*** This guest post was written by Bryce Mikolajczak, a 14-year old teen who will be attending Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA, this fall. As nonprofit organizations begin their holiday planning, we hope this post provides useful suggestions for addressing the notoriously challenging group of teens. Whether you are making a bulk purchase or running a holiday toy drive, keep these gift ideas in mind! Please leave any feedback or questions at the end of the post – or reach out to us directly at email@example.com. ***
As a teen, I’m constantly getting the feedback that “Hey, I don’t know what to get you for ____!”, because it’s actually very hard to buy a gift for the teenage population. It’s as if we teens keep changing what we like or keep our likes hidden just to mess with gift-givers. To help the gift-givers, I have attempted to describe some current general trends in the teen community. Hopefully, this can help organizations decide on gifts to purhase for the upcoming holiday.
Teens in General
From my everyday experience, there are many items that all teens seem to enjoy – especially hoodies. At school, nearly everybody owns and wears a hoodie – daily – even after the weather starts heating up. Although there is personal preference on what kind of hoodie to wear, from school swag hoodies to athletic competition swag hoodies to average, unadorned hoodies, the teens at my school all seem to love hoodies. Knowing a teen’s personal preference and buying them a hoodie is a gift that can’t go wrong.
Another observation is that all my friends come to school with a hydro flask or a similar stainless steel water bottle. Both in hot weather and in cold weather, this kind of water bottle is perfect for storing water to keep it warm or cold, which is why it is the optimal choice of water bottle for teens.
Finally, teens enjoy getting together. Whether this activity involves going to a boba shop, clothing shop, or going to see a movie, there is a gift card for every occasion. Buying a gift card for a teen’s specific interest area is perfect, because it will enable them to spend his gift on what they value, while still getting a meaningful experience through the process of spending it.
Around school, one group of teens are the teen athletes. These are the people who play sports and/or follow specific sports and sports teams. For these kinds of teens, buying them paraphernalia from their favorite teams is a popular gift, enabling these teens to show off their sports teams and show support. These teens will join the countless others, past, future, and especially present, who love showing team spirit.
A subcategory of the teen athletes are the teen basketball players. It has become very common for basketball players to wear their basketball shoes to school. I think basketball shoes look terrible, but the students don’t care, so buying a new pair of shoes for those basketball players may be a good idea.
Finally, teen athletes frequently get injured. As I myself have gotten injured quite a bit lately, I know this to be extremely frustrating. Something that might help make the recovery process and help teen athletes feel better is a massage gun or roller, which relieves muscles and improves recovery.
Lately, around school, a lot of teens, myself included, the popularity of the game chess has been on the rise. For teens obsessed with the digital version of chess, such as on chess.com, a subscription can be the perfect gift to enhance their chess-playing. Although this requires the teen in question to have their own chess.com account, this could be a sound choice of gift for a teen.
For people without that obsession with technology, a travel chess set is another perfectly viable option. This chess set can enable teens to play the game of chess, nearly anywhere, anytime, with anybody, and can be easily used by teens to satisfy their need to play chess. A portable chess set or a digital subscription can be a perfect gift for those teens addicted – or new to – the game of chess.
Another kind of teen at school are the stylish/trendy teens. These teens try to look their best, and because they always follow the current trends, are always changing their likes and are even harder to buy gifts for than normal.
At school currently, the cool kid teens follow the trend of wearing thin chains around their necks and some even wear small earrings, to make themselves look great. If you think that a teen would fit in in one of these groups, buying a similar, thin neck chain might be a good idea.
Alternatively, it might be a good idea to skip the whole “buy for the current trend” idea. Trends are constantly changing, so these kinds of teens might like one thing one day, then completely detest it the next. So instead, providing these teens the means to stay on top with their fashion could be a good path. Trendy girls constantly style their hair, so buying them hair products such as a hair volumizer or other products may be a good idea.
Digitally Obsessed Teens
In this day and age, when I look around, I see that all of my friends are on a device, playing some sort of game or another, or communicating on social media. For people playing video games daily, buying a video game gift card would be a perfect gift. This gift card enables them to enhance their digital experience and their enjoyment, either by purchasing in-game perks or purchasing brand new video games to play.
Another way to enhance a digitally obsessed teen’s enjoyment is with a portable charging bank. With this charging bank, teens are able to use their phones longer and increase the time of enjoyment. When that phone, and the portable charger finally runs out of battery, with a multi-charger, a charger that charges multiple devices simultaneously, is a perfect fix for those who have more than one device.
Today, many teens love to listen to music while they work. For this kind of people, Air Pods (or a knock-off – similar, cheaper, perfectly working airpods) are ideal solutions. Air pods are wirelessly connected headphones that connect to your device with bluetooth, and can stream music into people’s ears without bothering the general outside world with their music.
A primary site that teens use to stream their music is Spotify. Although I myself have never used spotify, I know that with Spotify unlimited (a subscription), the listening experience is enhanced considerably. With this in mind, getting a gift card for spotify unlimited would not be a great gift.
Finally, for teens of this kind, a stylish, fancy airpod case to hold your airpods could also be a terrific gift. Cases come in many styles and formats, so it’s almost guaranteed that there is one styling that fits every teen. These cases show off the personalities of the teen, and can be easily shown to friends to show off “how cool I am with this cool airpod case”.
Serious Lounger Teens
One kind of a teen, which I used to be, is a lounger teen. These kinds of teens do not want to get out of that comfortable relaxation of their bed. Instead, with a bed shelf, the teen can have everything right from his bed. Anything the teen wants can be put there to be grabbed at their leisure. Prime optimization for an effective routine, right here!
If this kind of teen is away from the comfortable bliss their own bed, a perfect gift would be a portable lounger sofa. Easily inflatable on the beach or any other place for or not for lounging, this gift is perfect for those teens looking to lounge, even when they are away from home.
Teen Gifts for the Holidays: Always a Challenge!
It’s difficult to buy for teens. Teenagers are constantly changing preferences, and they never tell you exactly what they want. But hopefully, this list has helped you with suggestions about what to consider to make a teenager’s day.