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My mom makes my 13-year-old a stocking every year, and she also receives one from us. Relatives often ask what to get my daughter for Christmas that is under $50, under $25, a small gift they can get her. I have just sent out multiple emails and Google Docs to loved ones about what to get our teen for Christmas and figured it could prove helpful to another who is trying to figure out gifts for teens under $50 and stocking stuffers for teens.
I have also crowdsourced a couple of friends with teens to ask what they are buying so there is a bit more of a variety based on gender, musical tastes, personal preferences, and hobbies. And as always, I look forward to your comments where you can share other great ideas that may be just the thing another Wardrobe Oxygen community member is looking for!
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Skincare and Beauty Gifts for Teens $25 and Under
Skincare isn't just the way to ward off zits, it is a hobby, a passion, an art form, and for some almost a religion. Almost every teen I know is into some form of skincare, whether it's upgrading from Barbasol to a fancy shaving cream brand, enjoying sheet masks with friends during a sleepover, rocking acne patches, or having a multi-step Korean skincare routine. While a gift of skincare in the past may have come across as offensive or judgmental, now it is seen as luxury and “self care.”
- Olive & June Paint Like a Pro Nail Set: Olive & June is a reputable and trendy brand sold at Target. This boxed set for offers polish, topcoat, and the brand's “Poppy” which attached to polish bottles to make it easier to use and get a pro-looking manicure. $20.00
- Sephora Lip Scrub: Teens care a lot about their lips, which you'll see in this gift guide. They want lips hydrated, soft, flake-free, glossy, plump… and this lip scrub which comes in a few different flavors is less than $5 and will be appreciated more than a drugstore brand that is equally effective. $4.20
- Glossier Hand Cream: Even if they don't wear makeup, they know Glossier and will feel very luxe pulling this hand cream out of their backpack. It's really effective too with great ingredients. $18.00
- Starface Acne Patches: This little yellow pack contains little yellow stars made from Hydrocolloid, which is clinically proven to improve pimples overnight. I know at my kid's school some of the students wear these almost as a badge of honor during the day (and they look pretty cute doing it). $14.99
- Wet n Wild Zodiac Lip Gloss: I know my teen isn't the only one her age obsessed with astrology. These budget-friendly lipglosses are vegan, cruelty-free, and come in versatile colors with the astrological sign on the cap. $3.29
- Kitsch Heatless Curls Set: Blame TikTok, but it seems everyone over the age of 10 is trying to use all sorts of household items to achieve heatless curls while they sleep. This kit is from a reputable brand, isn't too twee looking, and gets good reviews for effectiveness. $16.00
- Patchology Cooling Eye Gels: If it's not dry lips, it's eye bags that teens are obsessing over. They'll love this set of eye gels from Patchology they can store in the fridge until needed before a big event or after an all-night study session. $3.00
- Tarte Lash Curler and Mascara Set: An ergonomic lash curler and an award-winning mascara makes for a great gift set, or broken up into two stocking stuffer or advent gifts. Tarte is a cruelty-free brand. $19.00
- Jack Black Lip Balm: This iconic blue tube of lip balm is incredibly effective, feels luxe, and isn't specific to one gender or aesthetic. SPF 25 included and several flavors to choose from. $8.00
- Supergoop Glow Screen: This will get your teen to actually wear sunscreen. With a subtle glow, this popular facial moisturizer will protect while giving the coveted dewy look. $20.00
- Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Body Cream: I personally find this cream to be overly fragranced, but when I was a teen I too was wearing overpoweringly sweet and fruity fragrances. This one is really hot on TikTok and Instagram; you'll get cool points for adding this to the stocking. $22.00
- Burt's Bees Kissable Color Set: I am usually against giving color makeup as gifts, but I know that my kid's friends who are a range of skintones, genders, and cultures all love these lip balms. Very subtle color, minty taste, hint of shine, these are especially great for those who don't yet wear “real” makeup. $7.49
- Benefit Mascara Mini Fest: My kid doesn't wear a lot of makeup, but she's super into mascara right now. The ones that lengthen, the ones that add volume, the ones that don't smudge. Benefit makes great products and this provides three minis of their best-selling mascaras. $25.00
- Dashing Diva Gel Palette for Nails: These easy-to-apply gel nail strips deliver a super-strong, chip-resistant, high-shine gel mani that lasts for up to 14 days. SO many cool colors, prints, and finishes! I link to all the options at Ulta as there is pretty much a combo for any aesthetic. $7.99
Practical Gifts for Teens
Looking for something that is both practical and a present? It is possible, and right now some typically practical items are quite on trend.
- Casetify Personalized AirPods Case: Whatever generation the AirPods, Casetify has a case that will fit and can be customized with case color, name, name color, and name font. Casetify products are excellent and hold up; this won't be a case where your teen loses half of it the first day back to school. $38.00
- Touchland Hand Sanitizer: You know it's a THING when your kid asks for hand sanitizer on their Christmas list! Touchland hand sanitizers look good, smell good, and do good. Multiple scents to choose from. $10.00
- Carhartt Beanie: It's a classic that continues to also be trendy. This version has a tonal patch, so it's still “cool” but. a little different and elevated. Over a dozen colors to choose from. Under $20.00
- Hidden Pocket Scrunchies: These velvet scrunchies won't crease hair, look on trend, and have hidden pockets to hold essentials like house keys and cash. I know my teen hates carrying a bag, if yours does too this is an option. Two-pack for $20.00
- Birdie Personal Safety Alarm: Seems this gadget has been making the rounds on social media enough to have teens not just find it practical but also cool. Pull off the top to activate the 130db siren and flashing strobe light. Simply reinsert the top to deactivate the alarm. Multiple colors and prints. $29.95
- Stanley Quencher 40oz. Travel Tumbler: Not that Stanley Cup, THIS Stanley Cup is the one everyone is talking about this year. If your teen is oh-vah their Hydroflask from 2020, this is the new hot water container. Several colors to choose from. $40.00
- North Face eTip Gloves: These aren't corny looking, are from a “cool” yet reputable brand, come in a range of colors, fit well, and the eTip actually works. Starting under $35.00
- Quirky and Cool Socks: While there are many places to buy personality socks, if you're not sure what your teen may like, head to Urban Outfitters where they have the coolest prints, bands, brands, art, and more at reasonable prices (most are under $20 and all are under $50).
- iWalk Portable Charger: This charger is so small my kid can fit it in her jeans pocket and it holds a charge for days. It comes in a range of colors and has really helped out. ina pinch for an almost-dead phone, AirPods, and more. Under $35.00
Gadget Gifts for Teens Under $50
Right now, there's a hybrid of vintage/nostalgic gadgets and high tech on the market, an opportunity to achieve quality functionality and style combined. This means cool looking gadgets at reasonable prices.
- Amazon Smart Plug: For the person who always leaves the hair straightener/oil diffuser/television on. With this, they can now turn it off from wherever they are with their phone. Under $25.00
- Amber Book Light: Three settings, regular white light and a softer amber light, holds up to 75 hours of use and has a simple USB charger. Available in pink, navy, and black for less than $15.00
- Playstation Media Remote: This remote turns their PS5 into a SmartTV with access to streaming services as well as providing media access controls like pause and fast forward and is far easier and faster to use than the controller. Under $30.00
- Bluetooth Remote for Devices: I know, super vague name but what do I call a ring that lets you flip pages of your Kindle, swipe to the next TikTok video, becomes a remote for your phone's camera, and more? Works for Apple or Android, available in black and pink. Under $25.00
- Revlon One-Step: No my dear, I am not buying you a Dyson, but I will get you this cult-favorite hair tool that will also give you fab hair. I bought this exact Revlon One-Step almost two years ago, and now my daughter is using it. It can dry hair, smooth and straighten like a round brush, add volume like velcro curlers, and in hardly any time with little effort. And it's under $35.00
- Retro Game Controller: Modern functionality with a vintage vibe, this controller a pure nostalgia, which is on trend for teens and fun for teens at heart. Under $50.00
- Fire Stick: I've been wanting one since staying at Airbnbs where I wish I could bring my streaming services. I can only imagine how much my kid will like this as an older teen to access all their services including Alexa. Under $25.00
- Fluance Vinyl Cleaning Kit: they've got the turntable and the vinyl, level them up with a gadget that makes them feel like some sort of expert while also protecting that record they've left uncovered on the turntable for three months straight. Under $20.00
- Pink MagLight: Sometimes the only way they'll use it is if they think it looks cute. Maybe now they'll put one in their glove compartment. Under $17.00
- Victrola Suitcase-style Turntable: Whether they are a tween or a college student, this is a serviceable turntable for a vinyl newbie that is considered “cool.” Available in dozens of colors there is probably one just perfect for your budding vinyl music fan. Under $50.00
Retro Modern Style for Teens: $50 and Under
While scoping out Christmas gift ideas for teens I felt as though I was having a flashback to my own teenage years. The black and white checkerboard and yin yang-themed items were straight from '90s Alison's closet and world and I know many would be appreciated by my teen now. It inspired this retro modern gift guide/collage:
basketball | glow in the dark personalized phone case | backpack | eyeshadow compact | socks | ring | sunglasses | bucket hat | disposable camera | room spray | anklets | lip gloss | gloves/mittens | hair clip | sandals
These look great – thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the scrunchy pocket idea. It looks like a great way to hold a house key. Some additional ideas: if the teen uses an instax or similar camera, a pack of the film is always appreciated. Our teen hopes for Starbucks gift cards. She also asked for a new card holder for the back of her phone (after 3 years, hers is falling apart).
I’ve been gifting my daughter-in-laws a gift card to either Sephora or Ulta.
Like the lip gloss, which isn’t make-up, I feel like it gives them something for skin/hair care without my picking out anything particular that might be seen as a ‘you’d be more wonderful if you just improved…’
So helpful — you turned me on to Glossier last year, and my daughter loves their products. That said, your Glossier link above isn’t working for me (desktop or phone). Want you to rightfully get credit for my purchase. 🙂
Lots of helpful ideas–thanks! My son is 16 and it gets a little harder every year to fill that stocking. Sometimes, I miss those days of the little boy who would get excited over small silly toys from Target. But, some of the things I’ve put in his stocking (or will put in this year): cooking items (he loves to cook!) such as nice seasonings, special types of salt (black garlic is a favorite), hot honey; gift card to a local Boba spot; book light; highlighter pens (he needs these for a particular school activity he’s involved with); mechanical pencils; and nice pens (meaning, Pilot brand or something similar–not expensive ones). Maybe other boy moms will have more to share!
Teen boys are obsessed with hot sauce – you can find lots of hot sauce sets, online or in stores. The “Hot Ones” hot sauce game was a big hit with my son & his friends last year https://www.target.com/p/hot-ones-truth-or-dab-the-game/-/A-80265248
This is a great list!
There are some great ideas in there for people of all ages! Thanks!!
Showing my age. I remember when everything Wet & Wild was 99 cents.