Need Meaningful, Sentimental Gift Idea for Son Turning 13 - Tampa,FL

Updated on July 12, 2011
A.B. asks from Tampa, FL
11 answers

Hello Mamas,
My son and I are very close. He will be turning 13 next week, and I do have a few gifts for him already. What I am looking for, and hope you all can help with, is I would like to do/make/create/give a gift that will be meaningful to him on an emotional level. Something he will treasure, that will signify his transition into 'teenhood'. This past summer he officially surpassed me in height, and has continued to grow up and up! He will be starting high school in the fall, so this is a period of great change. We are not the athletic or outdoorsy type, nor are we religious. We do LOVE to read, enjoy going to the library, enjoy music (although our tastes are very different!) and movies. I do not allow him to have video game system(s) at my house. We enjoy playing games together, cuddling with our dogs, goofing off and talking about anything and everything. I am so blessed to have him as my son and I want a way to show him that.
Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Well, I thank you all for your wonderful ideas! There are several I hope to create over the next few years.
He had been complaining that many of his friends had bank accounts and money in them, so I ended up going the practical route (despite my heart's desire to do something sentimental!). I opened him checking and savings accounts at my bank, and put a little seed money in each. Then we sat together at the dining room table and had a banking lesson (i.e. how to fill out a check, etc). Then I let him select and order his own checks. I think he felt very "grown-up" about the whole thing! Thanks again for the ideas and support.

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answers from Orlando on

I would suggest possibly making a video or having one made with photos and video clips of his life up to this point. You could put a little message at the end. Maybe he could even suggest some of the music for it... I've done these before as gifts for my husband, extended family, etc., and everyone usually really enjoys them. Not only do they bring back memories, but they also show you put some time and/or thought into the gift.

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answers from Chattanooga on

Sounds like you've already been giving him the best gift of all - your time and yourself! Maybe make it a day that he gets to pick what he'd like to do, with you and/or a good friend, is my immediate thought.. the next few years will be full of great change, big and small, so tangibly, a father passing on his shaving kit or a new one, or a mother letting her son shop for his own clothes, for example, can also be a gift of themselves as they're signs that they know how hard teen years can be so they're letting him start to take new steps towards being a man by learning to make his own choices (not saying you don't.. just an example!), learning new skills, and being more independent.

Having 5 of my own, from 19 to 1, your question has been something I've struggled with.. but I've learned that it's all based on your own individual child and what, to them, would mark this time in their life as a new chapter. My oldest son wasn't always interested in a thing i could give him but how I looked at him in our conversations, discipline, responsibilities, allowances, etc. from then on. And it doesn't have to be right at 13.. again, it's all unique to each child. Some still seem like they're 8 when they've turned 13 and aren't ready for anything to change. But again, the gift of your love, time and understanding (especially if they suddenly would rather share things with their friends than you), is the best you could ever give him.

Though I really love the book idea too! Adding some blank pages at the end or presenting the first book of memories with a second one, left blank to be filled with future memories and accomplishments of his teen years, will show that you miss and cherish the little boy he was and the memories you've made, but will also be cheering him on with pride and confidence as he grows to discover who he has yet to become! Though, by the sounds of how close you two are, he probably already knows that. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I remember as a teen being given a small photo book filled with pictures of me as a child and I loved it. Today, you could do something similar but more special given the technology that's available. What about a photo book (could create on with an online photo site) with a couple favorite pictures at each age and a comment about what you loved about him at that age (You had the cutest baby laugh! You drew the craziest drawings in preschool! etc.). It could be a book about him as a child, something he can look at now that he's a teenager and on the path to being an adult.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I love Michelle's answer & was going to post the exact same thing! I've recently gotten into reclaimed books where to take an old book & make a scrapbook out of it. Maybe choose one of his favorites as a child so it has meaning! Make sure to incorporate phrases within the book in your scrapbook to make it even more special!

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answers from Killeen on

My son is turnig 13 also and I'm trying to tink of something special also. My suggestion to you , since yall like to read together buy him a King James Bible and read it together. There is also a trivia game that you can find also to have more fun. If you do decide to do this be sure to sign his Bible inside and date it. That would be something very special and he would cherish it for the rest of his life. Have a Blessed Day!!!



answers from Athens on

if he earns money a nice wallet or money clip with his initials would be nice. I also like th idea of opening him his own account. maybe you could agree to match his savings by like 10 or 20 % every month. this would give him incentive to save. he will be wanting a car in just a few short years!



answers from Orlando on

Go to a local Paint your own pottery place - I have been to Cafe Kiln in Oldsmar and it is a great studio. You can go with him and spend quality time together - paint a dish for the dog, paint something for him and have him paint for you. OR for a more memorable piece - pick a plain box, tissue holder or platter and go without him - write words, quotes, memories, favorite books, favorite authors, dogs names, the top 13 things about your son and put them all over the piece and then give it to him for his birthday. We do a family platter each year and on the back we put the ages and favorite activities for each of our kids - it is fun to look back on and he will LOVE that you created it.
Their web site is
or find another one near you on the studio locator -



answers from Philadelphia on

Instead of doing a standard baby book, my son has a journal that I keep. All the same important stuff but it includes where we lived when, why we moved from here to there and things like that. My husband is really bad at stuff like that, so his contribution is a letter every year on his birthday.

Since your son enjoys reading, write him a letter. hand written, fancy paper and all. You could even give it to him in the great idea of a scrap book kind of thing. Just make sure the book isn't completed yet. He is on the doorstep to many exciting things he can continue to put in the book.
Keep us posted



answers from Boston on

Hmmm...Good question! For my daughter's 13th birthday, I made her a sterling charm bracelet that was chock full of sterling charms that were meaningful to her. It was fun to make and she loved getting it. I've also been collecting14k charms for a gold charm bracelet I'll give her when she graduates from college or turns 21...not sure yet.

I have 2 boys who'll be 13 in 1.5 yrs, so I'm anxious to hear what ideas you're given. Perhaps a very heavy, thick sterling men's ID bracelet with his initials? He would have this forever. A nice set of hardcover classic books or books you've enjoyed together? First editions that have been signed? His own laptop? A nice set of speakers for an iPod or a stereo system? Do they make stereo systems anymore? How about lessons for something he's been interested in, perhaps guitar? A special family trip in his honor? A savings account with some $$ in it that's designated for his first car and he can start contributing to it? An investment account so he can start learning about the stock market?

Hope these help spark some ideas. Again, looking forward to the other responses.



answers from Indianapolis on

My husband loves, loves, loves watches. He got a really nice one when we first started dating, and I gave him the equivalent of my engagement ring towards another when we got engaged. He plans to pass them along to our kids for special occasions (high school/college graduations, engagement, marriage, etc).

Perhaps, a nice watch with an engravement on the back that is timeless (no pun intended) that he can pass down to his kids one day or keep as a token of this time in his life with you.

Men are much less sentimental (on average) than women - at least that's the case in our house. So, I'd provide something that's not going to get lost in the mad rush of technological advances and will always be relevant.



answers from Tampa on

A memory book would be nice. My sister in law wrote a letter to her kids when they turned 13. They are both in their 30's now and still have them and cherish them.

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