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21st birthday gift ideas for him and her

Looking for the perfect present for a 21st birthday? You've come to the right place.

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woman celebrating 21st birthday with friends

Whether you’re a parent, a relative or a friend to the birthday boy or girl, finding that perfect 21st birthday gift can be challenging. Although you could just buy the newly legal drinker a bottle of wine, we have some ideas to help you find a cool, memorable gift that’s sure to be a hit.

Top 21st birthday gifts

Looking for ideas for great gifts that anyone would love? Check out our top picks for versatile and unique 21st birthday gifts that will definitely make an impression.

'Idiom - Heart Of Gold' Bangle by Kate Spade
'Idiom - Heart Of Gold' Bangle by Kate Spade

Nordstrom

Inexpensive and cheap 21st birthday gifts

Sometimes you have to shop for a gift on a budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something great. Here are our favorite inexpensive gifts that won’t break the bank.

Gabba goods wine holder bluetooth shower speaker
Gabba goods wine holder bluetooth shower speaker

Urban Outfitters

For her: Best 21st birthday gifts for girls

Not sure what your girlfriend, daughter, sister or another lady in your life would like for her 21st birthday? We have a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Wine tasting. An experience gift is a great way to celebrate her new right to drink. If she doesn’t have a lot of extra spending money, she might not be able to afford a wine tasting on her own, so it’s the perfect gift to add a bit of luxury to life. Cloud9Living has wine tasting options in many areas of the US.
  2. Succulents. Add some life to the birthday girl’s dorm or apartment with a succulent. It’s not as much responsibility as a real plant, plus it’s cute and trendy.
  3. Wine of the month subscription. Yes, there are two wine related gifts on this list. If you want to give a great gift, try one that keeps on giving. Specifically one that keeps giving the birthday girl wine, every month.
  4. A growler. If you don’t know, growlers are glass or metal containers that can be filled with beer, cider, kombucha or another fizzy drink from a tap and taken home. Most cities have growler fill stations, making this a useful gift for the new 21 year old to discover her taste in alcohol.
  5. Big Bad-Ass Book of Shots. This is a fun drink recipe book that’s perfect for social girls who love to party and have a good time. It’s hip, practical and possibly educational.

For him: Best 21st birthday gifts for guys

  1. A personalized flask. This is a unique and classy gift that the birthday boy will always remember. Have it embossed with his initials to add an extra personal touch.
  2. Cuff links. For a more expensive and sentimental gift, cuff links will come in handy in the birthday boy’s blossoming adult life. This is a perfect gift for an older relative like a father or an uncle to purchase.
  3. Bottle opener key chain. For a simple gift, try an attractive key chain that doubles as a bottle opener. It’s nothing if not practical and you can have it personalized for an extra special touch.
  4. Concert tickets. People in their 20s love to go out but often can’t afford to. Sponsor the birthday boy’s next night out by getting him tickets to see his favorite artist.
  5. Proof: The Science of Booze. This alcohol-themed book makes a fun, interesting and educational 21st birthday gift. It’s sure to appeal to curious types.

How to choose the best 21st birthday gift

21 is a huge milestone and should not be treated like any other birthday. It’s the final transition into adulthood and all the privileges and responsibilities that it entails. You should try to make this day extra special by using these tips to buy a gift thoughtfully.

  • Questions to ask yourself:To start on your birthday present buying adventures, you’ll need to ask yourself what you know about the recipient. What are their interests? Think about what you two enjoy doing together, the memories you’ve shared, and the embarrassing moments, too. You know, the dirt. A 21st birthday party is nothing if it doesn’t celebrate the highs and lows, the talents and the (lovable) faults, of the one celebrating their birthday.
  • Don’t worry about price, worry about thoughtfulness:The best gift is one that reflects your friendship or relationship. Even an inexpensive gag gift can go a long way if it has some thought or sentimental value attached to it. Also, think about the kind of person they are. They might prefer something a little more decadent, or they might be the kind of person who doesn’t like physical gifts, but prefers experiences. This could mean the difference between buying them an expensive candle or buying them a scuba diving adventure.
  • Save money by going in on a group gift: If you’re on a budget, the best way to get a gift that’s worthy of a 21st birthday is by buying a group gift. Ask mutual friends who are attending the party if they’d like to chip in to buy something and see how many people you can get involved. In theory, the more people who opt in, the bigger and better the present you’ll be able to buy. If you’re not that close with the birthday boy or girl, this is a great way to skip the gifting decisions altogether as you can ask the person in the group who knows them best to choose the gift.
  • Whatever you decide…Remember, even if the invite says “no presents required”, it’s a nice gesture to bring something, even if it’s small. The best gifts are the thoughtful ones, so spare some time to consider your friend and your friendship before you start shopping.
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Top retailers to shop at for 21st birthday gifts

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