Buying gifts for teenagers can be frustrating and difficult when they're 16 or 17 and nearly grown up, but when they're 14 and female, it can be next to impossible. These girls are just beginning to discover their own identities, along with their likes and dislikes. Things that were fun two years before are now discarded without a second thought. There are some universal gifts that tend to always go over well. The most important thing, of course, is to know as much as you can about the intended recipient.
Teenage girls, in general, love music. More than that, they love musicians. From the Beatles to 'N Sync to the Jonas Brothers, bands of cute guys have always inspired love and devotion from teen girls.
Ask a parent what the band du jour is for their daughter, then search Google for whatever merchandise you can find. Don't get her a CD--chances are she already has it. But if you learn that the band is on tour and coming to your town, why not buy her a couple of tickets to the show? She can take a parent or, if she has permission, be dropped off with a friend. Otherwise, T-shirts and posters are almost always sure-fire hits.
Fourteen-year-old girls are on the verge of a lot of things that come with being a teenager, and a birthday is a great time to let them try out some more grown-up items. At this age, girls are actively trying to leave behind childish things, but they're not quite ready for car keys. Nice perfume or lotion can be a real treat--stay away from heavy scents and opt for a light, citrusy fragrance such as Clinique's Happy. Additionally, a purse in a bright colour is a great thought; try local vintage shops, as big-box stores tend to offer generic designs, and at 14 it's all about being an individual.
Stay away from clothes unless you're very sure of her size, and even if you know it, stick with shirts and sweaters as opposed to jeans and skirts. Accessories, however, are the perfect gift, whether it's a scarf to tie in her hair, a belt or some jewellery. Check with a parent before buying earrings, though, as some girls may not have pierced ears.
Days spent out on the town are also great gifts for a niece or younger cousin to whom you are close. Make sure to get mom's permission, though, before whisking her daughter away for an afternoon. Consider taking her to get a manicure/pedicure, or, if you have a slightly bigger budget, why not try a spa? She won't need a deep facial, but she might have a lot of fun trying a mud mask with cucumber slices over her eyes.
Finish out the day with dinner at a nice restaurant and make sure to take lots of pictures.