Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

My Christmas list this year includes a sixteen year old daughter and a seventeen year old stepdaughter, and as usual, my budget is not what I wish it could be. Unless we win the lottery in the next couple of months, I'll be hunting for cheap gifts, again!

Over the years, we have managed to successfully put smiles on their faces Christmas morning. Here's a review of a few things that have worked.

1. Makeup

Sticking with basic colors and high quality brands, you can't go wrong buying a teenage girl makeup. My daughter is always running out of mascara and eyeliner, in particular. Often department stores offer beautiful makeup sets for a nominal fee when purchased with complimentary items, like a bottle of perfume. But even an individual product or two slipped into a cute cosmetic bag or the toe of her stocking would please most young ladies.

2. Jewelry

Think fun stuff, not necessarily high dollar. My daughter is actually allergic to most metals, so she loves bright colored plastics, wooden beads, and rope or string necklaces.

3. Accessories

Surprise the girls on your list with a crazy belt, wild scarf or unique purse. One of my daughter's favorite gifts from a friend of mine was a brown cordoroy purse with lots of pockets and zippers. Don't be fooled by the "brown cordoroy" though. Different is what works in this category - not "standard".

4. Bath Products

Again, quality and uniqueness count. Suave is great for everyday but not Christmas. Gift the young lady with a nice bottle of bubble bath with lotion in a matching scent, something they would not get to use everyday, and watch their eyes light up.

5. Music

You will need to know a little about her tastes, but a favorite artist's new cd is always a hit with the girls. Or if the young lady on your list plays an instrument, give a song book or some sheet music that would not otherwise show up in their music class selections.

6. Books

Again, it is helpful to know what they like, but books are great for teen girls. An added benefit on Christmas Day is that they have an instant way to distract themselves after the gifts are opened and they are "forced" to spend the rest of the day with family.

7. Toys

That's right, toys. Stuffed animals are sort of obvious, but you'd be surprised how much fun girls can have with something silly like a water gun. My daughter loves these sort of "gag gifts" and has been known to shop in the children's toy section for gifts for her own friends.

8. Stationary

In these days of text messages and email, it surprises me that my daughter and her friends still pass notes at school just like we did when we were teens, but they do! And a good supply of nice writing paper and envelopes will help encourage young ladies to remember the tradition of sending thank you notes after the holidays.

9. Puzzles

You can find jig saw puzzles in many stores for little more than a dollar or two. My daughter loves putting puzzels together and has glued more than a few to use as artwork in her room. Again the trick is knowing a little about the teen's interests, but even a somewhat generic picture can be a lot of fun for her and her friends to work together.

10. Cell Phone

"Ha! That's expensive," you say. Not necessarily. If you are trying to impress a family member, you can follow my lead. My girls' first cell phones were...shhh....don't tell them....FREE! That's right! Well, almost. We pay $10 a month each for their service, but when we added their lines, we received the new phones for no cost. Most providers offer something similar, especially around the holidays. You can give a very impressive gift to a teen girl who has been begging for her first cell phone for very little upfront cost.

Young ladies are actually pretty easy to please at Christmas, in my experience. Now if someone could please help me figure out what to do for the young men!

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url:

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Comments 41 comments

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

Good ideas, Dineane.

I never had to buy for teenage girls, since I had sons. I'm going to need to know these things in a couple of years for my grandaughter. Last year I bought your mom's books for her, since she loves horses. (Everybody look up hubber DonnaCSmith's books if you have a pre teen who loves horses.)

LouiseKnittel profile image

LouiseKnittel 8 years ago from Ohio

Very nice Hub!

Renegade Coach profile image

Renegade Coach 8 years ago from Langley, BC

Thanks Dineane, you have perfect timing! We have a teenage girlfriend coming to spend Christmas with us! I have an only boy so was already racking my brain for appropriate gift ideas.

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Ladies, thank you for the comments, and I hope the ideas help!

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

maybe I can steal some of your ideas for my grand daughter!

LeaAnne profile image

LeaAnne 8 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks so much for sharing! I have several girls that I never know what to get them. Thanks for the ideas.

TravelMonkey profile image

TravelMonkey 8 years ago from United Kingdom

Thank you for answering my request Dineane I will use your advice

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Great ideas. Luckily, I have no teenaged girls to buy for.

Audrey 7 years ago

Wonderful ideas but I too, are a teenage girl and I have a few other options, MP3 players are wonderful for both genders and not all are expensive, many off brands hold the same amount as apple's do and come in fun colors. Also you can never go wrong with perfume, ask whaqt kind she uses now and think about other types that are like it she might like, I know that almost every year I ask for purfume and I've never not been pleased. Maybe take her shopping, or out on a lunch and spa day, make a cirtificate and put it in a little box, my mother did it and it was one of my favorites.

As for teenage boys, they love music so maybe an Itunes card, and my brother I know likes general brans such as hollister, abercrombie and fitch, american eagle clothing. Cologne is also a good gift if you know the kind they like. Boys can also like books depending on the genre. Video games are also perfect and guys always know the games they want.

And for both genders you can never go wrong with pure money, it may not seem personal but from experience me and teens loveeee it!

Hope these helped :) Merry christmas!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you for the ideas Audry! I cannot believe I left out the obvious - of course, everyone loves cash!

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thanks dineane, I have what seems like dozens of grandchildren ranging up to a seventeen year old. I was running out of ideas.

Lauren 7 years ago

Hey, I'm 16 years old right now and I have also got some more tips to add. I love scrapbooking...It's a lot of fun. A lot of times in stores they will have a scrapbooking set all together for you to just add pictures. Also, if your daughter/son has any cellphones, covers and skins are always really cool too. Not to mention gift cards to their favorite stores is the way to go, in case of size issues or if you pick out something they don't like. This let's the teen feel in control and let's them pick out what they want without any fuss. Also, I love having accessories for my bedroom, cool and colorful lamps, bean bags, fold out chairs, decorative pillows, shag rugs, canopy's, buliten boards, posters, curtains, and borders are always a great gift especially if the teen likes to spend their days at home in their bedroom. You can also never go wrong with a bunch of candy! We love it!

Also another great idea, if the teen is driving and has a job, give them a gas card, Walmart stores sells them and they are reloadable! For girls also, they love straightners, curlinirons, crimpers, bumpets, clips and blowdriers. Even if you have these items already in your home, teen girls like to feel independent so get them one of their own instead of having to share with the wrest of the family; you can also get them in cute colors, and patters.

I could honstely go on forever but here are a few more quick gift ideas for boys&girls:

*beach towels, plain T-shirts/ tanks/dvd's/throw blankets/headphones/mini radios for beach trips..etc./alarm clocks..especially for school purposes/picture frames/keychains..especially if they drive a car/cozzes for can sodas(you can get them with initials on it)/wallets/license plates/cd case(for cars also)/sunglasses/body mirrors for bedrooms(helps when getting reday for school)/sport supplies(baseballs, footballs, etc.)/Twilight books(i dont like to read and I loved them)/wireless mouse for cumputer/mousepad.....and on and on and on...

You just have to think creatively, understand their personality and just think if I were her, how would I use this, what would I use this for, and would she/he really like it, or is it something useless that they will never touch. Also...I dont like puzzles and care bears...really??:(...I'm just not into stuff animals anymore, no affense, but teens I know and what I have learned to understand with myself plus older siblings is that teens want to feel grown and let em!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Wow, thanks, Lauren, lots of great ideas!

nicole 7 years ago

great ideas my daughters are 14 13 and now i know what im going to get them . thanxxxx

? Person 7 years ago

This article has some good ideas for buying gifts. I am a teen girl and I have a few things that I like recieving- a gift card to Target, Sephora, or Macys. You should get different gift cards depending on their tastes. Target is a great place to give a gift card for because it has almost everything-scarves, clothing, sportswear,pajamas, and a huge selection of bras. Once I got a gift card for a bra shop- I used it and appreciated it, but opening it up in front of all my relatives was embarasing. I do not suggest giving a girl that. I don't really like getting lotion or bubble bath because I get them EVERY year at Christmas. I loves getting scaves,whether silk or fabric. Some girls like chunky jewelry or simple sweaters. If you do not know the girl's style, again- we love gift cards. Mall "credit cards" like the American Express kind are awesome to get just fyi. Great hub!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

thanks for your comments ? Person - there's nothing like getting the information directly from the ? source ;-)

Neil Ashworth profile image

Neil Ashworth 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Excellent ideas dineane, I have a teenager and we are always at a loss as to what to get her that doesn't cost and arm and a leg, these are perfect ideas and my wife tells me 'our daughter would love any of these gifts'. great hub.


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for commenting, Neil - I'm glad you found the ideas useful!

Jennifer 7 years ago

yea! i luv your ideas i think that they are right onnn spot. and im a teenage girl im 16 and i absolutly luvv christmass. but times are tough. so i have to be really leanient with my dad and my long listt. haha. lottery tickets for stockingg. nail polishh. fake nailss. oo. even making like giftbaskets fulll of hair accessoriess. its cheap and looks really cool under a tree.:D i luvv corny old moviess.. cant go wrong with lotions and perfumes either.. CLEARENCE. purses. boots. mocosines. payless is really good for that. accessories. you can even go to walmart and they have little knockoff that are so cutee. the ones in style are the chunky bright colored jewlery. or cheap gold lockets. that's really special and will make her feel really special and sentimental. ugh... target has really nice cheap straighteners.. pillowss.. little room accessoriess.and giftcardss. or even the visa giftcards that let you go anyplacee. sorry if that was alott to take innn haha:)

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

thanks for more great ideas, Jennifer!

Ashleigh 7 years ago

i thought this article was really great but i am a 17 year old female and i agree with the other teen girl's comments!! but some of that stuff was really helpful...

P.S. i made my parents read this haha ;)

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

thanks, Ashleigh :-)

Kim March 7 years ago

WOW,..but my baby is now going to to 18 and in college, and on her, I have been getting her in the last 2 x-mas year's, kitchen, bath, living room, home decore...Always in her fav colors, and YES I do give her a cook-book as well :)

Any day living thing's we use, I do give her, stocking stuffer might have a nail file, soap, and a pair of oven mitt's :) so on and so on, I do hope that help's in anyway. And I must say, I sure hope she like's the new pot's and pan's this year :) with cooking lesson's for 2 ....

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Kim! Mine is a senior this year - guess it's time for a gift-giving hub for college bound girls!

Gift Experts profile image

Gift Experts 6 years ago

Hey, starting early - -thanks for the tips!

dineane profile image

dineane 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

good for you, gift experts! I always think I'm going to start early but it's never really happened ;-)

MidLifeConfusion 6 years ago

It's July 30, 2010. My daughters have both, in the last week, told me not to get them anything for Christmas. One is 24 and has not lived home since she was 18. They other is 16. They both know I shop early, but I usually don't start till like September. Why would they both tell me not to get them anything? I've always gone a little overboard on birthdays and Christmas, but generally don't get them anything in between. I don't understand my daughters sometimes. Well, and I suppose, sometimes, they don't understand me!

mrs.s 6 years ago

I went from having no ideas on what to get for my little brothers girlfriend for Christmas to having to cross things off my list for her. This has been such a huge help!! I've started my shopping early this year & now that I have her shopping finished I can move on to the next person... How about a 30 year old guy?? ;) I never know what to get my brother in law, besides a watch.

Oh & MidLifeConfusion, I tell my mom every year not to get me anything, it's only because I don't want her to have to go out looking for things I like. One of my sisters tells her the same thing but only b/c she wants money. They know you're not just going to not get them anything, so go with your gut & buy them what you would've before hearing that. Thanks all!!

dineane profile image

dineane 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

I'm glad it was a help, mrs.s, and thank you so much for responding to MidLifeConfusion, too - I've been so behind on responding to comments! and your advice seems much more relevant than anything I could have come up with! Unfortunately, I have NO idea on the 30 yo guy! Guys, of all ages, even my husband, are still a challenge for me!

Morgan 6 years ago

Im 11 and i know for christmas i want some puzzles and my dog a hair cut,Since my gerbil-Rocket passed away im asking for a newborn gerbil this christmas.

some one  6 years ago


MapleBlossom 6 years ago

With Christmas just around the corner, I've started looking around and you've got some great ideas for girls here. The music and books are always winners for both my daughter and my sons. An extension of your jewelery idea, that my 12 year old daughter and her friends love, is the beading kits, whereby they get to make their own matching sets. My daughter also loves photo frames and posters.

As for your question about what to get boys, your #10 gift idea for girls works as well for boys-something I wouldn't have thought they'd be that interested in, but my teen boys and their friends are always on about having phones. As you said, prepaid is really not that expensive...we picked up a Net10 phone for around $15, and a really nice slider phone for my oldest for under $80. If they already have the phone, get them a month or two's minutes. Depending on your budget or how much time you want them spending on their phone, you can buy net10 minutes for anything between $15 and $50(unlimited). They enjoy the luxury of a phone, and I enjoy knowing I won't get any nasty surprises on my bill! :) Another idea for younger teens is a skateboard. My boys still use theirs for getting around.

schyler 6 years ago

hey thankyou i am a 14 year old girl and i was trying to figure out what i wanted for christmas and you have given me so many ideas to put on my christmas list for my mom to get me:)

none of your buissness 6 years ago

these are all cool ideas but i thought maybe an ipod docking station, a cd, a warm winter coat and boots, a camera or maybe a family pet for the family would also be good ideas. Then again, this is from a 13.5 year olds point of ciew. :)

Aleisha 5 years ago

thankyou so much for all this advice im a 13 year old girl and i was trying to write a list to for my parents and had no clue now i have 6 things (: also i know that the main thing i have wanted for christmas was a bird because i absolutely love animals and last year i got a puppy for christmas but unfortunatley he died ):

thanks again fo all this advice (: xx

16yearoldgirl:) 5 years ago

thank you so much for the ideas i just made my dad read this sooo he knows now:)

jessica 5 years ago

well, i know they can love their feather extensions, big rings, braclets, cds, pjs, clothes, shoes, make up, nail polish, hair accessories, socks, ipods, ipads, personalized clothes, perfume, puzzles,a girls night out, scrapbooking ideas, pictures of people, marker boards, candy,room decors, and just about EVERYTHING!

hippie gurl 4 years ago

Honestly you can get all kinds of awesome things at dollar general and dollar tree and family dollar us teen girls would love!! A lot of the stuff I ask for is from there here's some of the following I want this year from those stores I'm 15 btw

dollar tree:

neon or glittery nail polish



dollar general:

airhead set 3 pieces of the candy with a lip balm

love spell perfume

glitter bubble bath

make your own headband kit or other creative similar things

family dollar:

airbrush tatoo kit (kinda)

rubber bracelet with peace signs and hearts on it

Also eBay has ALL KINDS of awesome cheap things

I love all natural soaps and those sort of things but a lot of girls aren't into the earthy stuff or hygenic things as gifts

most teens have iTunes and a iTunes gift card can never go wrong but if you give a giftcard to make it more interesting get a small bag and put it in and fill it with cheap things like bubblegum,bars of soap,lipgloss and candy around the card

Ramin 4 years ago

Nice ideas for teens..

Some more for your teen girl and the rest of the

family at


TeenageGirl 4 years ago

I'm 14, and think that these are all great ideas. One thing that most girls love is comfy plush socks. Another thing that's 'in' is bright colors. Headbands, socks, mittens, pajama shirt, we love it all.

Hope these are some more good ideas(:

MikeLee 4 years ago

These are some great ideas I think, although I'm not quite sure about the bath products.

The tips here says to avoid bath products

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