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Best Gifts for Teen Girls (when you don’t know what to get)

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There are times when I just don’t know what to get a family member as a gift. It’s especially tough to know what to get my nieces when we’re stationed hundreds of miles away from them and they’re teenagers. I know I’m not alone in the what-to-get-your-teen-relative-for-a-gift dilemma. I like to include a handmade items with each gift I give my nieces and nephews to show them I care. This year I found the very best gift for teen girls (even when you don’t know what to get them) and I added an easy-to-make tote bag that I’ll use as the gift bag. 

gift with green bag and white polka dots on white wood table with pine bough

We’ve always been stationed far away from our family. As soon as the nieces and nephews hit the tween and teen years, gift giving became a big challenge for me since we don’t see each other very often. I want to score best-aunt-ever points by finding a gift they’ll love, but I’m also a busy mom of three and need to find the perfect gift quickly and easily. Anyone else with me in this boat?

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My teen nieces are really into music (are there any that aren’t?). A couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a stadium concert with my niece (and my daughters and sister-in-law) to see her favorite artist at the time.  After about 10 minutes, I craned my neck  looking around wondering who the girl was screaming non-stop for ten minutes. I looked and looked. Then I looked down the row of my family and realized it was my niece screaming at the top of her lungs for more than ten minutes. Yes, my nieces are big music fans. 

When I was running errands in CVS last week, I noticed the Coty Holiday Gifts Sets in the display at the entrance of the store. Bam! I spotted the Katy Perry Killer Queen Gift Set. My nieces are all big Katy Perry fans (are there any teen girls who aren’t?). There were also Beyonce and Vera Wang Holiday Gifts Sets so there’s something for everyone. 

top image - green and white polka dot fabric bag with red perfume box half in the bag
bottom image - green and white polka dot fabric bag with white running shoes half in the bag

I immediately knew that my gift giving dilemma was over. They’d both be thrilled with a Katy Perry fragrance holiday gift set and I could add a cute personalized tote bag to complete the gift. Whew. My own teen daughters use tote bags for everything; gym clothes, lunch bag, hair accessories, to carry items in their backpack, and much more. Using the tote bag as the gift bag for the holidays is a fun way to gift a memory. 

I’ve always made fabric gift bags for our family and it’s become a tradition. This year I decided to use festive fabric that’s not too Christmas-y so that my nieces can use the bags as tote bags the rest of the year. I am not a seamstress, so if I can sew this gift bag, anyone can. Really. 

Supplies

Fabric – I purchased my fabric in the remnant section to save money. Depending on the size of your box, you’ll need approximately 1/4 to 1/2 yard of fabric.

Ribbon – You can purchase a spool of ribbon for about $1 and should make drawstrings for approximately five bags. 

Large Button – Take a coupon with you to the craft store and purchase the largest flat button you can find. 

roll of red and white fabric, roll of green fabric with white polka dots, large round white button, roll of white ribbon, black marker and green marker on white table

Permanent Markers – Coordinate the colors to your fabric.

I laid the holiday gift set box out on my fabric to determine my measurements. You’ll want to cut the fabric 3/4 inches wider than the box. I folded the fabric so I only had to sew seams on the sides, but not on the bottom of the bag.  You’ll want the finished top of the bag to extend about four inches above the top of the box so you can gather it with a ribbon. 

If you purchase one of the Coty Holiday gift sets then you can use my measurements:

green fabric with white polka dots with red perfume box laying on top

My fabric was 43 inches wide. I cut the main body of the bag at 8 3/4 inches by the 45 inches of the fabric width. I also cut two side pieces that were 3 1/4 inches wide by 20 1/2 inches. 

green fabric with white polka dots inside out with red and white pins on edge

Pin and sew each side piece to the main body piece. Carefully turn on the bottom corners as you’re sewing.

My holiday gift set box was perfectly sized so I could use the selvage edge of the fabric to make the drawstring casing. If the top edge of your bag is not finished, simply turn about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch down and then follow these steps.

With the fabric bag inside out, fold the top down 1 inch and pin. Sew  about 1/4 inch from the edge to create a casing for the drawstring. 

Open a seam carefully between the two rows of stitching. 

Use a safety pin to thread the ribbon through the casing to create  your drawstring. I like to knot the ends together so they don’t pull out of the bag. 

collage of 4 images of how to sew drawstring pouch on green bag with white polka dots

Be sure to stitch about 1 inch on either side of the opening so that the stitching holds up to use. 

I wanted to personalize each tote bag to make them that much more special for my nieces. Adding a monogrammed button is a simple and cute way to personalize a tote bag.

collage of 3 images of steps to draw green and black outlined letter "J" white button

It’s easiest to hold the button while you’re working by leaving it on the packaging. Using a permanent marker, simply add the initial. Remove the button from the packaging and fill in the area that had been covered by the packaging. Sew the button by hand to the tote bag.

Best Gifts for Teen Girls

overhead view of gift with green bag and white polka dots with dog in Santa hat tag on white wood table with pine bough

The gift box slips perfectly into the tote bag. Adding a festive holiday ribbon and a cute repurposed Christmas card gift tag turns the fun tote bag into an adorable gift bag. 

I can’t wait to see my nieces’ faces since I’ve finally cracked the best gifts for teen girls (when you don’t know what to get) challenge. I’m counting those best-aunt-ever points now. 

gift with green bag and white polka dots on white wood table with pine bough

Be sure to check out these additional ideas for creative ways to gift a memory this year for everyone on your list. 

More gift ideas for children and teens:

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11 Comments

  1. Very cute idea, Susan. I would give this a try for sure. I’ve got a few small gifts that I’ve been wanting to put together in a bag but haven’t found one that would work. I’ll have a look at the fabric store!

  2. I love that your gift is two gifts in one! I know that teen girls are hard to shop for! Well that is when you have a budget šŸ™‚ Your nieces are going to love the Katy Perry Killer Queen Gift Set and the bag. Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks for the suggestions. I’m struggling for gift ideas for the 12 year old in my life! I love the gift bags, it’s two gifts in one!

  4. I love the bags! I may try them out over the next couple days. I have a 13 year old niece that I have been trying to figure out what to buy. Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. I know a 13 year old niece would be thrilled with a gift of fragrance and a cute bag (so would this older-than-13-years-old woman šŸ˜‰ )

  5. This is such a great idea. I love the fact that you can use the bag over and over again. It is like having two gifts in one!

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