What to get a Teen Guy for Christmas
You might be thinking this Christmas season, I have no idea what to get my son/nephew/friend/grandchild/brother/fellow student this Christmas. Teen guys… what do they like? What kind of things are they into? Or maybe you are just confused, because last year you bought your cousin/boyfriend?/young brother-in-law a shaving kit, and that cheerful light behind his eyes seemed to dim just a little bit, and then fizz out like a sad little Christmas candle on December 26.
Or perhaps you are thinking, well this is a handy post for a teen guy to be writing right before Christmas.
And I would say, Yes. Yes it is. :-)
I. A Book. What?! you might be saying. Guys don’t like books. Guys like football, and wrestling, and shooting stuff. (Hey – I’ll get to that.) WRONG. Guys haven’t found the right book yet. Because guys aren’t trying. Because of you, Mr. Guys Don’t Like Books! Hogwash. Teen guys are bombarded with messages of the necessity of mediocrity. (Not in those terms, mind you, but that’s the reality.) “Look good, (or at least be ripped,) enjoy football, coast through high school, and you’re set. WRONG AGAIN. We’re called to more than that. A good book is more than a story alone. A good book inspires greatness.
If your goal is a fantastic story, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling or the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien will do you. (Desolation of Smaug, anyone?) Great, lengthy “Good smashes evil” sort of stories. The Narnia books, by Mr. C.S. Lewis, are inspiring for me not only as a launch pad for my creative drive, but for my faith and the way I look at the world. If you’re looking for something that stands alone, try The Hobbit, by Tolkien again, or Where the Sidewalk Ends, a book of unusual short story poems by Shel Silverstein. (The Hobbit is my biggest literary inspiration to travel. Where the Sidewalk Ends just makes me grin.)
And, for thinkier gents, Lewis’ Screwtape Letter’s are at least as funny as they are eye-opening as they are truthful. (They are very truthful.) Also, John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart and the Harris brothers’ Do Hard Things made me want to climb mountains, and Pastor James MacDonald’s Ancient Wisdom (an in depth study of Proverbs) is one I read yearly.
(And you’re thinking, He wrote a post called “What to get a Teen Guy for Christmas” and started with “A Book”?! He’s being so obvious!
Well… Yes I am.)
II. A Weapon. No, I’m not joking. Some of the coolest gifts ever to come into our home were bows and arrows from our parents. They’ve provided us hours of fun, but also discipline, and pretty legit biceps for awhile there. (Alas, it is difficult to shoot arrows in sub-32 degree temps. The rippedness… has passed on.) And I can’t personally vouch for fencing, but it stinking looks cool, doesn’t it?! Furthermore, no guy I’ve ever known has ever turned down a good knife, “pocket” or no. They are just too handy as tools, and it feels pretty great to know you’ve got a means of defense on your person.
Plus, if we’re talking bows and arrows, it’s pretty cool to be able to kill something from 20 feet away. (Even if something is a big styrofoam block for now… and 20 feet is more like 18. Or 17ish… I’m working on that range, alright?) Although if you’re going to give a dude a weapon, make sure he recognizes that with great power comes great potential of wounding someone grievously. Er, responsibility. Just make sure they’re going to behave wisely with it? Maybe get them a book first…
III. Tix to an Event. Some of the best moments of my life have been at movies. I still remember the midnight showing of Starwars III. Dad woke me up a little after eleven. (To be honest, I wasn’t really awake until I was standing in front of our door in my jacket.) I rubbed my eyes, probably, like you see in the cartoons, and it was cool outside. “Dad… where are we going?” “We’re gonna see Starwars 3.” And then I was awake. :-D
Making stuff like that happen is a huge deal. Movies are great, but so are plays, or concerts. Guys love sports games, I hear. The truth is, making a memory is the focus here, however Hallmark that sounds. Facebook can be a fantastic indicator of what your dude likes. If he posts about the Lakers all the time, take him to a Lakers’ game. If he’s an action nut, for the sake of all that is good and holy, take him to the Hunger Games movie. If Spotify updates his feed as “Listening to Justin Bieber,” mock him openly before his male friends. Merry Christmas.
IV. Tix for a Plane. A couple of years ago, this wouldn’t have been on my mind. But I’ve taken a few pretty extraordinary plane rides in the last couple years. Yeah, it’s pricey. But if money can buy an adventure, I daresay it’s worth it. My life has been formed by four things, mainly: God, my family, words, and travel. Seeing the world changes who you are. It makes you look at people differently. (In an orphanage, that’s over your shoulder, seeing as the little ones like to climb on your back.) Send him out to see the world – and then change it. (Rocking the Hallmarkyness today. But it’s still true!)
Or better: Go with them. :-)
V. Glorious, fuzzy pajamas. I am dead serious. Underwear and plane colored socks? I’m sorry, but no. You have got to think big. You have got to think fuzzy.
I’d be honest in saying my idea of an ideal day would be sitting by a fireside with a good book whilst wearing a pair of fuzzy pj’s and sipping a warm beverage. (It would probably be snowing too, God, in case you want to throw one of these my way sometime soon. And Tenth Avenue North would be playing quietly in a nearby room… Right. Carry on.) No zip up onesies, as the very word implies wimpishness, and that kind of thing is to be avoided at all costs. But good, warm pants? Yeah. Yeah-heh-heh yeah. In fact, here’s the Yeah List, along with the NOs.
The Yeah List.
– Warm fuzzy pants, as expressed above. A good pair of pajamas is just dandy. And if there are images on those pj’s… just don’t go crazy, alright? Some subtle polar bears on the blue pajama pants: Yeah, man. But so help me, if JB makes a single buck on guy’s night wear…..
There will be blood.
– A good pair of slippers. Not as positive about this one, actually. Is it just me? Maybe. Whatever. If you want to get me slippers, I would not be opposed.
– A sweatshirt. Hooded ones, particularly, but any sweatshirt will do. Sweatshirts are divine. They are splendiferous. It’s probably the Minnesota in me talking, but I love them. A guy can rock a sweatershirt, and they’re comfortable. And if they make you look like a superhero, well… all the more awesome?
– Woolen socks. The thick kind. The kind that make you want to dance on a tile floor.
Yeah, I said it.
– Really, if it is comfortable and awesome and better than a close-combat weapon (Yes. I would take woolen socks over a dagger any day), I can’t turn you down.
– Underwear. Not only does the dude end up pulling undies out of a box in front of a potential crowd of spectators, but now you’re grinning at him like Isn’t that great? and he’s trying not to hurt your feelings like Hmm… underwear?! And underwear are awkward already. See? Now you feel awkward. Now I feel awkward. Don’t give the gift of awkward this Christmas.
– Plain socks, unless a need is EXPLICITLY EXPRESSED. They are just kind of… meh. At least for a teen guy. (I’m sure 20 years from now I’ll be looking back on this like, “Good grief I wrote that? Plain socks are the bomb.” But that’s the way things go, I suppose.)
– I guess just stick with logic. No salmon? (Stupid word for “orange/pink.”) Pink is NOT the new black? Lederhosen are out of bounds? (Man, let’s be honest: Lederhosen have always been out of bounds.) Go with your gut. Unless your gut stinks. Then go with everybody else’s gut. Unless those stink to. Just don’t get him lederhosen.
And a Bonus Suggestion. Don’t get him video games. Not taking up the “Video games are evil” chant here; they have their place. Get him a game, if you think he’ll think it’s awesome. But here’s my deal: It isn’t gonna change his life. Seriously. Except maybe he’ll spend a little more of it sitting down. A video game can be a cool thing, but please don’t just pile game discs under the tree. There is more to life then virtual reality, and though that can look cool and may cause immediate wails of joy (as perhaps underwear have never truly been able to achieve…), it won’t last. A screen is a screen: flat, colorful, and still.
So those are my 2 cents. Have I missed anything huge? What are you going to get your teen guy for Christmas this year?
p.s. Food is a good gift. Food is a great gift. Food. Mmm…. Yes.