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We all know that holiday shopping for a middle or high schooler can be tricky.
This year, forget gift cards and video games and opt for one of these gifts for teens instead. We know you'll find a winner in this list of not-so-boring stuff. It's all made just for them!
When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.
The best gifts for teens
- 1. Blue Speed Racer Boomerang, $13, Amazon
TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
This easy-to-use boomerang is perfect for everyone from age 10 to 70. It comes with a handy 24-page manual on how to throw a boomerang, handle and care for one.
- 2. Terrania Mermaid Tail Blanket, $18, Amazon
Also available for $36 at Walmart.
For the teen who always wishes she had fins rather than feet.
- 3. Mophie Powerstation External Battery, $40 (usually $50), Amazon
This is great for the teen who drains a phone battery faster than thought humanly possible. We all know a person who could use this.
- 4. Swell Bottle, $32, Amazon
Also available in multiple colors for $35 at Nordstrom.
These stainless steel bottles will keep beverages hot or cold for up to 24 hours, according to the brand, and come in an endless range of colors and patterns.
- 5. "Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel" by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, $13, Amazon
The teenage classic comes to life in this companion piece to the hit Broadway musical.
- 6. "Swing" by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess, $13 (usually $19), Amazon
The perfect gift for the teenage boy you know who loves adventure, this is a young adult novel that speaks beautifully to the current social climate.
- 7. Remington Pro 1-1½” Curling Wand, $20 (usually $25), Amazon
Want glamorous waves? This curling wand boasts more than 7,000 reviews on Amazon and is a personal favorite!
- 8. Cards Against Humanity, $25, Amazon
Also available at Target.
With endless combinations of silly cards, this game will keep teenagers occupied and giggling for for hours. It is recommended for teenagers older than 17.
- 9. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera Bundle, $106, Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
Any millennial obsessed with Instagram will also be obsessed with this camera that prints out Polaroid-style photos. The bundle set has all the accessories any teen will need!
- 10. Echo Dot, $30 (normally $50), Amazon
This tiny device is a speaker, weatherman and the news reporter all in one device.
- 11. Clarisonic Mia Prima Sonic Cleansing Face Brush, $84 (normally $99), Amazon
Also available at Sephora.
This is a game-changer for the teenager who hasn't quite locked in the perfect skin care routine yet. I've had mine for more than six years, and it still is a staple in my skin care routine.
- 12. Paladone Happy Cat Heat Changing Mug, $14, Amazon
This cool mug seems to change facial expressions when hot coffee or tea is poured into it.
- 13. Llama socks, $10, UncommonGoods
These adorable socks will put a smile on his or her face every time they are worn.
- 14. Pizza Socks, $8 (3 for $20), Urban Outfitters
Make it easy this holiday and just combine your teen's two favorite things: pizza and silly socks!
- 15. BP Reversible Scarf, $15 (normally $29), Nordstrom
You can't ever go wrong with a scarf, and in this case, two patterns are better than one!
- 16. Avocado Tree Starter Kit (Set of 3), $20, UncommonGoods
Also available for $11 (for one) at Amazon.
With this kit, your teen will be one step closer to making some killer homemade guacamole. How it works: Insert an avocado seed into the pod, float it in a water and watch sprouts grow.
- 17. LuMee Duo LED Phone Case, $36, Amazon
Also available for $70 at Nordstrom.
For the teen who loves a good selfie, this case provides the perfect combination of protection and great lighting!
- 18. Crosley 2-Speed Bluetooth Turntable System with Stereo Speakers, $81, Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
This turntable does it all! Spin a record old-school style or let the kids stream their favorite jams wirelessly to the speakers. Available in black, white, red, or turquoise. (Looking to save? We also found a standard turntable for $61).
- 19. Color Changing Cinema Lightbox, $25, UncommonGoods
Similar available for $35 at Amazon.
Your teen will love seeing his or her name in lights! They can switch out the letters to write whatever inspirational message strikes their fancy.
- 20. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas, $11, Amazon
This socially-conscious young adult read was recently made into a film starring Amandla Stenberg, but your high schooler will still enjoy reading the original. Angie Thomas' next book, "On the Come Up," is set to be released in February but you can pre-order it now if your kid's a fan.
- 21. Pocket DJ Mixer, $100, UncommonGoods
With this gadget, your teen can feel like a real DJ. Attach the sound mixer into the headphone jack of a laptop, phone or MP3 player and pump up those beats!
- 22. Polaroid POP Instant Print Digital Camera, $190, Amazon
Get your teen to take a break from Snapchat and take a fun printable photo instead! Snap a group shot with friends or strike a selfie. Then, print it out on the spot. It comes in several color options.
- 23. Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag, $61 (usually $85), Amazon
Also available for $85 at Nordstrom.
A good duffel bag is perfect for the teen who loves sleeping over a best friend's house on the weekend.
- 24. Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette, $54, Sephora
Also available at Ulta.
The original Naked palette may be discontinued, but Urban Decay has great palettes with tons of pigmented color options that last all day.
- 25. Faber-Castell Watercolor Pencils (12 Count), $18, Amazon
Also available in a 24 pack for $90 at Michaels.
During the holiday school break, your teen can get to work on his or her next art project with this set of 12 pencils.
- 26. Pop Socket, $10, PopSockets
Most designs are also available at Amazon.
These little pop sockets are huge life saviors for teens (or even adults!) who are constantly on their phones ... and who have a tendency to drop them.
- 27. GoPro HERO5 Waterproof Digital Action Camera, $246, Amazon
Also available for $249 at Walmart.
GoPros are super durable, easy to operate and can be used in endless environments. Your teen can capture every minute of his or her favorite memories while hiking, biking or even swimming.
- 28. CHI Original 1" Flat Hair Straightening Ceramic Hairstyling Iron, $80, Amazon
Also available for $52 at Walmart.
This hair iron will let your teen play with new smooth hairstyles.
- 29. Nintendo Switch, $299, Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
A modern take on the Nintendo 64, this hot gaming system will keep a teen entertained for hours.
- 30. "Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi, $14 (usually $19), Amazon
This epic fantasy novel is just the beginning of what promises to be the next hot young adult series.
- 31. The North Face Etip Salty Dog Knit Tech Gloves, $33, Nordstrom
Also available for $30 at Zappos.
Every teen needs a good set of tech gloves for the winter. It'll become a new winter staple.
- 32. Unicorn Gift Set, $30, Ulta
You can never go wrong with a gift set that's unicorn themed!
- 33. Shaving Starter Kit, $30, The Art Of Shaving
If he's ready for that first shave, this kit is for him! The set comes with pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after-shave balm and a handy shaving brush. All he'll need is a good razor.
- 34. Nostalgia Vintage 2.5-Ounce Kettle Popcorn Maker, $63, Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
This cool replica is just like the street-corner popcorn stand they used to use in the "old days." Ideal for a sleepover party, your teen can pop up a batch of popcorn before settling in for a Netflix binge session with friends.
- 35. Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker, $40, Amazon
Does your high schooler crave a bacon, egg and cheese in the morning? With this handy maker, delicious and hot breakfast sandwiches will be ready in less than five minutes!
For more food-related gifts, check our list of gifts for foodies.
- 36. My Comic Book Kit, $30, UncommonGoods
Zap! Pop! Once your artistic teen whips up some cool comic drawings, slip it into the mail. The print-ready artwork will be made into a professionally-bound comic book. Now, that's superpower!
- 37. Fila Disruptor II Premium Sneaker, $65, Nordstrom
This is the it shoe for teens and young adults, trust us. They might look like orthopedic sneakers to you, but to kids who follow street-style bloggers on Instagram they look like solid gold.
- 38. Spotify Gift Card, $30, Amazon
I know we said no boring gifts, but if your teen will only settle for something they can pick out themselves Amazon's gift card superstore is an easy way to cross a few different gifts off your list. From Whole Foods (for the broke college kid), to Sephora (for the beauty-obsessed), to Game Stop and even Uber, they have them all.
- 39. TODAY Popsocket, $19, NBC Store
We know we already have a popsocket on this list, but this one is for the TODAY Show super fans who also happen to love the practicality (and security -- because we've all dropped our phones and cracked our screens before) of popsockets!