Christmas presents

Dear Santa: What This Teen Wants for Christmas

By Martin Boggess | published Wednesday, December 18, 2013 |
Thursday Review Contributor

If your teen boy is like me, he wants everything that costs over a hundred dollars. I want everything from money and gift cards to the new gaming consoles to headphones. I may not get any of these things, but I still want them. My main big choice is the Xbox One. Every boy I know wants either that or the PlayStation 4. They are both very expensive, with the Xbox being five hundred dollars, and the PlayStation 4 being four hundred. Like I said, they’re pricey, but if you can afford it, you can never go wrong with them in any way. These aren’t our fathers’ Ataris … today’s gaming systems also serve as multiple other devices. We use them to do things like connect to Netflix, surf the internet, and Skype with our friends and grandparents.

If your teen boy is like my brother (an occasional music writer for Thursday Review), he listens to all the hot new pop songs that they play on the radio ten times an hour. In that case, he may want an iTunes gift card to keep up with the hits, or a new set of headphones. You can never have too many sets of headphones. If your teen boy wants headphones, you don’t have to get them Beats by Dr. Dre, or Souls by Ludacris. Personally, I have a pair of Skullcandy low riders. They’re about thirty dollars (depending on where you buy them), and I think they are still great headphones. Although Beats are the “top notch” headphones out there, you don’t need to spend that kind of money. Ear buds are another option, and they fit easily into a stocking. We use ear buds to listen to videos on our phones, or with our iPods or tablet devices. They’re essential to have these days, because they help block out noise; they help us focus when we study. If you do want to get your teen boy some expensive headphones, be sure they can actually care for them and not break them or lose them within a week of having them. If your teen boy is asking for an iTunes gift card, don’t always listen to them about the price. Chances are, they won’t use the fifty or one hundred dollar cards you get them. I would suggest getting them 20- to 30-dollar cards instead of the expensive ones. We don’t buy whole “albums” anymore. We get one song at a time, so $20 goes a long way.

If your teen boy likes skateboarding, you could get him a new pair of shoes (or a gift certificate to FootLocker) or any skateboard accessories, i.e., stickers, wheels, griptape, a new deck, or a tool for his skateboard. Apparel related to skateboarding work too – things like hoodies and T-shirts. Ask your teen about his favorite brands, or look at the bottom of his skateboard and try to figure out what brand it is. The same thing goes for stocking-stuffer items like stickers or keychains.

If your teen boy has a game system,, you could look for games to go with them, depending on what he likes. If he likes history or war in general, you should look at Ryse: Son of Rome. It is only available for the Xbox One right now, but in my opinion, it looks like an amazing game. If your teen boy likes the Call of Duty franchise, you can get him the new Call of Duty: Ghosts game ,which is available for both Xbox and Playstation. Keep in mind that many of the games that are being released are rated M for “mature,” and usually that is for the blood, violence, and language. Games have improved in recent years, though, in that, while they may have some cursing and blood, there’s also a lot to learn, and history is embedded in the content. My personal choice for games is the Assassin’s Creed franchise. If your teen boy likes history, I really recommend it. I have played through the entire game; it is well worth the money. With Assassin’s Creed games, I have learned a lot about the architecture and history of Istanbul, Venice, Rome, the Caribbean, and colonial America. All of these games will be sixty dollars if they are new, but there are hours and hours of game play involved. Hour for hour and dollar for dollar, it’s a good value.

If your teen boy is everyone but me (attention Mom- HINT), he has an iPhone or Android smart phone in his pocket. If he is one of these many people, he may want a new case or screen protector for his phone. All of these options would be an excellent idea for girls, too. If you want to get him/her a new phone case, get them a Lifeproof case or an Otterbox. They cost money, but we’re hard on our phones, and these brands come with guarantees. I know you don’t want your money metaphorically burnt in front of you by your teen dropping or breaking their phone.. Any screen protector will work for your child’s phone, as long as it’s for the same phone he or she has.

There are a lot of choices, and it can be overwhelming, so if you have no ideas, even a small gift card will be appreciated. My last bit of advice is to ask for some specifics, like the brand names, to help narrow it down. Hopefully these are some ideas that will help, if you have a teen boy to shop for this Christmas.

What about those teen girls out there? Sorry, it's just me and my brother in this household, so that information will have to come from another writer of useful holiday articles!