38 Awesome Gift Ideas for Teens

Top Gift Ideas for Teens featured by top life and style blog, Design Mom: image of wrapped holiday gifts

Your #1 most requested gift guide category? Teens! This gift guide includes 38 options — 18 of those are $20 or under. Lots of great stocking stuffers too.

My own teens were a huge help figuring out what to put on this list. There’s something here for every type of teen you can think of. I’ve got all the Breakfast Club stereotypes covered, and a whole bunch more as well.

Let’s get started. 

Old-School Label Maker, $12.
No plug. No batteries. Just a tool, some tape, and rad raised lettering that you can stick on jars or books or your phone case. We have a couple of these and they are irresistible to teens and tweens. Heads up: It comes pre-loaded with one roll, but you’re going to want more label tape.

Kate Spade Pearl Studs, $25.
Every earring collection needs a pair of simple pearls. So classic/preppy.

Pocket Projector, $50
It connects to their phone via bluetooth and turns any blank wall into a screen. And yes, it’s small enough to fit in a pocket.

Button-Maker, $259
We invested in this professional-grade Tecre Model 100 button maker ten years ago, and it’s still going strong! It has been used at dozens of parties, loaned out to friends, and has assisted in countless student government campaigns. There’s no electricity needed with these, you’re just looking for a heavy duty well-made machine. Teens (and adults) love designing their own buttons, or making buttons from any random image they find. Note: the 100 refers to the size — our machine makes 1 inch buttons; other model numbers make bigger buttons.

Photo Clip Lights, $16
These are so great! You get a string of 50 clips — and the clips are the lights. Perfect for hanging up polaroid pics, postcards, drawings, tarot cards, or whatever your teens prefer to hang on their walls.

Countertop Pebble Ice Maker, $389
Okay. I know this one is a splurge. But HELLO pebble ice.

Taotree Fineliner 24-Color Pen Set, $8
In 0.38 mm for a fine line. This is a set of 24 colors. Perfect for journaling, and based on reviews, these are beloved.

Bendable Magnetic Pick-Up Tool, $8
I didn’t understand what this was when I first saw the image, but when I read the description I thought it was awesome. It’s basically a strong telescoping magnet to help you grab things that have gotten out of reach. Such a cool stocking stuffer. Maybe for your husband or brother too. (Also: great reviews!)

D&D Essentials Kit, $19
If you’ve got a kid who have been curious about D&D (maybe they watched Stranger Things?), this kit is a great way to get started. My son, Oscar, who loves directing D&D games recommended this.

Vintage Typewriter, prices vary.
Ebay is a treasure trove of old school typewriters, and so many of them are super charming. Read the descriptions carefully to make sure you’re buying a working model. Some plug in, others are completely manual. I’ve found that this low-tech stuff is super interesting to Gen Z. (And don’t forget to buy a typewriter ribbon that works with your model!)

Friendship Bracelet Maker, $23
Something to do while watching binging the next favorite show.

Record Player, $46
This is a Victrola 3-Speed record player with bluetooth and built-in speakers. It has great vintage styling, and great reviews too.

Scythe Trilogy, $25
Ben, and me, and our teens, all read this trilogy earlier in the year. We enjoyed it and it prompted all sorts of interesting conversations.

Eno Hammock, $45
Lots of color options and a fan favorite. For your backyard, or a camping trip.

Reliable Portable Charger, $26
Because sometimes phones run out of power right when you need to call your parents and tell them about your change of plans. In Black, red, blue, or white.

Ejaculate Responsibly, $15
A little birdie told me this book is THE stocking stuffer this year.

Canvas Roll-up Pencil Case, $10
Such a simple smart way to keep colored pencils or pens organized. Throw this in your bag and you’ll be ready to doodle at school or church or at your desk at home. The canvas is simple and handsome, but is also calling out to be drawn on. Note: this is just the pencil case, but it would pair well with the fineliner pens I listed above.

Suede Leather Moccasin Slippers, $25
Also way into these suede slippers. They come in navy, red, or tan, and you can get them monogrammed. I think a single initial looks best (click through to see more photos).

Tombow Brush Pens, $10
These are my daughter Olive’s favorite creative pens and they come in lots of different sets with other color options. Perfect for practicing hand lettering.

Bluetooth Shower Speaker — Certified Waterproof, $35
Do you have a kid that likes to sing in the shower?

Wreck This Journal, $11
These are so terrific. They’re probably the coolest journal you’ll ever see and come with instructions on how to paint, poke, create, destroy, and wreck this book to create a journal as unique as your teen.

Gorgeous puzzles from Artisan Books, $20
Introduce them to a really cool artist/designer (like Francis Palmer and John Derian) via a puzzle, while simultaneously giving the family something fun to do after you open presents. I highly recommend this Iconic Watches option, $19.

Top Gift Ideas for Teens featured by top life and style blog, Design Mom: image of watercolor paint set

Watercolor Paint Set, $16
I’ve never seen a watercolor palette presented in such a gorgeous way.

The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Paperback Collection, $18
The first one was made into 3 Netflix movies and they are great (but the books are better, of course).

Gaming Floor Chair, $110
The blue and white one has an old school diner feel.

Penny Board, $29
Skateboards can be pricey! Start with one of these, and the investment won’t feel like such a punch. They’re cool, and they come in lots of different color combos.

Puffin in Bloom Book Collection, $35
This hardcover book set, with cover art by Rifle Paper Company, is stunning. It includes 4 titles that would improve any personal library — Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and Heidi.

White Porcelain Bunny Lamp, $21
This softly glowing creature is endlessly appealing. What a gentle, sweet addition to any bedroom. Click through for other animals (but the bunny is the most elegant).

Slack Line Kit, $60
Have your kid watch some slackline videos on youtube and then head to the backyard or the park to learn a new skill.

US Chess Federation Supreme Triple Weighted Chess Set, $38
This set looks so official, right? And the carrying case makes it easy to bring to Chess Club. No chess club at your school? No problem. Your teen can start one and add that to their college apps. Comes in other colors too (we have green).

3-inch Green Mini Clock, $13
It comes in 6 different colors, but the green and blue are my favorite. Oh, and it’s non-ticking! So it won’t bug anyone who likes to fall asleep in a quiet room. 

How to Stay Alive in the Woods, $12
It’s divided into 4 essential sections — Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation and Safety — and it has excellent reviews. Your teen will approach the upcoming zombie apocalypse with confidence.

Top Gift Ideas for Teens featured by top life and style blog, Design Mom: image of accessory stand

Tosca Accessory Stand, $40
A simple, good-looking organizer designed in Japan. It holds necklaces, bracelets, eyeglasses, a cell phone — and has a tray on the bottom for rings and watches.

A Gorgeous Slingshot, $37
Hella Slingshots are handmade in California, they come in tons of colors and styles — and the company offers felt ammo too.

Punching Bag, $36
I hung one of these in my family room when we lived in New York and had 3 tiny kids. It was an amazing stress reliever! This full-size, affordable version comes flat, and can be filled with whatever you like. (Gloves too!)

Hardcover Journal, $11
I LOVE this journal. It’s available with dot, rules, blank, or grid pages, it has an expandable pocket at the back, it lays flat when it opens so it’s easy to write in, and there’s a pen holder on the spine. Great looking and great details. Available in 5 different colors.

Starter Ukulele, $30
It comes in 10 different colors (I’m really feeling the black version), with all the needed accessories — Canvas Tote Bag, Strap and Picks. They’ll be playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow by New Year’s.

Pro Art Drawing Set, $8
Very affordable, with rave reviews. This set has everything you need to get drawing. Pair it with a sketchbook for a handsome gift.


Your turn! What are you giving to the teens in your life this year? Does anything on this list spark a gift idea for you? I’d love to hear.

87 thoughts on “38 Awesome Gift Ideas for Teens”

  1. Awesome ideas! I’m going to come back to this when I begin my shopping in earnest. There are some great finds here for my 16-yo. :)

    1. I particularly like the jewelry organizer, the magnets, the pink clay soap, the washi tape set, and the clock. My daughter is redoing her room so it would be fun to get her some things that would fit with her new color scheme.

      1. Same here! My 16yr old chose to redo her bedroom instead of a big sweet16 party. It’s been fun and interesting to see her tastes. She wants acrylic drapery rods and I think I’ve found some affordable ones from a TX manufacturer.

    1. Agree. There is some great stuff here. A lot of these gift lists are usually junk but I see some things on here for myself as well.

        1. My daughter has the watercolor set and LOVES it!! It’s very portable & she carries it on trips & even to school. It doesn’t make any mess when she’s done. Superb gift for any budding artist.

    1. For dorm dwellers, may I recommend an electric tea kettle? A great way to make ramen, hot cocoa, tea, etc. ALSO a great way to make friends–once his floormates know he’s got one, they’ll be knocking on his door! (I don’t know if this is great for Covid season, but I’m sure his dorm has policies in place.) I sent one, with a lidded mug large enough to hold a square of ramen noodles, to a friend as a graduation gift, and it was a hit! It’s not a “big” gift, but may be well received. xox

  2. Also quality – possibly monogrammed if they’re into that – luggage. So many more travel opportunities as you grow, and then college around the corner. I like to give books but that can be hard unless you know someone well.

  3. Great list. Definitely will get a few of these items for my kids including the programmable scrolling badge for my 13 year old girl and the bath bomb set for my 16 year old who has newly rediscovered that baths are relaxing! I also love the Make Art Not War poster. We have the sticker version of those and am thinking we might need the poster now too.

  4. This is lovely. I was a little light on gifts for my 14-year-old (whose big gift is these crazy things, and the accompanying safety equipment, help us all), and this has helped me round it out a bit more.

    As always, you are the best!!!

    1. So glad I could help! And those skate things look super cool. I’m trying to picture how they work and can’t figure it out — I need to go look them up on Youtube. Hah!

      1. This is brilliant. I have a Japanese hot water dispenser and it is my favourite thing in the house. When I lived with housemates it was used all day and night.

  5. Your final link, the one to your shop, just goes to an Amazon sketchbook.
    Love this list! I want to get a record player for myself! And the washi tape!

  6. It may seem random, but as a teenager, one of my favorite gifts was a monogrammed manicure set – small scissors, nail clippers, a metal file, etc. – not nail polishes. I think it was a high school graduation gift, and over the years it’s continued to come in handy. It’s practical, but not something you would go out and buy yourself, which I think is the perfect criteria for a gift!

    1. I’d be interested in that answer too… So far sports socks, slides for after practice, and waterproof drawstring backpacks (the XL kind), and lightweight portable chargers. My guys are Scouts too so I’m looking at handy gadgets like pocket-size portable blankets or dry sacs.

  7. This is about the best list I have seen in a long time. I have an ‘about to not be a teen any longer’ and am going to have to get a couple of things here. But I really love the inclusion of the record player and Marvin Gaye (one of my favorite albums of all times). Thanks for the memory! And I love the scrolling badge, so many uses! Thanks so much for this, really great job!

    1. I agree! I kept thinking, “Man, she really gets it!” while I was scrolling through this list. It was so special to me when I got a gift as a teen that felt splurge-y in a small way—like the magnets and the lenses and the washi tape. Thanks for the great list!

  8. Pingback: Gold Stars: Christmas Edition | KendraNicole.net

  9. This is EXCELLENT! Wow, so useful, thank you. I have two teens, and two on their heels and there are lots of things on this list they would love! (and that are new to me!)

  10. So fun!!! I love this list and am happy and relieved for a an abundance of amazing ideas that are also affordable. I bought a double eno hammock for my family this summer and my teen loved it and pretty much stayed it in on a three-day backpacking trip.

    As a middle school teacher, I want to add one item – a tin of Prismacolor pencils. My undergraduate years were spent in studio classes and we used Prismacolors so that is what I use with my students now. The color is vibrant and the pencils are soft so the color lays down easily. My students love them and get so excited to use the Prismacolors. Amazon sells a set of 24 that come in a sturdy tin.

  11. What a great list! Our 16 year old daughter’s “big” present this year is redoing her room. So many of these gifts would be perfect for the new space. I will definitely be adding a few of these.

  12. So grateful for your gift guides! They always point me in the right direction. I’m sure they are a lot of work to put together. Thank you! They are a great gift to the gift-givers!

  13. Fantastic list! My eldest is almost 12 and I found lots of great ideas for her here! It’s tricky: she doesn’t want “toys” any more, but she is still so tiny. :) (When I saw the Michelle Obama book I teared up a bit. And I’m not even American! Strange times.)

  14. I got two items on the list for my then seven-year-old last year; the washi tape and the small watercolor palette and she loves them and used them all year. This really is a great list.

  15. BRB, getting alllll the dogs in my life personalized tennis balls!
    Gifting the teens in my family this cedar air dry clay [https://cwpencils.com/collections/recent-additions/products/mokunensan-clay-120g?utm_source=CW+Pencils+-+Website+Subscribers&utm_campaign=3e808512f0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_11_30_08_47&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_028ad82f4b-3e808512f0-226662657&mc_cid=3e808512f0&mc_eid=5c15f7f27c],

    Tattly [https://tattly.com/],
    Dixit [https://www.amazon.com/Asmodee-DIX01-Dixit/dp/2914849656]

  16. Gabrielle,
    Can you make a post about good white elephant gifts for work Christmas parties ($10-20 limit). I’d love some ideas.

    1. We did a white elephant gift exchange after our Thanksgiving dinner and the “tortilla blanket” was the most fought over gift- teens and adults. Search on Amazon, there are lots and there’s even a pizza and some other ones!

  17. Soooo am I a teenager? (I’m 38.) Because this is the closest I feel a list has ever come to things I’d like. Maybe it’s all the great pens.

  18. Thank you so much Gabrielle. In a sea of gift lists and ideas, this is the first list that I’ve actually enjoyed reading through. My babies are just 9 but I think they will love some of these.

  19. is it possible to include links that aren’t Amazon? I’m feeling less excited about Amazon these days and would love to support some smaller businesses. (Apologies if this is a repeat, my first comment seems to have disappeared).

    1. Hi Karen & Thrift At Home —
      If you do an internet search by product name, alternate sources (if any) will be listed. If you’re not sure what the official product name is, then copy it from Amazon. ;)


  20. Les produits sont très bien mais le vendeur Am..on ne respecte pas des conditions de travail décentes pour les ouvriers en France donc je n’achète pas chez eux, dommage !

  21. This is a seriously excellent list. My blended family has five kiddos between 14 and 22 and I’m pretty sure I found something for everyone. Amazing.

  22. Love this gift guide. So many great things for teens that are affordable. Many thanks to you and your children for putting this together. This has made my day!

  23. You just reminded me, one of my favorite gifts ever, which I didnt ask for, and don’t even think I knew about ahead of time, was a VHS box set of The Breakfast Club and 16 Candles! It opened my eyes to a whole new awesome world of movies. It was from my mom, and I honestly don’t even think she’d have known anything about those movies…who knows?

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