Picking gifts for teenagers can be very difficult. Teenagers exist in sort of an awkward, “in-between” stage where they’re not quite adults – but they hate being treated like kids.
For some teenagers, this can lead to some serious conflicts, and make it difficult for parents to relate to them. This can be especially difficult to deal with during special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, graduations, and other times where you have to give a gift to your teen.
But there is one gift that teenagers love above all others – gift cards. Though gift cards haven’t gained acceptance from all generations, the younger generation has made it clear that gift cards are their #1 choice. In a study by Deloitte conducted in 2014, it was found that 37% of all millennials placed gift cards as their most desired gift during the holiday season. The #2 most desired gift? Cash!
This is a marked change from the older generation. Folks who are older tend to not value gift cards as highly, and still may think that giving cash is a bit of a faux pas.
But for teenagers, gift cards are an ideal present. They provide a perfect mixture of flexibility, thoughtfulness, utility, and more – making them the right choice for any parent who needs to give a gift to their teenage child.
However, even though most stores sell gift cards, picking a gift card isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. You can’t just buy any gift card and expect your teenager to appreciate it – just like every other gift, buying a great gift card for your teenager requires care and thoughtfulness.
So we’re here to help you out, and give you the details on how to pick a fantastic gift card for your teenager. Whether it’s for a birthday, graduation, Christmas, or another special occasion, this guide is sure to help you pick out an awesome gift that will be perfect for your teen.
1. Find Out What They’re Interested In
It can be hard to get your teenager to open up to you, and talk with you honestly about their interests, hobbies, and recent activities. It’s not impossible to get a conversation started, of course, but many teenagers tend to avoid deep discussions with their parents.
So sometimes, it may be difficult to find out what your teen is interested in, and to figure out what gift card you should get them. If you have a special occasion coming up and you’re looking to purchase a gift card for your teenager, here are a few ways that you can find out what they’re interested in, and make sure that you pick a fantastic gift!
- Pay attention to what they mention – Selecting the right gift card can be as simple as listening. Your teenager may avoid prolonged discussions with you sometimes, but they still have to talk to you – you’re their parent, after all!
So pay attention to the little things that your teenager mentions. Is there a restaurant they’ve been going to recently? Is there a new video game out that your teenager expressed interest in? Have they asked you for money for a specific item recently, and does that store sell gift cards?
Because you don’t have to pry excessively, this is a great way to figure out what your teen wants, while still maintaining an element of surprise! If you give your teen a gift card to a store they mentioned a few weeks ago, they’ll be impressed that you remembered, and they’ll be very grateful for the gift.
- Use social media to your advantage – If you’re “friends” with your teenager on Facebook, follow them on Instagram, or are using any other form of social media, this is a great opportunity to get some inside information on your teen, and see what sorts of gift cards they might be interested in.
You don’t even have to do much work. Simply take a look at each one of your teen’s social media profiles. Have they posted any status updates about a particular restaurant or store? Are they talking about a concert or another special event they may want to attend?
This has the added benefit of being non-invasive. You can simply check out what your teen is up to, and gain some valuable insight when choosing a gift.
- Talk to their friends – Your teen may be a bit reluctant to open up to you, but their friends won’t be. The relationship you have with your child’s friends is much different than your relationship with your teen. So if you’re having trouble selecting a great gift card for your teen, feel free to talk to their friends, and get some ideas about what to get them!
Just tell your teen’s friends, the truth. Your teen has a special occasion coming up, and you’re not sure what to get them. What stores does your teen like to shop at? Do they sell gift cards? Have they mentioned anything that they need or want recently?
This is a great way to guarantee that you’ll pick out a fantastic gift card for your teen. Their friend will want to help you choose an awesome gift, so you’ll get plenty of valuable information that will help you make the correct decision.
Of course, you can always just ask your teen what they’re interested in, but that would ruin the surprise! So think about using one of these three methods to choose an awesome gift card for your teen!
2. Pick The Right Gift Card
Once you’ve gotten some information that will help you pick out a gift card for your teen, there are a few other considerations to take into account before making a purchase.
In general, teens tend to prefer gift cards with:
- A range of price points – If they aren’t old enough to have a job, chances are that most teens don’t have much money to spend. And if they do, it’s probably your money. That’s why it’s a great idea to choose a gift card to a place that offers a variety of products at many different price points. Think TJ Maxx instead of Nordstrom’s, McDonald’s instead of Olive Garden, and so on.
Giving a gift card that can be used to buy a wide variety of inexpensive items is a great idea, because it allows your teen to stretch their money farther, and get more stuff – for less.
- Reasonable load value – Teenagers aren’t kids. And they don’t have child-like desires – they want the same things that adults do, like name-brand clothing, expensive electronics, and so on.
This means that you shouldn’t skimp on the value of the gift card you buy for your teen – especially if it’s for a larger occasion like Christmas or a birthday. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars – but a teenager is probably going to be disappointed if their major gift is only $50 to Target.
So choose an appropriate load value at the retailer that sells gift cards – we’ll discuss how to choose the right amount in the next section.
- Flexibility – Teenagers like flexibility, so it’s often a good idea to purchase a gift card that can be used on a wide variety of items.
If you’re not sure what you should get your child, just make sure that the gift card you give is flexible, and can be used on just about anything. This will ensure that your teenager can always find something that they want, and can avoid having to sell a gift card that they don’t want.
- Accessibility – If your teenager isn’t old enough to drive, or doesn’t have a car of their own, this is a huge consideration. Your teenager probably doesn’t want you to take them to the store to redeem their gift card – they want to shop on their own, and pick what they want independently.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to buy a gift card to a restaurant or store that’s within walking distance of your home, or is nearby the school that your teenager attends.
You can also look into stores at your local mall that sell gift cards – you can drop your teenager off, let them shop, and pick them up – it’s as easy as that!
If you choose a gift card with these four attributes, you’re sure to make your teenager happy, no matter the occasion!
3. Choose The Right Amount
Stores sell gift cards in a wide variety of dollar values – but what amount is best for a teenager? It can be difficult to determine how much money to spend on your teen, so we’ll set out some basic guidelines that can help you make your decision.
- Christmas & winter holidays – The average spending on Christmas gifts per child is around $271. That may be a bit high, but it’s a good upper limit to keep in mind when buying Christmas gifts – especially if you’re buying your teen more than one gift.
If you have multiple children, you should be careful during Christmas – try to spend equally on each one. Even though teenagers are generally in need of more expensive items, you should avoid giving them more expensive presents, as this can make other family members jealous.
- Birthdays – As teenagers get older, they begin to need more expensive items like smartphones, laptops, and high-quality clothing. Because of this, it’s a good idea to give higher-value gift cards to older teenagers.
As your teen ages, you should feel free to spend a bit more money on their birthday gifts – $100-200 is a good amount to spend on your teen.
And because you don’t have to give gifts to all of your children during birthdays, you can avoid hurting the feelings of your younger kids when giving a present to your teen.
- Graduations – Many teens get graduation presents each year. If your teenager has just moved up a grade – say, 10th-11th grade – you can get them a gift card to commemorate the occasion, but you don’t have to spend much – usually $50-$100 is plenty.
However, if your teenager is graduating from high school, you may want to consider a more valuable gift card. $200+ is quite common for teenagers who are graduating from high school – after all, they only graduate once!
While there are other occasions during which you may want to give your teen a gift card, these are certainly the most common.
Naturally, your budget and the specifics of your situation may differ – these numbers are not set in stone, but are simply helpful guidelines that can aid you as you try to pick the right gift card for your teenager.
Follow These Tips For Teen Gifting Success!
Picking out gifts for teenagers is hard – but it’s not impossible. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that you pick out a fantastic gift card for your teenager – one that they will love and appreciate.
And if you do pick out the wrong gift card for your teenager, it’s not the end of the world. It’s easier than ever to sell gift cards online, and get paid in cash – so they can always use the value of the gift card that you give them!
Curious about how to sell gift cards online? Come to EJ Gift Cards now! We buy hundreds of gift cards at competitive rates – and we pay out through PayPal, so you’re always guaranteed a safe and secure payment.
Our step-by-step process makes it a breeze to sell gift cards for cash. So don’t wait another second! Whether you need some money to buy a gift for your teen, or you need to get rid of a gift card that’s collecting dust, visit EJ Gift Cards today, and turn your useless gift cards into cold, hard, cash today!