Top Gifts For Teens

By Sharon Naylor

September 20, 2012 6 min read

It can be difficult to buy gifts that teens will like, since there's such a discrepancy between what a 13-year-old loves and what an 18-year-old loves. Teens can be very particular about which trends suit their style and which trends are "in" at their school.

Luckily, there's a free online tool to help you assess each of the teens on your gift list. At, simply click on the Personality Profiler tool on the home page, enter the teen's name, answer some easy questions regarding the teen's goals, hobbies and "what she talks about at dinner" and the site delivers an array of gift suggestions on a list titled to the teen in question. Take this quiz for each of the teens on your list, and you'll save time, and perhaps money, in finding the perfect, on-trend gifts.

Also making this task easier for you, the editors place a banner on each of their top gift picks.

Here are the top trends in teen gifts for girls and guys:

*Achiever Items

Goal-oriented teen gifts include iPad covers in different designs, locker organizers with white boards and pockets, digital alarm clocks, USB sticks in themed designs and the editors' pick of a digital scanner pen for better note taking.

*Trendanista Items

For teen girls who love their fashion designer labels, consider Kate Spade wallets, key chains or iPhone covers. They're very hot right now. A editors' pick for teen girls are manicure collections filled with pretty nail polishes in classic, trendy colors, with sparkly nail polishes in for teens of all ages. As an example of new nail polish artistry, the editors of showcase the Ciate Caviar Manicure set, a two-part revolutionary nail art kit created in London, which they say brings "avant-garde catwalk nail styling to your fingertips." Featuring pearlescent beads for a 3-D effect, this kit creates attention-grabbing nail designs ($25). Trendanistas also love jewelry, and this season's big look is the cuff bracelet, also a bargain buy at less than $30 for many styles of wider bracelets in silver, either simple or intricate. And of course, you can't go wrong with a gift card to the trendanista teen's favorite store or site.

*Technology Items

Teens are extremely tech-savvy. They often own the top tools, such as iPhones, iPads, MP3 players and high-powered laptops and desktops. In order to give teens excellent tech-oriented gifts, you have to know which kinds of tools they use right now, so that you can give them accessories that work with them. It's a wise idea to buy teen tech toys closer to the holidays, and not months prior, since they upgrade their gadgets often -- and you don't want to give them a phone case that doesn't work with their current phone. Looking at the top trends in teen tech items, here are some of the choice picks:

--Headphones. Yes, big headphones worn over the head are in again, with funky colors from designer collections. You'll see basic black, island turquoise, vivid orange and patterned headphones on the market. The Urban Ears headphones are an editor's top pick at

--Earbuds. Teens use these tiny earpiece tools to listen to music or television shows via their handheld gadgets, and a range of teen-style earbuds are on the market right now. From classic solid-colored earbuds to those with a hot pink zebra pattern, to ear buds with sports team logos on them, these gifts are easy to match to your recipient, and even if they own earbuds, they can always use extra pairs for their sports bags or for travel.

--iPhone cases. Tailor your choice to the teen's interests, from classic novel covers to soccer to funny quotes and sayings. Teens love to accessorize their tech gear, and your gift cases can expend their options.

*Diaries and Journals

Surprisingly, teens don't write everything on social media -- mostly because their parents are "friends" with them on Facebook and monitor their posts and friend activities. So a private writing space is greatly appreciated by teens who want to journal their projects, goals and, yes, their school dramas and crushes. Creative types may use their journals for writing poetry or sketching, and a starter scrapbook complete with an array of stickers and borders from the craft store melds a teen's penchant for keepsakes and artistry. One of the most popular journals on is the Ticket Stub Diary, which lets them insert their tickets from concerts, plays, sporting events, and vacations, and journal details of each experience.

*Money and Gift Cards

Teens are in a stage of self-discovery and independence, which means they love to choose their own gifts. You may help that happen, and perhaps help them get an item they've been saving for with a cash gift or a gift card to their favorite site or store. Not sure which gift card would be best? Just ask them. It's a gift to give them some say in what you get them. Teens love that.

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