Celebrating Milestone Birthdays
Milestone birthdays are extra exciting! Whether you know someone turning 16 or 60, a milestone birthday is a great opportunity to remind them how important they are and how proud you are of them for coming this far. It’s a chance to go all out and celebrate in unique and creative ways.
To help get your creative juices flowing, we wanted to share some age-appropriate gift ideas for different milestone birthdays in this fun birthday gift guide.
Milestone Birthdays Featured in This Guide
- 1st Birthday
- 15th Birthday (Quinceañera)
- 16th Birthday (Sweet 16)
- 18th Birthday
- 21st Birthday
- 30th Birthday
- 40th Birthday
- 50th Birthday
- 60th Birthday
- 70th Birthday
- 80th Birthday
- 90th Birthday
- 100th Birthday
- The Timeless Gift for Any Age
Jump to the end to discover the easiest way to make a meaningful birthday video.
It’s baby’s first birthday! Not only is this one of the cutest milestone birthdays ever, but it’s also an exciting time of growth, development, and hope for the whole family.
The Strategist recommends choosing a gift that will stimulate the baby’s growing mind. “Babies brains develop so quickly—something like a million neural connections per second,” says childhood development expert and author Sarah Maclaughlin (not to be confused with singer Sarah McLachlan).
1st Birthday Gift Ideas
- Books: You can choose your favorite childhood book and inscribe a message in the cover for a meaningful keepsake. You can also consider new baby books with great reviews.
- Crawl Tunnel: This is a super fun way to help the baby develop spatial awareness and learn about object permanence.
- Activity Toys: There are many types of activity toys available. Whether they are wooden, plastic, manual, or electronic, these make for a fun and educational gift that can teach concepts such as cause and effect, color and shape matching, and more.
- 1st Birthday Video: Have you ever watched old videos of your family or yourself as a child? It can be deeply satisfying. Imagine having a video keepsake you were given on your first birthday with messages of love and hope from family and friends. This gift is extremely personal and lasts forever.
1st Birthday Considerations
- Choking Hazards: Babies have a scary habit of puting things in their mouths. Make sure your gift does not have any pieces small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll. If it does, it can also harm the baby.
- Noise: Try to keep the parents in mind when choosing the gift. If the gift makes noise, is it loud or harsh? Will it drive the parents crazy? Your gift can't be enjoyed if it is hidden in a drawer somewhere.
15th Birthday (Quinceañera)
A quinceañera is a coming-of-age event celebrated when girls turn 15 in many Hispanic cultures. Quinceañeras can be very lavish. In fact, planning one has been compared to planning a wedding.
15th Birthday and Quinceañera Gift Ideas
- Jewelry: Jewelry is a beautiful gift for a young woman or teen who is celebrating her new maturity. If you like the idea of jewelry but you’re not sure what style she prefers, you could give her a jewelry box or case instead.
- Makeup: Traditionally, the quinceañera would be the first time the birthday girl would wear makeup. Whether or not that is the case for this birthday girl, anyone who wears makeup can always use more of it.
- Gift Card: Coming of age means beginning to make your own decisions. A gift card or cash will give the birthday girl freedom in choosing where to spend it.
- Quinceañera Birthday Video: If the family has gone through the process of planning a quinceañera, don’t you think it’s worth capturing the event in a beautiful video montage? Alternatively, you could collect video messages from the birthday girl’s friends and family before the party, and then compile a video gift to debut at the event!
16th Birthday (Sweet 16)
A sweet sixteen birthday party is similar in some ways to a quinceañera, but it can be celebrated by any gender. It marks a teenager’s coming-of-age, with one key element—their driver’s license.
16th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Car Accessories: If you know the teen is getting a car for their birthday, an air freshener, steering wheel cover, or phone charger may be a safe bet. If you’re not sure or you think they will use a shared car, sunglasses always come in handy on the road.
- Wallet or Purse: What gift is more appropriate for sweet sixteen than a new home for their driver’s license.
- Gift Card: A gift card or cash gives the birthday star freedom to choose where they spend it. It can also go well with the driver’s license in their new wallet or purse.
- Sweet 16 Birthday Video: Compile messages from friends and family into a “happy 16th birthday” video montage. You could even take it to the next level by having a celebrity say “happy birthday” in the video!
16th Birthday Considerations
- Car: Find out if the teen is getting a car for their birthday before buying them auto accessories.
Time to say, “Welcome to adulthood!” This is the birthday star's last milestone birthday in their teens and their first milestone birthday as an adult, so it’s a great opportunity to balance youth and sophistication.
18th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Concert Tickets: Turning 18 opens up many new possibilities for fun! Give the birthday star tickets to an upcoming event that is 18+.
- Recipe Book: The birthday star may or may not live at home or plan to stay there. Either way, becoming an adult means taking care of yourself and learning fun new skills like cooking (for those who don’t already) and experimenting with new recipes.
- Planner: Whether college is just around the corner, work hours are about to pick up, or summer vacation needs planning, a new planner is a great way to help the birthday star balance and prepare for all their upcoming life changes.
- 18th Birthday Video: This is a significant birthday that symbolizes the end of an era. Commemorate the childhood of the birthday star with a video montage of loving messages from friends and family to send them into adulthood smiling.
18th Birthday Considerations
- College: Does the birthday star plan on going off to college or moving away soon? If they are moving soon, you could give them a gift for their new home.
21 is perhaps the most exciting birthday to celebrate! Not only is the birthday star of legal drinking age, but they can get into many establishments they couldn’t set foot in before (at least after 9 PM).
21st Birthday Gift Ideas
- Alcohol Tasting, Tour, or Activity: Is there a wine or whiskey tasting nearby that seems fun? What about a cycling pub tour? Look for something that fits the birthday star’s interests and lets them flex their new legal drinking status.
- Drinking Accessories for Home: There are many cocktail recipe books, shakers, shot glasses, and even beer-holding hats that make cute or funny gifts for someone’s 21st.
- Vacation: Depending on how much you want to spend, you could go in on a fun getaway for the birthday star. Whether they are a student or a hard-working young adult, most 21-year-olds would love a good vacay.
- 21st Birthday Video: Create a montage of friends and family each saying a birthday toast or cheers. Alternatively, the video could just feature general messages of love and support for the birthday star.
21st Birthday Considerations
- Alcohol: Consider whether the birthday star is interested in drinking before you go all-in on a boozy birthday gift.
Turning 30 can bring on a spectrum of emotions. But whether the birthday star is grieving their youth or hitting their confidence stride, their 30th birthday deserves celebration.
30th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Experiences: From concert tickets to zumba lessons, this is a great age for seizing the moment, creating memories, and trying new hobbies. Look for an opportunity that lets the birthday star spend time with people they care about while doing something exciting.
- 30th Birthday Video: This may be the first milestone birthday where many close friends live far away. Get loved ones near and far to record birthday messages and combine them in a meaningful montage.
Age 40 is a great time for the birthday star to appreciate their blessings and accomplishments. They might enjoy reflecting on where they are in life, how they got there, and what they see for their future. It’s a good time to break from routine and have a mindful celebration of life.
40th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Relaxation: Whether it’s a trip to the golf course, a spa day, or just a pass to get away and leave the kids at home, 40 is the prime age to appreciate peace and relaxation. Find out the birthday star’s ideal way to relax and help make it happen.
- 40th Birthday Video: At 40, the birthday star probably has a lot on their mind—work, family, friends, responsibilities… Show the star that they are important too with a video montage of messages all about them.
Celebrate half a century with a whole heart! Turning 50 might be the most pivotal of all the milestone birthdays, and it deserves a big celebration.
50th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Gift Card: Your birthday star probably has a favorite restaurant or store they talk about. Why not go with what they know they love and give them a gift card you know they’ll enjoy?
- Photo Keepsakes: 50 years is a long time to build a life full of loved ones and special memories. Frame a meaningful picture or create a photo album for a keepsake they can look at every day.
- 50th Birthday Video: Similar to the photo keepsake concept, a video montage of special messages from loved ones is a one-of-a-kind gift that makes memories last.
If your loved one is lucky, retirement may be just around the corner when they turn 60. The next several years will be a good time for them to revisit old hobbies and find new ways to pass the time once they no longer have to punch the clock.
60th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Book Subscription: From puzzle books to mystery novels, there are many subscription options out there. Look for something that will catch the birthday star’s interest and keep them mentally stimulated if they get bored.
- Lessons: Has the birthday star always wanted to try pottery or dance lessons? Bingo! The fact is, they’re not getting any younger, so now is the time.
- 60th Birthday Video: As many people age, they become even more appreciative of love and affection from those around them. Surprise your special birthday star with a “Happy 60th!” video montage they will cherish forever.
By the time the birthday star reaches 70, they are officially within their golden years. They may have retired and found themselves seeking some of the social connection they used to get from work.
70th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Club Membership: You can buy your loved one a couple of months at a local golf club or similar organization. This will allow them to socialize and try out the facilities to see if they are interested in staying a member.
- 70th Birthday Video: Get as many close friends and family members as possible to record “happy birthday” messages on video. That way, you can compile the videos for an epic montage.
Say cheers to 80 years and celebrate a lifetime of love and accomplishment with your special birthday star. This is among the milestone birthdays that call for the most quality time and attention.
80th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Quality Time: Spend several hours sitting and chatting with your loved one or take them out to do something fun. Just being together is something to cherish and a great way to show how much you care.
- 80th Birthday Video: Make a “Happy 80th birthday!” video montage. Speaking of 80, did you know that 80% of Tribute recipients cry tears of joy?!
80th Birthday Considerations
- Physical Limitations: While it can be a great idea to get the birthday star out and about, you should make sure they will have somewhere comfortable to sit as needed. Also, avoid any activities that might be strenuous on the body or joints (e.g. excessive walking, lots of stairs, or trudging uphill) and remember to bring any essentials along for the trip (e.g. walker, glasses, etc.).
Some people argue that the 90s were the greatest decade, so why not make 90 the greatest birthday extravaganza? Imagine having special friends and loved ones accumulated over 90 years on earth all come together to celebrate one birthday star.
90th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Party of a Lifetime: If possible, bring the whole family together and invite all the birthday star’s closest friends to party down.
- 90th Birthday Video: Give the birthday star a video montage of all their loved ones near and far wishing them the best birthday ever!
90th Birthday Considerations
- Zoom: Some people may not be able to make the party due to travel restrictions or mobility issues, but don’t let that stop them from joining the fun! Invite those who can’t make it to a virtual party!
If someone you know has been alive for a literal century, first pause for a moment to appreciate how incredible that is. Then, make sure you tell them!
100th Birthday Gift Ideas
- Anything They Want: Within reason, of course, treat this person to whatever their sweet, resilient heart desires.
- 100th Birthday Video: Of all the reasons to create a birthday video, we think turning 100 takes the cake.