Monday, November 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Holiday Gift Ideas

It is not a secret buying for teens at the holidays can not only be expensive, it can be difficult. They seem to want items we barely understand (technology). With this comes high ticket gadgets which are difficult for many families struggling in today’s economy.

Most can’t go wrong with gift cards to their favorite stores, movie gift cards, mall gift certificates and don’t forget good old fashion cold cash is the best to satisfy most teens. However when I speak with parents of teens today, their financial resources is strained more than usual. Buying gift certificates are always good, however we have to remember many of the items our teens want are more than an average gift card.

What does this mean? Usually you will end up spending more to make up for the difference, or in some fortunate cases your teen will purchase within their means.Let’s consider gifts that may not cost much monetarily, however will be priceless to your teenager. One of the gifts parents could give their teenager is their TIME. Sounds simple doesn’t it? With today’s fast paced world, usually both parents working full time, or a single parent environment, one gift that will always keep on giving is “time with your kids.” Many are thinking that our teens would prefer to hang with their friends, however deep down I believe all children want to be part of their family.

Breaking down the barriers can be difficult, but what a perfect time of year for us to try.
No matter how old they are, every child on some level craves for the attention of their parent(s). Positive attention: Not nagging or complaining about a messy room, failing grades or how they are dressing. Giving gifts that involve time being spent together, having fun and creating your Kodak moments, can be priceless. Many parents of teenagers have lost the lines of communication.

Although movie tickets have become high in price, if you consider what the cost of buying merchandise and gift cards for stores, the cost of movie tickets for a family can seem minimal. Find a fun family movie, or a suspenseful one (make it a family decision), go out as a family and afterwards your conversation starts with a discussion about the movie. It is starting with common ground, all equal. Family dinners are becoming a thing of the past. What about everyone helping with dinner and then moving to the family room for a movie or a board game? What happen to the days of Monopoly and Life? Yes, all about the family and spending time together. We need to move away from commercial holidays and think about what holidays are about - family.

This is one of my favorite gift ideas: Giving your teen their personal history! From birth to today!

Parents have you thought about getting those old baby pictures out and creating a scrapbook for your teen? Before you snub your nose that your teen wouldn’t appreciate it, think twice. Start from birth to their first day of kindergarten to their dance recitals, first soccer games and so much more! What about their first birthday parties? And remember those elementary school pictures? I am sure we all have some priceless artwork by our kids we can include. Give your teen a piece of their history only you can give! This is what you call priceless!

You don’t have to be creative to do this. I am far from creative but a quick trip to the dollar store or Walmart and you can start a project your teens will keep forever. You will be surprised, they may even show their friends! You are sharing your pride with them, and they will feel great. This will take time so start now for the holidays.

Thinking back, I wish I had a scrapbook made by my parents. Start today creating your memories and who knows; maybe you and your teenager will discover more things to talk about!

Get those photos out and start planning your priceless gift to your teenager! By the way, this gift has no age limits. I would bet grandparents would love receiving this gift too. The costs involved? Very little, considering the gift that lasts forever.

Remember, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, Snapfish and others can make photo prints (copies) for less than .25 cents.

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