The Ultimate Birthday Gift Giving Guide for All Ages

October 12, 2012 | Posted By: Heather Stephens | Categorized in: Gift Ideas, FatWallet
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Finding the perfect gift for any age group can be a daunting task. To make your job easier, we have compiled some of the best gift ideas of all time.

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Toddlers

Let’s start with the toddlers. They have collected many toys and learning tools so it will be up to you to give them the ONE toy they won’t put down. Books and gadgets that talk, light up, or otherwise interact with toddlers are always keepers. Stuffed animals, toy trucks, blocks, simple puzzles, watercolor paints, and other art supplies are popular toys among this age group. They also love play areas like small kitchens, barnyards, pet shops, and Barbie’s dream house. Dress-up clothes or cute outfits are big hits for toddlers. Don’t worry if your present doesn’t go over well; unless it is the best gift they will ever receive, toddlers won’t remember it anyway.

Grade School Kids

For the kindergartners and grade school kids, the most cherished gifts are toys that can be brought in for Show and Tell. In addition to a pizza party with their friends, girls love dolls, coloring books, and board games. Making a comeback this year is the talking Furby, which certainly has a lot to say. Boys, on the other hand, enjoy action figures of their favorite superheroes, Legos, Nerf guns, and remote-controlled cars and planes. Since grade school age kids still like to play outside, bikes, scooters, and sports gear also make great gifts.

Middle School Kids

As boys become reclusive and girls become interested in celebrities and fashion, finding gifts for middle school kids gets more difficult. The one thing 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys want most is video games and gaming systems. PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox will consume the majority of their time. Girls this age love stylish clothes, jewelry, makeup, cell phones, and accessories. Some also enjoy reading “tween” books about boys and growing up.

Sweet Sixteen

Since you’re probably not handing over the keys to a brand new BMW, great gifts for sixteen-year-olds include electronics and jewelry. MP3 players, movies, and gift cards to their favorite stores are sure to be big hits. The most wanted gift for a sweet sixteen has to be freedom. If they have a curfew, extend it by a few hours. Relaxing the rules a little for a sixteen-year-old will make a great present.

21

This long-awaited birthday must be celebrated in style. Nothing beats a night out with friends. Give the birthday girl a tiara and a sash, or give the birthday boy a shot glass necklace that lights up. Start the night with 21 mini liquor bottles and a toast. For gifts that last more than one night, gas cards and apartment furnishings are good ideas. You can’t go wrong with dishes, bathroom towels, and small kitchen appliances for college grads that are about to move out on their own.

30, 40, and Other Milestones

For 30, 40, and all the birthdays in between, gifts should be practical and enjoyable. Take a day trip to a local winery, historical site, body of water, or a park with trails. Cookbooks, novels, and new kitchen supplies are useful gifts for women. Men appreciate tools or kits that include a variety of parts. For a special touch, give a handmade coupon for a free oil change or an offer to clean out the garage.

The Big 5-0

In addition to a great surprise party with friends and family, the 50-year-old will love a gift that can be remembered forever. Offer an excursion to a unique restaurant, theater event, festival, brewery tour, comedy club, or golf outing. Household gifts, such as décor, kitchen appliances, and tools, are also welcomed. For a more personalized present for the 50-year-old, consider subscriptions to magazines like The Food Network or Popular Science.

Over the Hill

The absolute best gift for someone “over the hill” is time spent with family or friends. Throw an amazing birthday party and include a funny gravestone cake. There are lots of presents that poke fun at someone over the hill – pill organizers, canes, T-shirts with large print. Golf balls, hats, family recipe books, and throwback movies like Casablanca are more useful gifts. Offer a free service, such as mowing the lawn or washing the car. People over the hill also enjoy relaxing gifts for hobbies, such as a puzzle with thousands of pieces or paintbrushes and a canvas. Help someone over the hill relish in the fact that he or she is getting older. If all else fails, accompany them to breakfast at Denny’s and enjoy the senior discount.

Now that we’ve been through the most popular gifts for each age group, we want to know - what is the best gift you’ve ever received on your birthday?
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