.
Teen Gift Ideas: Something To Do With Friends
Ya know, something other than video games…and whatever else teenage boys do.
A DIY fortune-cookie set?? Such a fun activity for a weekend sleepover.
Oooo…cool decks of playing cards are definitely going in the stocking this year. I love this Eames pack, but there’s also this pretty epic Andy Warhol card set, one for Frank Lloyd Wright and — gasp — Christian Lacroix.
This shocking “gift” is slightly evil, but I think they’d get SUCH a kick out of it. Get it? KICK? HAHAHAHAHAHA.
OK, so, here’s the thing: This Ransom Notes magnet game can easily (and quickly) go off the rails into Not Appropriate territory. So if that concerns you, steer clear. That said, it’s also one of the funniest games I’ve ever played, and Raines loves it.
Teen Gift Ideas: Something For Cozy Toes
Philly gets cold — not to mention the snowy ski trips — and we love everything cozy.
These are the North Face slippers that my husband, my son and all of their friends want. Linzi’s son — annoyingly — tried to wear these as shoes last year. Everyone loves them.
And THESE are the UGG slippers (shoes? booties?) that most of the girls in my life — both young and old — want. My boys like UGGs, too.
One more in the Cool Slipper department: These cozy UGGs are trending on TikTok too, so there’s that.
Teen Gift Ideas: For School & On The Go
To check off some items on the “practical gifts only” wish list…
These North Face gloves are still some of the most useful gloves — the e-tip actually works, and these are decently warm (for gloves).
For a little more flare, who wouldn’t want faux-fur mittens? Especially because the top flips open (there’s a magnet to hold it open too) when they need to use their phones.
Raines is very much into his solitary music listening (he’s all AirPods, all day), but I think some of his friends would love to have a Bluetooth speaker clipped to their backpacks for social hangouts.
My kids often need random locks for things, and this LEXON biometric lock is just so cool.
Raines is just starting to take note of “designer” items, and Off-White is a pretty big one. There’s zero chance I’m buying him a $400 Off-White tee, but I’ll bet he’d LOVE this AirPod case.
Trying to get teens to carry a bag is sometimes tough, so this wallet/phone case is genius. Love the single-letter monogram too.
This beautiful Papier planner was designed with students in mind, and I think they nailed it. Comes in a ton of colors too.
The only bags I can get my boys to carry are Cotopaxi’s hip packs. The Del Dia line, in particular, is really cool: All of the bags are one-of-a-kind, individually made from factory scraps. If the Del Dia line is too colorful for your kid, Raines has this exact Cotopaxi but has also grabbed his dad’s Everlane belt bag on occasion.
Hope this helps! And, as I mentioned before, if anyone else has found a really great gift for teens…SPILL. Help a mama out.
This one’s for the Pinners…