20 Teen-Friendly Gifts Under $20 (2011 Edition)

One of the greatest blessings in my life is that every single week I get to hang out with some darlin’ high school girls. They make me laugh and make me think and ensure that I don’t give in to the temptation of wearing a consistent uniform of my husband’s old Oxford shirts with some acid-washed Mom Jeans. Because no kidding: if you need some fashion-related accountability in your life, a group of 17-18 year-old girls will be more than happy to link arms and walk that narrow road with you. THEY DON’T MESS AROUND.

Last year some of the girls were kind enough to share a few Christmas gift ideas that I used in a post, and since I referred back to that list about 46 times when I was Christmas shopping, I decided I’d do another gift guide this year. As I’ve said before, I certainly don’t think that the point of Christmas is to smother America’s youth in LO, EVEN MORE STUFF, but when I do give a gift to a teenager in our family, it surely is nice to know that he or she might just use it and enjoy it.

Anyway, here are this year’s gift ideas for teenage girls (there aren’t any affiliate links, just in case you were wondering). And many, many thanks to “the girls” for their help. They’re the best.

Erin Condren Personalized Notepads – I am crazy about the modern designs, and I think any girl would be thrilled to receive these notepads as a Christmas gift. Also, the Fleur Feliz design may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. EVER.

HUE Tights – The teenagers aren’t afraid of bold patterns or bright colors. And I can sort of relate to their fashion fearlessness considering that I spent a significant portion of the late 80s wearing neon yellow in any form I could find it. EVEN A JUMPSUIT.

French Bull Platter – These are such cute, colorful acrylic pieces to use on a bathroom counter or dresser. They’re practical and stylish – a winning combination.

BDG Cable Convertible Glove – It’s a mitten! But it converts to a fingerless glove! So your hands can stay warm while you’re texting! ISN’T THAT JUST GENIUS?

Custom Monogrammed Acrylic Tumblers – If these had been around when I was in high school, I would have had about five different tumblers in rotation. Depending on which font and color best suited my mood, of course.

Acorn Fleece Socks – I gave Sister a pair of these last year, I think, and she loved them so much that she may have composed some sort of ode that she read aloud while accompanied by the melodious sound of a pan flute. Or maybe she just told me that she really liked them. Regardless, there are tons of cute patterns, and I’m especially partial to Chocolate Dots, Pink Dots and Fun Stripe.

Time Keeps On Ticking Watch in Neon – I may have to get one of these for myself. Even though I’ve tried to put the 80s behind me, I’m still drawn to bright colors like a moth to flame.

Embroidered Penguin Classics – No lie. This particular cover of Emma makes me swoon a little bit. Beautiful.

Staring At Space Dyed Arm Warmer – If I were way younger and way cooler and way more confident about my accessory choices, I would WEAR THESE OUT. They’re perfect for a teenage girl who’s very hip and with it and now.

Women’s Printed Flannel Lounge Pants – Everybody sleeps. And everybody likes to be comfortable. That makes these lounge pants SOLID GOLD, my friends.

Vanilla Bean WoodWick Candle – These candles smell great, and as an added bonus, THEY MAKE A CRACKLING SOUND. Perfection.

Vanilla Bean WoodWick Diffusers – Apparently the vanilla-scented goodness is very popular indeed, and several of the girls mentioned how much they enjoy having diffusers in their rooms. I might be tempted to go with the lavender or linen scents as opposed to vanilla, but that’s just me. I’m wacky like that.

Eddie Bauer Novelty Stripe Boot Socks – I’m a fan of the way “the kids” are wearing high socks with their boots so that the tops of the socks peek out. These Eddie Bauer boot socks will look great with just about anything – and they’ll keep those little tootsies warm, too.

(Did I just say “little tootsies”?)

(Apparently I am now 95 years old.)

Owl Help You Keychain – It’s adorable. It’s functional. And it’s guaranteed to make its owner smile.

Nations Outfitters Simplicity Scarves – Okay. So technically this one isn’t under $20. It’s actually $20 on the nose. But WE’RE ONLY TALKING ABOUT A PENNY, PEOPLE. This scarf’s length makes it super versatile, and the colors are basic enough that they’ll go with anything and everything.

Gussy Sews Headband – They’re sassy, colorful, handmade and ruffle-y. What’s not to love?

– – Grown-ups put crackle finishes on tables. Teenage girls like to put a crackle finish on their nails. I can’t pretend to understand, but I will support their crackle vision.

Jeremiah 29:11 Bible Verse Hand-drawn Art – This print + a simple frame from World Market or Target = a keepsake that someone can keep forever.

Rubie Pebbles Woven Ring – Lots of girls enjoy a statement ring, and Ruche always has a great assortment at really reasonable prices.

iTunes Gift Card – The girls vow that this particular gift never gets old. And I am prone to agree with them.

Happy gift-giving, everybody!

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  1. Ok, I’m going to tease you and say that your title should be 20 Teen GIRL gifts for under $20 . :)

  2. Great list! I have a couple of teenage girls to buy for this year and this is going to be so very helpful!

  3. Terrie Cash says:

    Those young girls keep you young. I hang out with those odd years of middle school girls. They are quick to let me know if I am dressing to old looking. Thanks to them and my own teen, most people can’t believe how old I really am because I don’t dress like an old lady. BTW, I really am not old, but I will soon be 48. Forty-eight to a 13 yr old, is OLD!

  4. This is the part where I admit, at 28, I would love all of these things. And have some of them already. Including tights in some of the most outlandish colors ever. I will blame it on my job–I work on a university campus. Anyway, I just got my Erin Condren life planner and I am pretty sure it is calling out to me to get the matching notepads. Love the ideas!! And thanks for loving on high school girls. I am sure they appreciate it–I know I would have as a high school girl.

  5. Oh Yeah! I got my teenage niece the Opi Shatter polish and I am so glad it is on list approved by your girls!

  6. THANK YOU!!

    We have decided to pick older children off our local Angel Tree this year and while often their wish list is for gifts that their peers ask for (iPods, iPads, XBox, etc), this is a GREAT LIST. Better yet….it’s teenager approved!! :)

  7. I’m so glad you posted this. It gives me some good ideas. I hate to think I gave a teen girl a present she might not like. I love the Jeremiah 29:11 gift!!!! Might I just add, too, that the Neon Green Watch gave me flashbacks to my SWATCH Watch days, and oh how happy that made me! Who doesn’t love a cute watch!!!

  8. I have two teenage daughters and you pretty much can’t go wrong with anything Modcloth.

  9. This list is great… but how about for the teenage boys?! I am finding that to be tough.

  10. I’ve tried to embrace the neutral colors but my heart is stuck smack in the obnoxious colors of the 80s! I love anything loud and colorful, makes me happy!

  11. You should really try the crackle nail polish. You’ll be hooked! :)

  12. BooMama! This list was so great!
    At 27, I wouldn’t mind having most of these things :) You featured so many sites I’d never heard of with wonderful products!
    I even ordered those embroidered penguin books for my niece…she’s 2. I know…planning much? But they’re so precious!
    Thank you!

  13. Can I say how helpful and wonderful this list is? I am 29 and think several of these things would be great for my friends (and will help me finish my shopping). I had a teenage gift-recipient I was struggling with trying to come up with something “cool” for and now I have several ideas. Love the French Bull stuff! I think this list is very on target! Thanks!!

  14. Great ideas!!

  15. Great list! Any chance the girls have insights into teenage boy gifts??

  16. Dana Mitchell says:

    Wow! This list has really helped me out. Ordered the Erin Condren notepads for a has it all SIL. Got the Urban Outfitters arm sweaters for all my daughters friends(with free shipping!) LOVE your blog here in Mississippi (right down the road from MSU! GO DAWGS!)

  17. Gifts under $20 for teenage boys:

    sports sack (string bag)
    Axe products
    favorite candy
    fleece sweater
    boxers :)
    pajama bottoms
    razor & blades
    shower radio
    NFL team t shirt
    Gift cards:
    Dunkin Donuts
    Game Stop (video games)
    Barnes & Noble

  18. tia bennett says:

    Thanks for the links! I ordered the stationary, I hope it as beautiful as it looks online!

  19. My 11 year old niece asked for crackle and I had no clue what it was. Somehow my husband knew what it was. WHA??? anyway, we went on over to Ulta and hooked her up with some OPI Shatter along with some purple nail polish since I know kids these days are wearing crazy colors… Seriously I sound 95 now! :) I felt so out of it not knowing these trends…i’m only 30! Help!!

  20. Title should have been more specific that these gifts were for GIRLS not just teenagers. Some of us have boys…