18th Birthday Gifts

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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.

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 a few decades, and then have them return to open an archive of their former self. No big deal.

DIY

This birthday, why not give them a bouquet of something they actually want – like the chance to win the lottery and retire early to travel the world in a super yacht! Plus, if they win, they’re sure to share their millions with you, right? Right?? Jon, can you hear me, you seem to be sailing in the other direction…?

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.

The last thing they need is more stuff, and at the end of it all it’s really the experiences that they will cherish the most. Help them create some new memories to look back on by finding a fun activity to do locally. Be adventurous and choose something they’ve near done before. It’s a gift that will enrich their life and yours too.

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.

Look, we know that not everybody needs to have a giant five pound gummy bear, but not everybody technically needs pants, either. Having a giant gummy bear is like having a pair of pants: once you have one, it is hard to imagine life without it. The point is that need has nothing to do with it.

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.

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.

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.

Who has time for trial and error? Folks today demand fast-acting, proven solutions to their everyday conundrums. A modern stand-in for the tried and trusted Farmer’s Almanac, this back pocket companion is more reliable than your great-grandmother and more concise than an open-ended Google search. Believe it or not, some of the “smartest” solutions have been around for ages.

Experiences make some of the best gifts, but it can be a real challenge to come up with good ones over and over again. This birthday grab bag allows the recipient to choose any one experience from a list of over 300 options that range from relaxing dining experiences and laid-back ocean cruises to extreme sports adventures in far-flung locales. With experiences available in 100+ countries scattered across six different continents, this is an especially great choice for globetrotters in search of unique and thrilling activities in faraway lands.

Birthdays are the classic occasion to celebrate the passage of time. And what is the passage of time? It’s really just a collection of memories. But with all of the distractions and competing messages constantly bombarding us, it’s easy to lose track of so many of these important memories. That’s what jars were made for. Well, maybe not originally. But in today’s world, where your attention is your most precious commodity, the most important thing you can do with a jar is put your thoughts in it. This one is specially designed to hold happy thoughts about the past.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Flowers don’t just look nice and fill the air with pleasant aromas, they also carry various levels of symbolism. Much like the zodiac, each month has its own flower variety, reflecting the character of everyone born therein. Or at least, that’s what someone decided a long time ago. And it sure is a nice idea. Regardless of whether the person you’re buying for really is a carnation at heart, or whether they’re more of a Venus fly trap, these earrings are going to look great on them.

They’ve survived this far living outside the bubble, but why push their luck? Give them this insanely fun inflatable bubble ball, and hope they’re inside it the next time they do something indescribably stupid. A great way to insulate themselves against life’s hard uncertainties.

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.

Truthfully, a college cookbook could be a mere three lines long: 1) boil water, 2) add noodles, 3) stir in shrimp flavor packet. Lucky for the soon-to-be debt-laden youth of America, the authors of this book went several steps further, compiling a collection of recipes that are easy, delicious, and cheap — while also hitting all of the main requirements of human nutrition, so even a broke English major doesn’t have to worry about ailments like the dreaded “Freshman scurvy.”

Good luck convincing them this isn’t an acid flashback. This remote-controlled fish will be a welcome break from conventional pets that need feeding and only stay in the air for a few seconds. Holds enough helium to turn any house party into a chipmunk colony.

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).

Ping pong is an activity that virtually anyone can get into. Along with “sports” like curling, mini golf, and shooting cans off of fence posts, it’s a game of physical skill that requires absolutely no meaningful athletic ability. That makes it a game of the people, if you will. And the best part about this kit is that it’s portable, as the name implies, and extremely fast to set up. Just supply the tabletop. If they could use a little dose of competitive fire, this might do the trick.

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.

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.

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.

Keep your head and face warm without the commitment (or testosterone) it takes to grow an actual beard! These knit beanies with detachable face fur are as funny as they are functional. From biker to barbarian, Viking to vagabond, there is a Beard Head for every taste and style.

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.

These king-sized treats just might be the perfect gift to match their insatiable sweet tooth. This level of candy debauchery might be frowned upon by overeaters anonymous, but life is too short for sugar shaming. No need to wrap these monstrous munchies, the wrapper alone is half the fun and can be used later on as one-of-a-kind wall art to commemorate their gastronomical feat.

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.

If you want some world class street art in your house, you can wait for someone like Banksy to break in and paint something on your wall, but most likely that’s not going to happen. And if someone does break in and paint your walls, you’re probably not going to like what they do. It’s better to play it safe and go with one of the classics, like one of these wall art decals based on famous Banksy paintings. A much neater, more controllable way to be vandalized.

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.

DIY

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.

Keeping practical supplies in the car in case of emergency is something we all should do – yet many people out there on the road haven't added so much as a band-aid to their car’s inventory. That’s right, in the event of a blizzard, those store receipts and empty fast food bags won’t save you. Shocking, we know. This Auto Survival Kit on the other hand…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Great art doesn’t always take the form you’re expecting. Twitter gives everyone with a phone and an opinion to spare the chance to reach millions of people with a single ill-conceived utterance. With all that verbal garbage coursing through the airwaves, bizarre gems are certain to arise. Lest they drift away and go to waste, someone had the brilliant idea to start framing them. Move over Picasso, it’s time to make room for the real modern art.

Chocolates used to (and perhaps still do) come from factories run by shady recluses and populated by obese midget slaves. Or at least that’s what the video evidence suggests. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Stick it to big business by giving someone this home chocolate making kit and help them join the artisan revolution. A whole new way to make chocolate “guilt free”.

A lot of 18 year olds are already well versed in the ways of not giving a f*ck, but not many are very subtle about it. Help them express their lackadaisical side with a little more class, so they can blend in with the rest of us, who also don’t give a f*ck, but are forced to pretend that we do.

There’s nothing worse than having to get up every day and be the same damn person. We all feel the pain, but it’s a rare soul who gets to branch out into alternate identities. Now you can give this invaluable gift to someone you care about. This 48-pack of gag business cards allows the owner to take on whatever persona fits their mood that day - from the mysterious to the reckless to the downright weird.

If you know an 18 year old who is heading off to college, they are probably excited and a little uneasy about stepping into a world full of new challenges that they will need to navigate on their own. Help them prepare for the experience before they go, so that they can get the most out of their education and avoid common pitfalls of the under-informed.

For the person who just loves the great outdoors, being ‘at one with nature’ and ‘living off the land’, give them this solar powered cooker, so they can prepare their meals the way their forefathers did, with nothing but the heat of the sun… oh no, wait, the forefathers had fire for that. Our bad

If those homegrown massages are causing pains to linger a bit longer than expected, chances are your masseuse-in-training needs a tad more study time. This irreplaceable guide takes readers on an anatomical journey that charts every inch of the human body with artistic genius and incredible detail. Plunge into the mysteries of our incredible physique and gain insights on pain relief and the miraculous healing powers that originate from within.

Deep inside every adult relaxing on a sofa, loveseat, or recliner is a kid who’s longing to be lounging in a good ol’ beanbag chair. In other words, beanbags are what the people want, conventional furniture be damned. After all, they are relaxing, charmingly informal, unpretentious, fun, and extremely comfortable. If only everyday life conformed to your wishes the way a giant beanbag conforms to the contours of your body. And beanbags are very stylish in their own way — you can call it “slacker chic.” Help someone unleash their inner lazy child with one of these.

Let your feet guide you, and never get lost. These removable insoles link up with a smartphone app and use GPS to guide you to your destination through subtle vibrations. Lead the way without having to stare at your phone or wait for Google Maps to load. Like the pied freakin’ piper, without the annoying pan flute.

If the birthday boy or girl will be moving away for work or college, a hometown map puzzle is the perfect gift to quell home sickness and help them appreciate their roots. Unlike most puzzles, there is no picture guide on the box to refer to when trying to place the pieces, they’ll have to rely on their own memory of the lay of the land to get through this one.

Watch opposing armies fight for supremacy on the living room wall with this piece of functional art. Grandmasters and novice players alike will appreciate checking their opponents on the most unique game board in their home. Framed like a picture, this chessboard makes a lovely 18th birthday present for anyone who loves to play games.

Surprise! That boy you used to know is now old enough to vote, sue you, and enlist in the Army. But it seems like only yesterday he was just learning how to drive a car. A lot of changes and new responsibilities are coming, and that boy needs to know all the basic man stuff to get through it. Stuff like how to respectfully break up with a girl, how to drive a manual transmission, and how to use a circular saw, like a man.

If they’ve got a hankering for a hoedown on their 18th birthday, but just can’t get the 17 piece band together, then the self contained hootenanny could be the perfect solution. It’s always ready at a moment’s notice, never misses a note, and with over 13,000 songs in memory it could play continuously until their 90th birthday shindig.