15 Christmas Gifts Teens Actually Want (That Aren't Just a Gift Card)

While you can't go wrong with a gift card or a Venmo deposit, there are real gifts high-schoolers and college students want. It'll just typically take multiple texts and DMs to find out what they are. To help you out, here are some ideas (and even a couple of links) for fun gifts. 

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reusable metal straws, harry potter owl lego set, amazon fire tv stick on a colored background
Photo: Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Amazon (2); Barnes & Noble (1)
01 of 15

Lego Harry Potter Hedwig

Lego Harry Potter Hedwig

They haven't outgrown Legos or Harry Potter. This set featuring Harry Potter's beloved owl delivers wow factor without breaking the Gringotts' bank.

Price at time of publication: $73

02 of 15

Red Taylor's Version on Vinyl

Taylor Swift RED Vinyl

If the teen on your list already has a turntable (it was last year's hot gift), fill out their record collection. Swifties will be head over heels for this version of Red.

Price at time of publication: $50

03 of 15

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Trick out the gaming experience for a teen who already loves their Nintendo Switch. This larger controller is easier to use—especially for gaming marathons.

Price at time of publication: $70

04 of 15

MVMT Rover Everscroll Glasses

Rover Everscroll

Hours on screens for school and fun can keep your teen up all night, so chances are, even if they don't already wear glasses, they'll benefit from blue-blocking specs. Try these hip Rover Everscroll glasses with modern square-shaped frames.

Price at time of publication: $78

05 of 15

Know Yourself Better Journal

Know Yourself better journal

Self-awareness is huge, as your teen likely already knows, and this Know Yourself Better journal from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project can help them take it to the next level. It's made for anyone who wishes to gain insight into themselves but needs more direction than a blank page.

Price at time of publication: $25

06 of 15

Zox Bracelet

Zox bracelet

These stocking stuffers, featuring various motivating expressions, are super-cute and meaningful. Plus, a percentage of proceeds from each bracelet purchased goes to provide a year of clean drinking water to someone in need through nonprofit partner, the Thirst Project, and has raised over $700K+ to date. Win-win.

Price at time of publication: $10

07 of 15

Geode Puzzle

Geode puzzle
Uncommon Goods

This stunning puzzle brain teasers will keep their neurons firing during winter break.

Price at time of publication: $65

08 of 15

Alleyoop's In the Loop Card Game


In the Loop is beauty retailer Alleyoop's experiential card game that's perfect for your teen to play with friends during their next sleepover or virtual get-together. The purpose: to spark deeper bonding and learn new things about their close friends.

Price at time of publication: $20

09 of 15

Travelpro X Travel + Leisure Luggage


A high-quality suitcase will last teens well into adulthood. Feed their wanderlust with a spinner or backpack from this well-made line plus an IOU for a trip in 2022.

Price at time of publication: $545

10 of 15

Give 'Em Face Masks Artist Set

Cest Moi
Cest Moi

Remember when face masks were something you shopped for in the beauty aisle? This set from a teen-fave brand contains four colorful masks that each offer a targeted treatment, like brightening and hydrating. It's like gifting teens an at-home spa day.

11 of 15

Within These Wicked Walls

Within These Wicked Walls

Even though teens are digital natives, they still want to read physical books. Pick one from Parents' Best Books for Teens list or check out a new release like Within These Wicked Walls: A Novel by Lauren Blackwood, which is a magical version of Jane Eyre.

12 of 15

Lume Cube Ring Light

Lume ring light

With Lume Cube's Ring Light, you'll give your teen a tool that can up their social media game. The 18" bi-color LED Ring Light has built-in diffusion and can run up to 1.5 hours at full power.

Price at time of publication: $200

13 of 15

Bose Sound Link Micro

Bose SoundLink Micro

For a music-obsessed teen: This small, durable speaker has awesome sound quality. Plus, it's water-proof so they can bring it outside whether they're shoveling snow or at the beach.

Price at time of publication: $159

14 of 15

Philosophy Amazing Grace 3-Piece Set

amazing grace 3-piece set ($60)

Fragrance-loving teens will adore this year's gift set for the best-selling fragrance. It includes the eau de toilette paired matching bath and body favorites.

15 of 15

Dash Super Straw

DASH Super Straw

A Mother Earth-approved stocking stuffer: Eco-minded teens will use this magnetic stainless-steel straw in a cute carrying case to slurp up their Starbucks order.

Price at time of publication: $20

Updated by
Maressa Brown
Maressa Brown
Maressa Brown is a seasoned lifestyle journalist, writer, and astrologer. In addition to being a regular contributor to Parents.com, her bylines appear on InStyle, Shape, What to Expect, Cosmopolitan, et al. She is the author of a forthcoming parenting title to be published by Artisan Books in early 2023. A graduate of Emerson College, she's based in Los Angeles.
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