15 best Christmas gifts for teens 2020
11 November 2020
Inspired by other parents' gift-giving successes, we've got a selection of gift ideas to amaze and delight even the fussiest of teenagers this Christmas – from eco-friendly offerings to beauty boxes.
Christmas gift shopping for teenagers is a minefield – a perfect storm of peer pressure, obscure preferences and perceived social status.
There’s no question that teenagers know what they like and, thankfully, there’s a lot of knowledge on the Mumsnet forums from parents happy to share their present-buying hits and misses – an invaluable resource for anyone buying for teenagers this Christmas. Our teenage gift guide reflects their experience and we think we’ve got the festive season cracked with a selection of present ideas for every age, every pocket and every type of teenager.
But if you don’t see something here, don’t despair. When all else fails remember this: no teen has ever turned their spotty nose up at an envelope with cash in it.
Here are the best Christmas gifts for teens to buy this year.
1. Best overall Christmas gift for teens: Kindle
“Since I gave DD a Kindle, she has just read more and is more comfortable reading bigger books. What's not to like?”
“DD bought herself one this year and she loves it. She now reads every single night without fail and often will lie in bed on a weekend morning reading. Was a big hit!”
A Kindle is a fantastic gift for bookworms of all ages. It's easier to read from than a tablet because of it's anti-glare display. Plus, with many classic books available to download for free, a Kindle is a relatively cheap way to expand your teen's library.
- Adjustable front light
- Long battery life
- Glare-free screen
For keen readers in need of a comfortable e-reading experience, the Kindle is the ideal solution. It's also great value for money for those whose budget can't quite stretch to the popular Kindle Paperwhite.
2. Best budget Christmas gift for teens: Dachshund Through The Snow! Charm Bracelet
“I keep seeing dachshund stuff all over the place.”
Every Christmas, a particular theme captures teenagers’ attention and currently dachshunds are going to be ‘this year’s flamingoes’ according to Mumsnet mums. Sausage dog merch is everywhere currently, with these popular pooches adorning everything from gift wrap and stationery to planters and designer tea towels.
The problem with hot trends though is that they cool just as quickly as they come to the boil, so the best advice is to stay subtle if you want your gift to last. This canine-themed charm bracelet is the very thing for young teen dog lovers whose canine commitment looks likely to last longer than the 12 days of Christmas.
- Handmade charm bracelet
- Beautifully presented on pretty card craft
- Fantastic value stocking filler
Taking its theme from Andy Carpenter’s mystery story of the same name, this Dachshund Through The Snow! Charm Bracelet is superb value at a mere £2.50. A dog is not just for Christmas, folks, and a bargain is a bargain.
Price: £2.50Buy now from Etsy
3. Best for teenage boys: Bomb Cosmetics The Distinguished Gentleman Gift Pack
“I use Bomb Cosmetics now. I much prefer them to Lush.”
The transition from tweenie to young man is a difficult road to navigate and no more so than when it comes to personal grooming. This Bomb Cosmetics set is excellent, precisely because its novelty theme and bold packaging appeals to both a nostalgia for childhood toys and the first stirrings of a sophisticated inner gent with his own daily rituals.
Gift-wrapped in sky blue paper with a navy ribbon, The Distinguished Gentleman Gift Pack with its bold graphic identity of Victorian moustaches and eye glasses contains generous servings of vivid-hued soap, minty shower gel (in a hand grenade dispenser) and soothing body lotion.
While the usual approach is softly, softly when it comes to male puberty, Bomb Cosmetics wins the day here with an irreverent attitude and a gift set that simultaneously wears its heart on its sleeve and keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek. Bomb Cosmetics is a direct competitor of quirky mainstream brands like Lush and there’s a lot of love for them on Mumsnet’s forums.
- Nice products beautifully presented
- Wholesome concept based on gentlemanly values
- Handmade, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly
Reviewers say these are fresh smelling, generously sized products. This set is a quirky alternative to cringy-sexy teen smellies.
4. Best for teenage girls: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
“I caved and bought the Dyson hairdryer. I returned a fan, but Dyson has got it right with the hair dryer.”
Behind every top hairdresser is top salon equipment and the secret to a lustrous blow-dry and high shine barbershop cut is the new generation of ionic hair dryers of which the Dyson Supersonic is the pick of the bunch.
It’s small, compact and with a digital motor that’s six times more powerful than many of its rivals. Its secret is power without overheating hair and the results are sleek quiffs and voluminous curls all with Dyson’s trademark maximum shine.
At £300, no-frizz hair doesn’t come cheap. But this holiday season, Dyson are offering a solution of sorts with Supersonic hair dryers refurbished by their in-house engineers. Using genuine Dyson parts, these as new dryers retail at a price of £239.99 with the option of paying up £20 per month for 12 months.
The price alone makes this cult of the Dyson Supersonic a head scratcher for many. But cool teens that have experienced the results in person say: “What's the price of perfect hair?”
- Genuine salon hair at home
- Improves the finish on all hair types: fine or thick, curly, frizzy or straight
- Option of 12 monthly payments of £20
Dyson have picked up a bad rep for their PR gaffes and poor customer service over the years, but there’s no denying that their haircare products are as game-changing as the vacuum cleaners – we're looking at you, V11 Absolute. Christmas isn’t just for kids, however, and this would definitely make a gift that stylish mums and dads would be delighted to ‘borrow’ themselves.
Price: £239.99Buy now from Dyson
5. Best comfy Christmas gift for teens: Oodie
“The Oodie is FAR superior in terms of quality. I love mine, even though it’s seriously unattractive! The Amazon one was fine on paper, but is coming apart at the seams after two washes – it sheds fluff, and is much much thinner than the original.”
Based on an oversized hoodie, hence the name, this fluffy hooded blanket is the perfect gift for festive, fireside nights. Definitely one of this Christmas’ cult gifts, demand is high with the company website suggesting a fairly long lead time between orders and shipping. With this in mind, expect your gift to arrive after Christmas.
Despite the availability of cheap online imitations, some Mumsnetters say that this is one occasion where you’re advised to only invest in the original.
- Introductory purchase offer on the Oodie website: £85, reduced to £59
- Comes pre-wrapped with a gift bow
As Oodie says themselves: “The Oodie is like a giant hug.” And right now, who couldn’t do with a hug?
Price: £59Buy now from Oodie
6. Best stationery gift for teens: Typo Notebook
“Typo has funky stationery.”
Typo boasts 171 different notebooks in their range so there’s literally something for every taste here. Starting from under £1, their selection embraces everything from recycled materials to fashionable florals, plaids and dots – and there’s even one with an ACDC LP print cover.
Typically spiral bound with 120 pages of acid-free lined paper, Typo’s notebooks are fresh and fun. The Australian retailer’s site is a one-stop shop for everything from backpacks to bottles, socks to stickers. A worthy Smiggle successor.
- Attractive stationery for every pocket
- Free returns
- Ethical company
In an age of screens it's claimed that the art of writing is out of favour, but there’s a lot to like about the age old process of getting down thoughts with pen on paper. And even more so when the stationery is as attractive as this is. A great stocking filler.
Price: From 75pBuy now from Typo
7. Best Covid Christmas gift for teens: Uniqlo AIRism Face Masks
“I'm buying the Uniqlo AIRism ones as soon as they're available.”
Covid has dominated 2020 and it’s sure to dominate Christmas too. So, when it comes to stocking fillers for teenagers, a pack of face masks is both a practical and stylish response to the global pandemic.
Uniqlo’s AIRism cotton fabric and micromesh masks have been all the rage in the US this summer and they’re available here for the first time. Designed for comfort, in three sizes and colours, the key to these minimalist masks is comfort. A mesh fabric wicks away moisture while a soft inner AIRism layer keeps skin irritation-free (so fewer spots!).
At a time when it can be difficult to persuade teenagers to be responsible and mask up, this low-profile, high-performance fashion statement might just do the trick.
- A practical stocking filler
- This fashionable product is available in the UK for the first time
- Built for comfort and safety
Lightweight and high performing, Uniqlo's AIRism performance fabric mask has a BFE (Bacteria Filtration Efficiency) of 99% and particle filtration of 99% (initial values). Each mask remains effective for up to 20 washes. As the likes of Teen Vogue testify, Uniqlo’s AIRism masks are very, very cool.
Price: £9.90 (pack of three)Buy now from Uniqlo
8. Best for football fans: World Soccer Magazine Subscription
“I got him a subscription to World Soccer one year and he loved it.”
Football fans are notoriously fickle, but World Soccer has been uniting them for 60 years. The print magazine, also available digitally, covers the global game with authority, insight and a level of journalism rarely seen in typical ‘fans with typewriters’ coverage.
World Soccer writes the stories behind the headlines and also shapes the news. Its campaigning role on everything from FIFA corruption to VAR sets the agenda and it's typically the magazine that's the first to bring tomorrow’s star teams and players to wider attention.
- Unrivalled coverage of the beautiful game
- Digital and traditional magazine subscription packages
- A 60-year track record of excellence
Football-themed gifts usually score an own goal, but World Soccer is an exception to the rule. If you're a teenage fan, World Soccer is both an education and essential monthly reading.
Price: £39.95 for 12 issuesBuy now from isubscribe.co.uk
9. Best for bookworms: Penguin Modern Box Set
“Get them all in Penguin Modern Classics editions and then let him forage out from those into the rest of the PMC list.”
Penguin Modern Classics have been a gateway to a world of sophisticated ideas since 1961 and this 50-book collection from the imprint’s back catalogue is a timely reminder that great writing and great ideas stand the test of time.
Its 21 selected volumes mix touchstone writing from Kafka, Nabokov, Capote, Orwell and Camus, with great genre fiction, lost classics, and work from the likes of James Baldwin, Martin Luther King and Audre Lord that chimes exactly with the mood of today. These lovely editions with their trademark eau de nil spines are both a stylish addition to any teenage bookshelf and a great introduction to the heavyweights of modern literature.
- An intelligently curated collection of modern writing pitched at older teenagers
- A great way to capture the imagination of curious teens at the point where their horizons are expanding
- Great-looking editions
Reading Penguin Modern Classics have been a teenage rite of passage for almost 60 years and this collection carries on that tradition with a collection of writing that's pitch perfect for the present day.
10. Best for screen fiends: Austings 12'' Screen Magnifier
“This year I’m also getting him a phone magnifier so he can watch his BT Sports app.”
The best ideas are often the simplest and this foldaway phone magnifier stand is a great one for teenagers who habitually watch films, videos or sport or their phones.
Compatible with all smartphones, the walnut-effect stand behind a magnifying glass turns any phone into a tablet-sized display that's perfect for travel, watching with friends or those occasions when there’s a Christmas conflict over what family members want to watch on TV.
- No more straining eyes to watch action on a small display
- Portability for students and travellers
- A great idea at a pocket-friendly price
This screen has over 3,000 Amazon reviews with 65 percent of them either five or four stars. Some critical reviews suggest the build is a bit flimsy, though the product largely works well. Issues – where there are any – can broadly be fixed by the user. In terms of value for money, there’s clearly a trade-off between quality and cost, but the consensus is that you’re getting more than you pay for here with a solution that's practical and versatile.
Price: From £18.99Buy now from Amazon
11. Best for plant lovers: Spider Plant
“I love spider plants. I read that they are especially good for cleansing the air.”
“IKEA has lots of lovely plant pots that are very cheap.”
Is your child always pestering you about getting a new pet? First, try them out with a spider… plant. These easy-going fellows require little upkeep and are ideal for greenery newbies.
As long as it's not exposed to direct sunlight, a spider plant can withstand most lighting conditions and only need moderate watering – and in fact, over-watering should be avoided. Pair it with a lovely pot from IKEA – like this pink Gradvis or a light blue Sparrisknopp.
- Doesn't need much caring for
- Purifies the air
Spider plants also, according to the NASA clean air study, actually cleanse the air by removing toxins. Excellent news if your teen hasn't quite got the hang of airing out their room.
Price: £13.49Buy now from Amazon
12. Best eco-friendly Christmas gift for teens: Chilly’s BPA-free Water Bottle
“I absolutely love mine. Everyone in the family has one and some even have two. Would definitely recommend!”
“Keeps the water cold and there’s no worrying about the plastic going bad.”
Chances are, your child might already be kitted out with a reusable water bottle – a great way to save money, help the environment and encourage them to drink more water.
But do they have a leakproof stainless steel number that can, according to Chilly's, keep hot drinks hot for 12 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours?
Treat your teen to one of these water bottles for a practical gift that will be used and used and used. Available in different colours/patterns and three sizes: 260ml, 500ml and 750ml.
- Vacuum insulated
- Leakproof and durable
- Available in various sizes and colours
A gift that will last far beyond Christmas.
Price: From £14Buy now from Amazon
13. Best for beauty lovers: Birchbox Subscription
“Each box is like a gift and a happy surprise.”
“I love that the boxes are designed to be reused.”
A beauty box subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. Perfect for any beauty or skincare fan, Birchbox will deliver five personalised products each month making it a great way to try lots of different brands without committing to a full-size purchase. Plus, if you ask nicely, you might be able to snag any unwanted products.
If that wasn't enough, Birchbox now comes extra-recommended with a coveted Mumsnet Rated accreditation.
- Huge product variety
- Samples tailored to you
- Great value for money
Mumsnetters love Birchbox for its surprise factor. They also agree that it's the ideal way to discover new beauty brands. Win-win.
Price: £25.26 for three months (includes delivery)Buy now from Birchbox
14. Best board game for teens: Game of Thrones Monopoly
“The kids get some board games every Christmas and we usually do well to get some good ones that they haven't expected.”
“Can't go wrong with Monopoly in my opinion.”
With the TV series at an end, fans can still return to the world of GoT via this fiery version of family favourite, Monopoly.
This collector's edition of Monopoly has Iron Throne, Direwolf and Dragon egg tokens (to name but a few) instead of the traditional top hats and thimbles.
- Can be played by up to six players
- Exciting twist on a classic family board game
If falling out with your loved ones over a board game is a Christmas tradition in your house, why not make it extra-bloodthirsty and settle the succession of Westeros after your turkey?
Price: £23.90Buy now from Amazon
15. Best for gamers: Sony PS5
“The PS5 is probably top of the list for many 15-year-olds this Christmas.”
There’s a mighty console storm brewing with Sony’s new PS5 going head to head with the new Xbox Series X this Christmas. Though the UK launch date is officially 19 November, it seems likely it will take a few weeks for the initial PS5 demand to be met.
Sony are confident that they’ll meet demand well before Crimbo, a comment designed to stoke the hype and constrain the profits of the eBay resellers already out in force and praying on the impatient.
The PS5 console comes in two models – with a disc drive (£449) or as a digital-only version (£359) – and if it's top of junior’s Christmas wishlist, then you’re advised to sign up for updates on where and when you can buy one. Snaring the latest Playstation sounds like a lot of effort, but if you put the hours in now, your reward will be profound teenage gratitude come Christmas morning.
- Games load super fast
- Compatibility with existing PS4 games
- Sees the return of the Blu-ray player that was absent from the PS4 release
Reviewers agree that the PS5 is a genuine next generation console and with the return of the Blu-ray player it represents a pleasant return to Playstation’s role as an all-round entertainment system, not just a games machine. This latest Playstation is sure to be among teenagers’ most wanted gifts this Christmas.
Price: From £359Release date 19 November
Verdict: the best Christmas gifts for teens
The best Christmas gift for teens to buy this year is the original Kindle, a great value present to suit most budgets.
In terms of price, practicality and sheer versatility of use, Austings 12” Screen Magnifier wins the day as a cheap Christmas gift with universal appeal for any teenager who regularly watches videos, films and sports on their phone. It has all the hallmarks of a budget Christmas gift for teens that will get a great deal of use over weeks and months.
What's a popular gift for a teenage girl?
The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is the hairdressers’ secret of super sleek salon hair and a popular gift for a teenage girl. At the reduced price, for an in-house refurbished model, and with an interest-free 12-month payment plan available, this most expensive of beauty accessories has suddenly become a present many parents can be persuaded to buy.
What's the best gift for a teenage boy?
The best gift for a teenage boy is The Distinguished Gentleman Gift Pack by Bomb Cosmetics, a gift set featuring soap, minty shower gel and soothing body lotion.
A Uniqlo AIRism face mask is also a cool, practical and useful gift for even the fussiest of teenage boys. Covid is going nowhere soon so we might as well embrace it by gifting what is a universally cool face covering that has been taking the US by storm all summer, and looks as good as it feels to wear.
How we chose our recommendations
Our recommendations have been compiled with reference to Mumsnet users’ own experiences of using the products themselves and from reputable sources such as consumer review sites, national media, and specialist magazines and websites.
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