High-schoolers and the gift. It’s a riddle, a maze and myth all in one.
Last year you thought, too babyish. The year before that, you skewed too grown up. But not this year. With a little help from our editors, of course, you will hit the bull's eye when it comes to the teenager you have no idea what to buy for.
Done are the days of staring blankly around the shopping mall. Gone are the times of “nagging” and begging them to answer, “What do you want?”
This gift cheat sheet will cost you some money, but it will save you oodles of time and patience when it comes to shopping for the high schooler in your life. That in itself is worth its weight in gold.
Best tech gifts for 16-year-olds
Star Wars" lovers can learn how to code with this kit that provides step-by-step challenges to help you learn how to control what happens on your screen.
Teens love to decorate their room with twinkling lights. These LED strips come with their own remote for color customization, meaning your 16-year-old can deck out their room and make it their own.
Add a little personalization to your teen’s phone with this popular phone case that you can customize with their name. It comes in a variety of colors, including black, pink and yellow. Attached to the case is a stylish wristlet.
Keep their laptop safe in a personalized leather case. Choose to customize it with their name or initials and pick one of the six colors it comes in for a truly personalized feel.
Say adios to the “my phone died” excuse. With this fast and reliable lightning connector power bank, your teen will always have enough battery life to let you know when they are running late.
Let your loved one relive their favorite memories in an instant. This smartphone printer can print your teen their favorite photos in real time. All they have to do is pull up the photo on their phone, line it up with the printer and wait.
Whether they’re starting their first internship or creating TikTok videos, a ring light can come in handy for any teen these days. This version is specifically designed to fit on their desk to provide just the right amount of lighting, and it can even hold their phone for Zoom calls or streaming.
Got an aspiring DJ on your hands? With this great gift, they can turn their iPhone, computer, tablets and more into a sound mixing board so they can get the party started no matter where they are.
An ideal gift for the outdoor enthusiast. According to the brand, this portable Bluetooth speaker produces some clear sounds and bumping bass. Plus, it’s designed to attach nicely to your teen’s bike or backpack.
For the gamer in your life, this gift will be a huge hit. This bestselling game features beloved characters from the '90s for your teen to choose from in a battle of the best.
Charge! That’s what your Apple devices will get with this 3-in-1 charging station. It's sleek, compact and compatible with multiple devices.
Ditch the #2 pencil this year and step up to the Apple Pencil this holiday season. The Apple Pencil connects to a variety of iPad generations and is great for taking notes, for doing homework, or for that in between classes doodling sesh.
For the teenage music lover in your home! This isn’t just a record player, it’s a 7-in-1 musical experience. With this versatile player, your teen can rock out to Mom’s old vinyl collection, connect to the tunes of today via Bluetooth or just jam out old-school to FM radio. The coolest feature of this player? It can digitize vinyl records AND CDs. Mind blown.
A more affordable option for all the hot tools your teenager could possibly need in one set, this Shark FlexStyle tool includes a hair dryer and a styling wand to straighten or curl their hair. Safe to use with any and all hair types, reviewers love it because it’s “an incredible comparative bargain.”
Best fashion and accessory gifts for 16-year-olds
Who doesn't love a hoodie? Provide your teen with one that's both comfy and stylish. Designed with environmentally friendly materials, this sweatshirt could be their new go-to, so buy one or more in their favorite colors.
Don't sacrifice style just for the season! Keep your loved one warm and on trend with this corduroy adjustable snapback cap.
For the teen who appreciates a day filled with self-care, they are sure to love these slippers. Made with memory foam for extra comfort, these slippers will make a chic and stylish gift for all their self-care needs.
Teens are always going to need jeans. These were designed with a looser fit in mind and come in 37 different washes.
Trendy coats are a must-have for teenagers, so give your 16-year-old a jacket they’ll be excited to show off. This shaggy oversized jacket is not only rated a bestseller on Amazon, but is also made of a fleece to help keep your teen warm.
Whether your 16-year-old is hiking or traveling, help them keep their belongings safe with a trusty bag. This viral Lululemon bag is a versatile option, as it can be worn across their back, chest or as a belt. It even comes with multiple storage pockets to keep all their belongings safe.
Warm, stylish, and available in a variety of vibrant colors, this puffer vest is sure to keep your teen feeling comfy and looking cute.
This retro-inspired sneaker can be worn with almost anything and comes with a cushioned midsole for extra arch support. It's available in 21 styles and colors.
Name a teen who doesn’t love loungewear — Lululemon, specifically. While you ponder that, we’ll also let you know that the brand’s popular InStill style is heavily discounted on its “We Made Too Much” section.
Whether they need new shoes for an upcoming sports season or have yet to play into the Hot Girl Walk trend, gift them with a pair of spunky-colored shoes. Hoka's Bondi 8 is a line designed for everyday running, according to the brand.
With a more plush amount of cushion compared to their other sneakers, these sneakers are available in both wide and regular sizes and prove to be a good starting point for those wanting to get active.
Best outdoor gifts for 16-year-olds
For teens counting down the days until spring and summer, get them in the warm-weather spirit with a super-cool blow-up lounger. According to the brand, this portable sofa is water-proof, leak-resistant and a great item to take along while camping, laying on the beach and more outdoor activities.
Skateboarding has become popular among teens. This model is designed to be a smooth ride with rear grip tape for stability and traction. Your 16-year-old can enjoy hours of riding, whether it's around the neighborhood or even to class.
Rather than utilizing their car as a second closet, gift them with a duffle bag that will force them to wash their post-practice clothes. "Easy to clean" and "durable," according to reviewers, this duffle bag has five pockets total.
For the teen who prefers two wheels to four, gift them this bike bag that can hold their phone, keys and a portable speaker if they want to listen to music while riding.
Best beauty and self-care gifts for 16-year-olds
A little glitter never hurt, right? With this eye shadow palette from Sheglam, they can add a subtle swipe of glitter to their eyelids whenever the occasion calls. Its travel size makes it perfect for carting to sleepovers, getting ready at a friend's house before a big dance or when they need a little refresh after gym class. Also, is the perfect gift for Harry Potter fans.
It's no secret that being a teenager is synonymous with having acne. They're bound to break out, and Mario Badescu is coming to the rescue. This drying lotion is one of the brand's bestselling items due to its ability to soften the blow that comes with acne woes.
Apply small-sized dots to pimples, and see overnight results, including reduced redness and unclogged pores.
Whether they're facing the effects of pulling all-nighters to do homework or waking up early for practices, their under-eye skin doesn't have to suffer as a result. These Pixi DetoxifEYE patches promise to hydrate and prevent puffiness. With caffeine and cucumber as two of the main ingredients, reviewers love them because they're "refreshing" and "relaxing." For added cooling effects, just pop them in the fridge for a bit beforehand.
Upgrade your 16-year-old's beauty regimen with a multipurpose soap. This all-in-one wash is designed to clean their face, hair and body without stripping skin and hair of essential moisture.
Sprinkle a little hydration and a lot of fun into your teen’s skin care regime. This wash-off mask features hydrating birthday cake "sprinkles" that are sure to leave their skin feeling soft and smelling sweet.
If your teen thought getting their braces off was the best thing to happen to their teeth, wait until they find this little gem waiting for them. The AquaSonic Black Series is ADA approved and features several modes that will keep your teen’s smile looking healthy and bright.
Is your 16-year-old interested in makeup? If so, this makeup mirror is perfect. The dimmable LED bulbs will give your beauty guru the best lighting for their routine.
Best book and game gifts for 16-year-olds
For a romance by an author they recognize, gift them with this Christmas book from Lucy Score. While it reads like a sappy Hallmark film we all secretly enjoy, the two main characters work to find a way to save the holidays and the local Christmas festival in their cozy Connecticut town.
From their screen to the stove, the 16-year-old foodie in your life can now make their favorite viral recipes thanks to this cookbook — all from the creators at TikTok themselves.
Inspire and empower the 16-year-old female in your life who has plans to change the world — just like the many courageous women featured in this book.
Former NBA player Chris Bosh shares his journey to playing in the big leagues. Perfect for the athlete in your household who wants to read about and learn from a basketball legend.
Bring mystery and excitement to your teen's game night. Inspired by the TV show "The Walking Dead," this chilling game requires teamwork as your loved one and their friends solve clues to win the game.
Pretty, patterned and bold, this journal is great for capturing your teens' quick thoughts, daily musings, or creative writings.
Unique gifts for 16-year-olds
For the teen obsessed with snapping pics, this billiard ball-inspired photo holder is sure to earn them compliments. It can also add a vintage and '70s-esque look to any bedroom decor.
Hydrate, hydrate, Hydroflask! A great gift option for your student athlete, or for the teen who really enjoys a beverage to be cold 24 hours later.
Bring out the artistic side of your teen with this inspiring and crafty gift. Instead of a puzzle, they can apply rhinestones to their favorite print and enjoy this meditative activity.
Keep the beat going, and going with a gift card from Spotify Premium. No interruptions, just tunes, tunes and more tunes.
For the teen that enjoys comfort, gift them this laptop desk that features ventilation holes, a side drawer and a flat top to put their phone or mug. This one is made of bamboo and is a functional gift they will love using on a daily basis.
Rather than spend their hard earned money on overpriced bubble tea, they can make their own at home. With two flavors of tea and tapioca pearl boba, they can make hot or iced tea in the microwave or simply by adding a couple of ice cubes. One reviewer said, "Hard to find 'cool' gifts for older kids. This was different and perfect.
This is a direct quote from my 17-year-old cousin Anna: “It looks so stupid until you try it on.” If your teen is into comfy, this piece has their name and the word “comfy” written all over it.
Let's be honest, you've been begging them to get rid of that worn-out baby blanket they still cling to. Replace it with this smile-patterned blanket from BaubleBar that can be customized with their initials.
Best gifts for the new driver
Scratches and dents are inevitable, especially for newer drivers in high school parking lots. Make the scratch something to look back on and laugh at with these bandage stickers.
Available in both pink and blue, these car coasters will help prevent residue and liquids from getting trapped in their cupholders. Instead, they'll have a stylish coaster to place their water bottle on. "These are some cute coasters to add a little flair to my car," said one reviewer.
With so many new documents to keep track of, ensure that they have a space to store them all. This glovebox organizer holds car insurance forms, registration papers and other documents they'll need access to at all times.
A humorous addition to their new ride, this swinging duck decoration is "the cutest thing ever," according to one reviewer. The duck comes adorned with shades and a beach hat, ready to ride wherever you go.
A different way to make sure their new ride smells fresh, simply add essential oils to these beads and they're set! Drape them over the rearview mirror or near the air flow to ensure their car has a fresh and calming aroma.
Take their car decor to the next level with this quirky sneaker keychain, modeled after your new driver's favorite shoe.
For times when they're stuck in a pinch, put this kit in their trunk so that they're always ready for anything. One reviewer noted that this is something that every "young driver needs," making it a perfect gift for the new driver.
For the driver who's always using their rearview mirror, this backup camera will improve their driving skills and won't block their vision. The gadget records front and rear videos, offers high resolution and can even balance the light to give you a better night vision experience.
"This is a wonderful device that just takes a quick glance to see any obstructions, obstacles or persons. I am disabled and have a large van for my wheelchair. Once I get into position and turn everything on, with this device and the manufacturer's side mirrors, there are almost no blind spots at all," said one reviewer.