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The holiday gift guide 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 adulting stuff (like kitchen spatulas and bedding).
 RyanJLane Getty Images
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 TEENS AND TWEENS (UNDER $50)

Greta Thunberg book.

Constant news about the looming climate crisis can be anxiety-inducing, which is why this collection of environmentalist Greta Thunberg's speeches in I Know This To Be True (a series from important figures) is so important. With actionable advice and passion, she speaks for and to her generation (especially when she tells world leaders they "blah blah blah"). Available at Amazon or Indigo.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone concerned about the consequences of climate change.

Why we're endorsing it: Greta Thunberg is at the front of the climate change conversation.

Where it could use improvements: It's a collection of public speeches, not a book written by Greta.

Size/weight/dimensions: 80 pages.

The Ordinary skin care kit. jpeg

Starting a skincare routine can be a little intimidating, which is why this 3-in-1, 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 skincare routine. 

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

Where it could use improvements: Does not include sunscreen. 

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

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

Blue light blocking sunglasses.

Constant screen time can cause major eye fatigue, which is why blue light-blocking glasses are such a hit with teens. These gold frames are stylish and can be worn even when they aren't on Snapchat. Available at Nordstrom

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who uses a screen (so, every teen).

Why we're endorsing it: Style, usefulness.

Where it could use improvements: The science behind the tangible effects of blue-light-blocking glasses is still being researched. 

Size/weight/dimensions: One size.

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. 

Retro hockey toque.

This retro hockey toque will keep them warm (and show their support for team Canada). The old-school style is a bit more unique than a plain old beanie that all their friends have. Available at Sportcheck

Who it's ideal for: Sports fans and hockey players.

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 generation 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. Available 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, a gym strip and various chargers. Available 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 skincare 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: 4-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: Include the net, three spike balls and a carrying bag.

BEST GIFTS FOR TEENS AND TWEENS ($100 AND UP)

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. Available 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 even tougher), but this Maison Margiela REPLICA Whispers in the Library is worth the risk. With notes of pepper and cedarwood (described on the bottle as "paper and waxed wood"), it could be their new signature scent. Available at Sephora

Who it's ideal for: Anyone 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: 100ml.

Sony over ear headphones.

Headphones are most one of the in-demand items on wishlists. These Sony WH-XB91 over-ear headphones are a consistent best-seller, get rave 5-star reviews from users and are currently on sale. Available 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 TWEENS AND TEENS (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).