T’is the season for gift lists galore.
Gifts for the home cook or the movie buff or the traveler. Gifts for your best friend, gifts for your nephews and nieces, gifts for your parents.
This is a gift list for your teens.
Parents, you’re scratching your heads this Christmas, wondering about their wish lists, debating over video games and smartphones and Netflix subscriptions. Put aside your fears and worries. Here is a list of seven surefire gifts every rebelutionary teen would be blessed by.
1. Something to Read.
I believe very strongly that the perfect book is the perfect gift. And I have a few recommendations. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper is a classic clarion call to the teen who wants their life to matter. The Valley of Vision is a much older classic. It’s a collection of Puritan prayers edited by Arthur Bennett, and when I read it at 17, it changed my world. (Bonus: The bonded leather edition from Banner of Truth is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen.)
Here’s a fictional suggestion: Faerie Gold, edited by Kathryn Lindskoog and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker. It’s a book of not-so-well-known fairy tales that are written with power and beauty and share remarkably poignant lessons. It may not seem like the coolest or most relevant choice, but it is a good one. And since this is The Rebelution, I’d be remiss not to mention another classic, Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris. If your teen does not own this book, go to Amazon right now and buy it.
2. Something for Adventure.
Think hiking boots, a good backpack, a fancy water bottle, binoculars, a kayak, their favorite energy bar, a collection of travel stories. What will get your teen out exploring? You know them better than I do. What will inspire them, motivate them, and excite them? Think outside the box.
3. Something Creative.
Stoke the fires of creativity in your teen’s heart with this gift. There are so many choices – a Moleskin journal, a sketchbook, really good crayons, a camera, an apron, a cookbook, video editing software, a microphone, a fountain pen, an instrument, a scrapbook.
What will engage both their minds and their hearts? What do they love? How can you nurture and encourage their gifts and passions?
4. Something to Learn From.
Educational gifts don’t have to be boring. What does your teen love (or want) to learn about? How about a historical biography (like John Adams by David McCullough or Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas), a sewing kit, a science experiment, robotics, music lessons, art lessons, gift cards to museums or discovery centers, something instructive and/or DIY? What would be valuable for your teen to know – that they would also enjoy?
5. Something to Experience.
After books, these are my favorite gifts to receive: experiences. Get your teen tickets to the theater or the symphony or gift cards to new or unique restaurants, rock climbing or trampoline parks, river rafting, pottery-making, paintball, ice skating, sports events, high tea, or something they would love to do. Some of the most meaningful and memorable gifts aren’t stuff; they’re the treasures of lifelong memories.
6. Something Useful.
AKA, something practical. Get your teen wool socks or a suit or running shoes or a desk or a bedspread or headphones or quality shampoo or a Fit Bit. Get them something that will not thrill them but will be fantastically beneficial to them. It may turn out to be one of their most used gifts of all.
(That being said, if you only get your teen one gift, please don’t let it be this.)
7. Something Fun.
Get them something they really want, purely because they want it. Get them that video game or that movie or tickets to that concert. This might be obvious, but gifts are meant to delight the receiver, so choose something they really want.
A Season of Generosity
Christmas is such a wonderful time to teach your kids about gratitude and generosity. And I believe kindly, humbly, and intentionally giving them gifts glorifies God and exalts Jesus. This is the time of year when we reflect on the incarnation and the awesome grace and generosity of God in giving His Son. Use your gifts this year to celebrate that.