(ARA) - Shopping for the perfect gift for kids and teenagers can be tough. It's hard to know what they're going to like, especially without a "wish list" in hand as you head out to the stores.

Get ahead of the crowds and make sure you come home with a gift they are sure to love this holiday season using these simple tips.

* Don't make assumptions. Everyone on your list is unique, and just because your kids like something, doesn't mean your niece or nephew will. Talk with parents, look at their hobbies and listen for special interests. You can get a better idea of what they like by simply paying attention.

* Let them choose. Teens will tell you cash is the best gift. But if you want to be a little more personal in your gift, consider turning that cash into a gift card to a favorite store, to purchase music online, or for a hobby shop. If the teen has their driver's license, consider gifting a gas card. With a gift card, teens can select their own gifts and you can still claim ownership of the present. An added step would be to schedule a shopping date with the teen so the two of you can spend some time together, and they can pick out that perfect gift.

* Let them try before you buy. Video games are extremely popular gift items - 72 percent of American households have members playing games according to the Entertainment Software Association - but at $60 a piece, you want to be sure the title you buy is one they'll really like. Before spending all that cash, rent the game from a local Redbox kiosk for just $2 a night and let them try it first. A recent Redbox survey found that 72 percent of respondents wish gift recipients could test video games before adding them to their gift lists.

Reserve games in advance online at redbox.com or through your iPhone or Android-enabled device. If you don't have a gaming system, get together with friends or neighbors and organize a game night to preview several gift options at once. Not only will you please the teen on your list, but you'll make an informed and fun purchase.

And if you're still in need of an idea, just ask. More often than not, teenagers aren't looking for a surprise - they'd rather receive a really cool gift, even if they know it in advance. Open lines of communication will give you all the insight you need into becoming a gold-star gift giver this holiday season.Holiday gift-giving tips for the teen on your list
Category: Lifestyle