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What Kind of Gift Do I Buy a 21 Year Old?

Updated on February 13, 2013

21st Birthday Gift Ideas

When people are young, they often tend to focus on the next "big" birthday. Once you have finished high school, the next "special" birthday is usually your 21st. That is the point when society finally stops seeing you as a kid for the most part. A 21 year old can go out and visit a bar with friends without any worries as long as there are no laws being broken, but there are also a lot of other fun things you can do to help someone celebrate their 21st birthday. A giant birthday card like the one shown here is just the beginning of the fun!


Images courtesy of Amazon

Fun Gift Ideas for People Turning 21

Even though people are considered adults at 18, one's 21st birthday is usually the last hurdle to reaching adulthood, at least on paper. When you are searching out 21st birthday gift ideas, take into account that most young adults are starting to realize the responsibilities of leaving childhood behind by this point. If they are wise, they will have already decided on some particular road to follow, and they will be starting to focus on lifetime goals.  HOWEVER, they will still be more than happy to take part in a little bit of 21st birthday silliness!


21st Birthday Gifts Bookmark - Vintage Range


Top Shelf Happy 21st Birthday Wine Glass


21st birthday tiara


21st Birthday Gift - Twenty First Birthday Wish Bracelet


Personalized Flask and Funnel Gift Set


Beverly Turner Birthday Design - 21st Birthday Cupcake on Music Notes, Blue and Yellow - Coffee Gift Baskets - Coffee Gift Basket

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2013: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers [Paperback]
The fact is, most people at 21 are still very much in flux when it comes to knowing what they will be doing next. Sure, they'd love to have it figured out, but many are still feeling their way toward where they think they want to be. The best you, as a gift giver can hope for, is that they are leaving some clues about what they really do enjoy. There may be a temptation when dealing with a 21 year old who is unfocused to use a gift giving opportunity as a chance to provide guidance. While that may be appropriate for some young folks, I wouldn't expect to get a lot of thank you's for that type of gift. At least not for a few years. Someone turning 21 has probably been waiting for this last big "fun" birthday for a while. They will appreciate a gift that is fun. Now there are exceptions of course. If you are buying for a well focused 21 year old who knows just what they are doing, buy them what will help them and make them happy. I'm just saying that using this time to chide them for being unfocused will not have them appreciating your well intentioned dose of wisdom.  That said, a book like What Color Is Your Parachute might be a nice add on gift that will come in handy sooner or later!


Experience Gifts for 21 Year Olds

How about an adventure?

At 21 there is still a strong urge to be adventurous and try new things. This can be a great birthday to buy someone an adventure gift that involves some experience they have been dreaming of trying. Old people usually lose interest in these more "extreme" types of presents, but someone at this age may very well find great joy in being offered the opportunity to go out and do something wild like bungee jumping or parachuting. You will have to use your common sense though. If your 21 year old is more reserved they might just suggest that you go jump out of a plane instead! If you are looking for presents for men who are turning 21, look to see if they are passionate about one thing or another. Many young guys have a love of cars. If they have a special vehicle that they care about, perhaps you might want to consider getting them something like a custom detailing gift certificate. If you think they might enjoy it though, now is probably a good time to get them Experience Gifts

Because 21 year olds don't usually have a lot of money to work with, getting them something that is a bit on the expensive side will usually be appreciated. They are old enough to realize that you really outdid yourself, so most will not take such a gift for granted.

Gift Cards for 21 Year Olds

Sometimes simple is better

If all else fails, a great standby gift idea is a collection of gift cards for their favorite stuff.  These are some popular choices that will certainly be welcomed by any 21 year old!


Xbox 360 Live Subscription Gold Card


Amazon.com Gift Cards - In a Gift Box - Free One-Day Shipping


iTunes Gift Card Collection


Starbucks Card Collection


Nordstrom Gift Card Collection


Kohl's Gift Card Collection

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What would be your perfect 21st birthday gift?

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