What do you buy a teenager for Christmas, beyond the usual extortionate must-have gadgets? Money seems to be the obvious one. My parents used to give me £50 to spend on clothes on Christmas Eve which I would then ruin at a party. I was happy, if a little green around the gills on Christmas Day.
But what about the ritual of unwrapping gifts around the tree? Seeing their little faces light up with joy? (As you can see, I suffer with a form of festive delusion where I confuse my human family with a John Lewis advert).
This is where my superpowers as a Spa Spy mum come in to play. Spa gifts have traditionally been the realm of mums, wives and aunts. But with the popularity of wellness among Gen Zs and the fact teenagers of a certain age care more about how they look and smell, I am pretty confident my spa gifts will go down a treat this year.
I have a 19-year-old girl, which is easy – she’s already a young Spa Spy in the making – and a 15-year-old boy, which is more of a challenge. But not impossible…
You know that teenage boy bedroom smell? Get him a reed diffuser to overwhelm the pungent odours and the entire family will thank you, even if he doesn’t at first. I’m going for Elemental Herbology’s Wood Rejuvenation Reed Diffuser (£32). It comes in a plain bottle, and the fragrance is ginger and lemongrass which is said to boost energy levels, too – an added bonus. Might even help his concentration when preparing for GCSEs.
I’d also throw in a shower gel. Washing needs to be a pleasurable experience, and some fragrances can be uplifting. Natural Spa Factory has a Yuzu Oil and Marjoram Bodywash (£12.50). My son is a bit of a Manga fan and by association, likes all things Japanese. This body wash is inspired by yuzuyu hot bathing, a Japanese custom that celebrates tōji the winter solstice. Yuzu is a citrus fruit that also acts as anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and has mood boosting and stress-relieving properties.
Breakouts are a fact of teenage life, and you can buy all sorts of cheap and cheerful zit zappers from the chemist. However, I think their tender young skin could do with a better start. Which is why I urge you to look at Dermalogica’s Clear Start collection. The Clearly Matte Kit (£26) has a Breakout Clearing Foam Wash, Breakout Clearing Booster to target breakouts, and Clearing Defence SP30 matte moisturiser to reduce shine.
Finally, I’d get him something I know he would love – a soft spa bathrobe for cosying up at home. We at GSG always plump for Towelsoft robes – their quality is so good that you will find them in many five bubble spas, and they are nice and plain. I’d get him a grey fleece Unisex Bathrobe (£33.90) maybe with his name (or favourite game) embroidered.
My daughter is into vegan and zero-waste packaging. I think she’ll love some of the Christmas gift sets from the artisan and natural skincare range Gaia. Handmade in Britain using high quality organic ingredients and essential oils (good for her sensitive, eczema-prone skin), each product and set also has 100% recyclable natural bamboo packaging.
I get her to follow our Eco Millennial blogger who is totally up-to-date with the latest vegan spa finds, and has some great gift ideas, too. I like her eco Christmas wrapping, which should impress your environmentally conscious offspring.
As my daughter has also inherited the family travelling gene, I’ve been checking out Christmas Gift deals on Travelzoo. It would be fun to surprise her with an underground cave trampolining experience in Snowdonia (in fact, I could get this for both of them), although she would just as much love a sophisticated city break, visiting art galleries, hanging around in cafes and visiting a European spa. I have signed up for their regular emails which give me lots of inspiration (and ideas for my own bucket list).
If you want to buy your over 18 teen a spa day with a friend, Bannatyne spas have some great deals if you have lucky enough to have one near you – a Spa and Share Deal is just £55 for 2 and includes a 25 minute treatment, although you will have to pay extra for lunch. Aqua Sana cost a little more, but you pay for the sheer scale of these spas, the enormous variety of experiences and facilities – which for a teen with a short attention span needs to be taken into consideration. My daughter is often gifted spa days with friends at Aqua Sana Elveden Forest and loves it – not surprisingly, it’s a five bubble spa! If your teen is under 16, look for our teen-friendly spa symbol on our spa listings.