Busy Finding the Best 21st Birthday Gifts? Read These Helpful Tips

Birthdays are special milestones in life, and in Australia, we put special emphasis on the 18th birthday and, in particular, the 21st birthday. While the significance of turning 21 has its roots in medieval times when young men were preparing for knighthood. Today, one’s 21st birthday is important regardless of your gender. Given this, you’re probably putting additional effort and thought into arranging a 21st birthday gift and celebration for your loved one or friend. With this in mind, explore these 21st birthday party ideas and gift ideas to inspire your celebration.

21st birthday party ideas

An intimate at-home birthday party with a simple barbeque might be exactly what your loved one or friend wants for their 21st birthday, but what about doing something different, like a themed party? Consider these 21st birthday party ideas:

  • Fun themes – Fun themes for a 21st could be a slumber party, Stranger Things, spa party at home, the 1980s, disco, a wig party, Game of Thrones, or The Great Gatsby. You could have a dress-up party based on a favourite show, movie, or cultural figure. Make sure the guests’ outfits as well as the food and decorations match the theme.
  • Decorations – Some great 21st birthday decoration ideas include a guest book wall for writing messages, personalised napkins and cups, or a carnival in a tent.
  • Food – A taco bar, a chocolate station, nacho bar, or ice cream bar are some creative ways to serve your snacks. For drinks, use ice-filled wheelbarrows or buckets. Fill up glass drink dispensers decorated with floral rings to let guests serve themselves, or use individual mason jars for single, ready-to-go servings.

If you’re organising your own birthday party, consider arranging a 21st birthday registry, especially if you don’t want unwanted gifts and prefer the flexibility of a gift card. This makes it easier for your guests as well!


21st birthday gift ideas

Have you been invited to a 21st birthday party? Check whether your friend or loved one has set up a birthday registry. If not, you’ll be bringing a gift. These 21st present ideas can inspire you to give a great gift your friend or family member will love.


  1. Experiential gifts

    Whether it’s a day trip voucher or a whole weekend getaway, your gift of experience gives the birthday person a chance to create amazing memories:

  • Wildlife and nature – Give an experiential voucher for a day swimming with the dolphins, whale watching, or snorkeling in the ocean. Alternatively, you could give them a boat ride on the water or the chance to take a scenic flight in a hired plane or helicopter
  • Gaming – A session of gaming with mini-golf, escape room, virtual reality gaming, clay shooting, or paintball could be a fun gift for someone celebrating their 21st.
  • Outdoors and action – Indoor skydiving, rock climbing, quad bike adventuring, drag racing, skiing, or even white water rafting are some fun gift ideas for those who love the outdoors.
  1. House and home

    For the homebodies, gifts for the house and home. For example, for a keen cook, you could buy a premium kitchen appliance. Alternatively, a stylish throw, a monogrammed plush blanket, a glass terrarium, or a piece of artwork for the wall could be amazing 21st birthday gift ideas.

  2. Beauty and fashion

    Your loved one or friend might love receiving a piece of jewellery, a fashion item, or luxurious face cream.

  • Fashion – Have you ever come across an outfit and thought it would be perfect for someone you know? Sizing and fit can be hard to get right with a fashion gift, but an easy way to get around this is to give them a gift card from their favourite label and let them choose.
  • Jewellery and accessories – A weekend bag, a new purse or wallet, and a necklace could be excellent 21st birthday present ideas for someone who loves jewellery and accessories.
  • Beauty and makeup – Makeup brushes, premium face masks, and men’s skincare sets could all be wonderful 21st birthday gift ideas for your loved one or friend.
  1. Gadgets and technology

    If your friend is a tech enthusiast, give them a gadget they’ll love and use. For students, a lightweight ultrabook or tablet can make their uni life easier. A tablet could also be an excellent 21st present idea if the recipient enjoys consuming media like streaming movies or shows. Your loved one might appreciate a new phone, Bluetooth speakers, or smart home device. If they’re into fitness, a wearable fitness tracker could make the perfect gift.

  2. Learning and courses

    Learning a new skill can be a rewarding experience. Think about their hobbies and interests, and give your friend a voucher for a short course or seminar on a subject they love. For example, in arts and crafts, there are ceramic, jewellery-making, embroidery, and life-drawing courses. Cooking courses encompass everything from vegan cooking and baking bread to pasta making and brewing your own kombucha. Other ideas could be personal-development seminars, an appointment with a financial advisor, writing courses, and bee-keeping classes.

  1. Gaming and recreation

    PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo are the best-selling gaming consoles. While these gaming systems are excellent non-toy gifts for teens and younger kids, they’re also designed for adults who love gaming. You’ll be able to find a huge variety of popular games for adults to go with the console. Other recreation-related gift ideas to consider include drones, professional cameras, a book in their favourite subject area, and painting and water-colouring sets.

Tips for presenting your gift

Once you’ve settled on a gift, you can get the gift ready. Pick a card and consider the birthday message you’d like to write. A message that reflects your relationship, friendship, and history together helps you express your 21st birthday wishes to your friend.

Choosing a suitable card is important. Opting for a minimalist card design gives your gift a modern, sleek presentation, while a card with a comical, funny message might better reflect your friendship. You can choose a card with landscape photos, famous paintings, or themes that reflect the recipient’s interests. Choose festive, colourful, or minimalist wrapping to match your card. Depending on your relationship, a bouquet of flowers might complement your gift presentation.


For making 21st birthday wishes, consider your friend or loved one’s interests and hobbies, and narrow down your gift ideas from there. From the practical to the experiential, you can find something wonderful to delight the recipient on their special day. Ultimately, as always, it’s the thought that counts, but putting careful thought into a birthday gift allows you to express appreciation and express your gratitude for their presence in your life.

Gift Card Registry, a division of Zenith Payments, offers a convenient way for anyone celebrating a birthday to make things easier for their friends and loved ones when it comes to gift shopping. Instead of receiving unwanted gifts, you can have them contribute to your special day. As the leading prepaid card provider in Australia, Zenith Payments have been in operation since 1984 and were the first to launch prepaid cards Australia in 2006. 300 of the top 500 companies use our services. Experience our best-in-class service standards for yourself by creating a gift card registry now. Alternatively, contact us with any questions you may have about our service, and we’d be pleased to assist you.