62 Gifts for Teens That Are Actually Cool, According to Real High Schoolers
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 Christmas.) So, to avoid disappointments, this year we went to the experts—high schoolers themselves—and quizzed them about their holiday wish lists. Here, 62 gifts for teens—for everyone from the gamer, to the beauty enthusiast, to the astrology-obsessed—that are guaranteed to be a hit.
1. 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,” Caitlin C., 18, tells us. Reviewers say it’s impressively durable too, just in case your teen isn’t exactly known for being careful.
2. Case-Mate Geo Print AirPod 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, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters also carry a ton of different styles to choose from.
3. DreamCraftersStudios Hot Chocolate Bombs
Best for Sweets Lovers
Fourteen-year-old Liza S. says she’s been seeing these hot chocolate bombs all over TikTok. “I’ve been dying to try them, but it kind of seems like a pain to make them at home. Hint hint, Mom.” For the uninitiated, they’re chocolate spheres filled with marshmallows that break apart when you pour hot milk over them to create—yup, you guessed it—a delicious cup of hot chocolate.
4. Manna Kadar Lash Glossary 18-Pair Lash Set
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 multi-hued party lashes, including a tube of lash glue, is a great start for a teen girl's self-discovery.
5. CINCOM Leg Air Compression Massager
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 tech, which you slide on over your legs and your feet, calves and thighs are treated to an automated massage that you control with a remote.
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.
7. 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.
8. Champ-Chest Subscription Box
Best for Sports Fans
“My whole family knows I’m obsessed with the Packers, so I don’t even really have to ask. They just know to get me new gear every year,” Max L., 15, tells us. If you want to really go above and beyond for the football fan in your life, gift them a subscription to Champ-Chest, which delivers five to 10 pieces of team gear every three months.
9. Madewell Tie-Dye Swing Sweatshirt
Best for Hippie Chic Girls
If you thought the tie-dye trend had run its course, think again. Multiple teen girls tell us they’re hoping to add some more dip-dyed sweats to their collection this winter. Treating her to this relaxed fit crewneck sweatshirt is sure to win you some brownie points.
Available in sizes XXS to XL
10. Sony PlayStation 5
Best for Gamers
The latest PlayStation was released on November 12 and, unsurprisingly, it immediately sold out, with long online wait times and vendor sites crashing. However, this most popular wish list item among the teen boys (and a couple of the girls) we talked to is available resale at StockX, a trusted site that verifies the authenticity of its items before shipping. Note: this certification might take a few more days before the item arrives, but a guarantee of this hardware in your teen's hot little controller-wielding hands should be worth it.
11. 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,” Monique V. explains.
12. 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 asking “Santa” for 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.
13. Fujifilm QuickSnap 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 Leila B., 14. These cameras from Fujifilm apparently take great quality pictures, earning them over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
14. Adidas Logo Rib Beanie
Best for Stylish Guys
Here’s a practical gift one senior told us he’s hoping to receive this year. He explained that his Carhartt beanie from last winter is looking a little worn out and this Adidas one is more his style these days anyway. Sounds like someone raised him right.
15. 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,” Rachel W. candidly tells us.
16. 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 Chris V., 17. Sounds like it’ll make for some pretty epic movie nights, too.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Apple Pencil
Best for iPad Users
If your teen’s a devoted iPad user, he could probably benefit from an Apple Pencil. 17-year-old Blake O. 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.
20. Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizing Hot Air Brush
Best for the Hair Style Obsessed
We’re obsessed with the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and the salon-worthy blowouts it produces, but we had no idea teens were into it, too. Apparently they are now, thanks to TikTok. “It’s all over my For You page and everyone’s hair looks amazing after they use it. I’m really hoping it’ll tame my frizzy waves,” says Leslie H., 15.
21. 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 another pair or two of 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.
22. Kate Spade New York One in a Million Initial Pendant Necklace
Best for Jewelry Lovers
At the top of 14-year-old Caroline R.’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.
23. 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).
24. GoPro Hero 9 Streaming Action 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 Matteo N., 18.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. Lululemon Align Pant 28’’
Best for Luxe Legging Wearers
Buying Lululemon leggings on a babysitter’s paycheck isn’t easy, Georgia V., 16, 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.
Available in sizes 0-20
28. Indah Long 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 her camera on for her Zoom study group.
Available in S/M, M/L
29. Sephora Gift Card
Best for Makeup Experimenters
She loves spending Saturday afternoons roaming Sephora’s aisles and swatching the newest products. Get her a gift card and she’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 find in their stocking.
30. 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, for Christmas, 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.
31. 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.
32. Stargazer Plush Throw Blanket
Best for Room Hibernators
She’s always holed up in her bedroom, so you might as well make sure she’s comfy up there. Get her one of these super soft throw blankets to cocoon herself in during her Netflix binges. Based on the reviews, there’s a good chance she’ll love it so much that she brings it to college in a couple of years.
33. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
Best for Tech Creators
After using a 3D printer at school, freshman Harry Z. says he’s begging his parents to get him one 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.
34. Zella Live In Pocket Joggers
Best for Stylish Sweatpants Fans
“Since my school’s hybrid this year, I only go in twice a week...which means I obviously wear sweats the rest of the week. I’ve been wanting a pair of black joggers and I’ve heard Zella’s are super comfy,” says Cleo V., 16.
Available in sizes XXS to XXL
35. Bitty Boomers Mini Bluetooth Speaker
Best for Mandalorian Addicts
Have a fan of The Mandalorian on your hands? Surprise them with this miniature Baby Yoda speaker. It can connect to their phone via Bluetooth and offers four hours of playtime per charge. Yup, they’re gonna want to show this gift off to their friends.
36. 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.
37. Bed Head Wave Artist Deep Waver Generation 2
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. Opt for an affordable model with impressive reviews, like this Bed Head number, to avoid spending the big bucks on what’s probably just a fad.
38. 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.
39. 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 place, almost ensuring they never end up in a tangled mess again.
40. 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 Ameera K., 17. This set comes with a razor, four blade refills, shave cream and body lotion, so your gift recipient can get the full Billie experience.
41. Magneto 44 Inch Kicktail Cruiser Longboard
Best for Skater Wannabes
If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where it’s not absolutely freezing in December, your adventurous teen will have a blast cruising down the street on this longboard. Get him a helmet too, while you’re at it…
42. Smoko Heated Slippers
Best for the Barefoot
Made by the same brand as that adorable potato lamp we mentioned above, these dumpling-shaped slippers have built-in heating pads to keep her feet nice and toasty. They do have to stay plugged in, though, so she can’t venture too far from the couch in them.
43. Gotrax XR Ultra Electric Scooter
Best for the Neighborhood Gadabout
“My thirteen-year-old has been hinting at wanting an electric scooter for months now,” one dad tells us. This one can reach speeds of 15 mph and travel up to 17 miles on a single charge, so he’ll obviously ride it around town for hours.
44. Thread & Supply Wubby Pullover
Best for the Plush Wearer
Cozy clothes seem to be top-of-mind for everyone this season—including teens. One told us she’s asking for this super soft sherpa pullover that apparently feels “like being wrapped in a fluffy cloud.”
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.
46. Nintendo Switch, Limited Edition Animal Crossing Design
Best for the Mobile Gamer
Nintendo Switch systems are finally coming back in stock after being sold out everywhere for the past seven months. But with holiday shopping on the rise, we have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before they sell out again. In other words, get this one n-o-w.
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 she’d definitely appreciate if “Santa” just dropped them under the tree. And you can 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.
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 trust us, these varieties are almost indestructible.
49. Respawn PC & Racing Gaming Chair
Best for Desk Sitters
If he’s going to insist on sitting in front of the computer for four-plus hours a day playing video games, at least you can ensure that he has good posture. This adjustable chair tilts, pivots and offers lumbar support to help him stay comfortable while gaming.
50. 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.
51. 10-Foot-Long iPhone Charger Cable (Pack of 2)
Best for the TikTok Scroller
This charging cable is so long, he can lay in bed and scroll through TikTok for hours, even if the closest plug is all the way across the room. This will make for a great stocking stuffer, trust us.
52. Bread Beauty Supply Wash-Day Essentials Kit for Curly & Textured Hair
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 Ashley O., 17. This set contains that product, plus the brand’s Creamy Deep Conditioner and Everyday Gloss hair oil.
53. 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.
Available in sizes M to XXL
54. 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 of her Christmas 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.”
55. Starface Hydro-Stars 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 Maya C., 15. Plus, we love this brand’s messaging about ending the stigma around acne, too.
56. PJ Salvage Thermal Print Pajamas
Best for Cute Jammies Devotees
Jo S., 16, says she hasn’t gotten new pajamas in a hot minute. Take a hint, Mom and Dad! This printed set made it on her list for 2020 because, “matching sets are so cute and I like the fitted style,” she says.
Available in sizes XS to XL
57. 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 for Christmas,” says Clare K., 13. Her favorite design is this simple cloud outline. We kind of want one ourselves, now that she mentions it…
58. Baisite DIY Paint by Numbers Kit
Best for Art Therapy Practitioners
Behold, the ideal gift for any high schooler with a creative side. Bridget A., 14, tells us that she used to love paint by numbers when she was little, and she started to get back into them during quarantine. “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.
59. 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 this year 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.
60. 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, it’s 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).
61. Studs Lightning Bolt Huggie Earrings
Best for Ear Stack Wearers
When asked what she wants to unwrap on December 25, Faye L., 17, 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.
62. 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.