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.

Lottery Ticket Bouquet
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Lottery Ticket Bouquet

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!

political book 18th birthday gift
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What You Should Know About Politics

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.

selfie toaster
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Selfie Toaster

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.

pizza box oven
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Pizza Box Oven

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 18th birthday 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.

Birth Month Flower Earrings
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Birth Month Flower Earrings

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.

Virtual Reality Headset
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Virtual Reality Headset

It looks like Virtual Reality might finally really be a real thing. That’s what they say at least. Apparently, the technology has arrived, and it’s gonna be big. They do say that. And you know what? We actually tried one of these recently. They’re pretty incredible. Like for real.

18th birthday book
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Custom Printed Birthday Book

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.

Swiss Army Knife
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Swiss Army Knife

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.

The New York Times Of Your Birthday Front Page
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New York Times Birthday Front Page

Here is the perfect gift to make visitors feel old – a framed copy of the front page of the New York Times the day they were born. People as young as 30 will marvel that the person they are visiting was born on the day that thing they sort of remember happened. Fun!

Never Have I Ever Game
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Never Have I Ever Game

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.

Nebula Glass Set
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Nebula Glass Set

Remind them of how tiny they are, how insignificant their mere 18 Earth years is compared to the glory of the universe and its countless eons with this lovely set of tumblers emblazoned with Hubble and Spitzer space telescope images of majestic nebulae.

Potato Parcel
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18th Birthday Message On A Potato

Show me the 18 year old who would not get a kick out of getting a potato with a birthday greeting written on it sent to them in the mail, and I’ll show you an 18 year-old who doesn’t have a very good sense of humor about 18th birthday gifts.

Money Soap
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Money Soap

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.

Stockpile Stock Gift Cards
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Stock Gift Cards

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.

Advice to My 18-Year-Old Self
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Advice to My 18-Year-Old Self

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.

18th birthday mug
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The Year They Were Born Mug

You’ll want to take into account what month they were born when selecting which year to get, since this mug says “Made in” rather than “Born in,” if you catch our meaning.  It’s still a great 18th birthday gift, but just think about it.

Trip To Amusement Park
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Trip To Amusement Park

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.

Time Capsule
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Time Capsule

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.

DNA Portrait
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DNA Portrait

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.

The Digital Art Museum
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Digital Art Museum

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 20,000 other still and moving images. Cycle through with a swipe or the dedicated app. Turn a dorm room into the Lourve!

Water Balloon Russian Roulette
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Water Balloon Russian Roulette

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.

The Self Finding Wallet
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Self Finding Wallet

Teenagers are not known for being overly responsible. And though a person is legally an adult at the age of 18, they are still a teenager, make no mistake about that. Help them grow up and take charge of their stuff by making it a lot easier to at least hang on to their wallet with this high tech gift.

College Hacks
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College Hacks

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.

6750 days old mug
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6,750 Days Old Mug

The fun of this gift will come years later, if it doesn’t break, when they look at that impossibly small number and wonder how they ever could have thought it was so big. Wait, does that actually sound fun?

birthstones
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Birthstone Jewelry

This is a tough one, because you have to take the month into account. A piece of garnet jewelry (January) is one thing, but are you sure you want to buy someone diamonds (April) for their 18th birthday? It’s fine to do that, obviously, but we can see why you’d think twice.

Metal Balloon Dog Sculpture
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Metal Balloon Dog Sculpture

Metal Balloon Dog Sculpture – 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.

Shopping Spree
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Shopping Spree

All the fine ideas on this page notwithstanding, nobody really knows what anyone wants, much less someone turning 18. So put the power in their hands by taking them on a whirlwind shopping spree at their favorite stores. You’re going to spend a little more, but at least it will be fun instead of nerve wracking.

mBerry Tablets Alter Taste Perception
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mBerry Tablets Alter Taste Perception

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.

Career-Coach
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Career Coach

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.

18th birthday milestone
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18th Birthday Milestone

The 18th birthday is a big milestone. So why not make an actual milestone to celebrate it? If you can say nothing else in favor of painting a rock with the number 18 and giving it to someone for their birthday, at least you can say this: it will be a surprise.

Auto Survival Kit
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Auto Survival Kit

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.

event-concert-ticket
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Event Tickets

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.

experiences
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Experiences Are The Best Gifts

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.

18 small gifts
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18 Small Gifts

If you decide to do this – get a small gift for each of their 18 years – take care not to act like it is a new tradition. Because while 18 little presents will be hard but not impossible to find, what will you do when they turn 30? 40? Pretty soon you’re in enormous pain in the neck territory if you keep it up. Just do it this one time, trust us.

23andme Genetic Testing Kit
23andme.com
Genetic Testing Kit

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.

Solar Power Backpack
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Solar Power Backpack

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).