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67 Gifts for Teens That Are Actually Cool, According to Real High Schoolers

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Whether the 15-year-old you’re shopping for is into beauty, theater, sports or sleeping (somehow it’s always sleeping), finding a gift they won’t roll their eyes at can feel like an impossible assignment. (Yup, our niece actually asked us to include the gift receipt with the present we got her last year.) So, to avoid disappointments, this year we went to the experts—high schoolers themselves—and quizzed 53 of them, from ages 13 to 19, about their holiday wish lists. And here's what we learned: It all comes down to quality, style and cool factor. In other words, anything that makes them stand out.

If your niece goes from the classroom to practice, scoop up Lululemon's viral Align top. Or, if they've been tapping into their artsy side, why not get them an easel set? After all, it's not about how much you spend—it's about whether it aligns with their personality. So to get you started, here are 67 gifts for every teen personality—from gamers to beauty enthusiasts to the astrology-obsessed.

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Best for Any Teen

No matter what your teen is into, they'll be obsessed with this customizable LED neon sign. With over twenty different fonts and colors to choose from, you can't go wrong with selecting their name, nickname or phrases like 'aloha' or 'xoxo.' Plus, the wall art comes with a dimmer and features a clear electrical cord to give a floating illusion. "My daughter could not be happier with her new light above her bed! Quality is great and easy instructions to follow!" one reviewer on Etsy adds.

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Birthdate Candle

2. Birthdate Candle

Best for Astrology Believers

Whether your 15-year-old cousin is a budding astrologer, or she just enjoys reading her horoscope every morning, she’ll love this personalized gift. Select her birth date, and the brand will send a candle with a scent that’s made to appeal to them. It’ll come printed with info about her astrological sign, as well as personality traits of people with her birthday.

gifts for teens speaker
Amazon

3. JBL Flip 5 Speaker

Best for Music Lovers

“I’m asking for this portable speaker so I can use it to blast music while I shower, or in the basement when my friends come over. I like that it has 12 hours of playtime per charge because I’m horrible about remembering to plug things in,” one 18-year-old tells us. Reviewers say it’s impressively durable too, just in case your teen isn’t exactly known for being careful.

Amazon Beauty Haul 22 Hum Toothbrush
Amazon

4. hum By Colgate Smart Battery Toothbrush Kit

For the Teen with Pearly Whites

You know you’re growing up when you realize giving the gift of good dental care is actually a great stocking stuffer. This electric brush is powered by batteries so there’s no need to keep it charged up, and even comes with a travel case so she doesn’t have to bring that free toothbrush she got from the dentist on her next trip. Use the app to help guide brushing to make sure no spot is missed. 

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Amazon

5. BlissLights Sky Lite Laser Star Projector

Best for Stargazers

Another product that’s gone viral on TikTok? These galaxy projectors, which make any ceiling look like a mesmerizing night sky. “I’ve been wanting one for my room ever since I saw this video, but I don’t really want to spend $60 on it so I’m hoping I get it for Hanukkah,” one teen explains.

gifts for teens light up basketball
Amazon

6. GlowCity Light-Up Basketball

Best for Active Types

This regulation-size and -weight basketball has two LED lights which make the entire ball glow upon impact. For shooting hoops after all the schoolwork is done, this will be a welcome way to blow off steam during the early dark of wintertime. Plus, it looks cool on social media.

gifts for teens lulu top
Lululemon

7. Lululemon Align Tank Top

Best for Stylish Sporty Girls

This buttery soft, weightless and sleek top is so comfy and effortless that she'll never want to take it off. Plus, it contours to the body for customized support and it's TikTok-approved, making it even cooler in her eyes.

Size range: 0 to 20

gifts for teens desktop fridge
Amazon

8. Chefman Portable Mirrored Personal Fridge

Best for the skincare-obsessed

High school senior Bella has her eye on something beauty-related. "I think that a mini-cosmetic makeup fridge is this year's must-have for teen girls," she says. "Not only can you keep all of your products in there, there is even some room to hide some chocolates!" This desk-sized one (its footprint is only 7 by 9.5 inches) comes with a sleek mirror front to check your makeup before that next Zoom session.

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Amazon

9. Vont Starry Fairy Lights

Best for Room Fixer-Uppers

One tenth grader told us she’s currently in the process of revamping her childhood bedroom, which inspired her to ask for a set of fairy lights for the holidays. The flexible copper wires make it easy to place them around picture frames, mirrors or other decor for a pretty effect (that won’t ruin your walls).

best gifts for teens 2021 deluxe artist painting set
Amazon

10. MEEDEN 142-Piece Deluxe Artist Painting Set

Best for the Aspiring Painter

Whether they're a doodler or take extreme pride in their art class, they'll love this set. It's loaded with painting essentials (142 pieces, to be exact), from all sorts of brushes to boatloads of paint, an adjustable wooden easel and more.

best gifts for teens spotify premium
Best Buy

11. Spotify Premium

Best for Audio Enthusiasts

It’s rough out there when every third song is interrupted with an ad, so we’re not surprised that two freshmen mentioned wanting Spotify Premium. This card is redeemable for a full year of the streaming service, which means your music aficionado can jam out without fear of interruption.

gifts for teens solawave
Solawave

12. SolaWave Blue Light Wand

Best for Sensitive Complexions

This new skincare tech uses warmth, vibration and blue light to lessen skin discoloration and breakouts, which is just what hormone-sensitized teen skin needs.

13. Birkenstock Bostons

Most sought-after shoe

This shoe is arguably just odd-looking enough to take our teen nation by storm, as TikToks and trend watchers attest. So when 18-year-old Peter had to have a pair to take to college in upstate New York, our only comment was "hope you have some thick wool socks." The oiled leather uppers and signature molded Birkenstock footbed should keep him comfy on those hikes to class.

gifts for teens sports cards box
Cratejoy

14. Hot Box Cards Subscription Box

Best for Sports Fans

Sports card collectibles are a whole thing, with TikToks devoted to starting and growing a collection. Stoke your young friend's fandom—along with educating them about markets and the collectible economy—with this monthly box that contains three autograph/memorabilia cards, three unopened packs & 50 bonus cards. 

gifts for teens wallet
Herschel Supply Company

15. Herschel Roy Wallet

Best for the Organizationally Challenged

A simple folded wallet is a classic, and the camo canvas makes it cool. So it's easy for your giftee to keep their identification, a debit card and cash handy.

gifts for teens alarm
Amazon

16. She's Birdie-The Original Personal Safety Alarm

Best for the Jogger

This one is a gift for your favorite teen and really, the whole family, since it sounds a blistering alarm and flashes a strobe light when activated. And it works for 40 continuous minutes, so you're safe in the knowledge this siren has their back on multiple close calls.

gifts for teens sunglasses
Huckberry

17. Huckberry Weekenders Sunglasses

Best for Beachgoers

These lightweight sunglasses are suitable for all face shapes, polarized for crystal-clear vision in the brightest light and reasonably priced, so it's no tragedy if they break or go missing.

lizzo box set
Lizzo Music

18. Lizzo Special Hearts Airbrush T-Shirt + CD Box Set

Best for the Concert-Lover

This airbrushed T-shirt from Lizzo’s current tour is an adorable and trendy way to show off her love for her favorite artist. Plus, it and a Special tour CD come in a keepsake box where she can stow her ticket stubs and other memorabilia.

Size range: S to 4X

gifts for teens ariat boots
Gap

19. Ariat Scout Paddock Boot

Best for Equestriennes

Fifteen-year-old Lila plays polo, so she's always busy around the stables. "Ariat paddock boots are perfect for wearing to the barn and riding but are also super cute with dresses in real life." This pair has leather uppers and a reinforced shank, along with laces designed to be quick to get in and out of.


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Amazon

20. Fujifilm Disposable Cameras (Set of 2)

Best for Scrapbookers

“I really want a disposable camera for Hanukkah this year. My friend had one over the summer and the pictures turned out so cool when she got them developed,” says one 14-year-old. These cameras from Fujifilm apparently take great quality pictures, earning them over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

gifts for teens ugg slippers
Nordstrom

21. Ugg Fluff Yeah Genuine Shearling Slingback Sandal

Best for Cool Girls

Given that everyone from Selena Gomez to Gigi Hadid has been spotted wearing these open-toe slippers from Ugg, we’re not surprised that one 16-year-old told us she wants a pair. “They’re so cute, and I’m hoping they won’t make my feet sweat like my other slippers do,” she said.

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Amazon

22. AuKing Mini Projector

Best for Sports Party Hosts

“I’m asking for a movie projector this year so I can have my friends over for football Sundays. When it’s nice out, we can watch the game on the garage door, or project it onto the whole basement wall if it gets cold out,” says one 17-year-old. (Sounds like it’ll make for some pretty epic movie nights, too.)

gifts for teens 13
Amazon

23. Starbucks Gift Card

Best for Coffee Lovers

Multiple teens mention that a Starbucks gift card would make their lives a little easier. (C’mon, have you seen the price for a grande Frappuccino lately?) And thanks to Amazon, you can load a gift card up without ever having to set foot in a store. The retail giant will deliver it to your doorstep, and you can pop it right in their stocking. Done and done.

gifts for teens 15
Amazon

24. Apple Pencil

Best for iPad Users

If your teen’s a devoted iPad user, he could probably benefit from an Apple Pencil. A 17-year-old told us he has one on his Christmas list because he wants to be able to draw and take notes on his iPad Pro. A gift that might make them more willing to do homework? Sign us up.

gifts for teens bombas
Bombas

25. Bombas Men’s Originals Calf Socks

Best for Jocks

As it turns out, some kids actually do want socks for Christmas. One teen boy we chatted with says he’d love more Bombas but can’t justify spending his own money on them. What makes them so special, you ask? The long-staple cotton is supersoft and sweat-wicking, and the special stay-up technology ensures he won’t be yanking them up every five minutes. Stocking stuffers, made easy.

gifts for teens 18
Nordstrom

26. Kate Spade New York Initial Necklace

Best for Jewelry Lovers

At the top of one 14-year-old girl's list? A simple initial necklace that she can wear every day. And while she didn’t specify which brand (if any), this Kate Spade style has racked up almost 700 five-star reviews, making it a sure winner. This more affordable option from Anthropologie is popular too.

gifts for teens 20
Amazon

27. GoPro Hero 9 Streaming Camera

Best for Aspiring Spielbergs

“My grandparents usually get me one big gift every year, so this year I’m asking them for the newest GoPro. It has way better picture quality and stability than the previous ones which will be perfect for my snowboarding videos,” says one 18-year-old cold weather sports enthusiast.

gifts for teens 21
Glossier

28. Glossier Cloud Paint

Best for Beauty Buffs

Chances are, you’ve already overheard her discussing this wildly popular makeup brand with her friends. But she could always use another product for her ever-growing makeup collection. Cloud Paint is a gel-cream hybrid blush that she can sweep on with her fingertips. It’s subtle, glowy and virtually foolproof.

gifts for teens boba
Etsy

29. DrinkSammee The Boba Kit

Best for Boba Drinkers

Making your own bubble tea at home is actually way easier than you might think. Gift your boba addict this DIY kit—which includes loose leaf tea, uncooked boba, milk tea base, brown sugar, straws and a recipe—and maybe she’ll finally stop spending her allowance at the tea shop every weekend.

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Lululemon

30. Lululemon Align Pant 28’’

Best for Luxe Legging Wearers

Buying Lululemon leggings on a babysitter’s paycheck isn’t easy, one 16-year-old tells us. That’s why she’s hoping her parents come through and put a new pair or two under the tree this year. “They’re basically the only leggings I wear because they’re so comfortable...but they’re so expensive,” she explains.

Size range: 0 to 20

gifts for teens long sweather
Zappos

31. UGG Judith Hooded Cardigan

Best for Sweater Lovers

This is a sweater that is comfortable enough to wear around the house but pretty enough to throw on last-minute after our teen remembers she has to turn up to school because yes, it's a weekday.

Size range: XS/SM to XL

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Sephora

32. Sephora Gift Card

Best for Makeup Experimenters

They love spending Saturday afternoons roaming Sephora’s aisles and swatching the newest products. Get them a gift card and they’ll be able to actually buy a few. Multiple teens we spoke with cited these gift cards as the number one thing they’re hoping to get tucked in a birthday or graduation card.

gifts for teens makdewell sweats
Madewell

33. Madewell Easygoing Sweatpants

Best for Casual Dressers

Supersoft and suitable for most teen occasions, these sweatpants will get her eco-respect, since they are made of organic cotton and include post-consumer recycled polyester. We love the idea of gifting with a matching sweatshirt.

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Amazon

34. HyperX Cloud Alpha S Gaming Headset

Best for Group Gamers

Any avid Fortnite player will tell you the best part of the game is being able to talk to other players. This comfortable gaming headset offers surround sound to make the experience that much more immersive. Just know that he might never leave the game room once he opens this gift.

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Sephora

35. Isle of Paradise Own Your Glow Kit

Best for the Aspiring Beach Bunny

One mom says her 17-year-old daughter is always experimenting with self-tanner, but the bottles from the drugstore always leave her covered in orange streaks. So she’s giving her this set from Isle of Paradise which comes with face and body self-tanning drops, self-tanning water and a tanning mitt, to ensure that her hands don’t end up splotchy.

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Amazon

36. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

Best for Tech Creators

After using a 3D printer at school, one freshman says he’s begging his parents to get him one that he can use at home. Reviewers say this one is great for first-time users since it’s easy-to-use and more affordable than most advanced models.

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Nordstrom

37. Zella Live In Pocket Joggers

Best for Stylish Sweatpants Fans

“I obviously wear sweats much of the week. I’ve been wanting a pair of black joggers and I’ve heard Zella’s are super comfy,” says one 16-year-old.

Size range: XXS to XXL

gifts for teens nest diffusers
Nest Fragrances

38. NEST New York Pura Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser Set

Best for Candle Fiends

If they're fans of candles, but their parents don't love the idea of them playing with matches, why not gift them with this diffuser set? It doesn't require a lighter, has a similar candle feel and won't upset mom and dad. It's a win-win.

gifts for teens book club
Book of the Month

39. Book of the Month Subscription

Best for Book Lovers

Shopping for a bookworm? You can’t go wrong with a Book of the Month subscription. Each month, she’ll get to choose one of five just-released titles to be sent her way. And if none sound appealing, she can always surf through past months’ offerings.

gifts for teens mermade waver
Urban Outfitters

40. Mermade Hair 32mm PRO Waver

Best for Future Hairstylists

Relax, crimpers aren’t making a comeback (at least not yet). But this similar-looking device has gotten really popular among teens. In fact, three of the girls we spoke to said they’re hoping to receive a hair waver this year—and this one heats in a mere 60 seconds.

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Olive & June

41. Olive & June The Mani System

Best for the Nails Obsessed

Our teen cousin told us she wants some new nail polishes, but we’re going to go ahead and gift her this full manicure set from Olive & June. It comes with six of their no-chip polishes, plus seven tools to help her shape and polish her nails, just like the pros.

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Amazon

42. Umbra Tesora 3-Tier Jewelry Stand

Best for Neatniks

A gift so chic, she’ll never guess you only bought it to make the top of her dresser look a little bit neater. Now, she can hang her necklaces, bracelets and earrings in one tiered display, almost ensuring they never end up in a tangled mess again.

smooth operator1
Billie

43. Billie Smooth Operator Gift Set

Best for Smooth Skin Aspirants

“This brand’s ads keep popping up on my Instagram and I’m dying to try out their razors. The cute packaging has totally sold me,” says one 17-year-old. This shaving set comes with a razor, four blade refills, shave cream and body lotion, so your gift recipient can get the full Billie experience.

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Amazon

44. Magneto Cruiser Longboard

Best for Skater Wannabes

Your adventurous teen will have a blast cruising down the street on this longboard. Get them a helmet, too, while you’re at it.

615 egacmel sl1300
Amazon

45. Philips Norelco Wet/Dry Electric Shaver

Best for the Face Shave Newbie

Whether you want to help him step up his personal grooming routine or send a little nudge that you’re really hoping he gets rid of his wispy “mustache,” this wet/dry shaver should do the trick.

gifts for teens nintendo switch
Amazon

46. Nintendo Switch

Best for the Mobile Gamer

Nintendo Switch's popularity has soared. And with the console's easy portability, we predict it's going to continue to sell like gangbusters—possibly causing stock shortages. In other words, get this one n-o-w.

gifts for teens bean boot
L.L. Bean

47. L.L. Bean 8-Inch Bean Boot

Best for Snowy Puddle Jumpers

She’s been saving up her allowance for a pair of these Bean Boots for few months. But you can still feel good about the investment—they’re a practical winter boot she’ll use for years (L.L. Bean products are made to last)—just as long as her feet don’t grow anymore.

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Bloomscape

48. Bloomscape Tough Stuff Collection

Best for Fledgling Green Thumbs

This set includes a Sansivera, ZZ plant and Hoya, three of the most low maintenance plants on the market. Even if she’s managed to kill succulents before, these varieties are almost indestructible...trust us.

gifts for teens silk scrunchies
Sephora

49. Slip Large Slipsilk Scrunchies

Best for Hair Fiddlers

Not only are they pretty but these 100 percent silk scrunchies will also ensure that she doesn’t get that annoying ponytail crease in her hair after having it up for a few hours. Plus, the gentle material protects against damage and split ends.

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Amazon

50. iPhone Charger Cable (Pack of 2)

Best for the TikTok Scroller

This charging cable is so long (10 feet), he can lay in bed and scroll through TikTok for hours, even if the closest plug is all the way across the room.

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Sephora

51. Bread Beauty Supply Wash-Day Kit

Best for the Curly Haired

“I’m always experimenting with new products to keep my curls looking their best. Next on my list? Bread Beauty Supply. I’ve heard their Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser is amazing,” says one 17-year-old. This set contains that product, plus the brand’s Creamy Deep Conditioner and Everyday Gloss hair oil.

gifts for teens patagonia jacket
Dick's Sporting Goods

52. Men’s Patagonia Retro-X Fleece Jacket

Best for Outdoorsy Guys

Sherpa is everywhere this season, and one 16-year-old we talked to swears this vintage-inspired jacket is at the top of his list. Psst: The windproof material has Patagonia’s HeiQ Fresh technology, which will keep it odor-free, no matter how many weeks he waits before finally throwing it in the wash.

Size range: XXS to XXL

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Society6

53. Cool to Be Kind Art Print

Best for Art Lovers

Apparently, room decor is a major theme this year, because one junior told us she’s also looking to revamp her bedroom with a few wish list items. She sent us a link to this art print in particular, saying, “I just love the font and the message behind it.”

new starface
Starface

54. Starface Pimple Patches (Pack of 32)

Best for Clear Skin Experimenters

“My favorite YouTuber, Brooke Miccio, has talked about these pimple patches a few times and I’m curious to see if they actually work. Fingers crossed I get them as a stocking stuffer,” says one 15-year-old we asked. (Plus, we love this brand’s messaging about ending the stigma around acne, too.)

gifts for teens neon sign
West Elm

55. Cloud Neon Sign

Best for the Décor Fan

“I’ve wanted a neon sign to hang on my bedroom wall for so long and I have a feeling my parents are finally going to get me one,” says one 13-year-old. Her favorite design is this simple cloud outline. (We kind of want one ourselves, now that she mentions it.)

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Amazon

56. Baisite DIY Paint by Numbers Kit

Best for Art Therapy Practitioners

Behold, the ideal gift for any high schooler with a creative side. A 14-year-old tells us that she used to love paint-by-numbers when she was little, and she just started to get back into them. “Painting really helps me relax,” she explains. And since you just have to fill in the spaces with their corresponding colors, these projects are great for aspiring artists looking to build their confidence.

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Amazon

57. Flybold Slackline Kit with Training Line

Best for Future Circus Acts

TBH, we don’t really get the appeal of learning how to walk across a tightrope-like slackline in the backyard. But apparently teens are really into it. Two parents told us their sons are asking for slacklines after trying one out at a friend’s house. This particular kit comes with a training line they can hold onto overhead while they’re still newbies.

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Amazon

58. ProsourceFit Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar

Best for Home Workout Types

If gym is their favorite class at school, they’ll be psyched at the idea of being able to do pull-ups in the doorway. Don’t worry, Mom, this bar is made from high grade steel that can hold up to 300 pounds so it’s not going to come loose mid-workout (as long as it’s installed properly, that is).

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Studs

59. Studs Lightning Bolt Huggie Earrings

Best for Ear Stack Wearers

When asked what she's eyeing, one 17-year-old immediately pulled up the image of these lightning bolt huggies on her phone. “I just got my second holes pierced so I have to wait a couple of months, but I can’t wait to put cool little hoops like this in them,” she says.

gifts for teens macbook
Best Buy

60. Apple MacBook Air

Best for Computer Lovers

Sure, lots of students have access to school computers these days. But most don’t allow them to access the important stuff—like Netflix and Hulu. Hook them up with a MacBook Air so they can watch TV from the comfort of their own bed and also use it for non-schoolwork-related internet needs (you know, like researching new ways to be embarrassed by you). Plus, Macs are known to be long-lasting, so if they take good care of it, it just might last them through college.

gifts for teens beast blender copy2
Amazon

61. Beast Blender

Best for the Nutrition Conscious

This ingenious blender is both cool-looking and versatile, since your teen can just screw a spout top on the blending vessel and use the handle to take their blended breakfast or after-school snack with them.

gifts for teens potato light
Urban Outfitters

62. Smoko Potato Light

Best for Kawaii Enthusiasts

One friend's daughter tells us that she’d be happy to get any of Smoko’s cute lamps. So we're thinking, what's cuter than a chubby little glowing potato? Nothing.

gifts for teens lashes
Sephora

63. Velour Lashes Effortless Kit

Best for Glamour Types

We have fielded questions from our niece who is wondering about what kind of false eyelashes would be best on her, to which we say, gosh, like so many things about coming of age, you just have to experiment and see what you like. This set of no-trim, no-measure natural-looking lashes including a tube of lash glue and tweezer-style tool, is a great start for a teen girl's self-discovery.

gifts for teens airpod case
Kate Spade New York

64. Kate Spade New York Glitter Air Pods Case

Best for Air Pods Users

Multiple high schoolers told us that they wanted a case for their AirPods, making it a foolproof option if you’re stumped on what to get your cousin this year. One teen we asked was partial to this glittery option, but Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters also carry a ton of different styles to choose from.

gifts for teens chair
Pottery Barn Teen

65. Charcoal Sherpa Faux-Fur Eco-Lounger

Best for Room Decorators

This is the new, more stylish iteration of the classic bean bag chair, with a plush covering and arm and back rests. It contains at least 65 percent polystyrene beans to shape to fit you, and the polyester cover resists stains.

gifts for teens ripstik
Amazon

66. Razor RipStik DLX Caster Board

For the Skateboarder

The flexible deck on this skateboard has spiked traction pads, a kick tail and nose and a concave design that lets riders carve better and faster than ever before (but newbies can have a gentle ride, too). Just be sure to gift a helmet.

gifts for teens bosu trainer
Amazon

67. Bosu Balance Trainer

Best for Future Performers/Athletes

A performing arts-obsessed teen told us she'd seen this on her favorite ballerina's Instagram feed. Athletes also enjoy this simple, versatile tech, which you use to balance atop, do pushups against and various other tortures available to learn via a downloadable instruction manual.

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