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Catching Rae

What to Get a Fussy Tween/Teen

Your precious little niece/nephew/cousin/Godchild has suddenly mutated into an apathetic/mysterious/moody/confounding creature to which you can hardly relate, and yet for some reason your brother/sister/aunt/BFF insists that can't just give them a gift card for the holidays - cue the horror music. 

Look, the chances that you'll get the kid something he/she finds legitimately awesome are really really really small. Even going to a dedicated "Teen Store" is dangerous, since so many teens are mortal enemies with other teens. 

So my suggestion for this situation is to go as generic as possible and include a gift receipt. That may sound kind of heartless at first, but there isn't anything inherently bad about a generic gift. Generic, simple, personality-free items can assimilate easily into a variety of styles - and from what I can (foggily) remember, the more adults tried to "get" my style as a teen, the clearer it was that they didn't (cuz I was soooooo unique). 

I figure that safe items are either basic items that can be used in a variety of ways or boring items that kids are forced to have and would appreciate not having to spend their allowance on. Some ideas (clickable links in the slideshow above):

  • Plain, layering tees in neutral colors
  • Plain, neutral sports separates that can be used in gym class
  • Boring ol' socks that no one will possibly notice long enough to mock them for
  • Plain leggings that can layer under gym shorts/sweaters/sleep shirts

Now the question remains: how to make a stupid tee-shirt look fun instead of cheap?

  • Get a really soft, really nice, upscale brand (within your budget)
  • Get a few different neutrals (black, white, gray)
  • Get a few different styles (long sleeve, short sleeve, v-neck)
  • Get a year's supply!

Of course you must always be prepared to be hit with the eye-roll or long-suffering sigh because you didn't spring for that X-Box they had their heart set on. This is just the way of the world and shouldn't be taken too personally. All you can do is hope that you saved their parents a few bucks by gifting something practical and exchangeable.