On Teens, Christmas, Pride in my Daughter, and a Great CANADIAN Staples Giveaway

I have a bunch of things to share with you today, along with a cool giveaway.

First, as many of you long-time readers know, my oldest daughter left for university this year. So I’m a partial-empty-nester. She’s doing wonderfully, but it’s hard on the rest of us (especially her younger sister) because we really miss her.

In the midst of writing papers and making friends, though, she’s decided to start a blog. And her post last week was really good (and got a lot of traffic). She’s asking, “are we more concerned with appearing to be Christian that we forget to show Christ?” Go check it out (and leave her a comment to encourage her!).

Do we forget to show Christ?

See! There’s hope for teenagers yet.

Yet teens can pose a bit of a conundrum around this time of year because they’re awfully hard to buy Christmas presents for. One of the most popular posts on the blog right now (it’s my most pinned post ever!) is Stocking Stuffers for Your Husband. I guess people really want gift ideas. Kids are much easier (just get them toys!), but once a kid hits 11 or 12 gift giving becomes more complicated.

So when Staples approached me recently and asked me to write about things you can buy your teenagers (or other kids at heart), I was excited to do it. I thought it was time my teenagers get some equal treatment, and I was hoping that, while shopping, something would occur to me.

I actually spend a lot of time in Staples stores, because I buy a lot of office supplies. But one of the reasons I like stores like Staples at Christmas is because they tend to be stand alone stores, not in a mall. And you can’t even park in our mall parking lot right about now. It’s ridiculous. I hate malls in December, but big stores I can still usually handle.

So armed with the gift card they sent me, I decided to take my youngest daughter along so that I would have a teenage “expert” and ask, “what would teens like here?”

The first thing we saw was this gumball machine. The thought of it makes my jaw hurt, but Katie agreed: kids would like this.

Bubble Gum Machine

We found really cute organizers that any girl at least would want in a stocking:

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In fact, we found a whole lot of cute things that you could use to buy for a teen, often really inexpensively.

What to buy at Staples for Teenagers

Okay, the camera isn’t cheap. But cameras DO make a great gift (albeit not just a stocking stuffer), and they’re quite inexpensive now. The first digital camera I bought, back in 1999, was $1000. It’s hard to believe now.

Anyway, we actually decided against all that and got very practical instead. When Rebecca left for university we helped her select a new computer desk, chair, home office equipment, etc. But Katie really hadn’t gotten anything. And so while we were in Staples, she announced that what she could really use is a computer desk chair. Since we homeschool, she does all her work at her desk, all day. And she’s currently using an old dining room chair.

She tried about a bunch of chairs (checking them out for spinnability, of course).

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2013-11-30 12.56.48

And that’s what we settled on. I think getting something to make a teen’s home office more comfortable is a great idea for Christmas, because it’s something that will prove handy for years to come (she can take that chair with her when she goes to join her sister) and it’s something they can actually use now to make their lives better. It isn’t a fad they’ll use for a few weeks and then forget about.

Speaking of handy, one of the things that can make a huge difference in a home office setup is a quality router for your internet and wireless devices. I really need to buy one of these desperately, along with a wireless printer, because to print stuff out I have to cart my laptop upstairs, plug it in to the printer, and print, which is hassle. Katie’s even worse; her computer isn’t compatible with our printer, so she has to email a file to herself, then open her email on my computer and cart my computer up to the printer. So we’re looking at saving some money up so we can go totally wireless soon. I’m asking for a wireless printer for Christmas, and then a router like this will help the internet, and the printer, and even our Wii that hooks up to the internet, work much better.

Here’s a picture I took of one, but it’s so blurry. I seriously have issues taking pictures with iPhones. I guess I’m used to the built-in stabilizer in my camera!

2013-11-30 13.01.30

So here’s a better picture with description from the Staples website:

Wireless router from Staples

They have a whole bunch of different routers, but they’ll likely make your internet run faster, and help you hook up all your different devices.

Staples has generously offered to give away a FREE router (under $100) to any Canadian–so only Canadians can enter. You can choose any router up to $100 from this page.

I’ll be drawing for a winner on December 10, so enter now!

For those of you who aren’t Canadian, sorry you’re excluded from this one, but we Canadians often are excluded from most giveaways, so it’s nice to have one that’s just for us.

Now, be careful at those malls, and may your Christmas shopping go quickly and easily.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received the chair that we purchased for Katie for free from Staples. Thanks, Staples!


  1. This year I bought headphones for my oldest son to use with his ipod. He could use a speaker dock for it too. In the past I,ve given an e-reader, a multi charger cord for the van, portable DVD players and an extension card with ipod charger slot. This year my second oldest DS would love a wieless router for his xbox360.

  2. Kindle for reading books or watching movies
    Jennie recently posted…Day after Thanksgiving!!My Profile

  3. My kids are a decade away from the teenage years, but my niece is a year away, so I’ll be checking these comments for ideas.
    My go to gift these days for someone in their late teens and early twenties is a scarf and some earrings from Ten Thousand Villages. I feel good about the fair trade aspect, and the recipient likes the fact that their accessories are trendy but not identical to all the mall fodder.

    • I totally know what you mean, Colleen! When we’ve been to Kenya we’ve bought a ton of jewelry and coffees and teas and gorgeous wooden bowls back to sell (so we could raise money for the children’s home) and they’re so nice, but totally unique over here. People really respond well to them!

  4. earphones – my daughter goes through a dozen earbuds from the dollar store. Hopefully a good set would last.

  5. Gifts for teens are very hard. This is our first Christmas with a teen in the house, and it’s been hard to work out what to get him. It’s especially hard because as parents we limit the amount of time our kids are allowed to spend using electronics and the computer, so a lot of the “typical” teenage boy stuff is not going to work in our house. (we have no tv, no gaming system, and one laptop between the 6 of us!).
    I love the office supplies idea. I think I will be using that.

  6. I would buy my daughter a kindle, she loves to read and there are so many free books for us homeschoolers:)

  7. my hubby is a kid at heart for sure :) he dreams of a tablet, so that is what i would buy for him!

  8. My youngest is 16, and has built his own computer from parts, with his summer money. He loves to work on computers, and has also purchased two screens for himself…This year, he asked for a new desk. This blog post is timely! We usually give him a new flashdrive as he just isn’t all that interested in a laptop, but sometimes he needs to carry files back and forth. I think a wireless printer might be good for the guys too. Our man cave is all about computers, and programming/video gaming.

  9. I honestly have no idea right now. My oldest is 8, and that is hard enough! I think my daughter will love things like cameras, my son would like anything to do with gaming, and my youngest two, I have no idea yet!
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  10. I would buy a new lens for the teen with a DSLR camera 😉

  11. My daughter will be 13 Jan 2nd and I am clueless for her this Christmas. I asked her to be practical since we are cleaning husband donating things to those who have little to nothing. I am grateful that she know the value of helping others. She asked for cubbies for storage, school supplies, shoes, jeans that fit (she is a 12 in waist and 16 in length). She did as for the expensive things to. My 6 year old daughter wants usual toys, clothes, shoes, Nintendo ds (hers broke), barrier and monster high stuff. This year we are adopting a family who needs help. I am also helping a wonderful group called Lives of Promise who had adopted us last 2 years, with other families gifts and delivery. I guess I am paying it forward like I was raised. We are a military family and know how hard this time of year can be. Whether deployments, financial, Wounded Warrior families, Veterans etc. That one of my things I support and helping with those families means so much to me since we were helped last couple years. Lives of Promise is the amazing group who saved us and has so many idea that’s how I got mine for my girls. I hope everyone this season can help a family even if you are friends make it anonymous and fun. Practical is the best way to go for Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!

    God Bless,

    Website if interested….

  12. Sweet, thank you for this 😀

  13. The teens and preteens in my world love new headphones, cases for their ipods,and would love a new tablet.

  14. I’m thinking of getting my oldest a camera in a few years when he reaches that age.

  15. Ipod’s would be awesome as a big gift, or iTunes cards. :)

  16. Ipod is the hit around here. It comes with a camera and they can text.

  17. Kathy Knight says:

    Your daughter is so cute (and looks like you!) My 7 year old wants an ipod…too young I think!

    • I think so too! I’ve been holding off on that for years too, it’s hard when they’re the only ones in their classes without i pods and cell phones (my boys are 12 and 9) but they’re so un-necessary and such a time waste!

  18. would love to fill stockings with staples goodies.

  19. mongupp (@mongupp) says:

    My kids love tablets.

  20. i am thinking of buying my teen an ereader.

  21. Good ideas! My oldest is turning 12 next month and this year was easy since we have so far held off on getting him electronics so he is finally getting the tablet he has wanted for the last 3 years.

  22. cannadutch says:

    My kids already have an Ipod, so I would buy them Itunes gift cards, but no other electronics. They have enough.

  23. Jessie C. says:

    Probably an iPod

  24. These are some great ideas. We love Staples….both my youngest son, who is homeschooled and I. Lots of great stuff in it.

  25. My dad uses flash drives for work all the time, so I’ve bought him a couple of really cool ones that won’t be easily lost (for example, one that is just like a key and fits perfectly on his keychain).

  26. A great gift is earbuds for their phones.

  27. We have a cheap router that we bought a few years ago and it isn’t that great. It doesn’t make sense to pay good money for internet service when you have a crappy router!! I’d love to win a new, fast router to surprise my husband with for Christmas!

  28. jenn erin says:

    Kobo readers! It will encourage them to read more … and also, they are not as heavy as books so it makes it easier to carry around with them

  29. My teenage daughters love coloured pens so I always get some for their stockings. I usually take them shopping to see what they look at and then go back later on my own to buy it.

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