Dear Readers: Here it is again, folks, the “teen-n-twenty” shopping list that’s direct from the source. I probably sound like a broken record, but I continue my progressive advice to “think outside the box” (or in this case the flat-screen) and avoid addicting and social-skill-depriving gifts such as video games, or TVs and computers for the bedroom.
Laptop computers are essential for college, but are known to abruptly end family life when given to high school students. Think instead about upgrading the family desktop station so your teens don’t become “missing persons” in their bedrooms. (Imaginary friends were fine when they were toddlers, but interactions with “imaginary Internet friends” are best kept to the public rooms of the house.)
Ditto for holding off on smartphones until senior year. There are plenty of great (non-Internet) cellphones that call, text and take photos — with no monthly fee. Be strong, and (ironically) ahead of the curve.
Brandon, 20, Mapleton, Maine: Best tip: Ask people what they want! Give cash. Gift cards get lost or lie around. For kids who can’t be trusted with cash, Walmart, Amazon and eBay cards offer best selection and deals. Regarding books, consider an e-reader. Buying books, including text books, is cheaper in e-version. College-student ideas: water-filter pitchers, prepaid cellphone cards, healthy flavorful snacks, paper plates. Favorite game: Nintendo Wii U. Favorite clothes store: Express.
Hannah, 18, Safford, Ariz.: Books make great gifts. “The Hobbit,” “Les Miserables” and “Life of Pi” are GREAT books coming out as movies this December — and much better than the movies.
Taylor, 15, Santa Rosa: I’m into photography so I’d like a camera strap, lens and tripod. Additional ideas: iPod charger, headphones, mini-fridge, money for clothes and shoes. Less-expensive: makeup, slippers, leg warmers, coffee mug, high school sweatshirt. Best gift cards: Forever 21, iTunes, Target, Starbucks. (Avoid spend-anywhere credit cards, they usually have activation fees.) Top books: “The Hunger Games” and “The Host.”
Colin, 19, Los Angeles: I would like a less materialistic society. I prefer books, audio/video courses, magazines, charity or cash. Desired book: “Passage of Power,” President LBJ’s biography.
Brennan, 19, Colorado Springs, Colo.: I like gift cards to outdoor stores (REI, Sports Authority, etc.). I can combine them with sales to get the hi-end jacket, backpack, skis I’ve been wanting. Even better, take me shopping there! Desired book: Hemingway’s collected works.
Nicole, 23, Santa Rosa: For young people on their own, you can’t beat local, organic food. All health food stores have gift cards.
Molly, 20, Berkeley: Things like a good vacuum, iron or kitchen knives would be great. We don’t care about being surprised as much as having something we really could use. My mom got me some boots early. It was great because I picked them out; thus, I LOVE THEM!
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