Finding the perfect holiday gift can be maddening — is this the color they’d want? Is it something they already have? Is it so last year? — but really, once you have a sense of a person’s taste, it’s not impossible. This season, we’ll be talking to members of various tribes to find out exactly what to get that golf dad, teacher, or expecting mom in your life. Think of it as a window into their brain trust — or at least a very helpful starting point.
As opinionated as teenage boys are, they can be a bit hard to read. It can be difficult to get them to speak in more than one-word sentences, much less get thorough insights into their tastes. To find out the best things to get these tough customers for the holidays, we spoke to six teenage boys to uncover the best gifts for athletes (a heated foot massager), whether an Xbox is still a good idea (it is), and who makes the best fleece (Patagonia, of course). And for teenage-girl gifts, head here.
Amazon Gift Card in a Holiday Pop-Up Box
One thing we learned from our mini–focus group of teenage boys: They love gift cards. “Gift cards are amazing for anything and everything,” says Jeremy, 13. If someone doesn’t know what to get him, he says a gift card from Target or Amazon is best: “They have everything.”
Xbox One S Console (with customizable options)
“A video-game console like an Xbox One or PS4 would be great gifts, too,” adds Jeremy.
Playstation 4 Slim 1TB Console
If they already have a console, or if you want to buy a smaller gift, consider giving a video game. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are two of the hottest games around right now, and 12-year-old Gus is hoping for either one.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (For Xbox One or PS4)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (for Xbox One and PS4)
Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition
Or for something a little more old-school, this Super NES Classic Edition set comes with two controllers, an HDMI cable, and 21 preloaded classic Nintendo games.
“Magic: The Gathering” Core Set (2019 Bundle)
If you don’t know where to start with video games, there are still some analog options. Gus plays Magic the Gathering, and the Core Set is a great go-to for anyone who plays or is looking to start.
Catan Board Game
Or you could go for the classic board game, Catan (f.k.a. Settlers of Catan).
Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover
“Comfortable clothing” was mentioned by almost everyone, fleece in particular. “This fleece looks really comfy and fresh,” says Jack, 17. “Also, Patagonia is known to have well-made and long-lasting clothes.”
Uniqlo Mens Long-Sleeve Full-Zip Jacket
Uniqlo makes nice fleece, too, and it’s available at a much better price. This zip-up fleece jacket is available in tons of colors, and would be a great option if you have a lot of teens on your gift list and you’re not sure what to get them.
Vans Old Skool Sneakers
“I need more casual stuff,” says Jack. He singled out these Vans Old Skool sneakers as a great option.
Everlane Cashmere Crew, Black
We like Everlane options for “casual stuff” because they’re comfortable and stylish enough to wear to school, and smart enough to dress up for a nice dinner or more formal occasion.
Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat
For an easy stocking stuffer for teen boys, you can’t lose with a Carhartt beanie.
Practical, comfortable athletic clothing came up a lot. Basically, anything that could work for sports or for lounging around the house, especially from Nike.
Nike Men’s Pullover Fleece Hoodie
Nike Men’s Fleece Jogger Pants
adidas Running UltraBOOST
Seventeen-year-old Matt would love some new running shoes, too. “I like these because they are nice-looking, and you can just slip them on your feet and keep them tied or untied. They’re comfortable and good for running, too, because they’re shock-absorbing.”
Feetures Merino Cushion Running Socks
A great addition to that pair of running shoes would be some cozy socks for exercise. Strategist contributor Steven John says the Feetures Merino Cushion running socks are the best around: “If these socks weren’t $17 per pair, I would own a half-dozen pairs.”
Bombas Men’s Merino Wool Gift Box
Wool socks have become something of a no-brainer gift for the holidays, and for good reason. This set from Bombas has four pairs of merino-wool socks, each in a different color, packed in a gift box for easy presentation.
Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager
Jack is a varsity tennis player, and this shiatsu foot massager is at the top of his wish list. “As an athlete, I love massages. I go get body and foot massages whenever I can, but I also enjoy those electric massagers, and if I had one, I would use it at home a lot.” (Bonus: It has a “heat” setting for the winter.)
Apple App Store and iTunes Gift Card
When in doubt, buy a gift card. Jack recommends gifting an Apple Music subscription. “It’s amazing, and I use it every day. I think it would be an awesome gift.” Unfortunately, there is no option to gift an actual subscription, but if you buy an iTunes gift card, the balance can be applied toward an Apple Music subscription. A physical gift card is a nice touch, but you can also buy an electronic version on your way to the holiday party and have it sent via email.
Speaking of Apple … AirPods are a fool-proof gift for anyone with an iPhone. They’re great for sports and working out, too.
Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4 Bluetooth Headphones
Jabra Move Bluetooth Headphones
Another stylish headphone at a nice price.
Jack Black Holiday Gift Set
While none of the boys specifically asked for grooming products, we still think a skin-care gift set is a good idea (something in the “They Don’t Know They Want It Until They Have It” category). This set is perfect because it lets them test out a few things on their own and decide what they like best.
Dji Spark Drone
Tello Quadcopter Drone
And this is another highly recommended (and more affordable) drone from that list.
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