Avoid waste and clutter with these low-waste gift ideas for teens that they will enjoy.
So many gift ideas for tweens and teens involve fast fashion, tech accessories and kitsch stuff that ends up as clutter. But there is a wide range of gift ideas perfect for teens that don’t cost the planet.
Low-Waste Gift Ideas For Teens and Tweens
Below is a whole range of low-waste gift ideas for teens to suit every budget.
For tweens and younger teens, there’s some cross-over with the gift ideas for kids ideas, so check that out for more ideas.
For older teens, there’s some cross-over with the adult gifts ideas.
Lessons and Classes. Does your teen or tween have a favourite hobby? Or one they want to try? Why not gift them a class. Ideas include art classes, woodworking lessons, photography lessons, music lessons and dance lessons. For older teens, consider gifting them driving lessons. For online classes that cover a wide variety of hobbies, check out Craftsy or for practical courses like coding, check out Udemy. All courses can be gifted.
Activities. Look around at your local area for activities your teen might like. Canoeing or kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, a pass to the rock climbing wall, archery lessons, high ropes adventure course, paintballing, go-cart racing, to name a few. Check out Groupon for local discounted adventure activities.
Field trips. Things like trips or tours to the museum, sleepover at the aquarium, a night at an observatory, a day at the local aqua park.
Events. Event tickets – either paid in full or a partial payment towards a ticket – is another low-waste option. Tickets to sporting events, theatre or live production, a concert ticket or a movie voucher.
Spa. High school students have a lot of study and stress. A massage or mani-pedi might be just the thing to help them unwind over the Christmas holidays. DIY it for a cheaper option. This is a great way to spend special time with your teenager.
Digital Subscriptions and Gift Cards
Avoid stuff with a digital gift or subscription. I have actually asked for a music subscription for myself! Great ideas for kids and adults as well as teenagers.
*You can buy gift cards for digital products like Google Play or Netflix at most major retailers or at Australia Post. Choice has a useful guide to buying gift cards and what to be aware of. Check to see if there is a digital gift certificate option to avoid the little piece of plastic!
Digital Books. Give the gift of reading without the clutter. Consider Kindle books (which you can read on any device, you don’t need a Kindle), a Kindle Unlimited Subscription, or an Audible book or subscription. Not sure what book to buy? Amazon now does gift certificates in Australia which can be used in their digital library.
Digital Movies. A Netflix gift card can be used to pay for an existing subscription or to begin a new subscription (which can be cancelled any time). Alternatively, you can get movies, and TV shows through Google Play with their gift certificates or the iTunes store with iTunes gift certificates.
Digital games. PlayStation, XBox and Nintendo all have gift cards available in most grocery and department stores and online. Depending on the games your recipient likes to play, they may appreciate a gift card from Steam or Blizzard.
Digital Magazines. You can read most magazines for free online through your local library. However, if you want to gift a mag subscription, you can do so through iSubscribe, Zinio (where you can also buy single issues super cheap) and Pocketmags.
Useful Low-Waste Gifts
Planner / Organiser. For the busy teen, to get into the habit of being organised. You can DIY a planner (there are heaps of ideas on YouTube) or purchase one from your local office supplies store. Alternatively, you could get a regular diary or calendar.
Corkboard. Corkboards are great for organising things, to use as a mood board or to just display photos and other memorabilia. Dress up a plain corkboard to turn it into a special gift with these ideas.
Water bottle. Save money on water and encourage plastic reduction with a reusable water bottle.
Coffee Cup. For tea, coffee or hot chocolate, encourage waste-free with a reusable coffee cup.
Bag. You can make your own bag as a gift (there are lots of tutorials here) or buy one. Bags are always useful!
Bed Quilt. Are you a quilter? A new bedspread in your teen’s favourite colours is a gift they will use for years.
Skin and Makeup. This natural lip gloss and cheek tint is super cute, comes in a metal tin and lasts for ages. Nourished Life also has a natural teen skincare pack and for the older teen, this bamboo vegan makeup brush set would be nice. For a natural mani-pedi, check out their natural neutrals nail polish set.
Ethical Accessories. DIY jewellery, vintage jewellery, handmade jewellery from your local market or ethically made jewellery all make great gifts for someone who loves accessories. If you know someone who likes to make their own jewellery, consider gifting kits or supplies. Hats, scarves and belts also make useful gifts for teens.
Books For Teens
Fiction books should always be based on the recipient’s interests. Non-fiction books, on the other hand, are a great way to broaden horizons. Some non-fiction book ideas for teens:
- Volunteer: A Traveller’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World
- The Daily Stoic Journal. The original book is also worth reading.
- Decomposition Book. A journal made from recycled materials. A fountain pen would go well with a journal.
- Evernote Moleskine. Easily upload your notes to the cloud.
- Do One Thing Everyday that Inspires You
- The Teenager’s Guide to Money
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
- Learning How to Learn for Kids and Teens
- Penny Chic – About saving money on clothes
- Do Hard Things – Written by teens for teens
There are lots of gift ideas for teens who don’t need more stuff. Avoid fast fashion and disposable kitsch stuff that you often find on other gift lists and get something low-waste that they’ll use and love.
For more gift ideas that might suit your teen, see also:
- Low-waste gift ideas for foodies
- Low-waste bath and beauty gift ideas
- Low-waste gift ideas for the outdoors person
To see all of the low-waste gift guides, check out the low-waste gift page.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.