Hey TeenWire,

My name is Catherine and I need your advice. My nephew’s birthday is coming up and I’m not sure what to get for him. I thought about getting a gift card to the mall but I want something a little more useful.

My brother (his dad) is a single dad and works late so I try to help out where I can. I thought that maybe taking some cooking classes with the kid would be useful so he could learn to make dinner for himself and eat a little better when he’s home alone after school. He’s 14. I don’t know if he’ll even want to do that or if he would just rather have a gift.

Is this a cool present that he’ll actually enjoy? Is it okay to try to give a practical/useful gift? I feel like learning a new skill for life will be great, and will help him in a lot of ways, but do people even still learn like this anymore? Or would he just watch YouTube videos if he wanted to learn to cook?


I get where you’re coming from. You want to give the gift of a cooking class for teens, but you’re not sure if a teenager would actually enjoy that. If you guys get along well enough, and I’m assuming you do if you’re looking for gift ideas for him and you’re in his life and looking out for him, then I think he’ll have fun at the class with you. Don’t present it as some kind of big learning experience or anything, it’s just a fun experience for both of you to share and the learning will come along on its own.

Maybe you could plan to go for dessert after the class too, grab some ice cream or something.

In any case, you’re sweet for wanting to make sure this is a great gift, and that alone tells me it will probably be well-received and a lot of fun. To take it a step further, you could also wrap up a few odd kitchen tools or things that may be useful for him, a recipe book, even some ingredients or a small gift card for groceries to help foster this – but if he’s not really into cooking – that’s okay, too. One way to find out!

Mat Woods
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Mat Woods

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