Affordable Holiday Gifts for Teens

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday, or some other holiday, it can be difficult to purchase gifts for adolescents. Teens no longer want toys, are very picky about their clothes and other accessories, and tend to want expensive electronics. It can make a parent feel like they have to break the bank to make their teen happy during the holiday season.

Parents take heart! You can give meaningful gifts without going over budget. Whether your teen is looking for creative holiday gifts for their friends, or you need a few ideas for your son or daughter, here are some tips for affordable holiday teen gifts:

Get thrifty!

There’s no rule that says gifts have to be bought new. Teenagers LOVE “vintage” items, so consider visiting thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources for gift-worthy items at prices well below retail. Think about your teen’s interests and consider whether an “antique” exists. For example, if your teen is a writer, consider getting an old-fashioned typewriter, or if your teen loves music, consider an old-fashioned turntable.

Get smart!

Teens love tech, but those items can be expensive. However there are related items that can be fun, inexpensive, and still satisfy their tech-bug. Consider charging devices that are interesting shapes or colors, a karaoke microphone, cool cases for their devices, or other accessories.

Get cozy!

Teens love being comfortable and there are a ton of inexpensive items on the market that can give them the comfort they desire. Favorite cozy items for teens are pillows, blankets, heated slippers, and fuzzy socks.

Get crafty!

You can find instructions online for a variety of homemade gifts that are useful and meaningful.  Consider these ideas:

  • Denim pocket quilt (take the pockets of old jeans and stitch them together into a quilt that looks neat and holds treasures – if you don’t have a lot of jean pockets, you can make a smaller quilt to hang behind the door for your teen’s cell phone, change, Ipod, wallet, keys, etc.)
  • Jewelry (use thread, safety pins, Scrabble tiles, beads, and more)
  • Purses or tote bags (use old sweaters, towels, jeans or curtains)
  • Coupon booklet (include things you know your teen will like such as a trip to the mall, a family night with the movie of his/her choice, and getting out of a chore – but be sure to budget for any items that may cost money, such as a “free tank of gas” for the driving teen)
  • Photo frames (spruce up an old frame by distressing it, adding some scrapbooking elements and including a picture of your teen with the family or their best friend)
  • Candles (candles are not hard to make – ask for instructions through Google)
  • Tie-dye t-shirt
  • Photoclip string set (put fun clips on string for them to hang photos in their room)
  • Vase (you can upcycle a glass water bottle or jar into a vase with just a little bit of paint and creativity)
  • Photo collage letter (search how to create a photo collage of your teen’s friends/activities on a wood letter – either their first or last name initial)
  • Earphone holder (decorate a mint container)
  • Art for their room (there are very simple ways to create eye-catching art that matches your teen’s décor)


Final Thoughts

A final couple of ideas to reduce your holiday spending. If you tend to give your teen’s teachers gifts, consider having your teen make something such as an ornament or a mosaic coaster. If your teen doesn’t want to make something, you could make a baked good or you could purchase fuzzy socks and lip balm – favorite and useful items that are inexpensive. Finally, don’t waste money on holiday wrapping paper. Use brown paper bags from the grocery store and decorate them with stamps or drawings.

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