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16th Birthday Gifts By Marina Martin, eHow Contributor

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A 16th birthday is the highlight of many teenagers' lives; with just two years to go before officially becoming adults, 16-year-olds start enjoying their first real taste of freedom as they learn to drive cars, start staying out later with friends, and perhaps start dating. Finding the right gift for someone just on the cusp of adulthood may seem a bit challenging, but there are a number of gifts that most 16-year-olds will love.

  1. Car Accessories

    • If you know the teen will be in the market for a car soon, consider a gift that will help him personalize and take care of his new vehicle. Some possibilities include seat or steering wheel covers; CD holders; an emergency kit with a flashlight and jumper cables; a car seat for a pet; wax and chamois; a GPS; a trunk organizer; or a gift certificate for an oil change, car detailing, or tire rotation.

    Pre-Paid Debit Cards and Gift Cards

    • Many teens are active online shoppers, but they don't yet have their own credit cards, so they have to rely on asking their parents' permission or wait until they can hitch a ride to the mall and cross their fingers that coveted dress isn't already sold out in their size. The teen can use a pre-paid debit card with a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express logo on it anywhere that accepts these cards, including (and sometimes only) online, so your intended recipient can purchase whatever she likes, online or off--which can't be done with checks or cash.

      Many stores' gift cards can be used both online and in stores, so if you know your teen has a favorite store, a gift card can also be a thoughtful and useful gift. If you're not sure, ask her to send you a list of a few of her favorite places to shop or check with her parents. Remember, the more widely the teen can use the card (online and offline; throughout an entire mall vs. just one store), the better the gift.

      Many kiosks in grocery stores now sell pre-paid debit cards and gift cards to most major retailers, saving you from having to stop at each store individually.

    Video Games and Accessories

    • Many teens have at least one gaming system like the XBox or the Wii, each of which has a variety of games and accessories available. The Wii in particular has a number of individual accessories that work with certain games, ranging from rackets to steering wheels and guns. Check with the teen or his parents to see what Wii accessories he already has, and if you're purchasing a new accessory, make sure it works with a game the teen already has (or purchase the game, too).

      If you're unsure if you purchased the right thing, include a gift receipt so the teen can get a different game or remote and still think of it as coming from you.

    Beauty Items and Spa Services

    • Most 16-year-old girls love to be pampered, and there's no shortage of ways to enjoy her youthful beauty these days. Consider a gift certificate for two for a manicure/pedicure at a local salon, so she can bring along her best friend; facials and massages are also popular. If she likes doing her hair, consider a gift certificate for extensions or an up-do (which she could use for the prom).

      If you'd prefer to give a physical gift rather than a gift certificate, hit up your local department store counter for mud masks, moisturizers, eye liner and eye shadow. Choose colors that complement her eye color (see Resource 2). Avoid purchasing concealer, foundation, or other beauty items that need to be matched to her exact skin tone.

      Beauty sampler packs, sold by Sephora, Drugstore.com and other online retailers, give a girl the chance to experiment with many different brands and colors of shadow, lipstick, mascara, and even perfume and are a great alternative to buying just one or two full-sized items.

    Marina Martin

    Marina Martin is a business efficiency consultant based out of Seattle, helping low-tech businesses save time and money by adopting new technologies. In addition to consulting, she has a particular passion for creating how-to, educational and training materials.

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