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Last minute gifts for teens, kids
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Action figures and character-themed items are among the most popular Christmas - photo by Brooke Borba

For most parents and relatives, shopping for teenagers can be a nightmare. Especially if the gifts you are buying are a last minute endeavor.

Last minute shoppers are usually left with bare store fronts and the leftovers from the big sale days just before Christmas. Most stores offer sales on many clothing items in order to entice your interest and your wallet. Don’t tempt yourself.

Clothes should never be bought on a whim. If that teenager specifically asked for a certain brand of shoe, then consider the request. Otherwise, never shop for a teenage style.

For a stocking stuffer, make sure to give them something that they will use. These kids are on the verge of growing up, and soon destined to leave the home on dates, drive a car, and go to college.  So prepare them.

“Preparing kids for the world is important. They don’t know what they need until it’s not there,” said Target shopper Mary Hernandez.

For most boys at this age, shopping can be a real hassle. To introduce them to the adult world, it would be wise get them a shaving kit or electric shaver for their stocking. These items can be found at any location, and cost anywhere from $4 to $130.

Girls are relatively easier, and are anxious to grow up faster. Though most parents don’t like the idea of introducing make-up to a girl, body shimmers, or non chemical infused lip balm, are a sidestep around the problem. Buying hair curlers, straighteners, and hair accessories make them feel grown up without overdoing it.

Each of these items can be found anywhere from downtown Turlock’s Vintage Market to any CVS store, and usually range from $3 to $30.

“Teenagers are hard. Most people prefer to get them gift certificates. But anything technical works,” said Turlock Target employee Matthew Sanchez.

Teens are expected to be trusted as they grow older. Parents dread this, and often opt out on important gifts. If your child is on the verge of driving, one of the most important gifts may be found in a hardware store instead of an electronics store.

Many stores offer emergency car kits, which are good for your budget and your nerves. Providing a kit for a teenager is a smart investment, and cost roughly $10 to $20 at Target. Key-finders also cost as little as $5 to $10.

Other popular items for teens are also portable speakers for mp3 players and iPods, which cost anywhere from $5 to $10 at Target, and $15 to $500 at Radio Shack.

Technology items are a large investment, but also prepare your teenager for college. If they already have a large tech item like an iPad or iPhone, it would be wise to invest your money in accessories that will help them in the future.

Last minute tips for kids' gifts

There are few tricks to getting the child you are shopping for the perfect holiday present without too much effort for last minute shoppers.

Stuffers are generally easy to shop for, and should cost the least out of everything in your list. Candy is a great substitute for small presents.

As for larger gifts, remember to work their interests into your budget. Most shoppers need to understand the “needs” instead of “wants.”

While shopping at a local Target, Brandon Guth said, “It’s nice to get stuff you want, but then you forget about it after a while. It is the stuff you need that matters.”

Backpacks, pencils, bed sheets, and other necessary supplies are what they need, but not often what they want.

Be sure to always incorporate your giftee’s interests by tying in new pencils that look like the Avengers, or notepads with Dora’s face on the cover. This is a present they will use every day, and not one that will be broken or thrown away within two weeks.

Presents should be a mixture of handy items and fun tools. Children are individuals, and generally voice their opinions on what they would like to receive for Christmas.

Turlock Target executive team leader of hardlines Kyle McCandless said action figures, “Twilight” paraphernalia, and DVDs were the top selling gifts for kids.

“These things are always really popular. The kids love anything to do with their favorite characters,” he said.

Also looking outside the box for the perfect present is necessary. Go to stores that most people wouldn’t consider.

Recently, an anonymous shopper crowded at a local Toys R Us store stated, “This is ridiculous. I can’t believe how many people there are. We were lucky to get this one,” The woman said of the Mattel “Angry Birds in Space” game in her hand.

Many shoppers go directly to toy stores or the mall to buy children presents, which often taxes shoppers’ patience.

At a local Walgreens, the exact same game that was currently sold out at Toys R Us, was in the toy section and being sold at a dollar more. No one was in the store, and plenty lined the shelves.

Last-minute gifts are always a pain, but they don’t have to be if you think and shop outside the box. You may be surprised to find something better than you originally planned to give.


209 reporter