They’ve got some independence and boy-oh-boy do they have their own style! This makes buying Christmas gifts for your teenager both easy and more difficult because sure, you think you know what they’d like, but will they actually like it if their mom or dad picks it out?
We’re here to help you find the coolest teen-approved gifts for this holiday, from the best book series and video games to unique pieces of jewelry and even bedroom decor. These are the best holiday gifts for teens in 2019.
1. Original GrainWatch
The importance of time and the natural beauty of real wood coalesce in an Original Grain wristwatch, which makes an elegant, casually extravagant gift for the responsible, wise-beyond-their-years teenager in your life. Engrave the watch with a special message and imagine your teen keeping time on their Original Grain watch as they rocket into an exciting future. Every time they look down at their watch, they’ll know that you believed in their inherent maturity to own such an accessory…and they’ll never be late for school or that job interview somewhere down the line!
2. Luna Lovegood backpack
Mini backpacks are all the rage these days, and Luna Lovegood has been having her moment for nearly two decades now! This B&N exclusive pink backpack pays homage to the quirkiest and coolest young woman in the Harry Potter Universe with her famous glasses prominent, a marvelous rainbow zipper, and the words ‘Exceptionally Ordinary’ in script, letting everyone know just how down to earth yet still undeniably magical your teen truly is.
3. Nintendo Switch Super Mario Maker 2
Once a Super Mario Brothers, always a Super Mario Brothers fan. Whether it’s bopping the shells of angry turtles or racing around a track in a go-kart, the allure of the Italian plumber and his band of merry friends is still going strong in the teenage years. This second edition of the clever Nintendo Switch Super Mario Maker game allows you to balance passive consumption with active creation since your teens will be thinking, building and designing their own levels for Mario and his pals, Toad and Princess Peach.
4. Hamilton Broadway Charm Bracelet
Don’t throw away your shot to gift your Broadway music obsessed teen an affordable, yet stunning piece of jewelry inspired by Lin Manuel-Miranda’s historic Hamilton musical. This bracelet is adorned with charms apropos of Hamilton lyrics (“young, scrappy and hungry”, and “rise up”), and themes of the musical (dueling pistol, quill pen, American flag, music note).
5. Carpool Karaoke Microphone
Stop the endless, “Are we there yet?”questions coming from the backseat with this Carpool Karaoke microphone! Your teens will pass the hours on your next family vacation by filming their very own Late Late Show with James Corden segments using this awesome official Carpool Karaoke mic. Using a quick wireless connection to any car’s FM tuner (or through the aux cord), your wannabe pop star can stream their own music through Bluetooth and then employ awesome echo effects and microphone lights that synchronize to the music.
6. Mason Jar Sconces LED Fairy Lights
Is it just my two or does every teen want an extreme makeover of their bedroom? These mason jar sconces are just about the prettiest thing on the internet, seemingly made for the Pinterest-era in which we live—and your teen daughters are going to flip out over this gift. What you get is a pair of wooden boards that hold glass mason jars your kid will delicately stuff with LED fairy lights, turning on and off thanks to a battery-saving, six-hour timer, and then topping it all off with silk ivory hydrangea flowers. The result is decor that will transform any room of your house—but especially the domain of a teenager—into a more charming space to live, work, and play.
7. Audible Subscription
Of course books make incredible Christmas gifts for teens and people of any age (see below), but the life of a teenager can be so hectic that sometimes, the time to sit and read can be difficult to carve out. That’s why audiobooks in general, and an Audible subscription more specifically, make such a brilliant gift for a young person. They can listen to Audible exclusives such as The Mystwick School of Musicraft, The Pop Ups’ Jukebox Joyride, and Kate McKinnon’s riotous radio drama Heads Will Roll, or any other book of their choosing, as they ride the bus, decompress after a crazy day of high school, or fall asleep.
8. Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag and Make up Organizer
Available in a variety of colors and styles, this is an essential Christmas gift for any teen who travels with family or will soon be off seeing the world on their own. Conveniently storing all lotions, cosmetics and assorted toiletries in waterproof, zippered compartments, your otherwise manic teenager will achieve maximum organizational bliss while on the road thanks to this affordable, durable hanging make-up and toiletry bag.
9. Mziart Luggage Tags
Stand out on the baggage carousel without buying brand new suitcases with these adorable luggage tags. The set of four luggage tags feature bright and delicious cupcakes and donuts made from a fully bendable, flexible silicone material that won’t break or get lost while the airline carelessly tosses your bags into the hold of the plane and out onto the cart to be delivered to the baggage claim area. Space on the back of the cupcakes and donuts allows you to fill in your personal information should one of your bags go missing.
10. Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook
If you’re creative and like order in your life, you must get your youthful writer, sketch artist, or doodler a Rocketbook. This brilliant piece of technology in the form of a notebook makes it easy to instantly transfer stories, drawing, and thoughts from cleanable pages that look and feel like real paper straight to cloud based services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, and the like. Even cooler, one of the Pilot Flixion pens needed to make this magic happen is included, and backups are readily available at most office supply stores. So when they lose a pen, all is not lost!
11. LapGear Designer Lap Desk
We love the microbeads inside the cushion, which makes this beautiful lap desk super comfy to have resting on your legs for hours on end. We also adore the small ledge to prevent pens and laptops from sliding down into our laps! So smart! This desk is a perfect Christmas gift for teens because it looks great, holds up to a 17-inch laptop easily, and has a handle for easy transport while on the go.
12. Travel Journal and Planner
The world is full of journals, but we dig this travel journal the most as a Christmas gift for teens because it has pages for every situation. Your teen can sketch a bit here, write a journal entry there, make a to-do list, map out a killer dream travel itinerary for when they’re older, and affix photos all in one stylish, cool book.
13. Hammock Chair Hanging Rope Swing
Having trouble getting your fidgety teen to sit still and do their school work or read just one book that hasn’t been assigned in school? Maybe this inexpensive hammock chair will do the trick! It’s comfy to sit in, with a pair of soft pillows included, and big enough to lie down inside. This sturdy hanging chair is easy to install and easier still to transport from bedroom to patio to outside on a beautiful day, so it can be wherever your kid wants to be.
14. Hutikla Scratch Off Map of The World + Bonus Scratch Off USA Map
There are a fair few scratch off maps on the market. Each allow your traveling teen to track their progress as they branch out from neighboring states to far away countrie. But we love this scratch off world map because it pops with color, is affordable, and includes a bonus USA map! Also inside this awesome Christmas gift for teens is a precision scratching tool so they won’t accidentally scratch off Rhode Island when trying to clear only Connecticut, and a magnifying glass that will come in handy once they start to visit those European micro-countries!
15. Rose Gold Globe Necklace
We found even more magnificent jewelry for teens! Rose gold is forever on trend with our teens, so this globe necklace we found is a must-buy gift for any teenager! Same goes for the travel bangle charm bracelet with some of our favorite items dangling away—passport, camera, compass and an airplane. All that’s missing is a gelato and a croissant!
16. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera Bundle
Not only will your teen get a coveted Fuji Instax Mini 9 camera with this bundle, but they’ll also receive 40 sheets of film, a matching case; mini frames and stickers to decorate the photos they’ll take of friends, cats, or even those artsy shots of doorknobs and hinges; a 64 pocket photo album designed specifically for showing off Instax Mini Photos, and colorful filters with a selfie mirror attachment—all for an incredible price.
17. LilGadgets Connect+ Pro Wired Over-Ear Headphones
These things we know: Beats headphones are out of most people’s price range and most kids don’t like shoving little buds into their little ears. This is why we love LilGadgets headphones and have even named them to our list of the best headphones for kids in 2019. While we prefer Bluetooth in our everyday life to eliminate wires, wired headphones are often most useful when traveling. With the Connect+ Pro, multiple sets of headphones with immaculate sound clarity can be connected and plugged into a single device, which will eliminate fighting over the screen. Now they only need to agree on the TV show or movie to watch!
18. The Diviners Book series
Written by Libba Bray, this series is the absolute favorite of my 15-year-old daughter. Set in 1920’s New York City, the first three books of The Diviners series offer an intoxicating mix of historical fiction with speakeasies, ghosts, serial killers, thrills, and evil frights. Buying your teen this series now will get them amped for the fourth and final book, The King of Crows, which will be released on February 4, 2020!
19. Aofmee Handmade Bath Bombs Gift Set
Sure, showers are cool and all but has your kid ever soaked their teenage worries away in a tub filled with handmade bath bombs? This gift set includes a half dozen bath bombs filled with colors and scents that will not only awaken the senses and sooth the mind, but also hydrate, repair and replenish skin with essential oils and cocoa and shea butters. Better still, these Aofmee bath bombs are vegan, cruelty-free and 100-percent organic. What’s not to like?
20. 7th Heaven Vegan, Cruelty-Free Face Masks
Stocking stuffer alert! 7th Heaven cruelty-free, vegan, easy to peel-off facial masks (they also have foot care packets!) allow your teens to give themselves and/or each other spa treatments for cleaner, glowing skin while traveling on family vacations. They’re especially great to stuff into carry-on bags because unlike bottles of lotions and creams, each mask is well below the TSA liquid limit. So kids can start to practice self-care early in life by unwinding after long days of sightseeing and theme park adventures in the sun. This holiday season, slip a Coconut and Clay peel-off mask, Manuka Honey, or maybe a Tea Tree mask or two into their stocking for the most affordable hotel spa day ever.
21. Cat Ear Headbands
Every girl could use more headbands! It’s simply the order of the universe that headbands go missing so having additional supply is always a necessity (especially when traveling), so why not provide your teens with the softest, most adorable cat ear headbands on the internet? Non-slip and easy to wash up, these headbands do the job no matter if your teen has bangs, short hair, braids, thin hair or is working hard to become Rapunzel. Plus, they’ll make your girl look like a purrrfect kitty cat!
22. Swaller Battery Case for iPhone
There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in the perfect spot for that perfect selfie only to have your phone die. With this clever, sleek and simple iPhone battery charging case, your teen can enjoy an extra 100-percent charge while also protecting the precious device from knocks. That’s 14 more hours of use and the comfort of knowing their iPhone won’t crack when they accidentally drop it… because they will accidentally drop it.
23. Flex Flap Cell Phone Holder & Tablet Stand
When it comes to the tricks of the travel trade, leave it to an experienced flight attendant to provide the coolest accessory to help your teen comfortably binge Schitt’s Creek on Netflix or dive deep into the original content coming from Disney Plus. This tablet and phone holder not only spares your arm the pain of holding your device for hours, but it also looks awesome with a stylishly sleek black and white graphic design on leather. Because it’s fully bendable to flex into any situation, your teen can use it in their car, on a plane or while lying in bed late at night, long after you thought they’ve gone to sleep.
24. Marvel Captain American Shield Pillow
Few things in life beat a good pillow while traveling in the car on a long road trip, a cruise ship to an exotic island, or on a plane struggling to get comfy enough to fall asleep. This 16-inch by 14-inch round Captain America shield pillow is perfectly suited to help your Marvel Cinematic Universe nerd not only look heroic while traveling, but also get the rest they need to be up and at ‘em for another full day of sightseeing on your next family vacation.
25. Thomas & Bell Designer Mens Stylish Toiletry Bag
If you watch English football/soccer players arrive at stadiums before their match (as I do, because I’m a big kid who loves seeing his favorite athletes up close), you’ll notice that each and every one of them is carrying only a small handheld bag as they step off the team bus. I say that if a travel toiletry bag is good enough for Mo Salah and Harry Kane, then it will make a great Christmas gift for your young teenager. Buy an array of travel-sized self-care products to put inside, like deodorant, face lotion, a little nail clipper set, some Q-Tips, and of course, a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste, and let your kid start arriving at hotels like a millionaire professional footballer!
Jeff Bogle lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with his two teen daughters, two cats, one dog and six (yes, six) guinea pigs. He is an award-winning photographer and respected travel journalist with bylines on Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, PBS, Esquire and more. Jeff (probably) spends too much time in England watching football and far too many hours plotting his family’s future travel adventures. Find Jeff on his own site, Out With the Kids.