Five Hacks to Get the Holiday Gifts Your Teen Really Wants

gifts teens like holidays christmas

Get the Holiday Gift Your Teen or Tween Really Wants


With the holiday season fast approaching, parents of teens are once again at a loss for what gifts they can get their kids that they will actually like.

I have purchased too many gifts in years past where my teens politely sighed, “Thanks mom” and tucked them away under their bed to never be seen again. I’ve spent hours in stores and even more hours online, laboring over what each kid might want, failing miserably in this pursuit.

You think you know your kids’ tastes and interests but if you’re like me, you are dreadfully surprised with their response, realizing you actually don’t have a clue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up something I thought my girl would love, only to be met with “Oh mom, no. Just, no.”

Well, okay then.

With time, I’ve grown wiser in this needlessly exhausting gift shopping madness. I’m feeling pretty confident that with these tips, you will save a lot of time, energy, and money shopping for your teens this holiday season too.


Have your teen send you pics of anything they like when they spot it.

A great year-round approach to getting the perfect gifts for your kids is telling them to send you pictures of things they might like as a gift. Our teens are out and about and often when they see things they like, they forget about it when we ask what they want. It’s super helpful to have an ongoing plan for your teen to always remember to send you a quick pic of anything they spot and would love to have. This will bring you a wealth of gift ideas throughout the year that you have been assured your kid will want. If your teen is at the mall with friends and spots that perfect sweater or your teen is scrolling on social media and sees the coolest jersey, or maybe your teen loves the soccer ball a teammate brought to practice, wherever they are, encourage them to remember to let you know about potential gifts they find!


Have your teen shop for things they like online and keep those tabs open for you.

This method is a sanity saver, a time saver, and a money saver. Your teen might like particular stores and specific products or brands, so have them go online and pick out a bunch of items they like and put them in the cart. Tell them you will pick a few from the variety they chose. If your teen wants a particular item, have him go online to find a few options (color, brand, size) and let him know you will pick one of them for his gift. (I just did this with my son. He wanted a new soccer ball, so he chose three different ones he liked and I picked one from that list.)


Give them an experience.

Instead of buying your teens those expensive clothes or video games, why not give them an experience they would love instead? If you have a theater kid, a band kid, an artsy kid, buy tickets to that concert or that Broadway play, purchase six months of guitar lessons, sign your teen up for that craft workshop, look around town for anything they would enjoy. If your kid loves sports, how about tickets to a professional game you know they’d love to watch or buy them a one-day ski trip package etc. The options are endless, perhaps you purchase a plane ticket for your teen to visit his favorite cousin or plan a family weekend away and gift all your kids with that trip or schedule an escape room experience for your teen and her friends. Making memories beats any gift, every time.


Consider updating their bedroom or hang out space.

Gift your teens with a new paint job in their room, a new desk or dresser, or even new bedding. Do they have a central room where they hang? Perhaps adding a new comfy chair or table would be a hit. Last year our Christmas gift to our teen girl was painting her room and giving her new bedding and a few extra room décor items. She loved it! You can include your kids in the planning and picking out of furniture, paint, or products to make it all their own.


Upgrade those products they use every day.

Raising teens is expensive with a capital E. We often cut costs by purchasing generic brands when we can. Whether it’s the kid’s shampoo or socks, we rarely buy the high-end brands. Why not get the good stuff for them as a gift? Buy those Nike socks or lacey undies, wrap up some brand name hair products or makeup, aftershave or body sprays. Upgrading the boring everyday products our kids use can be a great way to stock up on necessities while turning them into extravagant gifts!

Most teens will just say they want gift cards or money. But what’s the fun in that? Having gifts for them to unwrap just makes the holiday that much better. And you’re bound to score big with these tips.

And if you still need a little help, here are some of our gift guides:

Teen Boys

Tween Boys

Tween Girls

Stocking Stuffers

Board Games

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