25 Meaningful Holiday Gifts for Teens

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”,  decorations, toys everywhere, carols being sung all over town, and how about the stress? In a culture where materialism often reigns supreme, the holidays bring with them a host of stressors in lieu of the peace and joy that we sing about. As a homeschool mom of six, finding the resources to meet the typical demands of “Christmas giving” is overwhelming. In fact, I propose we break off those chains and celebrate the holidays in a more simple manner. What do you say?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the amazing traditions we celebrate and those that are celebrated by so many different cultures and in so many ways during this time of year. I just want to lose the menacing portion of our Holiday celebrations. For example, instead of mindless purchasing of gifts to simply say we did. Let’s think about the intentions behind the gift. How can we touch the heart of someone with our gift? How can we give joy? or How can we give of ourselves this Christmas?

In our home, we’ve really dialed back the whole “wish” list mentality. In fact, for my kids I love the simple gifting guide of “want, need, wear, and read.” It’s perfect for us. Is there a way that you can adjust your holiday “whooby-whaty” to bring more joy? I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and want to share a few meaningful ways that you and I can gift from the heart.

  • Give the gift of time. A recent study showed that when asked what children wanted for christmas… a toy or a time spent with mom or dad… they invariably chose time! A great way to do this is with:

    • Board games like Tic Tac Toe 2.0

    • Holiday movies

    • A family trip, getaway, or even a Learning Trip

    • Coupon for a favorite meal, and cook it together

    • Find their favorite flower (this time of year a shrub or tree is best)  and plant it together
    • Take a family photo and make family Christmas cards and calendars as gifts
    • Start a family journal, encourage everyone to share their heart openly and freely
  • Give the gift of knowledge. Has your high schooler been wanting to learn about photography, playing the guitar, or computer programming? This is a gift that will be with them their whole lives.

    • Music lessons

    • Financial course

    • A hobby class like scrapbooking, photography, art, or scuba diving

    • A skill class such as crocheting, cooking,  knitting, or sewing

  • Give the gift of preparedness

  • Give the gift of sentiment

    • Frame something that means alot to the person

    • Make a quilt out of – baseball t shirts, old jeans, or even ties

    • Create a custom necklace with a meaningful sentiment

    • Print, organize, and scrapbook photos from a recent trip or event

    • Create your own meaningful t shirt (Definite teen favorite!)

    • Write a short story, poem, or letter to or in honor of someone

  • Give the gift of inspiration

    • Books, The Show Me How book is priceless!

    • Create a special CD with all their favorites or give them a favorite!

    • A travel book on a place that they’ve always wanted to visit

    • Adopt a needy family together. Think of ways that you could help them with their basic needs.

    • Keep your eyes and ears open for those who may be having difficulty during this time, and if you see an opportunity to help – Go for it! Bring Christmas joy to someone else!


Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]

November 16, 2015


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