Sixteen-year-old boys aren't kids anymore, but they're definitely not adults yet either. This can make gift giving a difficult endeavour. The key to a great gift for a boy this age is to understand both his maturity level and his interests. Teenagers almost always have hobbies like video games, skateboarding, music or movies. Consider what your teen does in his spare time for the best gift ideas, and when in doubt, ask! Your teen will more than likely supply you with a laundry list of things he wants.
iPod or Mp3 Player
These are trendy accessories, and lots of teens have them. If your 16-year-old is into music, an iPod or Mp3 player is the perfect gift. Because Mp3 players have been on the market for some time now and because Apple has released several high-end versions of the iPod, several older models have come down a lot in price. You'll want to make sure your teen has the computer equipment necessary for using the player you purchase.
Because of the rise in poularity of X-Games and alternative sports, a lot of teens are interested in these types of activities. You could buy your 16-year-old a new skateboard, a pass to a skate park, a BMX bike or some gear. Helmets, pads and logo apparel like hats, sweatshirts and shoes are all popular extreme sports accessories.
If your teen is interested in the Internet, social networking, writing or digital design, a laptop may be both fun and useful. It used to be that you had to drop a couple grand for a good laptop, but advances in technology have driven prices on average laptops way down. You can find a laptop with all the features your teen needs for a few hundred dollars if you shop for sales and deals.
Your 16-year-old probably already has a cell phone, but if he doesn't, consider ushering him into cell phone culture. You can either add him to your family plan or teach him to budget his cell phone usage with a prepaid plan. Smartphones are great for texting, which is a popular teen activity, and also grant access to Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other popular social networking sites.
Of course, 16 is the year many teens learn how to drive. If you can afford it and you think your teen is ready, a car is a spectacular birthday gift. It can also be a teaching tool. Gas money, car insurance and maintenance are good ways to motivate your teen to learn budgeting and expenses. If you can't afford a car, consider starting a matching fund where you will match your teen's savings dollar for dollar to help purchase a car. If that's not in your budget either, consider taking him to get his temporary permit as a special rite of passage activity and celebrate his birthday in other ways.