Beyond the Videogame: Six Christmas Gift Ideas For Bigger Boys

My 14 year old son, E with an eternal, ageless boy-toy classicChristmas shopping for little kids is pretty straightforward, and thus, a whole lot of fun. Dolls? Check! Dinosaurs? Check! Building blocks? Check! Easy peasy.

But once kids get up into ‘tween and teen territory, I’ve found that it gets trickier to find gifts that the young ‘uns will love as much as they once enjoyed their Barbies and Hot Wheels, and that’s particularly true when it comes to boys between the ages of about 12 and 16.

By the time a boy hits middle school, the pickins seem a lot slimmer when it comes to finding Christmas gifts. The toy aisles seem to narrow down to mostly electronic gadgetry. And while it’s tempting to rely heavily on video games and gaming systems when gifting our adolescent offspring of the male persuasion, Playstation and Wii and the like aren’t the only game in town when it comes to fun stuff that bigger boys will actually be excited to find under the Christmas tree.

As the mother of two boys and multiple nephews, I’ve had some hits and some misses with my Christmas shopping as they’ve grown (and grown), and I thought I’d share some of our own adolescent-boy holiday hits of recent years.

  • Razor Dirt Rocket MX Electric Motorbike 1 of 6
    Here is my 13-year-old E on Christmas morning year before last, riding his new Razor 350 electric motorbike up and down a dead end street in our neighborhood. This was Santa's "big gift" to Elliot that year and boy oh BOY did he love it. This was a huge hit, and I was very impressed with this toy's sturdiness.
  • At Home Air Hockey Table 2 of 6
    Santa brought E an at home air hockey table last Christmas, and it remains a big hit. It's set up in his bedroom and whenever he has friends sleep over, I hear them up there battling it out on the air hockey table until the wee hours.
  • Annual Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Yearbook 3 of 6
    Who knew that the gross, daring, unimaginable and otherwise boy-centric exploits of those wacky Ripley's folks could get more extreme each and every year?! Well, I did know this because my sister has been giving my son E the newest Ripley's book for Christmas every year for as long as I can recall, and even now that he's 14, E reads (and shares) the weird and often disgusting items of interest in his collection of Ripley's books. He looks forward to getting the newest one every holiday season.
  • Indoor Arcade Basketball 4 of 6
    The indoor basketball game was one of our biggest holiday hits of all time. Not only do E and all his teenage friends play it continuously, everyone else in the family loves playing it too. It's REALLY fun. If you are looking for an activity you can do with your bigger boy kid, I give this thing a double thumbs up. If you do end up asking Santa for one of these items at your house, I recommend that you go with the double basket, electronic scoring version so that family members can battle it out, one on one.
  • RIPSTIK! 5 of 6
    Both of my boys loved the Razor Ripstiks that Santa brought them in 2008, when Henry was 15 and E was 11. And the Ripstiks have remained a big hit every since. Highly recommended..
  • Nerf! Nerf! Nerf! 6 of 6
    Here's E holding the a Nerf Elite Hail-Fire model, which he recently got a chance to test drive with some of his fellow 9th grade buddies. All of the boys had as much fun playing with this thing as they had with their Nerf guns back in elementary school. Let's face it; boys of ANY age generally love running around and shooting things at each other, and this particular Nerf model has a SEVENTY FIVE foot range. I suspect that E will still love getting Nerf weaponry for Christmas for at least the next few years. Heck, I'll bet lots of adult men would be psyched to get a high powered Nerf shooter for Christmas this year.

If you are the mother (or grandmother or aunt or godmother…) of a tween or teenage boy, what holiday gifts have you found to be big hits? Have you ever given a gift to a boy in this age range that just fell completely flat? (In my case, that was the year E received a little “home gym” thing that he’s never once used. He has also never played a single round with the Bocce Ball set he got last year…


A big thanks to Target for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Do you know a deserving family, school, or charity this holiday season? We’re giving away one grand set of 20 toys from Target, including those mentioned in this post! To nominate, simply comment and tell us why you’ve selected them! 




Article Posted 5 years Ago

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