What is a Good Christmas Gift for a Teenage Boy?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Shopping for a Christmas gift for the teenage boy can prove challenging. Especially younger teenage boys may be transitioning from wanting toys into wanting more “cool” items. Many will appreciate teen friendly video games compatible with systems they own, other electronics, sports equipment, books, or other forms of entertainment.

Video games are ideal gifts for teenage boys.
Video games are ideal gifts for teenage boys.

The first thing to do, when possible, is ask the boy's parents, as they usually have a good idea of what their kids want. Asking the teen is another good choice, as he will usually have a quite comprehensive list. If neither option is open, there are a few gifts that will usually prove quite welcome.

An MP3 player is a good gift for any music fan.
An MP3 player is a good gift for any music fan.

If a teenage boy is a video game freak, then new video games can be an ideal Christmas gift. To satisfy parents, do not buy games that are above the teen rating, as some can be quite graphic or otherwise inappropriate. Be sure to include a receipt so the boy can exchange the game if he already owns the copy. Subscriptions to magazines devoted to game systems are often a great way to go as well.

Sports gear makes the perfect gift for active sports fans.
Sports gear makes the perfect gift for active sports fans.

Teens are usually into music, and gifts like an MP3 player will usually be appreciated. Alternately, if the boy already has a music player, gift certificates for downloads so that they can choose their own music are usually quite appreciated. Accessories can also be good choices.

Tickets to a movie can be a good gift.
Tickets to a movie can be a good gift.

If the boy is a sports fan, a Christmas gift could include licensed jerseys, hats, or posters of a favorite team. Alternately, many boys still want to play sports, and adult sized basketballs or footballs may make for great gifts. An electronic dartboard is a fun gift as well, but try the ones without wall piercing darts so the boy’s parents don’t have to forgive you for an inconsiderate gift.

Dart boards make fun gifts for teenage boys.
Dart boards make fun gifts for teenage boys.

Despite not being interested in most “toys,” many teens still enjoy things that can be remote controlled. For example, remote control cars are often inexpensive and can be a great gift for teens and adults alike. Some stores cater to the gadget-obsessed teenager, and there are many nifty gadgets that are also inexpensive and make a good presents. If you really want to go for broke, remote controlled dinosaurs or other animals are fantastic gifts that can provide many hours of entertainment. Just don’t forget to include lots of batteries.

A teenage boy might enjoy a nice watch because he can use it for decades to come.
A teenage boy might enjoy a nice watch because he can use it for decades to come.

Many teens enjoy books, although others avoid them at all costs. If you have a reading teen, consider some of the fantasy novels that most appeal. Movies are also natural choices for teen boys and can become a well-received gift. You might want to consider some older films, and many sports-themed movies are popular options. Gift certificates to movie theaters are also very much appreciated as ticket prices rise.

A teenage boy will appreciate a gift subscription to a favorite magazine.
A teenage boy will appreciate a gift subscription to a favorite magazine.

If you cannot decide, or do not know where a teen’s interest lies, try choosing a gift certificate for a Christmas gift that will represent a lot of choices for the teen. This way, a gamer can buy games, and a clothes hound can get the latest fashions. Some large mall companies offer gift certificates that can be used at any of the stores in the mall, further increasing the boy's choices.

Gift certificates give teenage boys the option of choosing their own Christmas presents.
Gift certificates give teenage boys the option of choosing their own Christmas presents.
Headphones usually make for a good gift.
Headphones usually make for a good gift.
Teens who love sports may appreciate sports-themed video games.
Teens who love sports may appreciate sports-themed video games.
Remote control cars are a popular and inexpensive gift idea.
Remote control cars are a popular and inexpensive gift idea.
Older boys might find a pocket knife to be a handy gift.
Older boys might find a pocket knife to be a handy gift.
Many teens appreciate remote controlled toys.
Many teens appreciate remote controlled toys.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


If your nephew is into science, check out Molecules, Elements, and Reactions (three separate books by Theodore Gray). Also What If? and the Thing Explainer By Randall Munroe. Also, The Way Things Work by David Macauley.


For a thirteen year old, a good present could a be a paintball set.


A teenage boy may be more focused on games or something fashionable like a phone case or something about music such as EarPods Headphones. A gift of not more than $50 is a good choice.


I'm 13 and I'm really into sports but I also have two other brothers so I have to keep the price range low. But it doesn't mean I'm not going to ask for stuff I like.


Is it proper for a friend to purchase a varsity jacket for a boy other than his father? His father seems to think the gift should come from only him. Any comments?


Uncharted is pretty much the best game ever. Get him that. Of course if they have a ps3. Or just a simple gift card to game stop, target or walmart. Easily a perfect gift for any guy who plays video games.


Recently purchased a Rockboard Scooter for my teen. Loved it! Great for exercise and he is a star when he uses it as everyone watches in amazement. A great present!


i would prefer money over toys any day.


I think maybe an atv would be a good present for any teen boy.


The comments from the teens who insist that all they want is M-rated video games and iPod stuff is a pathetic testament to their pathetic, hallow lives.

Parents, stop limiting your children by giving them what they want. Give them a time limit for gaming/television and insist they do something else, unless you want them to live at home until they're 30 because they can't function in the real world.


@Anon134484: If you want to completely blow his box, get him the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" or "Revolver" CD by the Beatles. Listen to a couple of songs online and see if it isn't good stuff!


I need help seriously. my boyfriend is 14, and got me an amazing gift, and i haven't a clee as to what to buy him. he has all the video games above. But he's a music junkie, but he has every c.d i can think of. Any ideas?


get him an autograph from his favorite athlete/musician/actor/ or any other celebrity. it's a nice, heartfelt gift and he will appreciate the lengths you went to get it for him, but it's actually really easy and cheap.


why not tickets to a concert he wants to go to, and his parents will let him attend. Get two so he can bring a friend. Arrange the transportation if that's an issue. Best yet is if it is his first concert.


get an android 2.1 tablet for just 140 to 160 dollars.


Money so that i can buy what i want.


Anyone who says T are rated games are worthless is wrong. Simply rating something mature doesn't make it good.

The Uncharted games are some of the best that have come around this generation, and you would really skip it just because it's not rated M? Ridiculous. The quality of the game has nothing to do with the rating. There are way more than five good teen rated games, why don't you actually look instead of just listing Black Ops because everyone else has it. There are tons of great games getting looked over because of that mentality, like Singularity.


Most of the teenage boys on this site have no lives. All they think is video game this, and ipod that. Get a life and get into a sport!


The best thing to get would be vidoe games. Every boy likes them and they are fun to play. Black ops, halo, left for dead, zombies or war games for the x box are what a lot of boys want.


I'm 16, and i can honestly say that my whole life before now was all about gaming, so it's reasonable that most teenage guys are interested in games.

I'm an avid waterfowl (duck hunter) and also an avid deer hunter, and even though i have all of the necessities and more for these activities, i find endless pleasure in searching for those new products that seem to keep coming out.

if you're a parent of a child who has never been hunting, i seriously recommend you take him hunting (after obtaining all the licenses etc.) and it will truly change his life. the group of people i hang around with at school (mostly hunters) are all mainly above the influence, including myself.

i was a skater/little punk kid in my earlier years, and after my dad frequently started taking me hunting and got me hooked, i can honestly say it put me in the right direction. in my opinion, hunting is the best, clean, fun, healthy way to teach a young person the right morals, and pick up a new, incredible hobby all in one. Two birds with one stone! merry christmas -dom


I'm 16, and the three main things i want for christmas are 1. nice headphones 2. Itouch 3. nice speakers with bass.


All of these comments about rated M games not being good are completely stupid. there are loads of fun games that aren't always about killing, but games like COD get extremely addicting and will destroy the social life of the person with the game. I used to be a huge cod player, not anymore though.

For the parents reading this, the best gift you can give is a bunch of movie passes, a ball, and telling them to meet some friends and get outside and do something with their life. Good luck. Merry xmas


I'm 13, and honestly- get him electronics like a laptop or something apple. money always works, too.


All right, well I was just looking here for things I might want myself, because honestly I don't want anything, an my mom keeps nagging me about it.

I'm 14, and I love video games. What's important is to pay attention to the type of video games your boy likes. If he's into racing games, getting him an RPG (role playing game, which usually involve a long, intricate story) isn't going to be a big hit. If they like games that are 'one and done' sort-of games (games in which you only have one objective, like win, or kill or find something, then you're done and it's on to the next task), *do not* get them an RPG. Some good racing games are Gran turismo (don't get Prologue, get the newest one), Need for Speed, and BurnOut. Good one and done and shooter games, are call of duty games (get black ops or modern warfare, though I'd recommend black ops, it's newer), Halo (if they have an Xbox 360) or things like MAG or Medal of honor.

Great RPG games include the Fallout games (Fallout 3 is older, and Fallout New Vegas is newer).


A teen boy these days will always be happy with some video games,(ex: call of duty black ops) and ipods, or an ipad.

Always get something that they will love but always get something from you personally, like a specific memento, even if they don't use it. But, of course, video games, the ipod category, books, (only if they are into it) a cell phone, and maybe xbox life or ps3 cards (and itunes cards are winners too).

Just don't give them something that they won't use, and remember to not give money! They will be confused and before they know it, it will be in a fund for college, which is good, but will ruin christmas for them. These are very important to keep in mind. Good luck! KLG


I'm at the age of 13, and my mother is hopeless at buying me gifts.

Most of the ideas given above were pretty spot on.

The electronics including ipods and games are a great idea for a teenage boy.

Books aren't a big thing of mine, but i do like the occasional read. Make sure that if you were to get a book, to make it a book that he would actually enjoy. Clothing is also a good option, but if you are unsure of the kind of style your son likes, maybe take him clothes shopping?

These are basically based on my own opinions, many teenage boys have the same likings. these are just the things i'd prefer.


the only books i can think of that teen boys would like is the new Guinness Book of World Records or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Maybe a subscription to a favorite type of magazine that they are interested in, cars, hunting, sports. good luck!


What are you people saying? Never get a T rated game. it would be like getting him a barbie. it's worthless. Like they said above, get call of duty, halo, medal of honor, skate, etc. Also, i would want a PS3, ipod, cellphone, ipod dock, gift cards, maybe a wallet or some nice clothes.

I like getting electronics like a home theater system, atv, or a laptop. Never get books unless you know he likes books. Also let it be a book like realistic fiction or a biography of their "idol". I'm 12 years old and this is what i would want.


I am also a teen boy, I'm 15, but most things in here i think are perfect, like the video games. There is a good reason why parents want T rated games. It's because the influence most games have on us, but I'm not against M rated games, it's all about the parents' discretion.

And mini zip cars, that's actually really fun if you're really bored and have a big kitchen floor! Books are good, but only if you have a avid reading child, but a good book that may interest them is always good, and last of all, get what you want to get them, and who cares if they care or don't! They have their own lives to live.


I'm just saying not all guys want games. get them something that suits his personality like a pocket knife. my boyfriend loved it when I got him one.


Interesting to read all of this, especially the comments by the teens. I will not buy my son "M" rated games. It's OK to have some restrictions. My son loves sports so anything along those lines is a hit.

He has a cell phone so apps are a good choice, too. I am around teen age boys a lot too, and I think the article hit on many great ideas.

Gaming is fun, but you don't want your boy revolving his life around it so keep other interests fresh and alive!


I for one am a 12 year old boy and I agree with getting the kid something they will use is a good idea, but i can't agree with the remote control stuff because kids like to get to it and not have to have some real skill to use.


Also, a beautiful gift for your gamer is telling him you would let him get xbox live (if he already has an xbox 360). It lets them hook up to an internet source (not for browsing the web) and lets them play large scale versions of multiplayer matches of games he already owns. It's like letting them have a gaming party with his friends at your place but without them being at your place -- and with a lot more friends.

It's completely private (he can only be friends with people he -- or you -- approve of), non-browsing, and really, really fun.

All it requires is a working internet connection, a router (which you should already have with the internet connection),and an ethernet cable (included with every Xbox console). He can get all the instructions to hook it up either from the xbox manual, or one of his tech savvy friends.

He will get the first month free but the later months are 8 dollars per month (with credit card info) or you can do what I do- there are Live subscription cards at most 7-11's, best buys, or game stop. (this method doesn't require any input of credit card info and saves you a couple dollars to boot).


Now I can assure you, no "teenage" boy (appropriate age for playing T rated games) is ever going to appreciate a T rated game. I'm 15, and, trust me, there are literally fewer than five good T games.

If your teenager wants a good game, ones such as the most recent versions Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, or Gears of War are acceptable, and on an unbelievably large number of M games, there is a setting that can be activated that will limit graphic content (including the aforementioned titles). Every single one of his friends probably has them and he will enjoy talking to them about how good they are.


I'm a 12 year old boy. The things I would want for christmas are maybe reptiles, or a gas dirtbike or four wheeler. Also if you have a little extra money, save it up for something big.


I think the new meteroid other m for wii is a really good game or the new x box 360 slim or or the new (not out yet) halo reach game or the x bow 360 (also x box 360 slim).


I'm also a teenage boy and i disagree with a lot of what this person said. Mini zip cars? Books? No. Try buying something they might actually like. Also any game teen or below may satisfy the parent but i personally only like games in mature ratings. Like he said, Call of Duty is a good game, also maybe an xbox, xbox live, ipods.

i have a feeling this article was written by a 40 year old mom who has no idea what their child likes.


lol. as a fellow teen anon, you're right, but it's not very fun if all you get is money, and if you're shopping for gifts for your video game fanatic, most parents won't care about getting some mature games. haha. gotta love call of duty.


As a teen-aged boy who visited this site to see what others thought you should get him, i disagree with most of this. "Mini zip cars" are not a good idea, and neither are books batteries or dartboards.

Good gifts are things that he will actually use, like an ipod or video games. however, t-rated games don't cut it. buy your son or nephew a good game like call of duty, make him like you more. but the best gift of all would be money. cash money, gift cards, anything. we will buy what we want and save you the trouble.


My nephew is just hitting his teen years and is getting harder and harder to shop for. He's into video games and books, but I often think that finding more personal gifts is more satisfying. My nephew is very into science, for example, so I'll probably try to find him a book of experiments or something to try out.

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