The Underlying Message Behind an 18th Birthday
Every teenager dreams about their 18th birthday! That’s the day when they are officially accepted by society as an adult. In fact, in most European countries, eighteen is also the age that they’re legally able to start purchasing and consuming alcohol, plus join the military, so over in Europe it’s an extra big ordeal when that special day rolls around. Regardless, in the minds of teenagers, as that magical number—18—approaches, their lives truly start! As such, they plan their 18th birthday party for months in advance, looking for the perfect birthday theme and determining who will get one of their special 18th birthday cards as an invitation.
Remember that reaching this milestone is generally during their senior year in high school, and while the birthday person may assume that their current friends are the most important, they still have that shallow voice reminding the birthday honoree of high school politics. I’m sure you all remember, or have encountered, the side that tells you that you cannot invite so-and-so because others in your class will whisper behind their hands. Maybe that you have to invite a certain someone… and somehow make them show up, otherwise you simply won’t be cool anymore. Ah, high school politics… I can’t really help with deciding who is special enough to attend this milestone event; however, there are many themes and ideas for presents that may not be obvious unless you were recently eighteen. (Fortunately, I was 18 not that long ago—sort of!)
Ideal Gifts for Someone’s 18th Birthday
There are two key aspects to keep in mind while trying to come up with 18th birthday gift ideas: The first is that these boys or gals are maturing into adults while still wanting to remain popular (i.e. Don’t get them a fanny pack). The second aspect is that they are at a point in their lives where at 18 years old… they shortly will either leave for university soon or prepare for work. If it just so happens that the blossoming birthday honoree is preparing for college, then it would be appropriate to buy a gift that they will need while away and potentially cannot afford to purchase on their own.
I’m not going to suggest buying them a car, because all of those teenaged-birthday shows where the birthday girl cries because she didn’t get a car are ridiculous—if you live in a city, then you don’t need a car since you can either take public transit or you will live on campus so you can walk (a tip here…don’t buy them a bus pass as a gift). If you live in a town, then a bike would be a great investment—plus, it’ll keep you fit!
- Laptop: You don’t need to go and overspend on a MacBook Air–Especially because they are mostly known for their brand name and superb marketing team rather than great quality. However, do some research and find a high-quality, light laptop that they can easily take to class to take notes on—I would recommend any Sony Vaio or for a more wallet-friendly alternative the Toshiba Satellite.
- Tablet: An eReader works just as well here, but the winner here is clearly the tablet. They’re light, they work as an eReader too, and they’re amazing for note-taking. (Particularly if you invest in one of the “Note” tablets, which writes really smoothly and only costs a fraction of the price of a laptop.)
- Travel Bag: A chic travel bag or suitcase that they can call their own would be perfect whether the eighteen-year old is going to college or getting ready for a blue-collar job! They’ve got to pack their bags eventually, right?
Just in case the person being celebrated isn’t interested in the aforementioned items (or for whatever reason already has all three), there are birthday gifts you could get them that are a little more subtle.
Maybe you’ve already thought about whipping up a gift yourself. A gift that might be a bit more handmade and personal. A gift that takes a little extra effort on your part, and comes from the heart might be one of those items that actually gets held onto from 18 on. Just think, this gift is the one that might just be something they will treasure and set aside on a shelf as a reminder of the care you put into a gift. It might also be a present that conveniently gets left behind when moving out, or misplaced in the garbage. You could really go into any direction with this one, but I’ll try to push you into the right direction:
- Sunglasses. Have they worn a certain style of sunglasses for the past few years? If so, this would be the perfect opportunity to invest in an authentic designer pair of those sunglasses! They’ll last a lifetime (if they’re careful) and will only cost a couple hundred bucks.
- Jewellery. Fine jewellery is truly timeless, so you may want to buy them a nice watch (no pun intended). While most teenagers have a cell-phone nowadays, a watch is a more elegant alternative for telling the time (Not to mention the fact that it’ll look better at a job interview). You may be seeing a pattern with these gifts; basically, if they’ve been using the cheap version of something for a while, it would make a great gift to buy them the quality version of it. (For example, replacing their budget Payless rain boots for a pair of Hunter boots.)
Keeping Your 18th Birthday Simple
When it comes to planning the party, try to keep your 18th birthday party ideas elegant and simple. For example, if you’re going to have a theme, then a masquerade birthday theme would be enjoyable for the general population, it’s a classy theme, and it wouldn’t take any extra effort other than the purchase or creation of a mask! If you feel inclined to serve dinner at your birthday, then rather than making individual servings for everyone, have a big dish that people can cut and self-serve! In Sweden, it’s normal to have a “sandwich cake’ as the main meal at parties and events; it’s really simple to make, savory, and everyone loves it! (Plus, it’s extremely versatile.)
Depending on whether your 18th birthday party is in a country where you’re now legal to drink or not, colorful, fruity drinks are more age-appropriate than a whiskey tumbler with scotch. Jello shots are delicious and fun for everyone, or if you’re interested in serving cocktails, then fishbowls or punches with tonic, vodka, and a fruity addition such as peach schnapps would be popular with the crowd (and it would glow in the dark!). And if you really want to keep your childhood memories alive at your 18th birthday, then you could fill balloons with water and freeze them so that the balloons could serve as the ice to cool the drinks down!
written by Rebecca, birthday December 3rd