A 17th birthday can be an exciting time in a maturing boy's life; it is the final year of his childhood before he is recognized as an official adult. Celebrate his birthday with gifts and a party that recognizes his maturing interests while still allowing him to have a little bit more time for some adolescent fun with his friends.
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For a 17-year-old who is fond of modern technology and gadgets, consider a new iPod for him to listen to his favorite music, a laptop or a hardware accessory for his existing computer, such as a USB drive. Other technology gift ideas include a cell phone, wireless speakers or, for a teen who drives, a GPS system for the car. For a video game lover, consider a new stationary or hand-held video game console or a new game for the console he already has. For teens fond of other types of games, consider a mini foosball or air hockey table. For a young man getting ready to head off to college, consider getting him some clothing, such as baseball caps or t-shirts, with the school's emblem or name.
Use the guest of honor's interests as a guide to the perfect party and have him help out with the planning. For an adventure-loving teenager, consider a whitewater rafting birthday party where the party group can spend the day traversing class III and IV rapids. Other adventure party ideas include a party at a high ropes adventure course and an overnight rustic camping trip. Host a birthday party at the beach and hire a surfer instructor to give the group some lessons. For a teen who loves his video games, host an arcade party at home, rent a movie screen and video game consoles and some classic arcade games and let the group battle it out through the party for the title of best gamer.
Make a birthday cake using the same theme as the party. For example, make a slab cake decorated to look like a river with a fondant raft for a whitewater rafting party. Make a multitier cake for a beach party and top the cake with a plastic surfer figurine. Cake decorators with some experience can make a cake in the shape of a video game console for an arcade party and decorate the cake with smooth fondant and a fondant controller. Other arcade-themed cakes include a cake decorated to look like his favorite video game character or a three-dimensional classic arcade game machine.
Instead of the traditional party favor bags, send the party group home with a single item to commemorate the day. For a whitewater rafting trip, offer trophies for a memorable keepsake of the event or a small digital photo frame with pictures from the day. Give the guests at a beach surfing party a pass for one or two more surfing lessons to continue improving their skills or a gift certificate to a surfing supplies store. For an overnight camping party, give each guest a personalized thermos with the date and birthday boy's name engraved on the thermos.