Think outside the box when shopping for your teen and always consider options tailored to their specific passions. A gift of a unique experience for your teen (and maybe a friend) will create memories that last.

By Cameron Clark

As the holiday season approaches, many find themselves pondering the perfect gifts for the hard-to-buy-for teenagers and college students in their lives. While tech gadgets are often at the top of wish lists, considering alternative options can add a personal touch to your holiday giving. From experiences to traditional presents, here’s a quick guide to help you navigate the world of holiday gifts for the younger generations.

Experiences Over Tech:

Instead of the latest tech gadget, consider giving the gift of experiences. There are many things in the state of Florida we take for granted beyond theme parks. Find some nearby museums of interest, take a tour of Kennedy Space Center, take an Everglades swamp boat adventure, go tubing down the Rainbow River, explore the Florida Keys (not just Key West) or try swimming with manatees. Concert tickets to see a favorite performer are always a hit, so pay attention to whatever music your student is blasting in their room or shower. Surfing lessons, movie passes or even cooking classes can all provide memorable moments that last a lifetime. Offer to have a friend tag along for the fun too. Experiences not only entertain but also offer opportunities for personal growth and skill development.

Top Girl Gifts:

Ditch the clichés and consider gifts that cater to individual passions. If she loves plants, why not a beautiful little plant or cactus for her dorm or bedroom, or maybe a class at an area nursery? For the fashion-forward, a curated clothing subscription or a unique piece of jewelry might be the perfect fit. A Tiffany heart necklace or the Prada tag necklace are on the pricier side but meaningful and timeless. Lots of college girls love capturing the moment, so find a cheap digital camera or buy a few disposable cameras for some fun memories for her.

Top Guy Gifts:

Move beyond generic gifts for guys by focusing on their hobbies and preferences. Whether it’s a set of high-quality tools for the DIY enthusiast, an outdoor adventure like sky diving, a new gaming chair or a subscription to a niche streaming service, personalized gifts show that you’ve put thought into their dedicated interests. Inflatable loungers or hammocks are a fun option for a college kid, and retro vinyl record players are also popular right now. And a lot of guys would also appreciate a nice chain or watch.

Traditional Presents with a Twist:

Put a creative spin on traditional gifts. Consider gifting classic holiday gifts, like socks paired with accessories such as headphones, a stylish water bottle, a cozy blanket or a gift card. Avah Armour, a student athlete at the University of Central Florida, shared her perspective: “Socks used to be an annoying gift, but at this age, I could always use more socks in my drawer. I’m always wearing mismatched socks. It all makes sense now.”

Top Tech Gifts:

For those still interested in tech, explore gadgets that go beyond the ordinary. Virtual reality experiences, smart home devices (Alexa and Google Home paired with smart lights) or even personalized tech accessories can be both practical and exciting. Headphones go a long way in college, and some cheaper options that get the job done are Apple’s older AirPods, or you can opt for nicer ones like Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless or Apple AirPods Max. A very popular and unique new tech gift is the ChromaComfort Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Sensonic Bluetooth Speaker and LED lights. For forgetful teens, consider Tile’s Bluetooth tracking devices.

In the spirit of the holiday season, make your gifts more than just material possessions — make them expressions of thoughtfulness and consideration. Whether it’s a memorable experience, a unique tech gadget or a traditional gift with a twist, show that you know and appreciate the recipient’s individuality. This holiday season, let your gifts reflect the joy of giving with a personal and unique touch.

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