How do you keep Christmas magic alive for teenage boys?

(58 Posts)
notagiraffe Thu 31-Oct-13 23:58:21


DSs have asked for money this year, and I'm happy with that, as they are saving up for things which they really want that cost the earth.

But I'd love to give them some thing small but that makes them go wow on the day. Budget for a handful of things is around £50 per child.

They have a stocking (included in the above budget!) filled with a tee-shirt, DVD, book, sweets, bath stuff, fireworks and stuff related to their hobbies.

But what might make their eyes light up? Either an activity or a fun present. I don't want the day to be flat because they've outgrown toys. And I want it to be something festive - just out of ideas right now.

Last year we went to the ice sculptures, circus and giant ferris wheel at Hyde Park Wonderland on Christmas Eve and they loved it, but they've outgrown that too.
What do you do to keep the magic alive for teens?

Robbabank Fri 01-Nov-13 00:17:01

I admire your optimism but it's kind of a contradiction in terms isn't it? I mean they're teenagers. Boy ones at that. Isn't it part of the job description that they're above all that Christmas magic lark now?
What you've got lined up sounds really lovely and generous already and very thoughtful. I'm sure they'll be happy with money for their savings fund and a stocking full of nice bits. Other than that they will probably want to just be left to enjoy a 'do nothing' Christmas Day. Slob around and graze all day, listen to their new music/play games etx r whatever their into and turn up for the big meal. At least you can rely on the fact that they will probably do it justice and polish off all the food you've laid on.
If you're lucky, and persistent, you might be able to drag them out for a Christmas Day walk. Other than that I'd imagine they will be very teenagerish about it all and the best present from their parents would probably be to have no expectations of them whatsoever! (Apart from help

Robbabank Fri 01-Nov-13 00:18:19

*apart from helping out pre and post Xmas lunch.

Luggage16 Fri 01-Nov-13 00:26:35

fun ways to fold money gifts smile:

melodyangel Fri 01-Nov-13 09:59:04

I buy DS1 lots of really bright silly sock and pants from top shop each year and fill his stocking with them. Only rule is there must be at least one pair with stars on.

We also always buy a pot of honey as he is completely obsessed with the stuff.

And a toothbrush!

I think the trick is to start new traditions early, around the time santa is no longer the main event and they look forward to the silly stuff.

Also it's great to get them a suprise ticket to something so a gig/ comedy show/ theatre whatever they are into really. We got tickets for him and his girlfriend when he was older.

Everyone comes and opens stockings on our bed on christmas morning but we still have a younger one.

Oh and food get them into the food and when they disappear off upstairs for most of the day don't worry they are teenagers it's what they do. They will come down when they are hungry.

what about a family game that is maybe a bit young or is pretty simple so you don't have to spend the day learing how to play it e.g. kerplunk or moustrap or something? Something that allows them to be kids again for a day.

if they have ipods, what about these:

they probably wont get used much after Christmas day tbh, but my boys had fun chasing round with them last christmas - i think I got them on a deal somewhere for a fair bit less than this.

Rubybrazilianwax Fri 01-Nov-13 11:16:19

Any males I know love a scaelectrix set.
Or how about a dart board set? Or a roulette casino set

MyBoilsAreFab Fri 01-Nov-13 11:22:06

I feel your pain! Last year I got my Ds' various "novelty gifts" for their stockings like puzzles, top trumps etc, as well as giving them money/computer games etc. Some of them have not even been opened!

This year I am filling their stockings with band t-shirts, dayglo shoelaces, lynx, book, clip-on reading lights, bright coloured boxers and socks, sweets and dvds. Doesn't sound over exciting but at least it is all stuff they should like and use.

Swanhilda Fri 01-Nov-13 12:08:50

I remember enjoying Christmas as a teenager because:

we watched good films (that was the 70's) together as a family
the food was better than normal (teenagers are v greedy)
we went to teenage parties then(teenagers love socialising with their peers, dressing up, showing off) One disco to look forward to, made Xmas.
the socialising was done for us, in the form of family meetups, lots of talk about, no pressure to be anything but a member of a tribe
I liked organising the presents and cards for my friends, making decorations, cooking stuff, festive buildup, outings
I liked crafty stuff and Christmas was a good excuse
There was no school, and we got to chill out

I don't especially remember the presents making me go WOW. Usually my parents gave me exactly what I didn't want or in the wrong size blush

It was really like being an adult in the sense that Xmas is not what you get from a store but you looked forward to the atmosphere, the carols, the events surrounding the Big Day.

Swanhilda Fri 01-Nov-13 12:10:35

Okay, I wasn't a teenage boy, but had two brothers, and I think they felt the same way (without the craft) chopping wood, making pies, choosing presents, in charge of their own Xmas cards, talking to friends on phone in the holidays when everyone is stuck with their families. Chance to scrub up.

Swanhilda Fri 01-Nov-13 12:14:18

Ds1 who is just 13 absolutely loved getting Lynx and clothes last year. He seems obsessed by his Calvin Klein spray "scent" and his music cds. I think he really likes the feeling of treats rather than toys or gadgets. He also adored getting a bean bag, more grownup stuff really, feeling his room was his den. Ds2 who has ASD and is 11 loved the rituals of Xmas, I don't think I realised to what extent families make their own rituals and how children/teens enjoy all that side..whether it's the Christmas Pjs, the special dessert, the table decs.

notagiraffe Fri 01-Nov-13 13:59:09

Oh you lovely people, thank you for getting what I'm on about.

Boils - that's exactly what I'd have bought, (novelty stuff) so I won't do that. Thanks for the tip. Yes to band tee-shirts, dayglo laces etc - all that stuff is exactly right.

Brilliant ideas about wrapping money in interesting way. They wanted money for their birthdays and I put it in little chests full of gold coins, just to see them look puzzled when they expected an envelope.

Love the idea of tickets to gigs etc. that's exactly the sort of thing I had in mind, but they are still a tiny bit too young for that yet.

They definitely have started to love food. They just sit and feed all day long.

Bean bag and stuff for den like room is also a very good idea. Rock salt lamps maybe?

Maybe we do already have traditions and I've not quite realised. We always have home made chocolate log on Christmas Eve, which they help bake, and a special soup that my mum makes if she's around.

I might decorate the cat and guinea pig cage. They'd still get a buzz out of that sort of thing.

Mellowandfruitful Fri 01-Nov-13 14:10:19

Near me, there is a skating rink that operates temporarily just in December - would they enjoy ice skating? You could go and do it as a family or maybe get them tickets to go with friends?

This sounds a bit worthy, I know, but how about helping out at a shelter over Christmas? That could be a new tradition now they are getting old enough to understand that some people aren't as lucky as them etc.

Lots of new films open on Boxing Day; how about making it a Boxing Day thing that you go to the cinema together and see one of the new blockbusters they'd enjoy? It's often a point when people are ready to shift out of the house after eating their own bodyweight as well.

choccyp1g Fri 01-Nov-13 14:26:51

The "too cool for toys" sets in early.
DS was just 12 last christmas, and the presents that made his eyes light up were a gift set of Lynx, and a pack of Nandos spicy sauces.

Already, he expects his stocking to be full of FOOD. Chocolate orange, tub of twiglets, pack of peanuts, dried mango slices etc.

Are yours big enough to start shaving? I can see Ds being THRILLED when he's old enough to get his first pack of razers.

MyBoilsAreFab Fri 01-Nov-13 15:17:45

I am going to get both my Ds' one of these, which I saw on the Christmas thread here. They will be ridiculously excited about them!

Leeds2 Fri 01-Nov-13 15:27:46

You could get them a driving experience. My DD did an off road 4 wheel drive experience when she was 13. I think they are offered at various venues throughout the country, but at the one she did you didn't have to be a certain age to participate but a certain height. She has also done road driving at Mercedes World, where they have a mock up of roads, roundabouts etc and the kids drive for an hour with an instructor. DD thoroughly enjoyed both.

We watch a film as a family on Christmas afternoon, usually something just out on DVD that we didn't see at the cinema. Now they're older, we have a full English breakfast once everyone's up and Christmas dinner late afternoon. In some ways much more chilled than with little ones and the magic is in having family together for the day.

MyBoilsAreFab Fri 01-Nov-13 16:19:57

I agree lilo - although I do miss the childlike excitement, I love that we have a chilled time, can all watch good films together, can have nice meals together but they can go off and do their own thing and help themselves to snacks etc, and they are generally in good moods because they are on holiday and they are being spoiled.

FloresCircumdati Fri 01-Nov-13 18:11:01

This thread is really useful for my teenage girl too! I am struggling a bit.

funnyossity Fri 01-Nov-13 18:24:57

Mine likes hot chocolate so there are always marshmallows and other bits for on top in the stocking.

MyBoilsAreFab Fri 01-Nov-13 19:38:34

#good idea funny- I will get each of mine a cool mug and fill it with hot chocolate and toppings.

Another idea - DS1 usually gets a subscription for a sports mag he likes from my mum. He loves when it comes through the post every month.

Parsnipcake Fri 01-Nov-13 19:48:36

Food and fizzy drinks in the stocking and a Kelly Brook calendar definitely works for my teen boys! ( will i get shot for that?)They like scratch cards too. We play poker for sweets and money later in the evening - they enjoy being adultish. I have 5 older teens and a tiny baby this year sad I am quite sad not to have children who will be super excited.

way2serious Fri 01-Nov-13 19:53:34

Am finding this thread really helpful for ideas for my DS(nearly14). I wondered which Lynx 'flavours' are popular at the moment and also if there are any 'scents / aftershaves' that anyone would recommend for this age group?? He isn't shaving yet!

I will also be getting him some hair products (gel, wax etc) for his stocking.

Socks are an absolute standing Christmas joke in our house for the men so they are a necessity! Obviously lots of foody type treats will be there as well and we always have a board game and jigsaw.

He probably won't be getting a big pressie this year because we have preordered PS4. He has paid for at least half of it but we agreed that the rest would be for Christmas and Birthday present.

With regards traditions, we always go to the Panto on Boxing Day. DS was very negative about it a couple of years ago but we go to one in a major city which is more like a show and he will now grudgingly admit that he enjoys it!! We also drag him out for a walk in a local country park.

We often manage to get him to do thing he wouldn't normally because his gran stays with us for a couple of weeks over Christmas.

MyBoilsAreFab Fri 01-Nov-13 20:00:01

My ds' like the Lynx that smells or is called something to do with chocolate, and also one called Africa. I avoid the ones called Excite etc!

Oh yes, joke socks are a must. Last year I got them monster feet slippers from Next and they love them.

way we are doing the same with DS1, his birthday is in November so a PS4 is a joint present along with him adding money into the cost. We are thinking of getting DS2 a gaming chair as main pressie. As if these aren't good, expensive main presents, I always end up spending a fortune on all the little things "so that they have things to open on the day" but I don't feel a bit guilty as we don't spend a fortune on them the rest of the year.

worley Fri 01-Nov-13 20:05:22

Just bumping as I have same problem with my DS.. I've ordered the slushy cup! Thankyou to who posted that amazon link!

My ds15 still lives to build warhammer and disappears off to make that as soon as he is free!

My DS is 14 next month. He's so difficult to buy for.
Doesn't bother about clothes.
Wouldn't recognise brands if they bit him.

If he looks co-ordinated it's because his sister has picked his clothes grin
He doesn't like 'warm' or 'puffy'
I buy him Lynx and M&S underwear - much to his disgust but he needs them.

We give him money, he saves it.
He's had an X-Box game for early birthday and a Young Driver lesson booked.
DD is a much easier person to buy for, she has her list written out and embraces everything from the shopping to the cooking.

Some of the nicest times over Christmas is the simple things.
Cinema and a MacDonalds.

Scraping raw cake out of the bowl after I've made fairy cakes.

Dr Who on Christmas Day after dinner, DS and DH snuggled on the sofa with some sweets. They critique the plots grin.

And for all the bravado and the teenage angst, he's still my little boy <<warm'n'huggy feeling>>

Mumzy Fri 01-Nov-13 20:17:19

My 12 year old ds still loves making the gingerbread house on Xmas eve with his younger siblings
gingerbread house

way2serious Fri 01-Nov-13 20:21:05

Thanks for the Lynx tips - those are the ones he's had before so probably a safe bet.

Any ideas about aftershaves?

I have looked at the slushy mugs and will probably get one of those.

Am wondering about 'an experience day' for birthday or Christmas, either a driving one or visit to his favourite football team's stadium???

I try not to give him money because he just saves it - doesn't do shopping at all - his answer is that we should order everything on line!

AtticusMcPlatypus Fri 01-Nov-13 20:36:04

Brilliant thread - thanks OP. I've got a DS - 14 and a DD - 16 and have been struggling to think of things to get for Crimbo. They have pretty much all the gadgets going and have both asked for money this year. One wants a new laptop and the other an iPhone so they can put the dosh towards that. I don't have a big budget this year, so will be giving them £50 cash each, a couple of smaller gifts from each other and the cat (!) and doing the stocking thing, but putting some of the suggestions in this thread in it. Great idea for Lynx and hair stuff - I always try to go for useless quirky stuff which gets looked at on Xmas morning and then left on the bedroom floor for weeks. At least they'll use that type of stuff. The food ideas are great too. DD loves a hot chocolate, so a mug with a luxury sachet of hot choc and marshmallows is a great suggestion.

Privatebanker Fri 01-Nov-13 20:56:10

For "young" aftershaves....Ralph Lauren does a Polo range that is quite light and aimed at teenagers. Three or four different fragrances.

way2serious Fri 01-Nov-13 21:26:41

Thanks Private - I will have a look at that range.

Can't believe that I am thinking of aftershave for my ''baby''!!

CreamyCooler Fri 01-Nov-13 22:25:14

My boys are 13 and 15 and are really into the food aspect of Christmas. So they put in food requests. The 15 year old wants a cake from m&s and the 13 year old has asked if we could have gammon from the local butcher. I've just accepted the present side of things is less unless it's big jars of sweets but now we focus on other things.

notagiraffe Fri 01-Nov-13 22:33:11

weird - I just posted a reply to way2serious but it hasn't shown up.

Way2 - DS1 has asked for the Hollister men's cologne. I tried it out and it's lovely - really light and fresh, not overpowering. £15.

(Also, if it's still on, Hollister had a sale last weekend. Fantastic hoodies for only £10 - so soft. Makes them all cuddly again.)

way2serious Fri 01-Nov-13 22:37:34

Thanks for the tip Notagiraffe will check that out.

Really helpful thread. Thanks everyone for your ideas.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 02-Nov-13 08:51:14

Ds(14) loved the Holister Jake aftershave he got last year. A small bottle costs £24

This year he is getting the Xbox one as a joint present with his brother (11) so there won't be much else. His hobby is the cadets so I tent to look for stocking fillers around that. Up to now he has, a paracord bracelet, a reuseable match, a little credit card shaped thing which acts like a swiss army knife, those gloves you can use your phone with.

I'm also thinking of doing all dcs a food hamper as an extra present to open. It will be things we would get in for Christmas anyway, but they will enjoy having their own stash. Things like favorite cereal, nutella, 40p noodles, Pringles, nuts, chocolate and Coke.

I shall change devices in a moment and give links to the survival bits incase anybody is interested.

MARGUERITE18 Sat 02-Nov-13 09:41:31

-Ice Skating?

-Indoor skiing or tubing (chillfactore, snowdome etc)

-trip to a night safari at a zoo (they have it all dark with fairy lights and you can watch the animals at night) - south lakes wild animal park do it.

-a concert- ie- jingleball and the like

-trip to the christmas markets to get their christmas shopping done and to get some festive beer or baileys hot chocolate?

- cinema trip - the hobbit or the hunger games

- football museum (manchester football museum do christmas stuff and teenage boys love it there)

-the main london eye and if they are into it then a musical (some boys who enjoy drama like musicals)

-harry potter studios london or the doctor who experience cardiff who both do christmas stuff

-alton towers (the rides don't open in winter but the AMAZING water park does) and its decorated all christmassy

I find it funny that they outgrew winter wonderland, the one direction boys went and thousands of other teenagers and adults flock there for the rides and food every year :p

-christmassy cruise on river (an adult only one) its really posh

-madame tussauds for the celeb waxworks

the last thing I will mention is not really magical lol but the london dungeons do a satins grotto which is really gory and macarbe and tons of teens that I know love it there. its included in the dungeon entry

MARGUERITE18 Sat 02-Nov-13 09:42:57

for the gift side of thing what about a beanbag - whats more fun!

VoldemortsNipple Sat 02-Nov-13 09:55:34

pharmacies bracelet 80p free shipping

credit card survival tool 99p delivered

This Draper multi function pocket knife is a fantastic price. I bought ds a Swiss army knife a couple of years back when he first started cadets and it was a great success. He loved looking at all the different tools and carried it round for days. I just gave him firm rules that he wasn't allowed to take it out the house when he opened it.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 02-Nov-13 09:56:40

Paracord bracelet

chimchar Sat 02-Nov-13 10:09:20

great ideas... is great for ideas...pricey, but can get the imagination going!

I love for fun sporty socks...gain, check prices...they have loads on ebay.

new novelty phone cover?

keyring for front door key?

asda have fab boxers at the mo...mens xsmall look pretty ok for my big 12 yo. they have mrs browns boys ones!

its so much harder as they get older isn't it?
bloody miserable things!!!

chimchar Sat 02-Nov-13 10:10:18

meant to say too about primark tshirts...had loads last year...vintage ones...pacman, ghostbusters, goonies etc.. about £5 each.

5madthings Sat 02-Nov-13 10:15:26

ooh good thread i am.stuck for ideas for ds1(14) this yr. he wants himself a pc so will get money towards that i think.

he always needs new socks and i might get him an xmas hair band/bobbles as he has really long hair.

he sounds like 70's son totally not.into clothes or labels at all but i may check.out hollister sale as ge could do with some new jumpers/hoodys.

he also needs to start shaving so razors, shaving foam etc.

he likes minecraft and i have seen some books and t-shirts and a minecraft book (look on amazon or ebay).

food is always good.


Catchhimatwhat Sat 02-Nov-13 11:26:18

My parents had another baby when I was a teenager, that made Christmases special again! Watching someone else have that magic.

5madthings Sat 02-Nov-13 11:29:25

catch mine range in age from 14 down to 2 urs old ands the elder ones def e joy watching the younger ones enjoy the magic and they are very good at not letting on etc.

Not sure the op wants another baby tho! grin

CreamyCooler Sat 02-Nov-13 11:37:18

Having a baby may be a tad drastic, think I'll stick to ordering the M&S snowman cake!

Great thread. I have a 12 year old. He is into brands but I have just had to take him shopping as has grown out of everything. He wants an iPhone for Xmas so that is under discussion.

He still likes the Guinness book of records.

He loves chocolate cake so I got him a mug from Lakeland that you make a chocolate cake in the microwave. I know you can just do that without a special mug but I got it anyway!

iTunes or Spotify voucher.

It's hard to keep the magical aspect going though I agree. Mine is an only and tends to spend a lot of time alone. I try to instigate traditions like going out for lunch or a walk or cinema and neither he nor DH are interested. Drives me mad.

fuzzpig Sat 02-Nov-13 12:06:55

Board/card games are the way to go for my teenage DSCs. They like getting all competitive! grin

(This is not a good idea if they take things too seriously though...)

fuzzpig Sat 02-Nov-13 12:09:09

I'm also considering getting my DSS and his GF a Segway driving experience if that helps?

notagiraffe Sat 02-Nov-13 21:11:08

Some absolutely brilliant ideas here.

LOL at deciding on the M&S snowman cake over a new baby Creamy. No new babies here either, thanks. I love sleep.

DS1 is a survival nut and already has lots of stuff like the paracord bracelet, but he'll love that credit card survival tool.

Have found playing cards with guitar chords on the back for DS2.

So stocking of: T shirt, silly socks/pants, calendar, Lynx, DVD, CD, book, sweets and food, survival kit bits (DS1) music bits (DS2.)
That's quite a lot isn't it?

Then an outing: musical/comedy/boxing day races or going down a ski slope in those tubey things (quite fancy that myself). We have loads of skating rinks nearby - really beautiful ones but DS2 and I are dyspraxic. We just can't! Might look out for night times at the zoo, though or one of those lit up walks through parks, or a night boat/duck ride in London.

And lots of food, films, comedy DVDs, board games, chances to Skype and chat to their cousins and friends.

Hope it'll be special enough. I just really want some surprises lined up for them to make them go Wow.

chimchar Sat 02-Nov-13 21:52:03

Took nephew out this afo.

He bought himself a yo yo...

I'm buying my ds a 'hacky sac' little football skills thingie (eBay)

Parsnipcake Sun 03-Nov-13 07:41:15

One tradition that we have, that is very popular with our teens is 'mean Christmas' ( inspired by the American office). I buy a load of small presents - things that some of the kids would like and others would hate, and also some real crapola from the pound shop. The presents are wrapped and we all take it in turns to throw a dice. Throw a 1 and you get a gift, throw a 6 and you can steal someone else's. It's great fun, and we usually do it on Xmas day evening when there is a bit of a lull. We make it very mean - the occasional heavily coveted gift is usually in there, which everyone takes great delight in stealing from its coveter.

notagiraffe Sun 03-Nov-13 11:12:17

Parsnip that sounds er dramatic. How does it end? How do you decide who gets the best prize finally? And how do you stop it descending into real sulks? You must have very well-tempered teens.

Wibblytummy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:45:20

Not sure if there is one near you, but how about one of the indoor skydiving experiences. They're not too expensive and one year my in laws got one for all the boys in the family (with their club card points too I think!) and we all had a great day out watching them. It suited males from 11 to 56 and they all loved it!

Parsnipcake Sun 03-Nov-13 12:53:56

It ends when the last gift is taken from the sack. My teens are definitely the dramatic and sully genre but it has always been taken well, as they have their proper pressies, and they like posting pictures of the mean prizes on Facebook!

MyBoilsAreFab Sun 03-Nov-13 13:24:55

notagiraffe can I ask where you got the playing cards from? DS1 is learning guitar so would be good for him. Thanks

spababe Sun 03-Nov-13 13:47:05

there was a great thread here last year about what to get teenage boys. I bought the survival wristbands that uncoil to make yards of string also indoor fireworks and silly string was good. This year so far they have got Christmas jumpers from Primark (get now they sell out very early) and onesies as a joke present.

chimchar Sun 03-Nov-13 16:01:39

Top trumps?

I keep adding things as I think of them!

fuzzpig Sun 03-Nov-13 16:17:47

My teen DSCs still love top trumps. it can go on for bloody ages though grin

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