MOR Gift Guide 2016

When you think of the holiday season, you typically picture plenty of presents to receive and shopping to complete. But the worst part is when you start the process of purchasing gifts: what am I supposed to get my friends? My family? How much I am expected to spend? Should I ask them what they really want or should I surprise them with something of my choosing? And what what’s the deal with gift cards? After interviewing a handful 15-19 year-olds, I have concluding that it really is the thought that counts, and that gift cards can feel impersonal at times, but are also understandably practical. As more specific items, here are a few ideas:


Patty Andersen, 15 years old: Prefers gifts that she can use “right then and there” upon opening.

Potential gift ideas:

  • Lego’s, puzzles, more interactive items
  • She hopes to receive a punching bag so she can practice her hockey fights

Opinion on gift cards: “I have a lot of Barnes and Noble gift cards which is pretty cool, but like I said, I really like to get gifts that I can use right then and there. They’re basically giving you money, but if it’s to somewhere I don’t like, then I enjoy them.”


Lauren Quest, 16 years old: Lauren likes receiving gifts that contain a surplus of thought, and is not necessarily concerned about specific items. “I never think about what I want, but what other people want… I’m loving towards all gifts, but as long as it’s heartfelt and thoughtful.”

Potential gift ideas:

  • Small amounts of good quality clothing
  • More considerate items
  • Electronic gifts are appreciated: camera, new phone, laptop, or accessories

Opinion on gift cards: “They’re appropriate for someone you don’t know very well, like if you wanna give someone a book, but you don’t know what books they have, a gift card is a way of saying ‘here is your present, but you can pick it out’.”


Nick Knightly, 17 years old: Enjoys meaningful gifts, and monetary value doesn’t concern or drive his interests. “Give me something that I will use instead of something I won’t use.”

Potential gift ideas:

  • Ski pass
  • A camera, GoPro or Polaroid devices
  • Gas cards, money

Opinion on gift cards: “I think they’re fine, but sometimes you’d want something more sentimental depending on the person.”


Will Mauer, 18 years old: Will likes receiving fun items that don’t expire or become uninteresting, like equipment for outdoor activities.

Potential gift ideas:

  • Hiking boots & backpack
  • Socks
  • Money

Opinion on gift cards: “I like them because when I use them, it’s like free stuff for me. But money makes my bank account look bigger.”


Sam Geiger, 19 years old: Sam appreciates thoughtful gifts, but also likes to receive necessities.

  • Shoes, clothing
  • Meaningful material items

Opinion on gift cards: “I feel like the person didn’t put any real thought into it unless it’s a gift card for something I truly enjoy.”

Written by Jess Speechley