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The holiday gift guide for tweens and teens

From skin care products to tech to home decor items, these are the go-to Christmas presents for any Canadian tween or teenager on your shopping list.
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The ultimate gift lift for tweens and teens.

Teens and tweens fall into one of the most difficult gift-giving categories because they are too old for toys but too young to be excited by adult stuff (like cutlery and bedding).

And while we don't understand every TikTok trend or Rick and Morty reference, the youth of today are just like the generations before them: early adopters, arbiters of trends, smart and difficult to please.

With that, we've put together a gift list that can't miss. (If by any chance they don't like their gift, blame Facebook. Teens hate the metaverse.)

Best gifts for teen and tweens (under $50)

booktok set

BookTok is a big deal and one viral post can bump a book onto bestseller lists. Indigo sells a compilation of popular titles, making for a one-and-done gift that will impress the TikToker teen in your life. Titles include We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Holly Jackson. $58.96 at Indigo

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who loves a social media trend.

Why we're endorsing it: A person can never have enough books. 

Where it could use improvements: It's a set, so there's no swapping or picking titles. 

Size/weight/dimensions: Four novels. 

The Ordinary skin care kit. jpeg

Starting a skin care routine can be a little intimidating, which is why this three-in-one, no-fuss set from The Ordinary is so easy to use. It's a cleanser, a serum and a moisturizer. This can be used day or night and suits all skin types. Available at Sephora and The Ordinary

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who needs a new skin care routine. 

Why we're endorsing it: Price, ease of use. 

Where it could use improvements: Does not include sunscreen. 

Size/weight/dimensions: Three products (50 mL/30 mL). 

(For a more advanced routine, consider this set of face and body masks, which gives them lots of new products to test out.)

Bubble tea lamp.

This adorable mini lamp will make their Christmas morning for those who consider bubble tea an essential food group. Available at Urban Outfitters

Who it's ideal for: Any tween or teen who's into whimsical stuff. 

Why we're endorsing it: Adorable, unique, personal.

Where it could use improvements: These lamps sell out fast.

Size/weight/dimensions: 4.5" H. 

men's carhartt

Carhartt is everywhere right now and the popular work-wear-turned-street-wear brand makes cool utilitarian toques that even the most sullen teen will wear in the winter. $44.99 at Amazon

Who it's ideal for: Teens who insist they "don't need anything" but you want to get them a gift anyway.

Why we're endorsing it: Design, price. 

Where it could use improvements: Nearly sold out, so get it while you can.

Size/weight/dimensions: One size.

Best gifts for tweens and teens ($50-$100)

Vans old skool sneakers.

A pair of old skool Vans crosses generational divides, can be worn with sweatpants or a dress, and will still be on trend 50 years from now. Get them in black, blue, lilac or red. There are multiple colours available, but the style stays the same. Available at Nordstrom.

Who it's ideal for: Any teen that wears shoes.

Why we're endorsing it: All gender, always in style.

Where it could use improvements: Not an all-weather shoe.

Size/weight/dimensions: Check unisex size chart.

Mophi charging case.

Keep them in charge (and in touch) with this Mophi wireless charging station. It helps de-clutter the nightstand (fewer chords), and the phone lays flat when charging, which means they can't use it when laying in bed and therefore may go to sleep at a somewhat reasonable time. $59.99 at Best Buy

Who it's ideal for: Anyone with a device that needs daily charging.

Why we're endorsing it: Convenience, price.

Where it could use improvements: Works on Qi batteries (Apple and Samsung devices); for others, check the specs.

Size/weight/dimensions: 3 mm thick pad.

Jansport backpack.

Like Vans, this Jansport backpack is a popular staple for teens who need to cart around homework, a tablet, gym strip and various chargers. $76.35 at Amazon

Who it's ideal for: Any teen with a bunch of stuff.

Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, quality and durability.

Where it could use improvements: This is a classic old-school design, so it doesn't have the modern touches (like a built-in phone compartment).

Size/weight/dimensions: One size.

Mini fridge in green.

Whether they want to stay stocked up on sports drinks or keep their skin care at a cool temperature, this mini fridge (that they can use in their room) is one appliance they will be thrilled to receive. Available at Amazon. 

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants to stay hydrated, take good care of their skincare products or store perishable snacks in their room.

Why we're endorsing it: Convenience, multiple uses, design.

Where it could use improvements: It really is mini (fits six cans).

Size/weight/dimensions: Four-litre capacity.

Spikeball game.

Easy to learn and tough to master, Spikeball is a physical and fun group game that combines volleyball and a mini-trampoline. Available at Canadian Tire and Amazon.

Who it's ideal for: Tweens and teens who like a physical challenge.

Why we're endorsing it: Fun, fitness and inventive game.

Where it could use improvements: Best played in warmer weather or in a gym.

Size/weight/dimensions: Includes the net, three spike balls and a carrying bag.

Best gifts for teens and tweens ($100+)

BedShelfie unit.

Sleep is essential, and laying in bed for hours is… self-care? Let's go with that. This BedShelfie is like the teen version of a bath caddy. They can put their phone, school work, or a snack on it and create a mini lounge area. $103.63 at Amazon.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who's short on bedside table space.

Why we're endorsing it: Ingenuity and usefulness.

Where it could use improvements: Requires a bed frame.

Size/weight/dimensions: 8.61 x 25.1 x 35.79 cm.

Margiela fragrance.

Ordering a scent for another person can be tricky (and having perfume shipped in Canada is even tougher), but this Maison Margiela REPLICA Whispers in the Library is worth the risk. With notes of pepper and cedar wood (described on the bottle as "paper and waxed wood"), it could be their new signature scent. $188 at Sephora

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who's up for experimenting with a new fragrance.

Why we're endorsing it: Luxury line, quality ingredients.

Where it could use improvements: Smaller size is sold out.

Size/weight/dimensions: 100 mL.

Sony over ear headphones.

Headphones are one of the most in-demand items on wishlists. These Sony WH-XB91 over-ear headphones are a consistent best-seller, get rave five-star reviews from users and are currently on sale. On sale for $199.99 at Best Buy

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who needs high-quality headphones.

Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, price, user reviews.

Where it could use improvements: These are not headphones they want to forget at school.

Size/weight/dimensions: Thirty hours of battery life when fully charged.

Best gifts for teens and tweens (experiences)

Canucks game for two.

Experiential giving is great because it reduces waste (Greta would approve) and requires two things money can't buy: time and effort. Pick up two tickets to a Canucks game, a live podcast, a concert (like Dua Lipa or Billie Eilish), and they might even let you take a selfie with them. Find events in your area at Ticketmaster.

Are they super into binging The Office or a secret superfan of an Olympic athlete? If so, a personalized Cameo could go a long way toward getting you on their "nice" list (for a few days at least).