What Do 17-Year-Old Boys Like?

My little half-brother will be turning 17 in a couple of weeks, and I am stumped for birthday gift ideas. Teenagers are opinionated creatures anyway, plus my little brother (actually, he’s over 6’2" these days, so he’s not so little) has lived 800 miles away from me for his entire life, so I basically only see him a few days a year.

So what the heck should I get him for his birthday? He is majorly into hip-hop and soul, and currently wants to be a DJ when he grows up. Other than that, he’s a good kid, a bit on the shy side (though I suspect he has a hidden, majorly mischievous streak), is at the point where he’s not really into Harry Potter anymore, and is a huge Yankees fan. In most ways he’s entirely different than I was at that age (I was much geekier and more bookish, into sci-fi and fantasy and choral singing, and my friends that weren’t in the choir were on the math team and/or the chess team), so I’m somewhat at a loss.

Any ideas? (And no, I’m not buying him porn. I am fully aware that he would probably enjoy it, but it’s a little too Freudian, don’t you think? Plus my stepmom would rip my lungs out through my sternum.)


Oh, you mean for his birthday? Computer games? Always worked for me. Actually, it still works for me, and I’m now a 27-year-old boy.

Actually, come to think of it, I still like girls, too. Or, well, women, at any rate.

I have two teenage boys, and their favorite thing to get is gift cards from CompUsa or BestBuy and such. They’re both way into their computers. Impersonal though giftcards seem, they do come in handy with things like teenage boys.

What kind of a price range are we working with here? Two turntables and a mixer would be real nice to a budding DJ, but aren’t coming too cheap.

Well, that’s a lot more than we tend to spend on B-day gifts in our family. Plus he’s already got the turntables (don’t know about the mixer, though I could do some intel work with Dad). I did spring for a nice carved stone chess set for him once, back when he still thought chess was cool - I’m likely to spend more if I think the gift is something worthwhile rather than purely frivolous, though.

You won’t consider changing your mind about the porn thing?

I got my nephew a Leatherman multi-tool when he turned 17 to rave reviews.

Gift cards. That is an age which is hard to please. Give him a gift card and let him pick his own present.

As uneconomical as gift cards are I’d still recemend them for kids that age. If you give them cash you have no idea what habit you might be supporting.

If he’s into cars, a mechanics tool set would be awesome. That’s something he’d keep for years and years. I’m sure Sears is having big sales this time of the year for fathers’s day.

Or what the others have said… ya can’t lose with a gift card to Best Buy.

Whatever you get for him, don’t get him clothes.

How about an award winning, R-rated movie that happens to have fantastic sex scenes in it? (Stealth porn…how I love it, so. :smiley: )

A giftcard to Dusty Groove.com , pretty much the finest DJ store for records, esp. soul and hip hop, which you mentioned. They also have shirts, DJ accessories, and other stuff that he’ll probably be ga-ga about. Also: it’s in Chicago!

Peak Banana took my answer. I find computer games ( of the right genre and platform ) work well for most of my male friends. I’d at least scout that possibility.

  • Tamerlane

I have to say, I’m jealous of your nephew. Most 17 y.o.'s don’t realize how great these things are, but when I turned 18, I worked in a garage for a summer before college and I used the garages every day, hundreds of times. I moved to college and didn’t buy one yet but I regret it. Just last week, I had to tear my mower apart, and man, I coulda used one of those…

I second the nomination for gift cards, especially for BestBuy. I’d also nominate Amazon.com and iTunes. You can’t go wrong with them. I’d also recommend asking him what he wants. Everybody has a list of things that they want but don’t want to spend the money on, and most people I know are more than happy to share that list with you.

And don’t get him Yankees stuff. Even Jesus hates the Yankees. (That’s in Romans, IIRC :smiley: )

Is he yet a boy? Consider giving him a night out with a lady who can teach him about women; his future girlfriends will thank you. Otherwise, how about an Ipod?

Yeah, but note the 800 miles away bit - I’m in Chicago, but he’s in New York.

Movie theater passes. You can get them in various denominations. This gift is twofold. First, he can go to the show. Second, he can afford to bring a girl. You can buy them on line. I’ve given this gift to a number of people and they all loved it.

Subscription to Sports Illustrated? He’s probably into baseball or football or basketball, plus it comes with a free “junior porn” issue. :wink:

I’ve heard of a movie called ‘Showgirls’ which might suit…

No, seriously this is the business. Note the bit about bringing a girl. :cool: