Sweet 16 is a milestone birthday. In many ways, this birthday comes with more new freedoms than an 18th birthday does. So, how can you make your teenager's 16th birthday the one they'll remember? Here's a guide for gift givers that covers the small and heartfelt to the wildly extravagant, all of which can make this teenager's birthday the best ever.
The Gift of Memories
Sure, sweet 16 is often associated with expensive gifts, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes the best gifts are smaller, more nuanced, and don't fall into sweet 16 cliches. For a sentimental touch, compile a collection of photographs of the teen you know with friends and family. With social networks like Facebook and Instagram you can compile photographs your teen took while away at summer camp, at his or her first homecoming dance. Import online photographs for high-resolution prints with companies like Mailpix.com. Then organize the physical prints by chronology and display them in a photo album. While the teen you know may not fully understand what a photo album is, they'll surely beam as they flip through pages, reliving the years living up to that moment.
The Gift of Voice
Teens have a lot to say, even though they don't always speak up when pressed. Make it easier for the teen you know to explore their ideas with a custom-made, handcrafted journal. Websites like Etsy, a marketplace for individual craft sellers, has a vast selection of artisans that create and sell custom leather, fabric or paper bound journals for a reasonable price. Compliment this journal with a smooth and polished writing utensil, like a fountain pen. There is a niche for fountain pens at a variety of price points on Etsy.com.
The Gift of Responsibility
The adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility. If your teen has demonstrated a level of responsibility, perhaps, beyond their years, then the responsibility of owning an automobile may be appropriate. The Chevy Colorado is a compact pickup truck built for utilitarian use. The 2015 Motortrend Truck of the Year comes with a 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine, which packs considerable horsepower and enough torque for moderate hauling but still garners accolades for its relative fuel efficiency. A vehicle like this is perfect for the responsible teen with has a tight schedule and busy life. With the Colorado, they'll be on time to the big game, the dance or work.
The Gift of Exploration
If the teen you know is mature enough to own a car, why then they may even be mature enough for time away from their parents. A summer abroad is an extravagant and life-changing gift. Whether Europe, Asia, South America or the great Down Under, the experience of a new and different culture is an essential educational experience. Many programs immerse teens in the language and/or culture of the region they visit, provide excursions to historical landmarks, include entrance to famous museums and more. Programs like these for teens range from a few to several thousand dollars and typically last between a month or two. No matter where you send the teen you know, they will likely be a more worldly, more informed person after their adventures abroad.
No matter the gift you give the teen in your life on their sweet 16, whether memories, exploration or the responsibility of a new car, this birthday is a landmark in a young person's life. It is a moment of reflection of where they've been, and a look forward to where they may go and who they may become.
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