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5 Gifts for Teens

Here are some non-electronic ideas for the difficult-to-buy-for teens on your list.

1. Get a one-of-a-kind, personalized gift at . Pick out an article of clothing from the shop or bring in your own, and have your teen's name or other custom design put on in embroidery, screen print or even rhinestones. The shop also monograms towels and robes, embroiders Christmas stockings and prints custom T-shirts for groups. Get a customized hoodie, polo shirt or even a wall graphic emblazoned with your favorite logo. Owner Kathy MacMannis recently made up a life-size wall decal of a local teen athlete from a newspaper photo. Just walking in the store will get your creative juices flowing. Better hurry though, because Christmas orders must be placed by Dec. 12.

2. Wake Up! bags are handmade by Milford residents Kristen Kibbee and Lisa White. These fashion-forward versions of the popular drawstring backpacks are made in a variety of high-quality fabrics and include smart touches like decorative beads on the cords, and a port for your earbuds. The designs appeal to moms as well as their daughters, and each comes tagged with an inspiring message to help you "wake up and shine out." The bags are just $39 and are available at local craft fairs and by email at wakeupshineout@hotmail.com.

3. If your teen is an athlete, he or she will appreciate a gift certificate to work with the popular personal trainers at , Atheletic-Based Training. You can buy a gift certificate in any amount, but individual sessions cost $18 to $25, and monthly packages are available as well for developmental or performance training. Even one or two sessions will teach athletes the basics of proper running mechanics and agility.

4. Between sports and video games, many teens have forgotten the low-tech appeal of board games. has a wide range of games that will appeal to older kids and teens. In addition to the classics, the store carries an extensive collection of Munchkin games, a clever spoof of role-playing card games, with several add-ons like Zombie Munchkin, Munchkin: Impossible, and Munchkin Fu. With a motto of "Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddy," the ironic sense of humor in the game will appeal to teens. The store also stocks beautiful chess sets and an impressive comic book and manga collection.

5. But what if you go to the source? What do teens think the best gift is? Whatever they choose for themselves, of course! To quote my sage 16-year-old niece, "I know a gift card is supposed to be a bad gift, but it's what I really want." Can't argue with that! Gift cards from or are the best way to get the electronics they covet into their hands, and and with satisfy the fashionistas. Buying local is best, but the chain stores can sell you a gift card that your nephew in Ohio can use.

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