Whether your teenager is a beauty queen or drama queen, a sporty gal or a food fanatic, you can surprise her with an adorable Christmas gift she'll love, and the cost won't have to come out of her college savings fund. While technological gadgets and gizmos are popular with the teen crowd, they are also expensive and impersonal gifts. Opt for something more personal this year and she'll treasure it long after the latest gadget has become old news.
Pamper your teen with adorable, homemade spa gifts that won't break the bank. You can make a jar full of neon bath salts from one part Epsom salt to three parts coarse sea salt. Add a few drops of your teen's favorite essential oil and a few drops of neon food coloring to make a bright splash. Multicolor body glitter is simple and inexpensive to make, too. Mix different colored polyester glitter into a jar of aloe vera gel and the gift is complete. You can also add a dash of essential oil to make scented body glitter. For a gift that is certain to elicit a little giggle, make your teen a sleeping mask from some scrap fabric and 1/4-inch elastic, and then use fabric glue to attach a giant pair of googly eyes to the mask. Other inexpensive spa gifts you can make at home include hand and body moisturizers, body scrubs and lip gloss. Place a few homemade gifts in a discount store basket, and attach a label that says, “A Day of Pampering at Home."
For Your Fashionista
If your teen's wardrobe is larger than every other family member's combined, encourage her passion for fashion with customized accessories. You can make a cute and stylish purse from an ordinary place mat. Just fold it in half, sew up the side seams and make the purse strap from a strand of crystal beads. Adorn the purse with a row of ribbon bows around the opening. If beach season is coming, embellish a pair of inexpensive flip flops with silk flowers or ribbon bows. You can help her sparkle any time of the year by embellishing ordinary hair clips with imitation gemstones or rhinestones, or make a stretchy headband from a strip of an old T-shirt and cover the band with the gemstones instead. If you're handy with an embroidery needle, you can personalize accessories, such as tote bags, sunhats or even a pair of leggings, with a heartfelt message that will make the gift even more special.
Find the way to your teen's heart through her stomach by whipping up some decadent, budget-friendly desserts. You can make a cookie bouquet from peppermint-flavored sugar cookies. Cut the cookie dough into large heart shapes and skewer them on wooden dowels. Spread colorful royal icing on the cookies when they cool and turn them into Valentine's hearts with sayings, such as, “Hugs & Kisses," “I Love You" and “Be Mine" written with icing markers when the royal icing hardens. If your teenager likes to bake, prepare a cookie mix in a jar and attach the recipe on a note card so your young baker can prepare her favorite cookies on her own. If she has more than one favorite, make her a sampler pack of her top picks. Separate the interior of a cheap gift box with cardboard strips and put a few of her favorite goodies in each section.
Movie or Music Fanatic
If your teenager just can't miss the newest film release, or spends most of her time with her music blaring, incorporate her love of movies or music into her next Christmas gift. You can make a compilation CD of her favorite music -- or a mix of her favorite performer's holiday music. Put together an at-home movie kit in a discount store popcorn bowl so she can enjoy a movie night at home with a friend over the holidays. Fill the bowl with two bags of microwaveable popcorn, candy bars, two small bottles of soda pop and a gift card to cover a movie rental. If you have any experience with photo editing software, surprise her with a movie poster unlike any other by incorporating your teen into a poster from her favorite flick. If you haven't yet mastered photo editing, you can pick up an iron-on transfer of her favorite actor or musician and transfer it onto a plain, white T-shirt.