Every holiday season, parents and those who have teens on their gift list break into a cold sweat. It's notoriously difficult to come up with present ideas for teenagers that won't make them roll their eyes.
Let's face it — electronics are easy and always coveted, but not unique or always affordable. Sure teens love them, but they've most likely already got all the electronics they want or need, or have given exact specs on the ones they most desire.
So here is a list of holiday gift ideas that hopefully will make the teens in your life smile and appreciate the surprise of originality inside the wrapping paper.
1. Rose Gold Cinema Lightbox
If you or your kid follows any famous Instagrammers, chances are they've seen one of these lightboxes used in a photo. Perfect to display your teen's thoughts, feelings, moods or messages (yes, sometimes even the negative ones toward you!) this fun gift will keep their creative side entertained and their social media pics modern.
Liquid Ink, a Canadian-owned company, provides two unique versions; one framed in rose gold, the other with a colour-rotating or solid colour screen that mixes things up from the solid white background sold in most other places.
Where to get it: Liquid Ink, $24.95 or $29.95
2. Game of Phones
The electronics-adjacent nature of this card game will appeal to even those too cool for card games. Players draw cards listing categories like "funniest selfie" that everyone must then find on their phone within a time limit and the judge chooses a winner. It's not electronics-free, but it gets your teen interacting with actual humans without having to put down the sacred smartphone!
With an expansion pack of cards also available, all you need to do is offer up some pizza, and your teen's friends will be gathered around your kitchen table for hours! Available at online board game retailer BoardGameBliss.com, unique gift e-shop Uncommon Goods or from the manufacturer itself.
Where to get it: Uncommon Goods, $6.62 - 26.47
3. The gift of flying
Whether your teen is a daredevil or just likes to try new things, there are a few ways to give them the exhilaration of a flying experience.
Parachuting simulation can be found east and west of Toronto via iFly, or Sky Zone provides indoor trampoline playgrounds across most of Canada. Fly Over Canada in Vancouver provides a ride experience similar to the "Soarin'" ride at Epcot Centre and there are learn-to-fly-a-plane flight simulator experiences like Aerosim Experience in Montreal. Saskatchewan and Alberta offer hot air balloon rides via Breakaway Experiences.
Cost: Range from $30 (for a gift card to Sky Zone) to $285 (for hot air balloon rides).
4. Poptivisim Popsockets
For many — including adults! — popsockets have become the personalization stamp of one's smartphone. Don't worry if you don't know what a popsocket is — they're simply the doorknob-resembling grip handles people attach to the back of their phones.
The Popsockets website has an extensive offering of colours, styles, minis, create-your-own designs, phone accessories and even the option to purchase a "Poptivism" popsocket that will donate 50 per cent of the proceeds to a designated charity. Nothing better than a gift that gives back!
Where to get it: Popsockets, $15
5. The Tile App
Yes, technically this is an electronics gift, but it's so useful for the teens who are constantly losing or misplacing things it just had to be included here.
The Tile App site provides all the options available, including useful multi-packs for multiple items or an entire family. A tile-shaped tracker sticker gets applied to items of value, so whenever it goes missing, teens can simply activate a search and find their possessions quickly and independently!
Where to get it: Best Buy,$24.99
WATCH: The best stocking stuffers for kids and teens. Story continues below video.
6. Subscription boxes
While some older teens may scoff at the idea of subscription boxes, younger teens or those who simply love art and science may very well be thrilled to receive the monthly offerings designated for teens by KiwiCo.
You can pick from engineering, science, art or design or a combo and can also switch lines at any time. So if there's a teen on your gift list who loves to tinker, this gift will keep giving them educational experiences month after month.
Where to get it: KiwiCo, $26.36 to $39.58/month
7. Gift Card from Hot Topic
If it's hot in pop culture, your teen can find it here. From movies to comics to gamer merchandise and TV shows, this online and retail store has trendy stuff that teens want. Don't bother trying to buy a specific item unless you know the teen really well! Better to give a convenient gift card that can be purchased online for a picky teen to buy exactly the right, "cool" item their heart desires.
Where to get it: Hot Topic, any denomination.
8. Girl Love Fund Jewelry
Teens of all genders may appreciate a little bling this holiday season, and the Girl Love Fund offers numerous gorgeous items that will fit the bill, including some in this season's hottest tone — rose gold.
In addition to beautiful, sleek designs, 30 per cent of the sale price of every purchase goes to a woman-focused charity. It's a great opportunity to explain to teens — again, of all genders — why it's important to support female-centred non-profits.
Where to get it: Liquid Ink, $22
9. Books, like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Yes, teens still read. Indigo is one place to go to find a page-turner that will interest any reader and they have a specific list of popular books for teens. Non-fiction, comics, magazines or novels, the world of books hasn't died and can be given in electronic format if your teen refuses to put down the device! Indigo also has a great selection of cute stocking stuffers if your teen prefers a grab bag of fun trinkets and knick-knacks over reading material.
Where to get it: Indigo, $23.99
If none of the above will suit the teen you're trying to buy for, the old favourite gift "experiences" still works. Movie tickets, musicals, concerts or sporting events are great tickets to buy for teens, or escape rooms and axe-throwing are popular things for teens to do right now.