After nearly fifteen straight years of having teens in my family, I learned there is a guaranteed way to come up with a great teenager gift idea. It is not a matter of unlimited cash or technical savvy. It is a simple rule of thumb. If you follow it, you will easily pick a teen Christmas gift idea that is a winner. Here it is:
Make sure that the gift you choose fits into two categories - grown up and fun. Then add the most important ingredient - your time.
Think back to the people who made the biggest impact on you as a teenager. What attracted you to them? Wasn't it that special way they made you feel, as if they understood that you were not a child anymore, but almost an adult? It was that respect and the time together.
I have found that every young person loves a gift that focuses on their growing independence and skills while promising a good time. These are a few examples of teenager gift ideas that do just that.
Buy passes for you two to do something extreme and exciting. For example: play laser tag in a big city gaming facility, go snowboarding or skiing, take martial arts classes, or have an airplane ride in a small craft.
Create a short film with all of the teen's friends and family answering the question, " What do you like about (teen's name)?" Try to get a variety of people recorded including co-workers, church members, teachers, neighbors, members of any extra-curricular classes, librarians, old babysitters...anyone! You can even include a complete stranger saying something like, "Who is this guy? I've got to meet him!"
You can play background music from a favorite band while you interview some of the people to add atmosphere and dimension. In the end, the film may only last ten minutes or so, but the memories and effects of all that love and affirmation will last a lifetime!
Or, as an alternative to video, try compiling digital photos on a disk along with quotes from each person.
Have an Extreme Makeover day. Start with shopping for a new outfit at the mall. Next have a grooming and/or makeup session. You can do this yourself, go to a pro, or schedule a session at a local department store (usually free).
For girls, introduce them to new styles and brands of makeup.
For guys, teach them about eyebrow and facial hair care, facial treatments and cologne selection.
Finish things out with a new haircut with a stylist you trust. You may want to go over some magazines ahead of time and select several styles you think might bring out their best qualities. Bring these along as inspiration, but be flexible. End the day with a planned dinner, party or other outing where you can present the new look to family and friends.
Look online to find out what bands are coming to the area in the next year and purchase admission tickets to the concert of one of the teen's favorite artists. If it is far enough in advance, you may be able to get info on preconcert events or sign up to win backstage passes. You can put the tickets inside a CD or poster from the same band or singer, if you want something for them to enjoy right now. Check online auctions for great deals on these.
Is your teen entrepreneurial-minded? Even if they are not tech-savvy (is there such a teen any more?) consider giving them a one-year subscription to SBI, where they can learn to develop and build an internet business. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! The all-inclusive package gives them all the coaching and tools needed to learn how to evaluate ideas, determine viability of those ideas, as well as how and what they need to build a website that will generate income for years. This is not just hosting that leaves them to figure out what to do on their own, but a full-scale tutorial education in developing a web business from concept to completion. Empower your teen to take control of their future!
As you choose your teenager Christmas gift idea, remember the three crucial parts - grown-up, fun and time together. Think young again!