20 Totally Cool Gifts for Teens Under $20

20 Totally Cool Gifts for Teens Under $20
Image: Amazon

20 Totally Cool Gifts for Teens Under $20

Some people think teens are tough to shop for, but we completely disagree. Wanna know why? Because teens love STUFF. What can we say, it's a pretty acquisitive age. When we were teenagers, we were basically little hoarders ourselves -- the stuff we had (and that our friends had) seemed like it was indicative of our whole personalities. It was as though we weren't really showing who we were unless we had the exact right object to show off that aspect of ourselves with. And while it's a good idea to combat some amount of consumerist glee in our kiddos, the holidays are a time to indulge a little bit, and give them the chance to own some things that feel like them this year. But a lot of the things teens want are expensive ... like, for instance, cars and clothes and beach weeks with their friends. It may feel like there just aren't any good teen gifts under $20, but it's not true we've put together a list of the most awesome and affordable gifts for teens and tweens that they'll actually love. 

Thinking about buying a teen something tasteful and practical? Honestly, we get the impulse to want to give a tween something he'll cherish forever, but really ... a teen isn't going to be interested. Instead, think about cool tween gifts under $20: We're talking fun items they actually want to own. They don't have to last forever, and they don't have to be wildly practical ... and to be honest, that's pretty great -- for the rest of their lives, they're going to have to think in terms of being as practical as possible, so it's good to give them this time to just be kids and go for stuff that's fun. 

We did a little sleuthing and found some great teen gifts under $20. We know there's not always a budget for the latest gaming system, a bike, all the stuff kids pretend they're going to die without ... but there can be room in the budget for something frivolous, personality driven, and fun, especially at the holidays. And for anyone shopping for younger kids as well, consider toys moms grew up with. They're so cool for kids -- and nostalgic for us. For those who want to get in on the hot trends of the year, take a look at 20 of the hottest holiday toys -- then preorder and avoid a headache.

Psst: If purchasing an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Romandle String Lights With Clips

    Romandle String Lights with Clips

    These cool string lights aren't just holiday lights, they're also clips for hanging up memorabilia. They're beloved by teens for showcasing reminders of their great moments with friends. While we may think they're super into a digital lifestyle, teens are also still sentimental, and love these cool light-up clips. 

    Romandle String Lights with Clips ($12, Amazon)

  • Adjustable Initial Ring


    These adjustable initial rings are super cute and super affordable -- not to mention super chic. (A mom might have to pick one up for herself, too. No shame.) They're also available in uppercase or lowercase! 

    Adjustable Initial Ring ($8, BeadsLearnToRock/Etsy)

  • Glossier Balm Dotcom

    Glossier Balm Dotcom

    For any teens on the list who are even a little bit beauty-obsessed, Glossier products are all the rage with the cool teen set. Yes, this is a lot of money for a lip balm, but take it from us: There's nothing that feels worse for a teen than having the wrong kind, and nothing that makes them feel reassured like having the right kind. 

    Glossier Balm Dotcom ($20, Amazon)

  • 'Harry Potter Coloring Book'


    Coloring isn't just for little kids anymore! It's become a cool self-care technique that teens and adults can get into to calm anxiety. This Harry Potter Coloring Book features illustrations so enchanting, moms and dads might be tempted to pull out the colored pencils themselves. So try to have some restraint and give this one over to a teenager!

    Harry Potter Coloring Book ($11, Walmart)

  • Glow-in-the-Dark Micro Stars


    We all know kids love sticking stuff on their walls (and ceilings). Trust us, we've seen too many teen-inspired bedroom "collages." These glow-in-the-dark colorful twinkle stars are the perfect addition to any aspiring stargazer's bedroom. 

    Glow-in-the-Dark Micro Stars ($8, Walmart)

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  • Pizza Luv Keychain


    Keeping track of a kid's house key will be delicious with this Verameat Pizza Luv Keychain, which is colorful enough to stand out in even the most crowded backpack. This cool-looking pizza will totally pass the teen test. Grab a slice and give it as a gift with a new set of car keys (OK, we'll stop kidding now). 

    Pizza Luv Keychain ($16, VERAMEAT)

  • Emoji Minimergency Kit


    Speaking of gifts every mom will want to steal from her daughter, every purse -- and school locker -- should have an Emoji Minimergency Kit: It includes such travel-size essentials as hairspray, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, an emery board, lip balm, clear hair elastics, earring backs, double-sided tape, stain remover, a deodorant towelette, pain relievers, a tampon, breath freshener, dental floss, adhesive bandages, and even a sewing kit! 

    Emoji Minimergency Kit ($19, Pinch Provisions)

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  • Girls' Cartoon Animal Over-the-Knee Socks


    Not just a boring pair of socks, these cutesy critters are a whimsical compliment to any outfit. Perfect for the teen girl who is obsessed with all things cute, and a cozy way to make sure she stays warm in the winter. And even better -- a pack of eight is only $16! 

    Girls' Cartoon Animal Over-the-Knee Socks ($16, Amazon)

  • 'Star Wars' Cookie Cutter Set

    Star Wars Cookie Cutter Set

    This cookie cutter set is a great way to bond with a teen who loves the Star Wars series. Get them the set for the holidays, then plan a special movie night that involves an excellent movie marathon with popcorn and -- yup -- fresh, hot, Star Wars homemade cookies.  

    Star Wars Cookie Cutter Set ($13, Walmart)

  • Yutown Unicorn Onesie

    Yutown Adult Unicorn Pajamas Animal Costume Cosplay Onesie

    If there is one piece of advice I can offer, it's this: Get a teenager a onesie. Hilarious, practical, and they come in all sorts of animals and characters -- these things are solid gold. This unicorn onesie is particularly nice for any unicorn-loving teen, but there are plenty of other onesies in superheroes and animals, too. 

    Yutown Adult Unicorn Pajamas Animal Costume Cosplay Onesie ($17, Amazon)

  • Cat Ear Headphones


    Headphones really are the gift that keeps on giving, and these cat-ear headphones are simply adorable and come in multiple colors. Whether the teen is a fan of Josie on Riverdale or just keeping up with all the cutest trends, these are a great gift. They also come in bear ears, if grizzlies are more appealing. 

    Cat Ear Headphones ($16, Amazon)

  • Mini Basketball Hoop Set

    Mini Basketball Hoop Set

    This mini basketball net hoop is durable, sturdy, and perfect for a teenager's bedroom. Hang it on the door -- or for a super-smart mom move, place it directly over the laundry basket. This will absolutely triple the number of dirty socks that actually make it in the basket, not strewn all over their bedroom floor. 

    Mini Basketball Hoop Set ($10, Amazon)

  • Touch Screen-Friendly Knit Gloves

    Touch Screen-Friendly Knit Gloves

    This is a gift for both mom and teen: The teens still get to play with their phones all winter long, while mom isn't completely freaked out about their kids running around without gloves because their phone matters more to them. Total win/win, and inexpensive, to boot. 

    Touch Screen-Friendly Knit Gloves ($10, Amazon)

  • Auxiwa Clip-On Selfie Ring Light

    Auxiwa Clip on Selfie Ring Light

    For any teen who is totally obsessed with looking excellent in selfies, this light is a perfect way to help her get her selfie game on point. It provides a soft illumination that isn't harsh at all -- which is precisely the way to make those selfies way better. 

    Auxiwa Clip on Selfie Ring Light ($14, Amazon)

  • Mini Comfort Food Avocado

    Mini Comfort Food Avocado

    Teens may be too old for traditional stuffed animals, but they absolutely love cool Squishables. Avocados are trendy as heck, and this counts more as "room decor" (that they can totally snuggle, because who is ever really too old for that) than it does as a traditional stuffed animal.

    Mini Comfort Food Avocado ($20, Amazon)

  • Locker Style Prism LED Light Decoration

    Locker Style Prism LED Light Decoration

    Dress up the inside of a teen's locker with this cool LED chandelier. Great for any teen with a little extra pizzazz and style, this chandelier is sure to garner all kinds of attention at school -- and yes, we mean the good kind. We like this tassel version, but there are gold ones, too (and locker rugs, for that matter). 

    Locker Style Prism LED Light Decoration ($17, Amazon)

  • 60 Premium Velvet Hair Scrunchies

    60 Pcs Premium Velvet Hair Scrunchies

    We can't claim to pretend to know how or why, but the fact of the matter is that scrunchies are back -- and they are extremely trendy with the teens these days. Basically, anything that was cool in the '90s is cool with them, so this pack of 60, yes, as in sixty scrunchies for under $10 will make any mom a total hero.

    60 Pcs Premium Velvet Hair Scrunchies ($9, Amazon)

  • Stranger Things Men's Pom Beanie Cap Hat

    Stranger Things Mens Pom Beanie Cap Hat

    Got a teen who just loves Stranger Things? It seems like they're all obsessed with that show. Pick up a cool Stranger Things beanie and ensure the teen actually stay toasty this winter because she'll be wearing a warm hat that reps something she genuinely loves. 

    Stranger Things Men;s Pom Beanie Cap Hat ($17, Amazon)

  • FaceTory Soothe Me Tea Tree Sheet Mask for Acne-Prone Skin

    FaceTory Soothe Me Tea Tree 2-Step Sheet Mask with Tea Tree Oil for Acne Prone Skin (Pack of 10)

    For any teen who's gotten into the self-care movement -- and especially one who deals with breakouts on a regular basis -- face masks are a trendy, cool way to manage problem skin, and are seen as a way to take some time out from stress and studying, and give themselves a little treat. 

    FaceTory Soothe Me Tea Tree 2-Step Sheet Mask with Tea Tree Oil for Acne Prone Skin (Pack of 10) ($15, Amazon)

  • Luxtude myColors Portable Charger (Set of 2)

    Luxtude myColors Portable Charger (Set of 2)

    Got two teens to shop for? This the deal: Wrap up the black one for the kid who's going through the goth phase, and the pastel rainbow one for the kid who's basically Cher from Clueless. Or just give them both to a teen who manages to encompass both personalities, as most of the teens we know do. Plus, that way, at least one will be charged at all times. 

    Luxtude myColors Portable Charger (Set of 2) ($20, Amazon)

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