Shopping for Teens:

Gifts beyond cash and gift cards

Shopping for teens can be a challenge. If you’re reading this article at the first of the month, you still have a reasonable amount of time to get that perfect gift for the adolescent in your life. For those who’ve procrastinated, or are simply at a loss, don’t panic. We’re here to help.


Giving truth to the saying, “Everything old is new again,” many of 2018’s popular gifts have a retro feel. While they might harken back to earlier times, the Audio Technica Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Turntable ($180) and the Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera ($65), come loaded with modern technology.

The turntable plays both 33-1/3 and 45 RMP records, so pull out your old vinyl and spin some records with your teen, who likely has his or her own collection of contemporary discs. The Bluetooth connectivity means it can be easily paired with other Bluetooth-enabled devices like speakers or headphones.

It may be the age of cell phone selfies, but there is still something magical about watching a photo develop before your eyes. With all the nostalgia and slightly more sophistication than the Polaroid of your youth, The Instax Mini comes in a variety of fun pastel colors, with plenty of accessory options. Even in this time of instant gratification, teens don’t mind this wait.

Card Games

Like a scavenger hunt on your phone, Game of Phones ($20) challenges players to utilize the Internet and their photo gallery to find the weirdest or funniest things they can on their phones. For groups of three or more players, it’s an enjoyable game for smartphone users of all ages.

Not Parent Approved ($25) is a family-friendly version of Cards Against Humanity. A funny and entertaining word game of fill-in-the-blanks, it’s suitable for young tweens and teens.

Physical Fun

KanJam Disc Games ($8 and up) come with goals and flying discs. Suitable for indoor or outdoor play, depending on the particular product, the game is played with two teams of two or one-on-one. Players earn points by hitting or landing in the goal with their discs.

Although not as fast, nor street legal, as the electric scooters currently taking over the city, the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard Self-Balancing Smart Scooter ($350) cruises up to 6 mph and is controlled with your feet. The “smart” part means the scooter automatically levels itself for an easier mount and a smoother ride.


With Retrogram Boards Vintage Felt Changeable Letter Board ($30), you can create endless messages in the 10” x 10” oak-wood frame using 300 letters, numbers and other characters. This gift is ideal for a dorm room, bedroom, or even a shared family space.

For teens who prefer to see their name in lights, there’s My Cinema Lightbox ($30 and up.) Backlit like an old-time movie marquee, the box comes in a variety of sizes with 100 characters of creativity.


If you’d like to gift an experience, consider concert tickets. BOK Arena and the Tulsa Theater are always good bets for touring bands and comedy acts, but the Cain’s Ballroom, with its rich musical history, is a personal favorite. Check the website for a complete calendar listing, then throw in a Cain’s T-shirt for the total package.

Holiday shopping can seem to be an overwhelming task – especially when the intended gift recipient is a teen or tween. However, with a little footwork or some keyboard clicking and a bit of imagination, you’re sure to find the ideal gift to close out 2018.

JulieJulie Wenger Watson is a freelance writer who’s worked in all aspects of music promotion. She’s also Co-Director of “Live From Cain’s,” a public radio show pilot.

Categories: Holidays