Trying to play Santa for anon 14yo boy
November 12, 2010 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Can you help flesh out this Xmas wish list? 14yo boy; "sports clothing, gift cards, books."

And that and a first name and 'men's size small/medium' is all I know. This is via a pick-a-name-off-the-community-tree thing.

My budget is very roughly $250 and every year I shoot for: a good spread -- lotsa loot, a pleasing pile-up; decent quality stuff, fearing as I do that kids ending up on this tree have probably had enough of things that break; things that could be brought to school, either to be useful (nice pens) or to boost status. Having grown up in the 1980s when even the brand of one's pencil case could affect one's social life I...yeah. It's not ideal but I don't want to pretend it doesn't exist. Usually I have a better idea of what to get but I am drawing some blanks this year.

The wish lists were written by a 3rd party and I don't know if "sports clothing" means "find a hoodie with an NHL logo," or "stuff I could wear to gym class."

One consideration: I am in a rural-ish area and this kid may not have easy transportation to anywhere, so I am not sure about buying passes to the local whatnot.

I would love to get him books; I do not know where to start. I would have scoffed, angrily, at "young adult" fiction at 14 and would rather avoid that. Perhaps there are reference books I should consider?

In a previous year I was advised that mini Sharpies were the bomb for the demographic I was buying for, and told this by so many parties that I was pleased to've asked around and confident in the value of my mini Sharpies stocking stuffer. I am (also) interested in your tips for good add-on whatnots for 14yo boys in 2010.
posted by kmennie to Shopping (7 answers total)
I'd go with gift certificates for books. He'll have fun picking out what he wants. If you want to add meaning, you can include a list of interesting-looking books and a descriptive sentence about each.
posted by wryly at 11:49 AM on November 12, 2010

Sports clothing, to my nephews, means anything that could be worn to gym class (but probably won't be). I commented on it at one point to my sister-in-law, and she said it was what is popular and cool and blends in, so she does what she can to help my (special needs, so don't always blend) nephews fit in.

They wear the modern version of sweat pants - the kind of shiny synthetic quick-dry baggy pants with a stripe or two down the side to school almost every day. Sweatshirts are popular, as are hoodies.

Books may have been thrown on because the other two were too few for a "list". But you might try adding a not-specifically-young-adult book or two. My nephew of the same age has enjoyed things like The Hitchhiker's Guide, and I remember a nice thread awhile back about books that had shaped people when they were younger that might help.

Good on you for doing this!
posted by ldthomps at 11:57 AM on November 12, 2010

For gift cards, you could try Old Navy - the clothes are inexpensive, youthful, and can be ordered online if you don't live near one.
posted by cecic at 12:36 PM on November 12, 2010

Zubaz in colors for your state team! They're comfy but so ugly... People wear them to games, etc. here all the time. They might be a funny addition to some nicer gift cards and books...
posted by ShadePlant at 1:35 PM on November 12, 2010

On the books front, I would buy the kid the first book to each of a few different series' (Hitch-Hiker's Guide, Dragonlance Chronicles, The Childe Cycle, Dragon Tattoo) and then also include a bookstore giftcard in an amount large enough that he can afford to fill out the rest of each series if he wants, or can instead opt to fill out just some or none, depending on if he likes the opening book.
posted by 256 at 1:44 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

For a book I would suggest My Side of the Mountain my all time favorite book and a perfect book for a teenage boy who loves the outdoors. For the clothes I would go with gift cards, who knows what the popular style is for kids in his school.
posted by lilkeith07 at 3:29 PM on November 12, 2010

Gift cards are a bad idea because if the retailer goes out of business or even declares bankruptcy, they won't be honored.

As a suggestion, I say this with all sincerity: Convict Conditioning. It's a book about exercise with next to no tools. It's also all bodyweight stuff (push-ups, pull-ups, etc). A lot of people are leery of letting kids as young as 14 lift weights because it may interfere with joint development & such. CC is old-school calisthenics, the kind that strongmen used to do before the invention of the plate-loaded barbell. And because it's growing stronger using the body's own weight, the weight lifted is never more than the body is designed to be able to handle.

I wish I had this book at 14. Would have kept me out of the gyms where I wasted so much of my time over the years. By the time he's 16 he can be doing full pull-ups. You wanna make the team or attract the girls, do pull-ups.

If he's into sports, this will be gold for him. Don't let title scare you off. It's not about celebrating criminality or prison life, it's about how to develop real-world strength, range of motion, and flexibility the way mother nature intended us to do that has been tested in extreme circumstances.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:31 PM on November 12, 2010

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