- Holidays and Celebrations
Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys (and Men) under $50!
It's hard enough finding presents for that special man in your life - it's even harder finding gifts for that teenage boy on your list!
Many suggested gift ideas involve a gaming system...an ipod...a remote control helicopter...but what about gifts that won't break the budget or cost an arm and a leg?
Having been in the same boat and racked my brain for ideas from the general teenage population, I have come up with several unique ideas to pass along to you and others in desperate need for the perfect gift!
I consider myself pretty close to an expert on this subject, simply because I have five younger brothers, two sons, and not to mention all the friends, parents, grandparents, in-laws, out-laws...
Board Game Fun
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
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.
Board and Card Game Poll
Do you play many card or board games?
The gift that keeps on giving all year round!
Find a magazine with their interest in mind - mechanic magazine, a tech magazine, sports or video game magazine...
Wrap up the subscription (or written note about said subscription) with a magazine!
For the Young, Old, and Old...ish
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. Real and toys.
Our family get togethers usually include a Nerf War on a great scale. The first to arrive get the upper hand, and the late comers are greeted under a barrage of fire. The rule of course, is that you cannot shoot an unarmed man, and so, a weapon of small firing capacity with at least one bullet is generously left on the step for the newcomer. This makes shooting them with the not-so-soft bullets acceptable and allowed.
My Personal Favourite...The Hammershot
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. Not to mention the cool factor that comes with asking, "Hey, have you seen my Hammershot?" It quickly became a favourite among the other veterans.
Another personal favourite, is the Elite Rough Cut 2x4 Blaster. 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 these under my pillow Christmas Eve, to ambush my children when they woke us up Christmas morning...
For the amount of ammunition needed to support these Great 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.
Is Clothing a Good Gift Idea for Teen Boys? What do YOU think?
Do teenage boys like getting clothes for Christmas?
To Read or Not To Read...there's something for everyone
Whether he is an avid or casual reader, there are books sure to be a hit! Does he like to wear trench coats and casually admires the the suave of a good con? "The Modern Con Man" might be for him.
Or for the fan of the Walking Dead tv series - this show was actually based on the graphic novels! If you are not familiar with graphic novels yet, it is simply...comics acceptable for adults. The Walking Dead show follows these graphic novels for a short while before taking off in it's own direction, which leaves a multitude of plots to discover when you pick up the graphic novel!
Or, 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.
Some more books worth your time to check out are:
- 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!
The Book for Everyone
Here is a man you can't help but respect - . Bear Grylls' perseverance and outlook on life challenge and motivate you to look at yourself and how you choose to go through your life.
An inspiring read for anyone, Bear Grylls shows perseverance on so many more levels than simply surviving in the wild. One of my favourite things that Bear Grylls pushes, is how your attitude contributes so much in your likeliness to survive outdoors...an attribute that speaks to many aspects of your life.
Pick up some of Bear Grylls survival tools to accompany this book! You can't go wrong with any of his knives, and his fire starter kit is one of our favourites.
Do you know their favorite bands? Buy their latest album or look it up on Amazon.com and scroll down to the part where it says "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" for ideas.
Always include a gift receipt. It's the thought that counts!
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!
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 - of course. 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 - 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, whether for survival, hunting or fishing, recreation, 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, walking back to your vehicle after you stayed out too long fishing...
- Camping Fire Kit - some kindling, a hatchet, firestarter and matches with some marshmallow roasting sticks. You could even wrap it in some newspaper!
- Camping Supplies - a single item like a propane lantern can be turned into a thoughtful gift basket by including little things like mosquito repellent, Jiffy Pop and a deck of cards!
- 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?).
Some great stocking stuffers are paracord bracelets, wool socks, "Hot Hand" hand warmers, a compass, Clif Bars...
Remember, a small item by itself can seem like an odd gift - like marshmallow roasting sticks, but, group it together with marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, and you have a thoughtful gift basket!
Knot Tying - Knots to handle just about any rope tying situation
We all wish we had paid a little closer attention in Boy Scouts or Girl Guides and actually remembered the knots we learned when it came time to earn that much coveted badge to add to our sash.
Here are instructions on knot tying that actually come with 6 plastic instructional cards for you to carry around easily!
- 50 fresh lacing styles, including Zipper, Checkerboard, Spider Web, Ladder, and Star
- 16 hot knots, including the world's fastest, "the Ian"
- 4 color-coded practice laces you can use right on the front cover
Why not include some paracord and instructions how to make a paracord bracelet and make it into a gift basket!
The Worst Gift Ever...
and my most awkward Christmas...
My husband, 20 at the time, and I, engaged for half a year, were attending his extended Christmas family celebration, 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 aging grandmother. With all eyes on him, he unwrapped his gift, which appeared to be a home made baby sleeper with random buttons sewn all over it. That was the longest, most awkward silence I have ever witnessed. I imagine my mind wasn't the only one racing furiously to understand the intent behind such a gift...and the appropriate response...Was she excited about the prospect of great grandbabies and hinting at us to hurry up? Did she think 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?!"
"Longjohns!" She exclaimed, quite excited over her creation. "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. My husband just had the unfortunate luck of being the first one to open it.
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 one who is in a new relationship or freshly married. Of course, the ones in the link are rather cute. Seeing them now, I somehow think that Granny Annie caught a fleeting glance at them at some craft market and decided to whip up her own, using her own imagination. An imagination that happened to be, socks criss-crossed all over the place and held together with random buttons. And the poem. The poem that explains everything. There was no poem whatsoever, included in her creations. Not like the poem show-cased in this link.
Sock Long Johns...
Read the story above and let me know what you think!
The Ever-So-Trendy Messenger Bag - Always in style!
It is not a "Man Purse", or a "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!
In my house, it has also been known to carry several hundred Nerf bullets...
And you know those fanny packs you swore off once the 90's were over? Well, they are now referred to as "belt packs", which, I suppose Almost makes them acceptable...almost...but in a Nerf war, no matter how cool the guy, "belt packs" and messenger bags can be essential in carrying your extra ammunition.
Gifts from the Heart
Personally, my favourite gift I have given to one of my brothers was reminiscent of our childhood... When he was little, I had to reread the same book over and over to him until 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 read it to his daughters now...and if they happen to love it so much that he has to read it to them seven times a day, every single day, for an entire day, even better!
Mythbusters' TV show
Some favourite TV Series - affordable and entertaining, perfect for any guy on your list, any age!
- 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!
The tv show 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!
Worst Gifts to Give a Guy - I've been thinking of starting a page full of horrible gift ideas...like a balloon animal kit!
Should I start on my "Worst Gifts to Give a Guy" page?
Let me know what you think and let me know a favourite gift you have given or received!