These Are the Gifts Teens Actually Want

Teenagers are intimidating. They seemingly speak their own language, their jokes are funny in a confusing way, and somehow they’ve always already seen the TikToks you send. It can be hard to keep up with the absolute coolest kids around, and that’s especially true when it comes to holiday gift-giving.

We informally polled some of the supercool teens in our lives to find out what they really want for Christmas. While these gift ideas are not one-size-fits-all, they might help you get inspired and reach the ultimate goal: giving a gift the teen in your life actually likes.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including Gifts for the Perpetually Cold, Gifts for Board Game Lovers, and Gifts You’ll Want to Keep for Yourself.

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  • Photograph: Joseph Shin

    For the Music Addict

    1More ColorBuds

    1More has made our favorite fully wireless earbuds for two years in a row. The ColorBuds are bright, fun, water-resistant, and have a teen-friendly design, but more importantly, they sound fantastic. (Get some for yourself too!) And the cherry on top? They’re much more affordable than headphones from other brands that don’t sound as good or feel as comfy.

    What if your teen just wants AirPods, and they say that nothing else will do? Go for the AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends). They’re better in every way than other, cheaper generations.

  • Photograph: Fujifilm

    For the ‘Gram

    Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

    Instant cameras have made a huge resurgence—there are dozens of options, all teen-approved. We’re still in the process of reviewing the Instax Mini 11, but it’s essentially an upgraded version of the Instax Mini 9 (which is another great pick). The camera is available in a wide range of bright colors, and it features automatic exposure and shutter speed adjustments, so users can nail the shot on the first try. The selfie mode is improved too—no more manually attaching a selfie lens like on previous generations—and the camera has a built-in reflective bubble to nab the perfect angle. Teens will also love the option to customize the shutter button with the two included stickers (one looks like a jewel and the other glows in the dark).

    The refill film is inexpensive and gets even cheaper if you buy in bulk. You can also get neat accessories that coordinate with whichever color you go with.

  • Photograph: Slimfold

    For the Almost-Adult

    SlimFold Micro Soft Shell Thin Wallet

    Like a good set of sheets or their first tools, a wallet is a gift that you only get excited about when you’re almost an adult. SlimFold makes great gear—my partner has used this wallet daily for over six years and it’s still going strong. It has just enough room for cash and cards, preventing it from becoming bulky or obtrusive (or leaving a wear mark on pants pockets). The material is durable, stretchy, and flexible, and even when stuffed full, the wallet remains lightweight. If your teen is preparing to fly the coop, this is a gift they’ll get good use out of.

    Note that there’s the option for RFID blocking for an extra $5, which you should avoid for two reasons. The first is that I don’t love SlimFold’s RFID blockers, which are basically removable cards that cause a nuisance when trying to store bills or credit cards. The second is that RFID-related crimes related to skimming credit cards are nearly nonexistent. Save your money and skip it.

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