When it comes to buying gifts for teens, whether it’s teen boys or teen girls, you can easily get swept up in the idea that you have to spend a lot of money to impress them. Gone are the toddler stocking stuffer days, when you could hand them a cheapo stuffed animal and watch them play with it (and the wrapping paper it came in) with a big smile. Now that they’re older, your kids want bigger, shinier, more connected toys — and, more often than not, those come with a hefty price tag.
But we reject the notion that you have to shell out the big bucks to get a smile out of a teenager. In fact, if you think creatively enough, sometimes the least expensive gifts can be the most satisfying. See below for our favorite stocking stuffers for teens. Whether they’re into beauty, electronics, fashion, or pop culture, we have just a little something for every teen on your list. And best of all, none of it costs more than $20 (and a lot of them cost less than $15). And hey, at that price, we wouldn’t blame you if a few of these made their way into your own stocking.
There’s no bigger joy than singing in the shower, and this water-resistant bluetooth speaker lets them croon along to their favorite tunes. If you want to take it with you when you’re done scrubbing up, it has a flat bottom so you can rest it on a shelf or ledge.
To get the best Instagrams possible, don’t rely on unattractive overhead lighting alone. This ring light, which attaches to the phone, is like having a mini-photo studio with you at all times.
Popping iPhoneX Case
Popping bubble wrap is difficult to resist, and no teen will be able to resist this phone case version made of soft silicone. It comes in a range of colors and can be popped and re-popped over and over again. It’s entertaining and protects the phone too—that’s got to be a winner.
IceWater 3-in-1 Smart Water Bottle
A water bottle that has a Bluetooth speaker, lights that “dance” to your music and can even illuminate to remind you when it’s time to drink? Teens will love this all-singing-all-dancing bottle from IceWater that has novelty features alongside an essential function. And the added bonus is that it’s the perfect shape for stuffing into a stocking.
A stocking for any age always needs to contain some kind of toy or game to keep everyone entertained (or frustrated) all Christmas Day. For the uninitiated, Kendama is a traditional Japanese skill toy that’s recently enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity. There are so many different Kendamas out there, but this is a perfect beginners model.
That first semester is over, so it’s time to get some new school supplies. Spruce up winter term with a bright, fun patterns on a couple of new college-ruled spiral notebooks.
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty
A couple of Christmases ago I bought tins of putty for my friend’s children and it was the surprise hit of the holidays. This thinking putty can be stretched, squished, pulled, bounced and molded, and this particular tin of Foxfire putty comes with a Glow Charger to give it a supernatural glow in the dark too.
Not only is this mug personalized with a zodiac sign, it also features a picture of each sign’s constellation. You can choose between the 14 oz and the 15 oz sizes.
As your kids grow older make family game night a weekly tradition. Heads Up! allows you to play the party game version of the popular app seen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Players put on a headband and place game cards in with the words facing out—without looking at them. Race the timer to guess the words you’re wearing in your headband based on your teammate’s clues. This game creates more fun, quality time and also helps your kids learn to think quickly.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe may have come to a head with Avengers: Endgame, but Captain America can have endless adventures with this perfectly distressed t-shirt.