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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.