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07 October 2009

Gifts for a 16 year old Hi bunnies, do you have any teenage girls in your lives? I need help![More:]My youngest cousin is turning 16 in a few weeks and I want to get her a cool gift. She lives in New Zealand, and I hung out with her a bit when we were over there. I have no idea what kids these days are into. Should I just get her an itunes gift certificate, or something like that? Would that be the most appreciated? She's a pretty typical teenager, AFAIK. I kind of want to get her something funky and NYC-ish, but I am not funky and NYC-ish, so I'm kind of screwed there. (I suspect that younger cousin is infinitely cooler than me.) Any and all input most appreciated. Thank you!
An iTunes GC is perect! Also these little jewelry nick-nakcs seem to work as well.

The kids today kinda dig it. (man, I'm old, eh?)
posted by Jose Famoso 07 October | 09:43
I think you might be more funky and NYC-ish than you realize, 'pode, but I digress.

When I read these kinds of questions and answers, it seems like a recurring theme is to buy the teenager something that would be difficult to find, or prohibitively expensive, in their home country. Maybe some brand-name clothing or cosmetics or electronics would fit into that category?

You say she's a typical teenager. Does she play any sports? Is she fashionable? Is she into any subculture groups?
posted by box 07 October | 09:43
sorry...check the link. It's a site called Poor Cat Designs.
posted by Jose Famoso 07 October | 09:44
Ooh cool. Good feedback.

She appears to spend a lot of her time on facebook. And taking waaaayyy inappropriate (not really, I guess, mainly I think so because I'm related to her!) pictures of herself and her friends that she then posts online. She is very fashionable and I think no longer plays sports (pretty standard for a 16yo girl, I dropped out of sports around then, too).

Something like your link Joe seems like a pretty good idea. Or yeah, electronics! hrm. A cool cheap camera, maybe. Good call, box!
posted by gaspode 07 October | 09:51
Not funky but how about something "American" like a Kate Spade wallet, or some other American designer. It's a small world though and she probably has all of the mainstream designer stuff there.

At 16 I would have loved beauty products, (the Philosophy gift sets are fun) pretty journals, books, magazine subscription, jewelry and accessories like bags, wallets, and watches, clothes, music, and decor for my room (candles, posters, cool calendars).

How about a cool concert poster or t-shirt? Do you know what music she is into? Everybody (the cool kids, not me) seems to love this Neko Case poster. I wonder if she is into her.
posted by LoriFLA 07 October | 09:52
Oh, I just realized there are other bands on that poster. Obviously I'm not funky either. :-)
posted by LoriFLA 07 October | 09:56
I think fancy makeup would be great for her age. She's probably already started experimenting with crappy drugstore makeup and will be impressed with how much better "real" lipstick and eyeshadow etc are. For a 16 yr old, I think the brands you'd want to hit are Stila, Mac, and Benefit. Though if you want to make her feel really fancy, go with Dior or Chanel.
I'd go to Sephora and see if they have any cool packages or kits, or just get a ton of the small makeup samples from the bins near the checkout and let her go nuts.

Jewelry is very personal and if you don't know her tastes well, is bound to flop unless you get her something like an expensive classic like pearl or diamond stud earrings or a gem solitaire necklace.
The link that Jose posted looks too young for the 16 yr olds I know.

I think you're better off avoiding jewelry altogether and going with a fancy black or silver clutch with fancy makeup inside. I would have loved to get that at 16, and frankly, I'd probably still love to get that now.
posted by rmless2 07 October | 11:09
Oh yeah, that's a good idea too. what about something like a wristlet-y type thing (not necessarily exactly like that, but in that vein?) That sort of thing might fly, huh?
posted by gaspode 07 October | 11:27
Yeah totally!
posted by rmless2 07 October | 11:53
Check out They have lots of fun hip gifty stuff.
posted by amro 07 October | 11:58
I don't have any suggestions, but just kind of incidentally I have a cousin of the same age (well, plus a year) who started sending me emails this summer. I don't want to sound like a complete rube, but it has been sort of a cultural experience for me. In the land of 17-year old girls, I am an unaccustomed and slightly bewildered tourist.
posted by Wolfdog 07 October | 12:42
What about mixing up several of these ideas and sending a little care package: a small iTunes GC, a single reeeeeally good lipstick or a sampler, a little zipper bag to put 'em in or a small fancy box to pack them it, and some other trinkets? Maybe go to the art supply store and pick up a small, cool notebook or sketchpad and some pens or pencils? Or, for the NYC hip touch, you could browse the MoMA gift shop and see what tiny trinkets they have.

My nieces always get wowed by the little mixed packages, because there's so much neat little stuff in 'em. (Disclaimer: I myself am a sucker for a grab bag.)
posted by Elsa 07 October | 12:45
I think for a 16 year old, you can't go wrong with a name brand- something that's classic, quality. Something non-name brand could be just as nice, but if it's not exactly her taste, forget it. Whereas with something that's a name brand, it has that cachet. Coach has a new Poppy line that has some really cute stuff, including lots of wristlets. And people still love the sterling silver stuff from Tiffany. (Disclaimer: I myself am a sucker for a name brand).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 07 October | 12:53
(Disclaimer: I myself am a sucker for a name brand).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero

Ah yes. I do recall standing with TPS outside Louis Vuitton on Fifth Ave for what seemed like hours watching all these (to me) identical LV bags coming out of little doorways on conveyor belts while TPS sighed with happiness as each bag appeared.

But I did enjoy our trip round Tiffany, jewellery sucker that I am.
posted by essexjan 07 October | 13:02
They were not identical! Different styles throughout the ages!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 07 October | 13:53
Is the markup on electronics as bad in NZ as it is in some other parts of the world? If so, maybe one of the really small digital cameras? I don't know if kids consider those cool (if they've got the really new cellphones with high-res cameras in them anyway, maybe a standalone camera is uncool), but there's a new one out that has a display on the *front* of the camera, specifically for taking pictures of yourself and friends, which seems designed for younger people.

Of course, if her photos really are that inappropriate, you might be contributing to her delinquency, so maybe that's not such a hot idea.

An iTunes gift card or a new iPod or something might be safer.
posted by Kadin2048 07 October | 15:39
As an add-on gift I might suggest this.
posted by danf 07 October | 16:18
If she's girly I've got to agree with the makeup. I was using drugstore stuff back then, and when I splurged for my first fancypants stuff some years later it was like the golden gates opened before me and a choir of angels began to sing about the glory of Christian Dior lipstick.
posted by kellydamnit 07 October | 16:29
The teens I know scoff at iTunes (pay for music? that's for squares
posted by Claudia_SF 07 October | 19:25
Whoops, message got cut off. The teens I know scoff at iTunes (pay for music? that's for squares -- or something like that) but love love love electronics. Maybe a Best Buy run?
posted by Claudia_SF 07 October | 19:26
kellydamnit is making me think I should try some fancypants makeup! I never have.
posted by amro 07 October | 21:40
Is she a reader? I was going to suggest a copy of Judy Blume's Forever, but it's available on Dymocks website. I think Elsa's suggestion is best.
posted by brujita 08 October | 02:37
Just saw that Nars is doing a NY line, which hits the Ny and the fancy makeup buttons at once!
posted by rmless2 08 October | 13:43
Awesome. Lots of good ideas and I love that Nars NY line, rmless.
posted by gaspode 08 October | 16:03
Trying to give up cussing and blaspheming || I wonder how long my fly has been down...