Buying a birthday or Christmas gift for a 13 or 14 year old girl, when you are not a teen, is not the easiest task. The first thing you want to avoid is just giving a so-called gift card or cash. While it is easy, and it may seem like a great thing to a teen; the message it sends is unpleasant. In short it says “You are not worth taking any time to think about what you want”.
A gift is a personal thing. When a person has gone out of their way to select something to give to another, it shows care, thought, and that the receiver is significant to the giver in some way.
Here are some gift ideas in different categories:
- Do not try to be “cool”
No matter what you do, or how hard you learn all about the latest pop culture, you will not be cool. Your cool days are over. So, forget about finding something you think is cool or trendy and giving it as a gift. For one, it will not seem cool to a teen, and for another, even if it was cool when you bought it, it will not be cool when you give it. Teen trends are like …well….the blink of a young girl’s eye.
- Think about the teen in question
Make a list of all her personality traits. Maybe she is athletic, or creative, or passionate about social justice. Maybe she is not too academic; maybe she is. What are her plans for her immediate future? Is she good at organizing things? Does she like her younger siblings? Is she “at risk” or going through a difficult period? Think about times you have had together, if any. What did she say or do that can give you an idea about what she likes. By doing this exercise, it forces you to see her as a real person; an individual. Not just a “kid”. Yes, she is still a kid, but you get the idea.
- Be Appropriate
This may seem obvious, but be sure that the gift you select is fitting. Do not buy something too young for her, and certainly not something too old. Being a teen is awkward for them, and it is awkward for everyone else too. Remember that at this age, kids are beginning to try to be independent, but they do not really want to be away from the handrails, so to speak. They still need guidance. It is the same with a gift. Treat them as an individual, but do not give them a gift without any thought.
- Some Tried and Trues
Generally, girls at this age like particular colors, their friends, and things that are “cute”. They also love things that have their name on it. So, think about jewelry, or accessories for hair, covers for cell phones, school locker supplies, craft kits, and such. Small cute things like pencil boxes, coin purses, bracelets, make-up bags, and make-up are usually winners. Also, stuffed animals and bedroom décor items like pillows, themed accent pieces or desk sets can be good too.
The key to success is thought. Every teen girl will be different. Keep in mind their interests, appropriateness, and the fact that they are self-centered at this age. If possible, give yourself a day or two to think things over. Try to avoid last minute shopping. This does not work well with grown women, and definitely not with teen girls. Luckily for you, our capitalistic society knows teens pretty well, so you will not have any trouble finding something to buy. Your job will be selecting which thing to buy.