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Best Gift Ideas for Teenagers on Your List

As they develop into adults, what best gift ideas for teenagers go beyond the wrapping paper to encourage discovery of their unique identity?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Gift ideas for teenagers can be hard to find in a local mall. However, some of the best gifts are hard to wrap.

Elderly and frail, a woman put a check in an envelope and addressed it to a teenager. She enclosed a note that read, “This will get you started.”

A high school graduate, my daughter dreamed of being a paramedic. The first step was to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) but she lacked funds for the training.

Until she opened her mail.

Best Gifts for Teenagers

The adolescent years are the phase when youth psychologically and socially transform into young adults. When choosing the best gifts for teenagers between ages 13 to 18, consider investing in their skills and interests, practical helps, family connections, and strengthening their faith.

Character formation and skill development can be enhanced through involvement in carefully chosen organizations. Consider gifting the costs involved with participating in the Civil Air Patrol, Future Farmers of America, orchestra or school band, sports teams, faith-based youth groups, and church camps.

Similarly, long-lasting gifts include funding music lessons, gymnastics, art instruction, or registration for a writer’s conference.

Many students are looking into college choices, and acceptance to some universities comes easier when the applicant displays levels of mastery in their chosen field. Give gifts of tutoring to bring academic grades to the level the student wants for their goals.

Practical Helps

For the teen who is saving for a vehicle, contribute to the fund for reliable transportation.

For those who have a car, give a year of roadside service. Pay ahead for quarterly oil changes. Of course, gas cards are always practical as well gift cards to favorite places to eat. 

Braces are common during teen years. While some insurances cover the costs, a practical gift is to cover the expenses when insurance falls short or is nonexistent.

What is the teen on your gift-giving list interested in? For the one wanting to play guitar, rent one to try out. For the entrepreneurs who want to start a business, be an investor. Send the athlete to sports camp, the filmmaker to film school, the programmer to computer school, or cover riding lessons for the equine enthusiast.

With a little research, you can find focused learning for just about anything from science camp and math labs to animal care, engineering, carpentry, food preparation, photography, theater, and digital arts. All learning is beneficial, and teens benefit from seeing possibilities, meeting mentors, and forming positive relationships in their areas of interest.

Volunteering provides hands-on experience in a field the teen wants to know about. Arrange for an opportunity to shadow a professional or learn through volunteer work. Perhaps you can volunteer along with the teenager for the added bonus of time together while focused on a project. Many places do not regularly host interns but are happy to make an opening available when asked.

Family Connections

Teenagers begin to become aware that family members are unique individuals and part of their own legacy. Family heirlooms such as jewelry, watches, books, a sea chest, and quilts may be appreciated when accompanied by the story behind the person who owned the item and how the item became part of their history.

Perhaps a teen is interested in inheriting and continuing collections such as coins, stamps, maps, signed first editions, glassware, artwork, tools, or reconditioning vintage cars.

Strengthen Faith

Among the best gift ideas for teenagers are Bibles. Teenagers often gravitate to Bibles with study notes and margins where they can illustrate and make notes about what they learn. Journaling Bibles are available in a wide variety along with color pens and art supplies.

Geared for teens, Focus on the Family publishes faith-building magazines for this age group including Boundless, and Brio. For spiritual encouragement at their fingertips, arrange a subscription to a daily devotional app. For the reader, invite them to choose a book each month from the Focus on the Family catalog.

Music is important and influential for teenagers. Concert tickets to a faith-based group and tickets to wholesome entertainment on stage or film at the theater are well-received.

Weave positive peer groups into a teenager’s life through funding their participation in church camps, youth groups, and short-term mission trips. Many congregations provide guided trips to the Holy Land that you can experience together.

Allow your teenager to select a child to sponsor. While you cover the financial end, the teen can connect with someone in another nation through correspondence.

Gifting For The Future

After completing the EMT training, my daughter went on to become a paramedic, available to her community around the clock. She was there for diabetic patients whose sugar spun out of control, for heart attack patients who needed medication and a fast track to the hospital, and for those who found themselves tangled in vehicle accidents. She ministered to folks who called because of constipation, and the elderly who fell and couldn’t get up by themselves.

Serving her neighborhood, she knew community members who needed regular medical attention and she showed up for callers who had never used emergency services before. Along with her team, she was that extra pair of helping hands when it was a matter of life and death. And she arrived when people telephoned because they were lonely.

Though my dear elderly friend passed away, her investment keeps giving. Each time my daughter saves a life, the gift is multiplied. Today, my daughter oversees emergency services in several counties, thanks to a woman who acted on the best gift idea for a teenager.

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