By Katie Reynolds
What is the way to your teen’s heart? Giving gifts to those not so little, and yet not quite grown up, is no easy task. Their time left at home is flying by and you want nothing more than to “wow” them – let them know how much you love them! This can be accomplished a number of ways, not all of which require breaking the bank.
We have five children. Our first four children are ages 15-22. Our daughter is 15, and the three oldest boys are in high school and college. The surest way to their hearts is through their stomach. Gift certificates to favorite eateries are personal and they foster good times with good friends, which is truly a second gift. An unusual, but surefire hit is a bag of carefully chosen groceries that are cleverly wrapped, especially if it entails sweets or special things that are rarely bought. Favorite snacks show that you’re willing to extend the boundaries during the holiday season for them.
Other ways to combine food with fun times is to box up a fun food kit for them with a “gift certificate” good for 3-6 friends to join them for S’mores by the fire, or Nachos and Chili for an upcoming football game, or loaded Hot Fudge Sundaes. Getting them together with their friends gives them real “face” time, keeps them on home turf, allows you to meet their friends, and thus represents a gift that gives in many ways. If you have kids heading to college, there are many fun food making accessories that hit the spot when you’re forging off on your own. Pizza making kits with cutters, hot dog toasters, coffee makers, there are an endless list of items that are fun and inexpensive, but will make life easier in the dorm.
This last year was a blast – so many fun times! Remind them of the experiences they had over the course of the last year by copying and framing photos from special times with friends and family. Fun frames are inexpensive and come in all sizes. Pictures with siblings and BFF’s, from now or times gone by, are always a treasure, and will remain so into the transitional years ahead. Along the same line, make a Shutterfly photo book for them with captions-another way to remind them of how much they are loved. Kids this age really appreciate gifts that take effort, and appreciate the time spent on them.
All children, even big ones, need to be told how special they are. Write them a letter telling them what you love about them. Point out their strengths and mention things they have done that made you proud. Write it in your own hand, on nice stationery, and make it part of a present or place it in their stocking. Such simple treasures are so rarely done today, and yet they are priceless…and timeless. This is guaranteed to be kept for life and read repeatedly from their keepsake collection. Besides, many of us struggle to say what needs to be said verbally, so use this time to put down in hard copy, assuredly, all that your soon-to-be adult means to you, and how they have made your life complete.
It’s always the right time to pick out a new wallet or wristlet, and fill it with goodies, favorite chewing gum, aforementioned gift card to a favorite restaurant, a home-made ID card listing their special “features”. A coupon from you good for x, y, or z. Use nicknames and inside family jokes to make them laugh! Of course, a little cash (sure thing) wouldn’t hurt, either! ;).
Our kids love sports. They love to play, and they love to watch. Whether you have a fanatic or an athlete, sports gear is always an easy go-to. Clothes for playing in or working out wear out quickly and are always ready for an up-grade, a workout kit could include equipment, or shirts/shorts/socks which are always comfortable. Like food, comfortable clothes are gifts that give repeatedly. Sports shoes in particular are often the epitome of comfort. They are pricey, often too pricey, but the season is an opportunity to move beyond what might normally be considered “practical”-making the most of the giving season. Wall art that captures their favorite pass-time can also be a fun addition to their room. Tickets to events offer opportunities for making new memories together.
We also have a daughter in high school. Tween/Teen girls enjoy all things girl…especially if it makes them feel more grown up. Choose simple make-up options that you have pre-approved and ease into the process with subtle colors and a lesson in application…an opportunity to spend time together while setting boundaries at the same time. Lessons can be found at any make-up counter at the mall or a Mary Kay rep. Accessories, soaps and scents are also great. How about a pedicure with mom? Wrap up some pretty nail polishes with a gift card to the local nail shop for the two of you.
Of course, clothes are at the top of the list for most girls this age, as nice as getting them wrapped up is the opportunity for them to go and find them-with you or with friends, with a gift certificate or a “coupon” for the trip with you. Again, the opportunity to be together, and to double check on sizing and how things look, is priceless.
The Reason for the Season.
Keeping in mind why we are gifting this time of year is something that is very important to our family. Giving each child a remembrance of their faith is something we try to do each year. Books, small tokens, remembrances of what is being celebrated are all at the forefront. Any opportunity that provides them a chance to give, of their time or talent or treasure, is perhaps the best gift you can give them.
Holiday blessings from our house to yours!
Archived Gift Giving Posts from TMoM
*Gift idea blogs for the 2014 season will run over the next two weeks. You can see them by clicking the Daily Blog page here.
Gift Ideas for Toddlers
Gift Ideas for Ages 3 – 8
Gift Ideas for Ages 8-12
The Gift that Keeps Giving
Gift Ideas for Women
Sustainable Toys for Babies and Toddlers
Gift Ideas for Men
10 Favorite Finds
Most Popular Toys of 2013