Making A List

Shopping for holiday gifts can be a major nightmare. Shopping for holiday gifts for teenagers is more along the lines of hell. Especially in today’s world, where kids are spoiled with the newest of everything as soon as it is released, there’s not much left by the time the holidays roll around.

I’m somewhat guilty of this, although nowhere near as bad as most parents. My daughter has more clothes, books, art supplies, and various electronics than she has room for. Her stuff tends to spill over into my room, which is irritating, and sufficiently motivating to come up with a list of things to get her for Christmas that won’t add to her possessions. Here are my top five gift ideas for the “impossible to buy for” teen in your life.

1. Woot Shirts ( – Yes, I did say that Aubrey has more clothes than she could ever wear, but Woot shirts aren’t just clothing, they are art. Every week, a new theme is introduced and Wooters vote for their favorites. The top three tees are produced, along with four that the editors choose. Every tee is different, and the Woot writers are the best in the business when it comes to writing hilarious descriptions. If you do buy a shirt, print out the description to wrap up with it, as it is guaranteed to make your teen laugh. Tees vary between dark and twisty to ultra cute to bitterly sarcastic, so you’re sure to find a few that fit your teen’s personality. There is a new tee every day, and they switch out at midnight. While other clothes may languish in her drawers, her Woot shirts are cycled through regularly, and she always gets compliments.

Woot shirt for Nov 6th, 2012

2. A Spa Day – No, I am not advocating for a ridiculously overpriced day at some ritzy Mediterranean themed business that jacks up the price on a bottle of water worse than Disneyland. If you live in a big enough city, there is likely a beauty college and a massage therapy school. With a gift certificate to each one, and maybe a gift certificate for lunch, you can make an entire day of it for less than $100 per person, and get to eat real food. At a beauty college, you can often find manicures for $5, pedicures for $15, facials for $10, and haircuts for $10. Of course, prices range varied on your locale, but I’m in South Texas, so it’s pretty inexpensive. We have one of the best massage therapy schools in the state, and a one hour massage is only $30. The best part about massage schools is there is no expensive tipping required, as Texas does not allow it. Check your state’s rules on tipping students so that you don’t accidentally offend your masseuse.

3. A Day Out With a Friend – This is another gift certificate idea…include cards or certificates for coffee, a movie, lunch, and dessert. Be sure to put enough on the cards to treat their friend. This not only gives your teen the satisfaction of spending time with their favorite person (trust me, it is not you), but they get to feel that warm cozy feeling that comes with sharing. Their friend will enjoy it, too!

4. Lessons – For Aubrey’s 14th birthday, I hit up the internet to find out if there was any place in town that offered Irish dance lessons. I paid for the month, and she loved it so much, she continued until she left for college. Find something that your teen is curious about, and treat them to a month of lessons. It could be a martial art, performance art, dance…there are countless ideas. Just be prepared for them to want to continue. That one month of dance lessons turned into four years and several thousand dollars. Other gifts have been horseback riding, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and piano lessons.

Aubrey’s dance shoes, on block.

5. Tickets – Is their favorite band coming to a town near you? Is there a big game or playoff for their favorite sport? How about a Broadway show? Two years ago, my mom bought Aubrey and me front and center seats to Riverdance. It was priceless, and one of the best gifts she’s ever received. She even met some of the cast, and has pictures with gorgeous sweaty Irishmen to prove it. Be sure to get two tickets, and be prepared for them to want to take someone other than you.

Teens are notoriously difficult, but with a little imagination, you can turn a plain gift certificate/card into something pretty special. Spend a little time on presentation and don’t just shove it in an envelope. For example, with the Spa Day, use a wire photo organizer (the kind that hold three or four photos on wire stalks with curls at the top) and put a card in each one. It only takes five minutes of conversation to find out what their interest of the moment is, and then another five minutes online to make it happen. Even better, it’s one less thing for you to trip over when you walk into their room.

“and checking it twice…”


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