Birthday Gifts for 18-Year-Olds

Updated February 21, 2017

An 18th birthday is commonly seen as a rite of passage in which a teenager is considered an adult. This birthday should be commemorated with gifts that are sophisticated and "grown up" and match the recipient's sense of style and personality. Many teens are often preparing for college near their 18th birthdays, so gifts that convey this theme are appropriate as well.

New Car

Present your teenage son with a new (or used) vehicle that he can drive in all summer with his friends, and take to his new college campus in the fall. Select a car in the colour he likes best, and add customised accents like car mats and a dashboard cover embroidered with his name or initials. Include a quality stereo system in the car, as well as a GPS system that will help your son find his way around a new college town. Present the gift to him at his 18th birthday party, or wake him on the morning of his birthday and lead him outside to see the car in the driveway.

Monetary Gifts

The gift of money is a principle teenagers welcome, since it means they can choose the clothing, accessories, or electronic devices they want. Monetary gifts are also appropriate for an 18-year-old on her way to college, as it will help her to purchase books, dorm room furniture and decor, and groceries if she'll be going away to college soon. The money can also be placed in a savings account for her, or given in the form of a savings bond, so that she can keep the money in an account until she's ready to spend it. This is an "adult" gift that can further teach her the value of a dollar.

Clothing and Jewelry

Sophisticated clothing items and jewellery are a heartfelt way to wish your niece a happy 18th birthday. This is often the time when young women want to change their style a little and appear more elegant or grown up, so a string of pearls that she can wear on special occasions, or a pair of diamond earrings that can be used for formal and everyday wear are ideal birthday presents. Clothing like blazers or business suits, which are ideal for job and internship interviews, as well as classy pairs of high heels, are a smart and stylish way to say "happy 18th birthday" and will give your niece confidence when entering new academic or professional situations.


Present your grandson with electronics that will make his 18th birthday one to remember. Send him to college with a laptop complete with the programs he'll need for writing term papers and creating slide show presentations, like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Or, tie a bow around an iPod that's been downloaded with songs from his favourite artist or band so he can carry his favourite music around with him anywhere. A digital camera is a fitting 18th birthday present as well, so your grandson can take quality pictures of friends and loved ones at his birthday party, and carry the gift with him to college to chronicle his new experiences.

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About the Author

Tamiya King has been writing for over a decade, particularly in the areas of poetry and short stories. She also has extensive experience writing SEO and alternative health articles, and has written published interviews and other pieces for the "Atlanta Tribune" and Jolt Marketing. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts in English and is currently pursuing higher education to become a creative writing professor.