A birthday is a special time, an opportunity to gather together with friends and family, share food, exchange presents, and create memories. Some birthdays stand apart as significant, like the 18th. Although not all birthdays are equal, they can be equally difficult for the gift-giver. Some of us dread birthdays simply because we don’t know what to buy! Not to worry, because whether you want to play it safe or go for an out-of-the-box-gift, this helpful guide will have you on your way to the perfect present for those extra-special birthdays.
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The Ultimate 2017 Gift Guide For All Age Ranges & Interests
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- 1 Special Gift Ideas for 18th Birthday
- 2 21st Birthday Gift Ideas
- 3 Interesting Gift Ideas for the 30th Birthday
- 4 40th Birthday Gift Ideas
- 5 Unique 50th Birthday Gift Ideas
- 6 Out of the Box Gift Ideas for the 60th Birthday
- 7 Splendid 70th Birthday Gift Ideas
- 8 Heart Warming Gift Ideas for the 80th Birthday
Special Gift Ideas for 18th Birthday
Many cultures view the 18th birthday as a “coming of age experience,” the passage from childhood to adulthood. In the United States, an 18-year-old in is considered legally responsible for his/her actions and can vote in national elections. In addition, 18 is the drinking age in many countries across the globe. Most young adults graduate at age 18, soon to move out of their parents’ house for the first time. Many 18-year-olds are emotional and don’t really know what they want – so how do you know what to buy for them?
Many teenagers are crazy about music. Consider purchasing concert tickets, headphones, or an MP3 player. Speaking of electronics, if the teen in question likes video games, a new console or game is sure to please. Cameras (like the GoPro) and smart phones (like the iPhone) are incredibly popular with today’s youth. If your 18-year-old plays music or sports, consider a gift like a new guitar or bicycle. To be perfectly safe, you can just ask the teenager what he wants or present him with money.
For girls: jewelry, perfume, or a shopping spree is guaranteed to make her happy. For something out of the ordinary, throw her a sophisticated dinner party with her friends to make her feel like an adult.
For boys: teenage boys crave adrenaline. Buy him a day trip with his friends such as white-water rafting.
Teenagers spend lots of time with their significant others. In fact, this might be the first time they are called upon to purchase a gift for a romantic partner. The wrong gift can be a disaster!
For boyfriend: A romantic night out is always a winner. If you’re creative, you could make something yourself. For example, you can design boxers on cafepress.co.uk
For girlfriend: girls appreciate handmade items like mixed CDs and photo albums. Specific perfume or jewelry is a good idea (but make sure to ask first). For an experience, take her out to the place you met, a museum, a moonlit dinner on the beach – anything romantic. But don’t tell her where you’re going!
21st Birthday Gift Ideas
The 21st year was the original “coming of age” year. Although this milestone has since been changed to year 18, some families keep the old tradition alive by presenting the birthday boy/girl with a key. This comes from a time during which a young adult would be given the key to the family house upon reaching adulthood. It is believed the significance of the 21st birthday originated during the medieval ages. Twenty-one was the age at which a squire finally progressed to knighthood. During Elizabethan times, a man could ask a woman for her hand in marriage only after he reached the age of 21. In the United States, the 21st birthday is marked by the ability to legally purchase and drink alcohol.
The stereotypical thing to do on your 21st birthday is to go out drinking. Whether or not this applies to your friend/family member, they’ll still want to party – so give them something fun!
There are literally thousands of unique, alcohol-related items available for purchase online and in speciality stores. Examples include:
- Wine glasses
- Bar sets
- Shot glasses
- Drinking games
- Secret flasks
For best friend: Jennifer is turning 21. It’s typically up to her friends to take her out drinking for the night (remember to drink responsibly). Get a group together, blindfold her, and take her out for dinner and drinks. You could also create some sort of scavenger hunt. Her friends are probably low on money just like Jessica is, but creating a handmade gift like a silly poster or buying a few bottles of wine doesn’t cost much.
Not everyone wants to be drunk on his or her 21st birthday. Because many 21-year-olds are in college or living on their own, they may be struggling with finances. Gift cards are sometimes the best option. If you have the budget, help Jessica on her way to a new car, TV, laptop, or purchase a household item like a couch or end table. For a more mature gift, consider a nice watch for men or jewelry for women – something to make them feel classy. For a really unique gift, purchase a newspaper from the day on which Jessica was born.
From parents: if you’re not keen on taking your son or daughter out to the bar, a great idea is to give 21 small gifts. Include things like wine glasses, gift cards, and personalized items.
Most importantly, the 21st birthday should be an experience. The best gift isn’t something you unwrap, it’s something you remember.
Interesting Gift Ideas for the 30th Birthday
Just as 18 and 21 mark stages of adulthood, turning 30 marks the age at which you are considered an experienced, responsible adult fully able to make important decisions. Children and young adults will look to you for wisdom. Over 60% of 30-year-olds have been married/divorced and have had 7 jobs – they will have 2 more before retirement. Did you know that (according to the Bible) Saul became the first king of Israel at age 30? David then succeeded him as king when he turned 30. It’s a good idea to view your 30’s as a time to get back in shape, because you’re metabolism will slow down when you hit 40.
Dom and Sarah are turning 30! Friends and family members usually fall into 2 categories on this birthday. They either want to make the person feel old or remind him/her that 30 really isn’t that old – sometimes a little of both.
Books: From religion to comedy, there are loads of books out there about turning 30.
Household: because Dom and Sarah have hopefully settled down by now, purchase a fancy household item like a lamp, vase, statuette, or wine rack. Consider their tastes first!
An experience: Dom and Sarah have kids, so they don’t “get out” much. Throw them a 1930’s party to remind them how they spent their 20’s.
Personalized: buy Sarah a movie or CD from the year in which she was born to remind her just how old she is!
Have fun: buy Dom a board game that he can play with his friends during the party.
For the kids: buy a shirt for Dom’s son that says “Daddy is 30.”
From parents: present Sarah with a box of presents including things she liked growing up or things to remind her of her younger years. For example, include her favorite movies and candy as a child. Mix in goggles to represent her years on the swim team or an item to remind her of her home state if she has moved away. Books, chocolate, and jewelry are always great items to include.
For wife: get her something she won’t buy for herself, like that vintage dress she found in a magazine and talked about for weeks or a pair of running shoes that are a little “too expensive.”
For husband: get him something he doesn’t want to shell out his own cash for, like a specific tool or something for his truck. Men like gifts they can use. Does he like to go camping? Buy him a new tent. Fishing? Get him a new tackle box. Is he techie? Get him the latest gadget like a watch that tracks his workouts.
Leave the kids at home: for both men and women, another great way to spend the 30th birthday is a romantic night out alone, without the kids. Rent a hotel room for the night, bring a few bottles of wine, and have fun!
40th Birthday Gift Ideas
The number 40 is incredibly significant in the Bible. This age ushers in a new era: middle age. The casual immaturity of your younger years may be gone, but you are not yet “old.” Many of those turning 40 start to focus on and enjoy the smaller things in life, taking joy in their surroundings. Perhaps this shift in appreciation stems from the fact that a 40-year-old is comfortable with her identity, no longer trying to establish herself in a job or relationship. Many believe that turning 40 marks the end of a “testing period.” Upon completion of this period, you are now free to look back and be proud of your accomplishments.
Rebecca and Peter are turning 40. A great idea for a 40-year-old is something she has always wanted to do but hasn’t yet done, like an air balloon trip. When you’ve had 40 birthdays, unwrapping presents isn’t quite what it used to be, but experiences make memories. If you’re going with a wrapped gift, purchase something Peter can use or wear.
Friends like to buy gag gifts to make fun of the person going “over the hill” like walking sticks or a balding kit. Some like to surprise the birthday person with a giant black and white cake in the front yard so all the neighbors will know his/her age. But use common sense, if Peter is easily offended, skip the gag gifts.
For him: by now you should be familiar with Peter’s dislikes, likes and hobbies. Guys like utilitarian gifts: consider a new grill, gadget, shaving set, or lawnmower. Depending on what he does during his free time, he might appreciate a new set of skis or a telescope. Is he always talking about doing something buy never does it? Take him on ad adventure like scuba diving.
For her: make her feel special by throwing a classy or surprise party with invitations, decorations, a cake, and her closest friends. Women like to be pampered. Get her a spa trip or splurge on a massage chair. To be sweet, give her a “day off.” Make her breakfast in bed and do all the chores for the day. Another great gift for this birthday is jewelry containing her birthstone. A shopping spree will make her feel fresh in new clothing.
Romance: a romantic getaway is a pleaser for both men and women turning 40. Take a weekend away from work and the kids. Go somewhere where you can focus on each other. Consider activities like horseback riding, concerts, waltzing, and boat rides.
Unique 50th Birthday Gift Ideas
Did you know that 50 years was the average life expectancy for men and women at the beginning of the 20th century? Those lucky enough to live half a century still viewed 50 as the “end of the road.” As mankind’s life expectancy continues to lengthen, the significance of certain birthdays evolves. Today, we view 50 years as being close to retirement. Optimists consider the 50th birthday to be the halfway point in life. For some, turning 50 represents a new beginning. In addition, 50 is about the age at which your children will be moving out of the house. This presents you and your spouse with a great opportunity to focus on each other and “fall back in love.”
If you feel a mid-life crisis coming on, go ahead and indulge yourself. Buy that motorcycle or dye your hair red. If you’re turning 50 in 2017, you’re not the only one. For example, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first performance in the US on the Ed Sullivan show. Click here to see what else turns 50 this year.
George is turning 50. Although some pomp and circumstance is expected, consider George’s comfort level before plans are made. Fiftieth birthday parties are usually characterized by speeches. Many 50-year-olds say they don’t want to celebrate their birthday. There are several reasons why:
- They don’t like to be the center of attention
- They don’t want to advertise their age
- They don’t want to “make a fuss”
- They don’t want to waste everyone’s time
While it is important to consider George’s wishes, don’t overlook this important birthday. You can keep things simple while at the same time celebrating the accomplishment of living through 5 decades.
The 50th birthday should mainly be about spending time with loved ones. Showing up with a smile and a bottle of wine is much better than sending a fancy gift in the mail with a letter that says “sorry I missed the party!” With that in mind, trips and vacations are a great way to spend a 50th birthday.
Women turning 50 are often looking for adventure. If your wife is turning 50, consider taking her somewhere she’s never been. Spending the day out on a small excursion, like a wine and cheese tour is sure to make her happy. Jewelry and home décor (things she can wear/use) are usually appropriate. Think about what your wife likes to do. Is she retired? Does she need a new hobby? Consider gifts like sewing machines, athletic equipment, craft supplies, and cookbooks. Women this age often use a lot of beauty products. Get her a gift card, massage, or spa gift certificate if you don’t know exactly which products she likes (don’t be afraid to ask her friends for advice!).
Romance often dies down as we age, but why let it? If your husband is turning 50, show him a little extra romance. Do something in the bedroom that you haven’t done in awhile. Remind him why you fell in love with him and act like you’re both 25. Other great ideas for men include cruises, dinner parties, photo collages, and custom gifts (check out www.glasscards.biz).
Out of the Box Gift Ideas for the 60th Birthday
Turning 60 is a milestone birthday, especially for baby boomers. This birthday deserves a proper celebration! Although the 60th birthday means different things in different cultures, the western world views 60 as retirement age. It’s time to spend more time with your family, travel, start a hobby – the world is your oyster. In the East, the 60th birthday is celebrated as important because it marks the completion of 5 full cycles of the Chinese calendar. When you turn 60, the planets are in the same place they were when you were born.
Did you know that over 300 people turn 60 each hour? That’s a lot of birthday parties!
The 60th birthday is a family event and the 60-year-old’s children are usually responsible for throwing the party. The event can be based on sentiment, humor, nostalgia, or a combination. If your mother or father is turning 60, consider the following: have everyone at the party write down their favorite memory with the 60-year old, put them all in a container, and have him/her read the stories out loud.
Tom is turning 60. Gag gifts for 60th birthday parties include 6 bags of tea (6-tea), T-shirts, mugs, and the like. Similar to the 50th birthday, photo collages are also a great idea. Depending on Tom’s health, you could take him on an adventure like skydiving – something to mark the age of retirement, symbolize the beginning of a new chapter to life, and remind him that 60 isn’t the end of the road.
Men recommend the following ideas for women turning 60:
- Vacation (with a new camera)
- Sign her up for a class like gardening or crocheting
- Organize a photo shoot and then surprise her with a framed picture of all the children/grandchildren
- Customized jewelry like a Pandora bracelet
- Surprise camping trip with the family
Women recommend the following ideas for men turning 60:
- Decorate with 60 balloons
- Host a themed party based on the year in which he was born
- Surprise him with a framed list of 60 things you love about him
- Organize a “Sweet 60” party based on the idea of a “Sweet 16” party
- Organize a scavenger hunt with his present at the end (the whole family can be involved)
Splendid 70th Birthday Gift Ideas
“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength, labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” – Psalm 90:10
The previous is a well known quote from the Bible insinuating that our lives last 70 years. In the western world, the 70th birthday is also significant in regards to Social Security. You can technically begin to take advantage of Social Security at age 62, but some people like to wait. Did you know that each year you wait, your payouts increase 8%? Waiting until age 70 means that you will be receiving 132% more of what you would have if you had claimed benefits at age 62.
Turning 70 does not mean your life is over! Throughout history, great things have been accomplished by 70-year-olds, such as:
- Ben Franklin helped write the Constitution
- Winston Churchill led the UK to victory during WWII
- Golda Meir became Israel’s prime minister
- Helen Hayes won an Oscar (her second)
Keeping these achievements in mind, it is important to view the 70th birthday in a positive light.
Drew is turning 70. Buying gifts for senior citizens is never easy. At this age, it might seem like Drew has every item he could ever need. You want the gift to be meaningful, but you don’t want to clutter up their house with items they can’t use. The gift should really depend on the individual. For example, if Drew likes jazz, take him to a concert or buy him a CD. The concert will make a memory and the CD is something he can use. Let’s face it, most 70-year-olds have a lot of time on their hands. Consider Drew’s hobbies. If he likes a certain magazine or newspaper, purchase his subscription for the year. A subscription saves Drew money and is meaningful because it means you pay attention to his daily life. For mental stimulation, consider crosswords and puzzles.
When planning a party, think of games and activities the whole family can enjoy together. If Drew is in good health, consider taking a small trip to get him out of the house. For a woman turning 70, buy her a manicure, pedicure, facial, or something to make her feel young.
Heart Warming Gift Ideas for the 80th Birthday
Many 80-year-olds have accepted the fact they are close to the end of their lives while maintaining a positive attitude towards life, simply glad to be alive after they have seen friends and family members pass away from injury and disease. As marks of decay become apparent and the chance of serious health problems – like dementia – increases, it’s important to enjoy life. Many individuals start tying up lose ends and preparing for their death at age 80. For an optimistic viewpoint, check out this New York Times article about turning 80 in which the author describes the 80th year of life as “a time of leisure and freedom.”
Did you know that noodles symbolize longevity?
Agatha is turning 80. By the time you turn 80, the only thing you want to receive or collect will be memories. Although a handmade gift seems like a good idea, Agatha’s house is already full of similar gifts from past birthdays. Instead of a physical gift, what could you do for Agatha?
- If Agatha is in good health, take her on a plane. If there is a place that Agatha has always wanted to go, like the Grand Canyon, this is basically her last chance to do it.
- The New York Times sells puzzles featuring the front page of any newspaper since 1851. Buy Agatha the page from the day on which she were born and learn about the day as you put the puzzle together with her.
- Throw a party with a little twist. For example, tell everyone they must wear an ugly sweater.
- iPads and Kindles are easy to use (unlike computers). If the 80-year-old doesn’t have one of these yet and could use one, this would make a great gift. She can learn to FaceTime her relatives or carry her library in her purse.
- Everyone wants to look and feel her best – not matter what her age! No 80-year-old woman will be disappointed with a spa package.
- At Whitehouse.gov, you can order a birthday card signed by the US President.
- Consider gifts that may help alleviate pain caused from medical conditions, like a foot massager for a diabetic.
- If Agatha is in bad health or has a hard time remembering things, the best gift you can give her is your company. Take the time to visit. Don’t let her spend her birthday alone in a nursing home or assisted living community.