Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys (and Men) under $50!
Finding the perfect gift for the man in your life can be challenging. Even more challenging can be finding gifts for that teenage boy on your list!
Drawing on my past experiences growing up with five younger brothers, two sons, and a husband, not to mention all the friends, parents, grandparents, in-laws, out-laws, here are some tried and true unique gift ideas for that special guy in your life!
When The Gift Exchange Is All Over
I come from a family of gamers. Board games that is. Growing up in a family with eight children, we were never short on players. It started in our childhood where one Monopoly game would last an entire week long, and was never packed away until that final moment of victory! Even now, my family has "family night" once a week. Mom cooks a meal for everyone and afterwards we pull out a board or card game. Of course, the newer the guest is that is brought to this family night, the louder the game is that seems to be chosen. I suppose it is a ritual...a type of "initiation" into the family. The loudest seem to be "Pit", and oddly, "Masterpiece" - which is not supposed to be a loud and rowdy game, but, with this family, it is.
What a great way to bring everybody together!
Below are just some of my five brothers' favourite games to play; either while camping, on a "family night", with friends, or entertaining guests.
- Settlers of Catan - an award winning game that can grow and grow with multiple expansion packs! Recently I have discovered they now have instructions in an app now - which brings such ease to learning the game or introducing a new player to it!
- Bohnanza - referred to as the "bean" game in my family, if you are simply a bystander to this game, there is great amusement in overhearing the intense conversation involved in the lucrative business bean trading involves: "Green bean for a lentil!" But play it once and you'll love it!
- Small World - my brothers tell me "it's way a better version of the game Risk".
- Pit - a loud trading game as you search for specific commodities and try to avoid certain cards. The "deluxe version" includes a bell which is a delightful addition to the already roaring trade pit.
- Munchkins - a favourite dungeon adventure card game, but "with none of that stupid roleplaying stuff". Alot of laughs to be had playing this game!
- Bang - does the joy come from the actual playing of the game, or in asking everyone in a room if they want to play "Bang"? I will never know the answer. In fact, I can't say I even know how to play this game! All I know, is that this has been "THE" game of 2015 for my brothers. My specific strategy is to be as confused as ever, which brings me much sympathy and a lot of help from the more experienced and sympathetic players!
- King of Tokyo - this is a game that my children are able to play as well. It is a nice change to Monopoly or Go Fish. It is a faster paced game with quick turns. Once you've got the original game down, it is easy to expand to the different variations available!
Ticket To Ride
Personally, this is one of my favourite games.
Players collect cards that enable them to create train routes. The longer the route the more points you get. You also have Destination Tickets, which, when fulfilled, earn you points as well.
It really is as simple as that! There is logic and luck in this game, but my favourite part is how rapid the turns take. There is no sitting there waiting for what seems forever, for someone to think out their turn, which makes this a rapid paced game.
"Ticket To Ride" is the first in the Ticket To Ride" series of games. This is the best one to start on, creating a basis understanding of the game. This can prepare you, if desired, for multiple variations and expansions from this original version.
Family Board Games
Board and Card Game Poll
Do you play many card or board games?
I have two sons. Two young sons who make weapons out of anything. Then I look at my brothers as teenagers. Teens who made weapons out of anything. And now I look at my husband, brother-in-laws and brothers. Grown men. Who love weapons. Both real weapons and toy weapons. Below are some items they have all enjoyed.
- Nerf Guns - our family gatherings usually include a grand Nerf War. The first to arrive get the upper hand, the late comers are greeted with a barrage of fire. The one rule they have is that you cannot shoot an unarmed man. There way around this rule is to generously leave a weapon of small firing capacity and a single bullet at the entrance way for the newcomer. Other good companion gifts for Nerf enthusiasts are Nerf tactical vests, protective eye wear, bullet bandolier belt and a holster.
- Sling Shot - a sling shot can be used with ammunition purchased in store or with small pebbles found outside. Including a pouch for the ammunition can be a great gift add-on. Just keep any blueberries away from the gift recipient to avoid blue marks on your ceiling (spoken from experience)!
- Foam Swords or Light Sabres - hitting a nearby victim with a foam weapon is extremely difficult to resist. My boys arsenal consists of light sabres made from pool noodles, and my teenage brother's arsenal consisted of wood swords they carved themselves.
- Airsoft Guns / BB Guns - airsoft guns or pellet guns can run in many price ranges, but the pistol sizes can be found for under $50.
My Personal Favourite Nerf Guns
My personal favourite, purchased for my own personal protection during the Christmas Nerf War of 2015, is the Hammershot. With thumb lever action, it is reminiscent to a cowboy pistol, and holds 5 bullets for quick release. It also comes with a great "cool factor" when you get to ask, "Hey, have you seen my Hammershot?" It quickly became a favourite among the other Nerf fighting veterans.
Another favourite of mine is the Elite Rough Cut 2x4 Blaster. This is basically a Nerf shotgun that shoots two bullets at once and lets you load up to 8 bullets.
I may or may not have slept with both these under my pillow Christmas Eve and may or may not have ambushed my children when they woke us up Christmas morning...
For the amount of ammunition needed to support these Great Family Nerf Wars, Nerf bullets simply did not fit into the budget, and so, eBay kindly provided us with a greater number of bullets at a cheaper cost. With a harder plastic end to the bullet, that meant it shot further and hurt more too, which, to us, was a win win. To the small child who received that bullet in the neck, it was not so much of a win. Protection glasses would also be a good investment.
For the Young, Old, and Old...ish
- Messenger bag - sometimes referred to as a "Man Purse", "Murse" or "Man Bag", it is simply messenger or book bag. Casual enough for the average guy, yet stylish enough for the suave one, these are sure to be a favourite for any guy!
- Canvas Rucksack - a trendier variation of a backpack, a canvas rucksack is a dapper way to tote your laptop around or shove your controllers in for video game night with friends.
- Duffle Bag - your own bag to bring to the gym or for a weekend away.
- Watch - with phones every where we go, it's a rarity to own your own watch, and as boys get older, they take pride in originality and having something nice to wear on a special occasion.
- Wallet - take a step up from the classic teen boy velcro wallet and give them their first classy leather wallet.
- Novelty Slippers - when all else fails, hit the slipper section. You are never too old to wear giant monkey slippers or have Homer Simpson's head on your feet.
Is Clothing a Good Gift Idea for Teen Boys? What do YOU think?
Do teenage boys like getting clothes for Christmas?
Avid or casual, there's something for everyone!
- The Modern Con Man - who doesn't secretly admire the the suave of a good con! The Modern Con Man just might be for the book for him.
- The Walking Dead - for the fans of the Walking Dead, this TV series was actually based on the graphic novels! Graphic novels are simply...larger comics geared more for adults. The Walking Dead show follows these graphic novels for a short while before taking off in it's own direction, leaving a multitude of plots to discover when you pick up the graphic novel! Geared for an older teen or adult, look for Walking Dead Book 1 or Walking Dead Compendium 1 (a collection of the first twelve comic books).
- The Art of the Hobbit - Go classic and pick up "The Art of the Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkein. Discover Bilbo Baggins in a new dimension from these drawings, paintings and sketches by J.R.R Tolkein.
- The Martian by Andy Weir - a well written novel that has now been turned into a movie!
- World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks - a novel with first person stories recounting the zombie war.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History - discover the humble beginnings of the Ninja Turtles and how they became what they are today!
- Bear Grylls: A Survival Guide for Life: How to Achieve Your Goals, Thrive in Adversity, and Grow in Character - an inspiring read for anyone, Bear Grylls' perseverance and outlook on life challenge and motivate you to look at yourself and how you choose to go through your life.
- Old Man Logan - a graphic novel about an aged Wolverine. Meant for mature audiences.
Old Man Logan Graphic Novel Review
Outdoors and Beyond
Whether they are an avid outdoorsman, an aspiring one or just a city boy who likes the occasional adventure, there are so many options for a unique gift!
If you don't know what to buy or look for, look for something disposable (something they can use up), or something practical. Show you put some effort or thought into it!
- Bear Grylls knife - his knives are always well made and a favourite in our family. Handy to have on hand camping, fishing, or even to throw in an emergency kit!
- Firestarter kit- a key component to surviving in the wild, is of course, fire. But, whether using this in a survival situation or just to show off your fire making prowess, this skill is one worth learning!
- Swiss Army Knife - every person needs to own a pocket knife. I believe this so much, I gave my mother-in-law one for her 50th birthday...I don't know if she appreciated it as much as I did.
- LifeStraw Personal Water Filter - this water filter is an exceptional and unique accessory that can be used for survival, emergencies, hunting or fishing, recreation, hiking or traveling.
- Headlamp - nerd it up with a flashlight on your head! This handy tool has so many uses; Capture the Flag, playing card games while camping, cooking when the power goes out, or walking back to your vehicle after you stayed out too long fishing.
- Emergency Radio - great for camping or preparing for emergencies, look for a radio that includes a flashlight and cel phone charger in it.
- Paracord Ties or Bracelet - paracord is an essential rope in survival, which is why paracord bracelets and paracord knots and bracelet kits are so popular.
- Foldable Shovel - our foldable shovel comes with us on beach days, fishing days, and camping! A favourite tool in our family for every age...remember, the bigger the boy, the bigger the hole they like to dig, thus, the bigger the tool needed is(or, is it just my family and their obsession with holes?).
- Knot Tying Guide - we all wish we could remember the knots we had learned in Boy Scouts or Girl Guides when it came time to earn that much coveted badge to add to our sash. You never know how often good knot knowledge comes in to play!
Some great stocking stuffers are: paracord bracelets, wool socks, "Hot Hand" hand warmers, a compass, Clif Bars and waterproof matches.
Gift Basket Ideas
Remember, a small item by itself can seem like an odd gift, but group several items together and you have a thoughtful gift basket.
- Camp Fire Kit: Marshmallow roasting sticks, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, matches and a hatchet.
- Camping Kit: Propane lantern, mosquito repellent, Jiffy Pop, plastic tablecloth and a deck of cards.
- Survival Kit: A signal mirror, whistle, hand warmers, survival blanket, energy bars, flashlight and paracord bracelet.
Movies and TV shows
With out digital age, it is rarer to buy DVD's and Bluray discs. However, nothing still beats owning hard copies of certain shows and movies.
- Man vs. Wild - in this popular tv series, Bear Grylls goes into the wild and demonstrates a multitude of survival techniques in various situations. His optimism and intensity enthrall and educate all ages!
- Mythbusters - guys of all ages love Mythbusters - available only through Discovery Channel, or eBay. In this TV series, a team sets out to confirm or bust old and new myths, legends, and even tv stunts! What is there not to love...science, movies, myths...shooting stuff, and even better...blowing stuff up.
Must-own movies (most from the 80's) for a well rounded education are:
- Back to the Future trilogy
- Indiana Jones the Complete Adventures
- Jurassic Park Collection
- The Goonies
- Stand By Me
- Black Light - I don't know why but it seems every boy, at one point in his life, has wanted a black light.
- Mirrored Disco Ball - great for bedrooms, basements, house parties and Friday nights! A disco ball motor (to attach the disco ball to to make it turn) and a spotlight make a good addition to team.
- Signage - tin or wood signs are especially unique and make a great addition to a man cave, bedroom, or basement! Some interesting signs I've seen are: deer crossings, coca cola bottles, Route 66, "No Poop Zone" pet signs, and pub, beer or brewery signs.
- Flashlight - a heavy duty flashlight like a maglite,
- LED Car Underdash Lighting Kit - pimp out that ride with some interesting interior lighting.
- Booster Cables or an Emergency Road Kit - sure to give any parent piece of mind.
- Car Detailing Kit - there are so many options for someone who takes pride in the look of their car: micro fibre clothes, a car vacuum, wax kit or an orbital buffer.
- Dashboard Phone Mount - ensuring hands free device use and easy GPS access.
Sports and Lawn Fun
- Flying Disks - continue your game after dark with an LED flying disc, up your disc golf (frisbee golf) with professional discs, or learn a new flying disc game like Bottle Bash, which consists of balancing a bottle on a pole and trying to knock it off with a flying disc.
- Football - change your game up with the popular Nerf Howler football that howls when you throw it, or find a Nightball Football to play football in the dark!
- Golf Putting Mat - great to practise your golf putt or just to take a break from work in the home or in the office.
- Dartboard - a dartboard is an easy way to to break the silence with guests or to pass the time by yourself.
- Ladder Toss Ball Game - this is an easy backyard lawn game that consists of a "ladder" made of pvc pipes and "Bolas" which are projectiles thrown at the ladder, made of golf balls connected by a nylon rope.
- Turntable - old is new again and records have been back for a while! Turn up the nostalgia with a vintage inspired record player. A good starter turntable is a portable suitcase turntable with built in speakers.
- Bluetooth Speaker or Headphones - a portable, wireless speaker is easy to connect to any device with bluetooth.
- VR Headset - virtual reality headset for games and movies. A fun accessory for cel phone owners.
- Walkie Talkies - great for paintball, hunting, playgrounds and fun around the home!
Here is a game that gets pulled out more often than not, and is a huge hit with the male teens and adults in our house.
Who has the quickest draw? Each player grabs a handle before a button is pressed to start the game. Everyone watches the red light, waiting for it to turn green. The slowest person gets a small electric zap. The electric shock can be set to different levels.
When my brother was little, he had me reread the same book over and over to him until eventually, I had it memorized. Through biblio.com I found a copy of this childhood book and gave it to him one Christmas. It is a nostalgic thought that he is able to now read it to his daughters.
A Story About the Worst Gift Ever
And My Most Awkward Christmas
My husband, 20 at the time, and I had been engaged for half a year and were attending his extended Christmas family celebration. This would be my first Christmas with them.
While gathered around for the gift exchange, my husband was the first to receive the highly anticipated/dreaded gift from his elderly grandmother. With all eyes on him, he slowly unwrapped his gift and held it up for inspection. It appeared to be a home made baby sleeper with random buttons sewn all over it!
The longest, most awkward silence I have ever witnessed filled the room. I imagine my mind wasn't the only one racing furiously to understand the intent behind such a gift and the appropriate response. Was Granny excited about the prospect of great-grand babies and hinting at us to hurry up? Did she think I was pregnant? Did somebody start a rumour that I was pregnant? I was so confused!
The long silence was finally broken with much relief by my mother-in-law who boldly sailed her ship right into the stormy sea and outright asked the question on everyone's mind. "What is it supposed to be, Mom?!"
"Long johns!" She exclaimed, her excitement over her creation was quite evident. "Aren't they so cute? I made them from socks!"
Sure enough, upon closer inspection, this awkward baby sleeper was indeed fashioned with a multitude of socks, held together with buttons seemingly sewn on randomly.
It turned out, as the night went on, Granny Annie had sewn EACH of her grandsons these "adorable" long johns. The recently engaged grandson just had the unfortunate luck of being the first one to open it.
Create Your Own Awkward Christmas
You too can create your own awkward Christmas by creating these delectable mini long johns and gifting them to a young man in your life. Preferably given to someone who in a new relationship or freshly married.
Granny's long johns looked nothing like the ones I found online. I somehow think she caught a fleeting glance of them at a craft market and proceeded to whip them up herself using her own imagination...an imagination that resulted in socks criss-crossed all over the place and held together with random buttons.
And there was supposed to be a poem. A poem that explains everything. There was no poem whatsoever, included in her creations.