10 Simple Gift Ideas For Teens In Foster Care

When I was in foster care I was lucky enough to live in group home where I was able to make a Christmas list. Our group home was good at finding donations to make it possible for us to receive some nice things. We also live in a community that is very giving with their donations for those less fortunate. I never really knew what to put on my gift list. I wasn’t used to asking people for things, not from my family and especially not from “strangers”. Since I hadn’t known my foster parents long, they didn’t know what to get me. It’s hard to buy for teenagers, especially teenagers you may not know too well. Here are 10 simple gift ideas for teens in foster care.

  • New clothes and shoes- A child in foster care doesn’t get much of a clothing allowance. Especially when you factor in sometimes needing higher priced items like shoes and coats. Getting clothing donations was great but I always hoped to get some new clothes for Christmas. It’s hard enough fitting in while in high school, especially as a foster kid so feeling good in some new clothes or shoes is a self-esteem boost.
  • Prepaid phone- nowadays everyone needs to stay in contact. Teens especially those in foster care need to get out into the world to figure things out but I recommend any teenager having a way of getting in contact with you at any time. A prepaid phone is a great way to keep that contact while also giving a little responsibility. Since it’s prepaid they can rack up a bill. Also since they have a “bill” there’s more incentive to maintain a job to keep it going.You can get a prepaid phone for as little as $20.
  • Book- An educational or inspirational book is always a great gift. As a teen in foster care, they may have to go out into a tough world and figure some things out. They will also face tough times mentally and work on discovering who they are. Sometimes a great book with a little insight can give a different perspective. I was given a book gift called “Wild At Heart” that I remember to this day. Also, educational books about life situation will get teens prepared for the real world. Books can be expensive and can sometimes be found cheaper on the internet.
  • Journal- A Journal is a great gift for teenagers in foster care. Writing is a great way of getting out emotions in safe way. There were many times when frustrated with my situation that I would write. With this, I was also able to look back on my experiences. There were many reminders of good things I had forgotten about or maybe taken for granted at the time. There were also tough times that when I looked back on gave me the strength to push forward during other obstacles.
  • A class or lesson- Going into the world I never really felt like I had a trade. Some people are tech savvy, others mechanically inclined, or maybe how to build something. If your foster kid is pretty good at or interested in a trade, you can get him classes or lessons to learn more. A hobby is therapeutic and can also earn some extra money when things get tight.
  • Gear from a favorite sports team- Sports fans with the favorite team usually love anything that has their team on it. It pretty much doesn’t even matter what it is. If you can find out your foster child’s favorite team check out the sports store or website.
  • Spa day, makeover, or nail certificate- For those with young women, a spa day, makeover, or getting a certificate to get their nails done are great gift ideas. Maybe she’s in need of a new hairstyle. Some young women have never had the chance to be pampered or do extra things like getting their nails done. What doesn’t girl like to be pampered?
  • A blanket- One of the most memorable gifts I received was a blanket. It was a gift that I used often and still have to this day. Blankets can always be used and can meet a real need. Blankets are something that you can also take with you. Hopefully, it’s a gift that can carry good memories with through their foster care journey.
  • Gift card- Many people don’t like to give gift card because they aren’t personal. At the same time, I’ve never known anyone that doesn’t like to receive money. There are gift card to different places such as restaurants, or to iTunes, and Google play stores if you know your teen has a preference. Gift cards are always a great fall back gift in any situation.
  • A simple toy- Sometimes we over think gift giving. Teenagers like to act adult like and not like kid stuff. Give a teenager a simple child’s game, a toy car set or one of those finger skateboards and bet they don’t play with it. They may not when they are sitting in front of everyone but I bet they will at some point, and love every minute of it. Teenagers, just like adults, sometimes want to relive those kid moments. some may have never had a chance to have them.

My favorite part of the holidays is giving gifts to others. It always feels good to give somebody a smile, let them know they were thought of, or even help them out. Gift giving for foster children doesn’t have to be complicated. Many are just thankful for a safe home and being thought of.

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6 Responses to 10 Simple Gift Ideas For Teens In Foster Care

  1. These are great suggestions! I love the blanket idea. I think a stuffed animal can be a good idea too! Someone gave me a teddy bear for Christmas when I was a teenager and living in a homeless shelter. I still have my teddy bear, and he has been with me everywhere! Especially back in those days when I was moving around so much, it was such a comfort to have this warm, friendly, familiar bear with me no matter where I was sleeping that night.

  2. admin admin says:

    I agree! Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Lu says:

    Thank you for mentioning the part about having a hard time asking for things. A lot of times teens in foster care don’t ask for what they want because they’re not used to getting things, I know for me I was so used to being Nobody’s Child that I still have a hard time when people ask me what I want for Christmas/My Birthday – “oh, you don’t have to get me anything…”

    Anyway, this is a great list! I know Christmas is long over, but I think this list could be helpful for birthdays as well.

  4. Jill says:

    What a good article and something I had never thought about. I read through and thought whatever could I get and then saw a list of suggestions which was good. I have taken note of the drop off point in my area and will leave some gifts where indicated. I’m not wealthy by any means, but I am very fortunate, and it’s something I can do to hopefully help make someone else’s Christmas a good one.

  5. Emma says:

    Thank you for the list of suggestions! I’m starting a project to help match people with birthday kids in foster care to make their day extra-special and these tips are a real help!

  6. My Homepage says:

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