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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Gifts for Teens/Pre-Teens

If you are the parent of a teen/pre-teen you probably already have a pretty good idea of what types of gifts they want this holiday season. But if you have a teenaged niece, granddaughter or family member on your list that you are a little clueless about what to get for the holidays, here are some simple guidelines to help you:
If you ask me, the best types of gifts for this age group are gift cards and gift certificates. Teens and pre-teens are at an age where they are trying to assert their independence; giving them the power to make their own buying decisions will surely go over well with this age group. They also happen to be old enough now to appreciate the value of getting, well… basically money. But unlike cash, with a gift card you have some control over the type of merchandise they can purchase, and this tech-savvy generation will appreciate being able to make purchases online. Here are some suggestions for gift cards that will definitely keep you out of the lame zone this holiday season:
  • Movie Theatres
  • Amazon
  • i-Tunes
  • Bookstores
  • Department Stores
  • Mall Gift Cards
  • Cosmetic, Bath or Jewelry Boutiques
  • Specialty Sports/Athletic Stores
  • Specialty Gaming Stores
  • Electronic Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Specialty Hobby Shops
  • Summer Camps
  • Spas, Hair/Nail Shops
  • Facebook Credits

Great Gifts
Photo via Flickr by Mr. T in DC

Now that you know what’s hot, here are some gift-giving pitfalls you will want to avoid:
Fashion- Avoid buying clothes, shoes etc…unless you are sure it is something they want. At this developmental stage adolescents are trying to find their identities and fashion provides a sense of identity for many teens. But with this age group, clothing is much more than just style. Fashion also serves as a way of identifying which social groups (jocks, preppy, goth, etc) they belong to or wish to identify with. Rebellion, pop culture, peer pressure and many other factors also influence what teens want to wear. Needless to say, no matter how good your sense of style may be, picking out clothes for adolescents is never simple.
Beauty Products- Beauty product gifts are usually popular with teen girls because most of them want to explore new looks and they want to get noticed. But, unless you know what rules their parents have about wearing makeup, nail polish etc… it’s best to stay away from this type of gift. To be safe, go with non-makeup beauty products such as soaps, lotions, shampoos and perfumes instead.
Cell Phones- The same rationale in paragraph above also applies to cell phones and electronics. If the teen you are shopping for doesn’t already have their own a cell phone, tablet, TV etc.; find out first if it’s because their parents don’t want them to have one yet.
Shopping for the teen/pre-teen age group (which usually covers ages 9-19) doesn’t have to be a nightmare as long as you keep these few simple rules in mind. As with anything else, use your common sense when picking out age-appropriate gifts and if you’re ever in doubt ask the parents. I hope some of these tips will help you make that special young person in your life exclaim OMG! this holiday season.


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