Holiday shopping is particularly diffiucult when you have tweens on your list. They grow and change as quickly as fads come and go, so it's tough to know what is the perfect present that will make them happy. When I asked them, though, they thought the answer was obvious: gift cards.
All the tweens with whom I spoke love gift cards. Tweens crave independence and want to feel grown up, and a gift card is the closest thing to a credit card that they can get. It gives them the opportunity to select something they will truly like, which saves the giver from having to do the guess work. You can purchase them online or often at the grocery store and for varying amounts so they are easy and budget-friendly. Bonus: They are easy to wrap, fit in a stocking and make holiday travel simple. Gift cards are a win/win.
- Google Play Cards - You can use these towards millions of books, songs, movies, apps, and more from the Google Play store.
- Think Geek – The Maker Mom said that she was getting her teen a gift card here and I can see why. It's an awesome choice. They have everything from cool t-shirts to funny books to games to an inflatable R2-D2 to LEGOs.
- iTunes - This one isn't rocket science, but it's sure to be a smile on a tween face. Good for music, apps, games, you name it.
- Target - Many, many parents love Target and the apples don't fall far from the trees. Tween mentioned Target for a variety of products, including clothes, hair and makeup items for girls, boys mentioned that they sell video games, you can get old fashioned games and one tween said that it'd be great to go crazy in the candy aisle. There are options.
- Art Supply Store - This gift card can be used at either Utretch and Blick, great online art supply stores that will have exactly what your young artist wants.
- Visa Gift Card - Don't limit your lucky tween/teen recipient to just one store. The world is their oyster with the option that works in literally millions of locations.
- Xbox or Minecraft Gift Cards - Experts approve of Minecraft as a good video game for tweens and teens.
- GameStop – Becca of My Crazy Good Life said she gets gift cards from here because she loves their lenient return policy and “the super knowledgeable sales people who help decipher the world of gaming for us non-gamer parents.”
- Threadless – This fun company also supports artists, so it’s a gift that keeps on giving. They offer a very wide range of sizes so there is something here that will fit your tween, no matter what shape and size they are. Threadless offers clothes and all kinds of other fun things like tech cases and notebooks so the recipient has options.
- Justice - This store is popular with tween girls, especially the younger set. Some parents hate it, others are fine with it, so best to check with parental units on this before purchasing.
- Sports Team Shop - It's great for a new jersey or sweatshirt, but they also have lots of other items that may appeal. Pro teams all have online stores. Chicago Bears fans can purchase e-certificates here. MLB.com will hook up all baseball fans, any team. College fans can get email gift cards from the school bookstore. For example, Michigan Wolverine fans can get gift cards from the M Den here, and Ohio State Buckeye fans can find gift cards for the Student Book Exchange here.
- Abercrombie & Fitch - I know, it kills me, too. I've heard from several tween parents that older tween girls prefer this store to Justice in part because they are not "babyish" clothes but still fit small sizes. Boys like it, too.
- Claire's - "I have too many earrings and other accessories," said no tween girl, ever. This store also has some of the coveted One Direction items if the girl for whom you are buying is a Directioner.
I was surprised that the tweens I wanted food gift cards, but they did. Maybe they can treat the family or go with some friends and parents can sit at a separate table and of course make no eye contact whatsoever
- Chipotle – My tween today said she thinks whoever created the food at Chipotle must be the best chef in the world. Apparently, dinner there is far better than what she’s getting at home and she has Chipotle gift cards on her list.
- Favorite frozen treat shop – What kid wouldn’t love the ability to get anything they wanted from these fun places? Tis the eating season, right? Cold Stone and Dairy Queen are always good, but check with parents to see what's nearby. Perhaps one of the frozen yogurt places in the area has gift cards and your tween can just go crazy with toppings. You won't believe the happiness such sugar freedom brings. Don't let the chilly temperature deter you. Tween love ice cream and frozen yogurt any time of the year. This age group is also oddly impervious to cold weather.
- Other favorite restaurant - One tween with whom I spoke really, really wants McDonald’s, I think because her parents do not approve of the Golden Arches. Another tween mom told me her kids can't stand McDonald's. Always check with a parent first to make sure the establishment is approved.
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