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December 23, 2009

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From geek to chic - perfect presents for every kind of teen

NOTHING says Christmas with teenagers quite like the eye-roll as they open their presents.

High school kids are a particularly difficult group to buy for, as their desires are often quite narrow and tied to their peer group. You're not just buying for them, but for their entire clique.

That "Twilight" edition Bella Swan doll (US$139.99 at FAO Schwarz) that might thrill your pop culturista will probably mortify your average environmental activist.

Here are some suggestions for negotiating this minefield:

Sci-fi geek:

"Star Wars" hoodie by Marc Ecko. The hood zips up in front to form a helmet such as those worn by X-wing pilots in the movies. You'll get a "Roger, Rogue Leader" for making this US$150 purchase at


On-The-Fold dress from Anthropologie, US$188, matching cardigan US$118. So tasteful you could eat them.

Male jock:

For the basketball player on your list, a new video "The Decade of Excellence" celebrates underdog favorite Gonzaga's amazing run of college basketball success. US$20 at

Female jock:

Fitflops, shoes that provide a workout for legs while walking. US$42 at Victoria's Secret.


Think globally but carry handbags made out of recycled candy wrappers, newspapers or subway maps. US$28 at Uncommon Goods.


Oakley sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player, US$51.99 at

Student leader:

Future Tracy Flicks can read Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue," US$14.50 at


Clocky, an alarm clock on wheels that will jump off the nightstand, drive away and keep ringing if the student does not get up right away. No more hitting the snooze button a dozen times. US$49.99 at Target.

Extreme athletes:

Tony Hawk RIDE, a motion-sensing skateboard deck for video games. Allows you to simulate shredding the mountain from your living room. US$119 at WalMart.


Subscription for a year of play on XBox Live, along with latest version of "Call of Duty" and headphones for directing your group's fire on all those Nazi zombies.


Tote bags that resemble a female torso, with "CHEER" written on the front, as if you couldn't already tell who the cheerleaders were. In various school colors, US$24.95 at


Gift certificate for professional headshots from local photo studio.


Italian cashmere sweater in Heather Twilight or Heather Waterfall from J. Crew, US$188.

Band geeks:

"The Beatles: Rock Band" will lend them some cool. Around US$49 at many places.


Complete set of Boy Scouts of America award coins for Eagles, Scoutmasters and Order of the Arrow brothers. US$14.25 at

Glee clubbers:

Hit the high notes with "Glee, the Music, Vol. 1," US$12.99 on iTunes, or "Glee, Season One," US$49.99 on iTunes.

Investment clubbers:

Invest in their morals with books about swindler Bernie Madoff, including Erin Arvedlund's "Too Good to Be True" and Jerry Oppenheimer's "Madoff With the Money."


Copy of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."


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