Gift Guide for Tweens & Teens

Tweens & Teens.

The Twilight loving, Twitter frenzied, Justin Bieber listening set of young adults is a demographic I know very little about. I have officially crossed the threshold where I have to ask the following questions or make these statements:

“Who is that on the radio? Oh never heard of him.”

“Okay explain again, what exactly does Chat Roulette do and why do I need to sign up?”

“So the premise of this game is to shoot and kill people? Isn’t that morbid?”

“I can’t figure out how to turn this thing on….someone help me!”

“Could you say that again, I am having a hard time hearing you over all this noise.”

Short of asking for the early plate special and looking for home remedies to cure gout, I am about THIS CLOSE to officially be labeled an old fogie. Ok, cross that out, I used the term “fogie” I think I have officially crossed the line and entered the old person zone!

But even in my “advanced age”, there are a few things and one thing I can ascertain better than most is what is cool. I like to think of it as my super power, but I think its due more to the fact that I have the mentality of a 12-year-old. I am prone to giggle at certain words, have an unhealthy love affair with In-n-Out and tend to use the phrase “That’s what she said…” way too often at the end of conversations. In essence, I am the core demographic for a Judd Apatow film. Well at least in theory since there are major differences between me and the typical Apatow acolyte.

In any case, if you are looking to blow the minds of your nieces & nephews, get your kids into the inner cool kid circle at school or merely prove to your offspring that you are still happening (and FYI, don’t use “happening” it is a dead ringer for not being hip) then these may be up your alley:

One Minute Portraits

I know artwork isn’t exactly what the cool tween/teen set thinks of when the word” present” is said but I promise, you will earn major cool points! The premise is simple, send in a snapshot of your tween/teen to the site. The artist will create a line portrait of the subject and place it online for you to view. If you like what you see, buy the original for $19.99. Yup, $20 for original and personalized artwork that your fickle gift receiver will absolutely treasure.

Glee Anything

So a motley bunch of outsiders band together to create a powerhouse glee club in Lima, OH. Plausible right? Well considering I was raised in Ohio and have visited Lima, OH on multiple occasions, let me just say that there is a reason why the show isn’t labeled a documentary. Believe me when I say that if you took a trip to Lima, OH the only song you would be singing is Tracy Chapman’s “You Drive A Fast Car” because you will want to get out-of-town as quickly as possible. However, the show is fantastic and the soundtracks have inspired many a budding singer and thespian to lock themselves in their rooms, turn on their iFlips and recreate entire musical numbers from film, screen and stage. Funny because when I did that growing up, I just got punched and called dirty names…….

Flip Video Recorder

Truth be told, I want one of these! A Flash based camcorder that fits into your back pocket, these are hitting the stores hard this season. The beauty of these bad boys is that they are so easy to use – simply plug-in the camcorder to your computer with the built-in USB stick and it does the rest for you. Once installed, you can download all your videos simply be replugging in the camcorder to your USB port. Simple editing software comes along with the camera, so your tweens can have a field day filming themselves and friends in various situations you will be embarrassed to share with anyone outside the family. At a price point between $99 – $199, they are the perfect gift for the aspiring photographer, documentary filmmaker or budding singer hoping to become the next Justin Bieber (yeah, I know a little about Beiber!). Besides, you can always “borrow” this from the kids time to time right?

American Eagle Clothing

The tyranny of Abercrombie is officially over. Goodbye to super hot models with perfect bodies, flawless complexions and abs you could grate cheese on — young kids didn’t need that type of pressure anyway right? All of that perfection is hard to live up to right? Who would have thought that today’s youngsters would be socially responsible and turn to a retailer with moderate prices? Well and that they actually have some pretty cool stuff and us adults have been known to shop there on occasion for vacation gear…but SHHHHH…’s our secret.

Personalized URL/Domain

Courtesy of Getty Images

Before there is an uproar that buying a kid their own URL is just going to make them spend more time in front of their computer, let me defend this gift idea. Vanity. Most kids are vain and love to gloat – why not give them something to gloat about that you can control and make educational? Buying them their own domain allows you to control exactly what is put up (or taken down) with a click of a button. No hiding behind Facebook or Twitter accounts….you know what they are saying on their own personal blogs. Second, by the time this kid graduates, knowing how to code is going to be pretty mandatory for high school, so why not start them while they are young? Finally, have an excuse to skirt around the fact that Little Jimmy and Suzie never call their Grandparents by giving them a blog where you can help them post photos, write updates and stay in touch with Aunt Edith in Boca Raton? At about $19.99 a month for a basic package, you give a cool gift and get your nosy family off your back…win-win in my book!


No really, I am not kidding. Cash is awesome. I have always found a pretty envelope stuffed with twenty-dollar bills to be a beautiful thing. The kid can do exactly what s/he wants, you seem like the coolest aunt, uncle. parent, relative, or friend EVER at that moment. And money always fits. The trick is to find the perfect amount to give without appearing to be a cheap skate or some crazy overly indulgent gift giver who gives 13-year olds major bank (and if you are one of those people, email me because I can be adopted). I go by two different sets of rules depending on the person: double their age and round up to the nearest 10. For example, if they kid is 12, I multiple by 2 and then round up to $30 – so a $20 and a $10 get stuffed in a card and sent via USPS. The second option is to be honest with yourself – if you can only afford to spend $20 on the person, give them $20 and write a letter. Don’t give more cash than what you would spend on a gift. Believe me, everyone knows that you bought that ugly sweater on steep discount and only paid $20 — tweens are not that easily fooled.

Tweens and teens are fickle folks, but like anyone, they appreciate heart-felt gifts …… well at least those with some home upbringing. So don’t sweat the gift because if you follow the above rules, you will be heralded as the “Coolest Gift Giver Ever #mygiftrocks” per their Twitter account…or whatever new fangled thing they have nowadays! On a final date, whatever happened to MySpace? Or is that yet another question that makes me old?

3 thoughts on “Gift Guide for Tweens & Teens

  1. Ummm…you rocked the ideas and you don’t have any teenagers??! I’m quite impressed! I only have 5 more months and I will have 2 teenagers in my house, I can tell you that they would be happy with any of your ideas! Right on!! {woops saying that probably makes me as ‘advanced’ as you ;)}

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