Moms know what a financial suction device kids can be. Even if you are blessed with a child who isn’t pining for every single item advertised on television, there are so many products designed to entertain, educate, and delight children from birth to age 11, that it is easy to throw dollar after dollar at them. Then, after years of spoiling kids with books, toys, games, and gadgets, suddenly their interests mature and suddenly you can’t buy happiness with a $20 toy. Christmas wish lists dwindle from multiple pages to a short list of five or less items, each of them equal in cost to your entire shopping budget. It’s then that you begin to wish for the days when your child wanted everything on the shelves of the toy store because at least you knew what to buy for them then!
Perhaps because I was a teen girl once, this transition with my daughter wasn’t as difficult for me to navigate as it was with my son. For her, I can always surprise her with some nail polish or makeup, a cute scarf or earrings, or some cool office/school supplies since she shares my love of pens, paper, and clips. When it comes to my 16-year old son though, I’m at a loss. Well, I was. His younger sister still believes in Santa Claus, so for appearances, we must maintain equality among Christmas gifts even if my teen son insists he doesn’t want or need anything. Thus, I’ve devoted a lot of time to figuring out suitable gifts for him that wouldn’t be a waste of money.
Before I get to my suggestions, let me address the new age moms who are going to jump all over me for not identifying each person’s individual interests, personalities, etc. If you have a teen boy who has a passion for something specific (e.g. skateboarding, reading, or music), by all means support that passion. But f you don’t want to be stuck always giving him a predictable gift, consider some of these suggestions.
Brand Name Merchandise
Teens are the most brand aware demographic group. While not all teens believe they will die if they aren’t wearing or using brand name merchandise, all of them WILL appreciate it. Whether you opt for a Hollister t-shirt, Sperry shoes, or a TAG aquaracer watch (BTW, if you can afford one of these, please add me to your gift list!), if it’s a brand name product, it’s sure to be a hit with your son.
Cold, Hard Cash
Teens constantly need money to support all the socializing that is the trademark of their existence and to buy the brand name merchandise that improves their social status. If it feels too insensitive to provide actual cash, by all means choose a suitable gift card for a store you know your son/nephew/son’s friend would like. I promise though that crisp, new bills delight teen boys.
Teens are always looking for something fun to do. Help them out by giving them an idea AND footing the bill. Movie tickets, concert tickets, amusement park passes, passes for a round of miniature golf for your teen plus a few friends, tickets to a sporting event, a pre-paid paintball war session or water park passes all make great gifts for teen boys.
Sometime during their teens, the male members of our species develop an appreciation for high-quality sound which continues well into adulthood (and if my husband is a typical example, even hearing loss doesn’t make this passion wane). Good speakers are a big hit with teen boys no matter if they’re for the car, their iPod, or a full-blown stereo system.
If your son plays sports, you know how expensive the gear can be. While we typically purchase the required equipment for our kids’ activities, we will sometimes get new, higher-quality, or additional equipment as gifts. If your son doesn’t NEED new cleats, but is pining after a slick neon pair, this makes a great present that spans the divide between function and fun.
I’m not advocating for all parents to arm their teen sons with assault rifles. If you happen to be a gun enthusiast and are disciplined in teaching your children gun safety and responsibility, a small firearm might be a good gift. However, I meant to cover a broader field. Depending on your comfort level, weapons are definite teen pleasers from AirSoft guns to bows and arrows to nunchucks. Obviously, you should never provide a weapon to someone who you aren’t 100% certain will handle it responsibly. Also, unless you are the child’s parent, you should never give a minor a weapon as a present without BOTH parents express permission and assurance that it will be handled responsibly.
I hope you find these suggestions for buying gifts for teen boys helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share them in the comments!