Your teens will love these great gift ideas that are small enough to fit in a normal Christmas stocking! Lots of unique and creative ideas including games, books, and more for tweens & teens.
Teens are notoriously the hardest age group to shop for, with their ever-changing tastes and trends that quickly go in and out of style.
Giving only money and gift cards is an easy option, but much less fun than having surprises to unwrap on Christmas morning.
From handy gadgets to make their lives easier, such as a wireless phone charger, to fun games and even some sweet snacks, we have included options on this list that are great for any teenager in your life.
Waterproof bluetooth shower speaker – These waterproof bluetooth-equipped speakers are a great way for your teen to take their music with them. Whether it is poolside or in the shower, this gift makes a great stocking stuffer for anyone but especially a teen who likes to listen to music everywhere.
Fidget pen – Not only a functional writing instrument, this fidget pen doubles as a magnetic fidget toy. Your teen can use their imagination to change it into a different shape every day.
Christmas Edition of Would You Rather – This game includes Christmas-related questions about decorations, presents and holiday foods. A great way to pass the time, players take turns asking the others to choose between 2 scenarios. The sillier the question, the sillier the answer! There's also Christmas Mad-Libs which would be fun.
Temporary tattoo markers – Your teens can design and draw their own tattoos using these temporary tattoo markers that come in 6 different colors to include red, blue, black, brown, yellow and purple cosmetic-grade ink. They wash off with simple soap and water when they're ready to start creating your next tattoo masterpiece.
True or False Trivia Game – In this True or False trivia game, a trivia fact is read out loud, and everyone must decide whether the fact is true or false. Topics range from sports to animals. If you answer wrong, you lose a token. The last person with a token is the winner.
Brain Teaser Travel Game – This neat little brain teaser travel game is pocket-sized and has 100 different logic and brain stretching puzzles that provide hours of entertainment for car or airplane rides or anytime your teen has to sit and wait. I haven't personally played this one, but it has over 6,100 5-star reviews on Amazon, so I'm giving it to my own teen this year. There is a riddles version, an illusions version, a word puzzle version, and about 20 other variations.
Socks for gamers – These awesome socks for gamers display a message of Do Not Disturb on one foot and I’m Gaming on the other. A great way to keep feet warm while immersed in a video game.
Rechargeable LED book light – This rechargeable LED book light is great for your teen who is an avid reader. With 80 hours of light, it simply attaches to the top of the book and is flexible to position to light your pages in 3 light modes with different levels of brightness.
Keyboard cleaning gel – This keyboard cleaning gel is a lifesaver for a teen who loves to snack while doing homework or gaming. Just stick this lemon-scented ball of gel to your keyboard and lift away dust and crumbs as you peel it off.
Fairy string lights with photo clips – A beautiful way for your teen to display their pictures and decorate their room, these fairy string lights with photo clips are a great gift. They're battery-operated, so they can hang them anywhere. Each string includes 50 lights and 50 transparent photo clips. My teen has two strings that she got the year she got her instant film camera. (See below)
Glow-in-the-dark silicone keychain case – This glow-in-the-dark silicone keychain case is a great way for your teen to keep their expensive AirPods safe. Each case can be used with either a wireless charger or through the hole in the bottom designed to fit your USB charger. They come in a variety of great colors and also come with a carabiner to connect them to purses or backpacks. Note that this case is not compatible with AirPods Pro. It doesn't glow in the dark, but here's a similar silicone case for AirPods Pro.
Personal safety alarm keychain – Help keep your teen safe while walking home from school, their job, or a friend’s house with this 130 decibel personal safety alarm keychain. Pull the pin to activate and it creates a loud sound to draw attention, causing an attacker to flee before help arrives. To deactivate, simply replace the pin.
FujiFilm Instax mini camera – Remember the old Polaroid cameras? Well, they're back! Receive your picture instantly with this great FujiFilm Instax mini camera. With a high-performance automatic flash to help ensure quality lighting, this camera also comes with selfie-mode for closeups. I got this for my teen a couple years ago, and she's loved it ever since! Also, get lots of film.
Thumb grips – Your gamer will love these thumbstick grips made for their Nintendo Switch controllers. Made from smooth silicone, just place them over the analog sticks to help prevent wear and tear on their thumbs.
Magnetic wireless charger – Your teen can use this magnetic wireless charger to charge their iPhone, AirPods or Apple Watch. It works fast, going from 0 to 100% in less than 3 hours. This charging pad reduces heat generation and will protect their devices from overcharging.
Christmas chapstick set – This set of holiday treat-inspired chapsticks is a great stocking stuffer. They're a tasty way to protect your teen's lips from the harsh winter weather and keep them smooth and soft.
Christmas-shaped marshmallow Peeps – No one is ever too old to enjoy sweet peeps. Your teen will love to munch on these Christmas-shaped marshmallow Peeps. This pack of 24 has 4 different shapes including a great-tasting gingerbread style.
Sneaker balls – If your teen has stinky shoes, then sneaker balls are the perfect stocking stuffer for them! Simply twist to activate the fresh scent, then drop them into the sneakers, gym back or locker to fight sweaty odors!
Mighty Patch – These hydrocolloid pimple patches are a great addition to your teen’s stocking. Vegan-friendly and never tested on animals, they just apply to your blemish at night time and remove in the morning to find a much smaller pimple with no popping. They're a great way to minimize scarring.
Kanoodle Genius 3-D Puzzle – I have given this hand-held 3-D puzzle to many teens over the years, including my own. With over 200 challenges, this game was made famous on TikTok and is a great stocking stuffer.
Skip-Bo is easily my younger teen's favorite game. We call her the Card Shark because she can beat anyone, anytime at SkipBo. The idea is very simple - you get a stack of cards in your stockpile, and you have to play them, one at a time, on four piles of sequential cards. It's fun and easy and great math practice.
Mille Bornes is a fun and easy card game where the first person to get 1,000 miles wins the game. This version is really nice because it comes in a tin. We like card games in tins better than the ones in boxes because they seem to last longer.
Blink is a super fast game where you have to match the color, shape, or count of the cards in your draw pile to play all your cards before your opponents.
Dutch Blitz is another fast-paced game where everyone plays at the same time, trying to get rid of a Blitz Pile to win the game. You play your cards using sequences of numbers, making it a great game for number recognition and math skills.
IQ Link is another spatial one-player game. There are Tetris-like pieces made up of circles, parts of circles, and balls. They fit together sort of, but only if you get them in just the right position, and the puzzle cards tell you which pieces to use for each round. This is also one in a series, so there are three or four variations to choose from.
Swish – There are a couple of game makers that we adore, and ThinkFun is one of them. (Gamewright and MindWare are two others.) Swish is made by ThinkFun, and that's the reason we gave it a try. It uses transparent cards that you stack on top of each other to make pairs. It's another spatial game that my teen loves.
Pass the Pigs is definitely in my top five favorite games. You roll these two little piggies like dice, and you get points based on how they land. You can keep rolling as long as you want and amassing points, unless you get the magic combination that negates all your points and sends you back to zero. It's great for mental math as you have to decide whether to keep going or not and you have to keep track of your points. We've purchased this game four times because it's small which makes it easily packable for camp, vacations, etc... and sometimes it doesn't make its way back home.
Quixx is a fast-paced dice game where players all play at the same time. One person rolls the dice, and all the others try to cross numbers off their score cards.
Farkle – We love Farkle, and we have a bunch of different versions. Basically, you roll six dice, and you have to get certain combinations of numbers to keep playing and amassing points. It's great for three-digit addition because the points are all big numbers. (Note: There are several different version of this game. The one I have linked is the only one that will fit in a stocking. The others are too big.)
Yahtzee – I used to play Yahtzee with Old Grandma for hours and hours on end. It's a dice game that requires strategy and good luck. This is one of my top five favorite games. (Note: There are several different version of this game. The one I have linked is the only one that will fit in a stocking. The others are too big.)
Binoculars – I got these binoculars for the girls and I when we were going to start a Wild Explorers program. We quickly lost interest in the program as my kids hate to hike, but we love our binoculars. They're great for birdwatching and stargazing.
Pocket compass – When I taught high school science, I taught a unit on orienteering, and I always thought it was super fun. I made courses for the kids where they had to use a compass to walk at a certain bearing for a certain distance, turn, and go on another distance, and eventually reach a winning destination. A teen who loves camping or hiking would love that kind of challenge!
Makey Makey – I got my teen a Makey Makey years ago after several years of shameless begging. The premise is simple - the Makey Makey is a controller that can change any conductive surface into a computer keyboard and mouse. You can use bananas, aluminum foil, PlayDoh, almost anything. It's a fun little gadget that Grace has used to play games and make music. If you get a Makey Makey, get the Evil Genius book that goes with it; it gives you lots of ideas for play.
Owl pellets are the coolest thing ever. Owls are predators; they generally eat rodents. The trouble is that owls can't digest fur and bones (like snakes can), so they have to cough those up and spit them out. Their stomachs form the fur and bones into pellets (bigger or smaller, depending on the size of the owl) which makes them very convenient for dissection by curious children and adults. When you dissect an owl pellet, you can figure out exactly what kind of rodent or bird the owl ate using a bone key. We've done this a number of times and always get super into it.
Nature Fluxx – Fluxx is an interesting card game with ever changing rules. You start out by picking up and playing one card, but then with every round, the rules change depending on the cards you pick up and play. Nature Fluxx is all about plants, animals, and elements, but there are dozens of other versions including chemistry, math, holiday, pirate, and fairy tales, plus the original one and many others.
Geodes. Need I say more? Okay, I will say more. Geodes are rocks with stuff inside, normally crystals but sometimes agate or another mineral. They are natural formations, not mad-made. We have gotten this box of geodes a couple of time with mostly good results. Once, all of our geodes were similar with white crystals, and the other time one of the geodes was a dud, plain old rock, but 19/20 were awesome, so we will continue to buy these as the kids have interest. If the box is too big for your stocking, take the geodes out and stick them in unwrapped.
Wreck This Journal – My teen had been asking for Wreck This Journal for a year before I finally gave it to her for her birthday. She loved it, and she really did wreck it. By the time she was finished, her journal was in two or three pieces. She used her own money to buy a second copy which she also wrecked. I found out not too long ago that there are more similar books from this author (see below for a couple of them), and she was ecstatic to learn about them.
Finish This Book is another book from Keri Smith who created Wreck This Journal. You get to write this book, but there are prompts and fill-in-the-blanks to help you along, and there's a training section full of codes and exercises to help you. I'm not doing it justice here; this is an awesome book that teens will LOVE.
The Imaginary World of ... is another book from Keri Smith. This one asks teens to create their own imaginary world, full of things they love. Grace is getting this one in her stocking this year.
The Pocket Scavenger is one more fun book from Keri Smith. It's about a scavenger hunt where you find interesting objects and then use them to make more interesting stories. Teens love these books because they're open-ended and adaptable but provide structure and organization to prop up even the most reluctant writers.
Bananagrams is a word game sort of like Scrabble, where you try to use all your letter tiles by placing them in a word grid on the table before the other players use all their tiles. It's fast-paced and fun.
Word-A-Round is a great game for teens. Each card has letters on it in a ring, and you have to guess the word without knowing where the word starts or ends.
Wordical – Another awesome game for older kids, Wordical uses dice to make words. Whoever comes up with the highest scoring word wins the round.
Last Letter – I got Last Letter for Grace last year for Christmas, and we think it's a lot of fun. You have to find a word from a picture that begins with the last letter of the last word played. So, if they last word was pyramid, the next word could be dog, and then the next word after that could be goat. It is a lot harder than it sounds, and we always end up laughing like hyenas at our mistakes.
Emkata is another great word game for tweens, teens, and adults. For this game, you get topic cards and have to make an acrostic, a series of words that relate to the original word. The example is CARROT, and the words are Cake, orAnge, gaRden, and so on. All the played words have to do with carrots. I haven't played this one yet, but I can't wait to try it.
Prismacolor chalk pastels – These are by far the best chalk pastels we've used. If you decide to get these, get some high quality black art paper and consider a subscription to ChalkPastels.com which is an amazing site full of tutorials, created by my friend Tricia and her Nana. It's really wonderful, so go check it out!
One Zentangle A Day – If you've never heard of Zentangle, you are in for a treat. It's a style of doodling in black and white (although you could color it when you were finished), and it's all contained on a square of cardstock. We've used cardboard coasters in the past, but these artist tiles are even better. There are lots of Zentangle books out there, and we have quite a few, but this one is our favorite. It's big, so you'll have to roll it up to put it in the stocking.
Set of watercolors – If you've never owned a high quality set of watercolor paints, you are going to love these. (And even if you have had nice watercolors, you'll still love these!) These will give you a level of vibrancy that it's impossible to achieve with the cheapo ones you get in the school supply aisle. Don't forget watercolor paper as it makes the finished work nicer and much more durable.
Set of sketch pads – We love our sketch pads! My teens are always making fashion designs or drawing pictures from Dungeons & Dragons. A high quality sketch pad is a must for any budding artist, especially when paired with the colored pencils above.
Metal kazoo – While I'm causing pain to your eardrums, I figured I'd throw in one of my teen's stocking stuffers this coming Christmas, a real metal kazoo. She's had a cheap plastic one for most of this year, and she plays it all. the. time. I know she's going to be ecstatic over the permanent model. No beginner's guide available for this one.
Left Right Center – Joe's dad introduced us to the LCR dice game which is often used for gambling, but really fun for kids and teens, too. It's interesting and all based on chance, so kids can play with adults without handicap.