18 is a tough birthday to buy for: still childish enough to be demanding, but definitely old enough to know when you’ve got them a crap gift. Don’t worry, you’re not in this alone. Something on this list is sure to make their glazed eyes sparkle like one of Beyonce’s dresses.
Every birth is an incomprehensible miracle, and it’s a shame that we only allocate a single day to celebrate each one. Seems kind of lazy when you think about it. With Kindnotes, you can keep those good vibes coming for an entire month. Thirty-one little envelopes, each with a tiny note containing thoughts of inspiration, appreciation, and love. They’ll never get tired of opening these up every day and being reminded of how great they are. Choose from ready-made sets with messages already included, blank cards that you can fill in yourself, or Kindnotes will custom print your personalized set and jar.
Put away childish things, then seal them up into an air and water tight steel container, dig a hole deep into the ground and bury them under a sidewalk. Put a plaque nearby or something like that, wait 82 years, and then have their 100 year old self return to open an archive of their childhood. No big deal.
Social media is everywhere. It’s where we get our news, our gossip and how we stay in touch with friends. It also plays host to some of our best memories and golden moments. Pick your friend’s best 140 characters of the year, whether it’s hilarious or embarrassingly awful, and get it framed for them to remember forever. It’s even better than going viral.
Give them a chance to get some skin in the game with a gift of stock. The investment does not have to be large, as fractional shares of top companies can be bought and sold just like full shares, just enough to cultivate an interest in investing that will serve them well later on.
This is kind of an irresponsible gift to give to an 18 year old since it is traditionally a drinking game, but there’s no need to actually tell them that. There is also a lot of things an 18 year old has not had the chance to do yet. Bad or good, this gift might give them some ideas.
We wish someone had given us some of this advice when turning 18. We DEFINITELY could have used it, if you catch our drift. This is a collection of letters of advice from 12 acclaimed authors to their 18 year old selves that may just save the 18 year old you know from a serious mistake or two.
When you were a kid, your mom probably told you not to sit so close to the TV — at least, if you were born way back before parents gave up on that sort of thing. Well, here is the Oculus Go, designed to be the ultimate in sticking it to your parents. It’s also the perfect gift for someone who loves big screen movies but hates sitting next to other people. Pretty much the most immersive personal entertainment system available, designed for people who want to be in the movie, not just watch it.
When it’s time for an 18-year-old to make a decision, what you need is the illusion of choice with hard, non-negotiable parameters. Make them think they’re coming to their own conclusion, but set up the game so they can’t possibly go too far off the rails. This card game has it all. Fifty-two cards, just like a standard deck, all with time-tested real jobs to choose from. A hard dose of reality in a fun, pocket sized gift.
18 year-olds are legally adults, but take one to an amusement park and anyone can see they’re still kids at heart. This is a birthday present neither of you will forget as you ride rides or slide slides without a care in the world.
Lots of people have let a kid scratch off a lottery ticket, but kids can’t actually claim the money, of course. Celebrate the legal right to make dubious gambling decisions by giving them a selection of lottery tickets that probably won’t win. Or they just might! It could happen!
Money is a slippery commodity. Much like a wet fish, if you don’t handle it just right it’s bound to squirt out of your hands, never to be seen again. However, there’s a lot of solid advice available on this front. You just have to know where to look. The important thing is that you get this good advice in the hands of a new investor before they go monkeying around in the markets and end up with empty pockets and egg on their face. A beginner’s guide to investing from a credible source is a great way to start.
The Echo Look turns Alexa into their very own personal style assistant. The desktop camera connects with a smartphone and takes full body shots (and even short videos), allowing them to see what they look like from all angles. The Echo Look also uses machine learning to provide feedback based on body type and the recommendations of top designers. It’s like kidnapping a top fashion expert and tying them up in their bedroom, but way more ethical.
Instead of creating a game, a more cynical person would have made this a one-sentence book and that sentence would have been, “Everything important.” Thankfully, whoever made this wanted to be more specific and also make something fun to use, so they created this game full of weird trivia. A perfect gift for people who don't realize that they don’t actually know everything. This game is a great way to kick that door down and show them just how clueless they really are.
The Nintendo Switch combines the best of at-home entertainment with on-the-go gaming. Nintendo has always been at the forefront of portable gaming, going all the way back to the original Game Boy. But portability in gaming isn’t everything. Sure, it’s great for torturously long rides in the back of the minivan, but nobody wants to sit on the couch and play video games on a tiny portable device while there’s a ginormous flatscreen TV six feet away. The Switch’s dual capabilities solve this problem for good, going from handheld device to living-room gaming system in the blink of an eye.
This quite literally one-of-a-kind gift is an art quality print of a most personal nature: DNA. A simple cheek swab is sequenced and displayed as vibrantly colored bands on a dark background. No two are ever alike. Except maybe twins? Not sure. Also not sure how you’ll get that cheek swab, good luck on that.
Draft them into the Swiss Army on their 18th birthday by giving them a tool that will hold up and be used for the rest of their life. Find the one with the perfect mix of tools and size for them, and it will be a part of their life forever.
Every college freshman in the dorm will want to throw away their Starry Night posters when they get a load of this beauty. The Digital Art Museum can display that masterpiece plus thousands of other still and moving images. Cycle through with a swipe or the dedicated app. Turn a dorm room into the Lourve!
If ever there is a time in a person’s life when this would make sense as gift, the 18th birthday is it. This is a time when a person is perhaps moving out on their own (and thus needs a toaster), and still enjoys being a little ridiculous (taking selfies). Like, would you buy this for a 40 year-old? Exactly.
Do you know someone who needs a gentle reminder that basic hygiene is important? Money soap is a regular bar of soap with actual cash inside, and the best way to get to it is to get clean on a regular basis. They’ll think it’s just a clever way for you to give them money, and meanwhile you’ll have a happier nose.
Now that they are old enough to vote, it makes sense for them to know something about politics. Sure, you could pick a book that will indoctrinate them into your way of thinking, but maybe it would be better to give them a bipartisan perspective before they choose a side. This book does just that.
Eighteen is the age a person becomes an adult, so it seems fitting to collect all those old photographs and memories from childhood and package them into a beautiful custom-bound book. It’ll be the perfect gift to show that special someone someday.
This easily digestible handbook contains loads of tips and tricks designed to teach a new college student how to get the most out of the experience. It covers everything from saving money to doing well in class to living in a dorm. It also has over 30 pages dedicated to partying, which seems like a lot, but then again: college.
Our mothers used to tell us that our tastes would change when we get older as a way to get us to try those yucky vegetables, but when is that supposed to happen exactly? With mBerry Tablets, it can happen right on the 18th birthday. These tablets alter the taste of nearly everything, proving that mom was right after all.
It’s a fact: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) knows no bounds, and it doesn’t rest just because you want it to. Life goes on while you’re in the shower, moving forward at light speed, leaving you in its dust. Social media is a cruel world and it brakes for no one. But for every problem raised by technology, there is an elegant solution - and in this case that solution is a shower curtain. Who would have thought?
When you’re a kid, you assume that by the time you’ve reached your maximum height, everything will basically make sense and you’ll understand what to do next. In other words, you’ll be an adult. Unfortunately, the truth is a lot more complicated than that, because in the real world there are no guarantees that you’ll ever become an adult no matter how long you live. This book is a great way to introduce a naive soul into that sobering reality.
It’s like a magic pizza box that cooks fresh or frozen pizza right there on your counter. You open the box, put in the uncooked pizza, and mere minutes later you have a hot pizza ready to eat. But it isn’t magic, at all. It’s actually electric, and it is totally real. A great gift for those who are just beginning to collect the myriad of kitchen gadgets that will eventually sit idle in the back corners of their kitchen cupboards.
Concerts and sporting events have gotten pretty expensive lately. Too expensive, probably, for someone just turning 18 to be able to afford on their part-time, minimum wage job. That’s where you come in. Check to see if a favorite band, comedian, or sports team is playing soon and treat them to a pair of tix.
Make sure they realize that being an adult is serious business by gifting them this very serious Auto Survival Kit. This kit combines a standard roadside emergency kit with first aid supplies, then even throws in a tactical knife and spring loaded window breaker. They’ll be ready for everything from a flat tire to a zombie apocalypse.
18 year olds can be a little narcissistic. That’s normal, and it will probably pass. In the meantime, take advantage of this fact by giving the gift of these lovely Birth Month Flower earrings. They will love them no matter what when they learn the pair represents their birth month.
One day, perhaps, everyone will know their DNA profile from birth.A doctor will be able to tell everyone everything they might want or need to know about their genetics, and it will be boring. But for now, it is still exciting and unknown for most of us, which is why a 23 and Me genetic testing kit is such a fun 18th birthday gift.
If you know someone who likes the outdoors, but can’t seem to put down their phone, this 18th birthday gift ticks a lot of boxes: High tech? Check. Eco-friendly? Check. Charges a smartphone? Check. Can carry plenty of gear? Check. Doesn’t look too silly? Check(ish).
Only a complete tool gives an empty toolbox as a gift. We know you’re better than that, and you know it too. Enter the Loaded Toolbox — the prime companion of the jack of all trades. This is the classic entry level gift, the rite of passage into handyman or handywoman-hood. Life is a long journey full of creaky door hinges, rusty bolts, and other mechanical nuisances. Give them the tools they need — literally — to navigate this unforgiving landscape.
Someone who is turning 18 really just wants to go out and party with their friends. Tell them the night is on you, all expenses paid, and surprise the bejesus out of them when a stretch limo pulls up to whisk them away in style. Now is the perfect time for a gift like this, limos get less and less interesting as you get older.
Most 18 year olds haven’t really had the opportunity to travel much. Broaden their horizons by planning a trip together, or better yet, a trip for them and their friends (if you happen to be their parent). At this point in their lives they are ambitiously adventurous and eager to explore the world on their own. These experiences can be some of the most enriching of their lives, and a gift like this really puts everything else on this page to shame.
If the 18 year old in your life will be heading off to college, they will need all the standard critical equipment like a laptop, a cell phone, and of course, a dorm fridge. This will likely be their first ever kitchen appliance. It will get heavily used and abused, covered in stickers and gooey neglected spills, and eventually sold on Craigslist. The ritual is a rite of passage.
Go big or go home! This jumbo teddy will satisfy every sweet tooth this side of the Mississippi, and then some. Huggable, chewable nourishment for the kid in all of us, this colossal candy is the icing on everyone’s cake and the pinnacle of penny candy excess. Splurge on a gummy-licious gift that’s sure to please even the most discriminating sugar lovers.
If they don’t know how to do these things by now, chances are they’re too embarrassed to ask. How to change a tire? How to make scrambled eggs? How can any self-respecting person ask these questions and not be mocked? Give them this book on the sly, and you could save them from their hidden shame.
Let’s face it, they’re going to learn this stuff anyway. You may as well make sure they learn it right, and some of the things in this book are better not learned the hard way. For example, it may be best to beat that lie detector test the first time around. Plus, it’s a gift for you too – after all, who knows when you might need someone who knows how to crack a safe?
The world of responsible behavior is a whole new concept for someone who has just crossed the threshold from child to legal adult. This shirt may keep them out of trouble by explaining the internal struggle through a metaphor familiar to everyone. Many a fistfight, firing, or weekend in jail can be averted by simply explaining, in a few elegant words, what the hell is exactly wrong with them. The answer, of course, is nothing. They’re simply waiting for the adulting app to load inside their personal operating system.
We may have all played with a Magic 8 Ball when we were kids, but as we got older we realized that the real wisdom is found in fortune cookies. Create some custom messages for the birthday boy or girl so that they’ll always have the true answers to life’s toughest questions. Food for thought anyway.
18 year olds were born into a world full of magical techno gadgets like this. They probably don’t even realize most people grew up having to pour their own, completely ordinary, round pancakes. But those days are gone, and the robots will soon be taking over. Get them one now, while they are still loyal to humans.
At this point in their lives when the magic of childhood is slowly slipping away and the coldness of adult life is settling in, give them the chance to escape the inevitable approach of reality with a session in a sensory depravation tank. With all their senses blocked as they float in a pool of warm water, they will only have their thoughts to reflect on. This will either be therapeutic and relaxing, or completely terrifying.Either way it’s a memorable experience.
The ultimate guide to what you should have taught them already, with a title that communicates what you can’t bring yourself to say out loud. The world may be a nicer place than the one you grew up in, but it still can’t help punishing dumbasses. Help an 18 year old get it together.
18 year olds aren’t always wise when it comes to spending and saving money. Give them a $20 bill and it will vanish almost instantly, spent on pizza or video games or whatever else young whipper snappers do these days. However, if you give them money in the form of a handcrafted bouquet of paper flowers, they will be forced to really consider if it’s worth unfolding them all before spending willy-nilly.
A bean bag is a versatile and comfortable thing, for the young and flexible. For the middle-aged they can prove challenging to get out of. For a 40 year old, bags are not considered furniture, and one that is this size might swallow them whole. But it’s a perfect gift for an 18 year old who is leaving the nest and will need to furnish and apartment or dorm room. They fit anywhere and this monster can be used as a chair, sofa, and guest bed.
No matter how smart they are, or think they are, this book is sure to fill in some of the gaps. 500 gaps actually. They’ll be so well-rounded and informed that they’ll cruise through life with grace, knowing that when the time comes, they can perform CPR, dance the tango, and successfully fight off a shark.
Think fast: what did you get for your birthday two years ago? Chances are, if it was an object of some sort, you’ve already forgotten. Things break, things get lost, things get boring. But experiences change us, make us more complete, give us stories to tell. We remember them forever. Don’t give a thing. Give a memory.
If you’re looking for a truly one of a kind 18th birthday gift, you might consider commissioning a local artist to create a unique piece of jewelry. It will not only be cherished by the lucky recipient, but it’s also a gift to the starving artist, so it will mean a lot to everyone. Remember to plan in advance for this one, custom made artwork is not created overnight.
For many wide-eyed young adults, the future looks ripe with opportunity as they imagine the glorious journey they’ll have while turning all their dreams into realities. Of course we know, most of those dreams will not materialize and many enthusiastic attempts at success will end in miserable failure. As this enlightening book explains, this seemingly endless floundering is actually the typical path towards real prosperity. Most of the important lessons in life are learned through mistakes and failures, lessons that culminate at some point (even if through sheer brute force and stubborn determination) in eventual success.
Bookmarks are so passé. Dead are the days of page-turning paper cuts and dim bedside reading lamps. The age of electronic discovery is upon us and resistance is futile. A virtual jackpot of literary greats, this pocket-sized personal library may very well lead to the collapse of the Dewey Decimal System. The reading revolution is underway and now is the time to seize the day.
At only 18 years old, they’re probably just getting used to being occasionally called ma’am or sir. Let them have the distinct honor of correcting people by saying, “actually it’s Lord.” They will have the legal right to that moniker with this gift of 1 or more square feet of an actual Scottish castle. The micro-deed is legal and legit, the proceeds go towards restoration efforts at Dunans Castle.
If they're the creative type, this Adobe subscription is a perfect 18th birthday gift. It will give them access to the most powerful creative applications on Earth, well, in the cloud actually. They’ll be able to make professional videos, animations, music, websites, graphic artwork and more, and of course, they’ll always have the latest version of Photoshop.
18th birthday parties tend not to feature clowns entertaining the kids who attend, but that’s no reason to think an 18 year-old doesn’t like balloon animals. Acknowledge that they’re still a kid at heart and respect their new adult sophistication with this fine-art version of the classic balloon dog.
18 year olds have heard the elders speak of the analog era when all of humanity’s knowledge and art was stored on paper and organized by Dewey Decimal number. Now they can own a piece of “ancient” history that will become more and more rare. And they just may get some use out of it when the coming solar flare takes down the power grid once and for all.
Have some stupid good fun at the 18th birthday party with a few rounds of Water Balloon Russian Roulette. Then, after everyone has finally lost the game, solemnly ponder the fragility of life, and remember that no one is invincible.
Written by James Bond himself (or, you know, an actual real-life spy), this eye-opening book is packed full of genuine, practical tips for self-protection, and is a great present for any loved one or friend. Guaranteed to come in handy during a kidnapping, mugging or zombie apocalypse, you might just save their life one day.
Gold and silver coins are a ridiculously good gift, so if you can afford to give it, you should definitely give them gold or silver coins. It will get them excited about investing, which will put them on a path to financial security. It’s a ridiculously good gift, so if you can afford to give it, you should definitely give them gold or silver coins. Oh and also, it’s a ridiculously good gift, so if you can afford to give it, you should definitely give them gold or silver coins.
Even if a person on the cusp of adulthood knows exactly what they want to do when they grow up, they might still have no idea how to actually get there. Enter the career coach. This 18th birthday gift will whip them into shape for the world of work, and teach them skills that will last a lifetime.
You should make sure there are no unresolved issues between you and the recipient of this gift before getting into the basket. Assuming it’s a happy birthday, a hot air balloon ride could be the thrill of a lifetime and something you both will be telling stories about for years to come. Yes, you have to go too of course. If you’re apprehensive, remember, once you get numb to the terror of standing in the middle of the air with a thin cloth balloon keeping you from plummeting to your death, it’s actually a serene and peaceful experience. It is completely silent up there, like being frozen in time.
If they’ve got a place to put it, a zipline is a pretty damn fun 18th birthday gift. You just need 2 trees to attach the cable to and you’re off. It can support up to 250 pounds and carry riders over a 90 foot span. The seat is adjustable and the pulley includes a braking system to slow or stop the action.
By the time they turn 18 they will have filled their share of notebooks. They’ve probably used a whole tree’s worth of paper. As digital technology replaces antiquated practices like writing with pen and paper, products like this are a nice bridge between two worlds. The Rocketbook smart notebook gives you the satisfaction of writing your notes by hand but also saves a digital copy of what you write. Once the pages are full they can be deleted and reused.
It’s time for them to leave the nest, go out into the world, and find their own path (hopefully). They’ll need to solve their own problems now, and you can give them the knowledge they need to tackle the everyday dilemmas that commonly frustrate the uninformed. Life hacks are simpler, more efficient, or less expensive ways approach life’s little challenges. Did you know you can use strawberries to whiten your teeth?
An 18 year old that is moving into a dorm or their first apartment probably doesn’t own a lot of furniture. They also may not have a great track record for taking good care of their things. A full-on Lazy Boy recliner would be nice, but also hard to move, expensive to buy, and heartbreaking to spill dinner on. Here’s a much more affordable alternative that is comfy and practical, but also okay to toss in the dumpster after the party gets out of hand.
They may have had a hamster ball when they were younger and may be hiding a secret desire to be that hamster. Fulfill their weirdest dreams with this human scale inflatable bubble ball. It will led to hilarious adventures and could prove useful in day to day life as well - like if they want to preserve their personal space while in line at the grocery store or at the concert.
Breaking down and having to call your dad for help is something they want to avoid by the time they turn 18. The gift of an AAA Membership will mean they don’t even need to admit they had an auto-related problem – allowing them to retain the aura of cool, calm and collected adult, who has their s**t together. Ha!
Social standards are always changing, and these days a gentleman takes off his beard when he enters a building. Ladies too. It’s so much easier to do when that beard is attached to a hat. Don’t let him be that embarrassing guy eating at a nice restaurant with his damn beard on.
For centuries artisans have toiled away, diligently refining their skills until becoming masters, so that they can create exquisitely detailed work of the highest craftsmanship. Well, there’s a much easier way now. 3d printing technology has rapidly advanced over the past few years, to the point that they’ve begun printing just about anything. Even houses. The kind people live in. We’re not suggesting that you need to invest in a home-building 3d printer, as those are rather large and might be out of your budget. But 3d printing can be used for all kinds of smaller things as well, from artistic models to home furnishings. And 3d printers are really fun to play with. If you know someone who needs a new hobby to keep them out of trouble, this could be just the thing. And if they’re lucky enough to get this as a gift from you, you will in turn be the recipient of printed thingamajigs for the rest of your time on Earth.
Opening the mail isn’t normally the most exciting of things to do when you’re 18, and 17 birthday cakes later, they’re probably a little fed up with the usual ritual of blowing out the candles. Blow them away with this contemporary twist on the usual sponge and fondant instead. It certainly tastes better than a birthday card.
Imagine pointing to a tiny, glittering speck in the sky and saying to your 18-year-old on their birthday, ‘that’s yours, the Alex James star’. Of course, you won’t really have a clue which star is theirs, you probably wouldn’t be able to see it anyway, but they’re sure to be touched, and that’s all that matters.
Even if you can afford a real Banksy piece, chances are a giant slab of concrete is not going to be all that well received. Enter the modern day miracle of plastic. Make it look like their house was visited by one of the most famous identity-unknown humans to ever walk the earth. Because after all, are you sure it wasn’t?
Admittedly, this is kind of a niche gift. But somehow, inexplicably, this has become a giant niche. Fans of the animated sitcom - as well as the associated blog, comic book, and soundtrack album - will have a great time geeking out to these real life, chef-tested recipes for the outlandishly-named burgers the show is famous for.
If you know someone who salivates over the science behind their supper, we’re pretty sure they’ll enjoy experimenting with this molecular gastronomy kit. It’s perfect for anyone looking to take their culinary creativity to the next level and impress any future dinner party guests.