Gift Guides

The Ultimate Birthday Gift Guide

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James Deutsch is a writer with a passion for interior décor and DIY projects. He writes about the art of decorating small spaces, home maintenance projects, and that #vanlife aesthetic. 

Shopping for birthday gifts can be a daunting task. The stress of trying to get into someone’s mind to figure out what they might like can feel impossible when you first start thinking about what to give. The fear of disappointing your loved ones with a sub-par birthday gift always makes people overthink it when in reality, it doesn’t have to be quite so difficult.

Contrary to what many people think, you don’t need to spend a lot to please someone. There are a ton of thoughtful ways to simply brighten someone’s day without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to improve your birthday gift-giving and have people looking forward to your gifts every year. 

birthday gift guide

Set a Budget For Birthday Gift Shopping

Before you start shopping for the perfect birthday gift, set a budget and commit to it. This helps you avoid unnecessary impulse buying. Your budget will entirely depend on your earnings and how much of that you’re willing to spend on birthday presents. 

If you have little to play with, there are still a lot of ways to exploit your budget to make the best impression. Even if money isn’t a problem, it’s still best to decide how much to set aside for each recipient. The key thing is to set a budget you’re comfortable with and then work to find gifts within that range.

Related: 34 Great Gifts for Everyone On Your List [Regardless Of Your Budget]

Their Personality and Interests Should Guide You

Different people have different lifestyles, different hobbies, different likes, and different unlikes. Some people prefer cash or gift cards as gifts, some prefer you buy exactly what they tell you they want, and others prefer an unexpected and thoughtful gift. Some people prefer a birthday gift that will be useful in their everyday lives, while others prefer gifts that are fun, or decorative. A slow cooker and a cute notebook set can both be good gifts, but it depends on what type of gift the recipient would like. 

Before you get someone a gift, have this in mind, and think of what they’d like to have. What sort of gifts has this person enjoyed in the past? What do they like to spend their money on when they treat themself? If your recipient has a hobby or piece of media they are invested in, consider purchasing something related to that. 

If your nephew enjoys reading, a book by their favorite author may be the ideal present. Naturally, you’ll need to do some research to see which novels by their favorite author they have read, as well as which ones they haven’t. You might ask someone to do this research for you to make the surprise more wholesome and ensure that the recipient has no idea what to expect.

A Person’s Age Determines the Types of Birthday Gift You Give

While people might have different interests and personalities, there’s a preference that comes with maturity and age. Anime merch and toys would be a great gift for kids or teens but could be an inappropriate gift for a grown adult. Interests and needs change as we grow, so age is a big consideration. 


Children might be difficult to please since they are brutally honest if you give them something that doesn’t hit the mark. Kids are more likely to want something that is fun as a gift, rather than new socks—even if they desperately need them.

The good news is that you don’t always need to break the bank to give an exciting gift. Since they are younger, there is still a great deal that they haven’t experienced in the world yet. A souvenir from a faraway place or a toy science kit could be all you need to spark the light in their eyes.  

For babies and young children, a music box could be a great choice as the sounds can form positive associations with music and can help them drift off to sleep. You can also look at gifts that help develop future interests. If the child has shown interest in art, consider a washable paint set or toy easel. If your child likes to play with their hands and tear things apart to learn how they work gift them a building set. Magnetic or plastic sets are great for allowing children to create their own complex mechanisms. 

Toys are always a safe bet for children. If you can’t decide which toy to get, try finding out from the parents what show or game the child has been clamoring about lately and get them something in that line.


Teens are an adventurous lot, and what you think you know about them might not be true two days later. Even if it can be challenging to keep up with them through their ever-changing interests, it is still possible to select the ideal presents for your adolescent buddies.

The key is to know them well and learn about their interests. Toys and gifts relating to their hobbies are still good choices, but you don’t have to be restricted to just fun stuff.

Teenagers are more likely to accept practical gifts such as clothing, beauty products, or petty cash for hanging out with friends. You can also gift them their own snacks that they don’t have to share with other members of the family. Food is a great way to get to anyone’s heart.


Grown-ups are rather easy to please, and gifting, for the most part, is about the effort rather than the actual gift. A simple, well-thought-out gift could do. Since adults have their own money to spend on feel-good purchases, buying them a copy of a new movie might not be a great idea since they might buy it for themselves first. 

Of all age groups, adults are most likely to appreciate a gift of something that they need. If you notice a friend or younger relative still using some old rusted cookware that they inherited from someone else, you could buy them an upgraded version that is sure to make them think of you every time they cook – and make their meals tastier. 

Getting a gift for your significant other depends on their interests and how much you’re willing to spend. It could be as simple as a hand-written note or as expensive as a new gadget. Pay attention to what they show interest in when you talk and what their eyes linger on at the store. If you find your partner researching smart watches but they seem hesitant to splurge, talk to them about what they want from the watch, and surprise them with the perfect gift. 

What is Your Relationship?

The relationship you have with someone greatly determines what lengths you’re willing to go to please them. For instance, the birthday gift that you buy for your partner or family members may cost far more than the one you buy for a coworker. 

Your relationship also determines how much you know about a person. Knowing what they like most could help you come up with the best birthday surprise gifts for them. 

Presentation is Key

giving a birthday gift

How you present your gift greatly determines the allure it has to a person. Handing over a gift still in the cardboard shipping box is sure to disappoint. A beautiful, neat wrap or bag shows how much effort and love was poured into a gift and has the power to win someone over. 

Printing a picture and placing it in a beautiful well-fitting frame is a simple idea that keeps giving over time. You could look for custom frames that fit your preferred aesthetics. To present it perfectly, place the frame into a bag and tie it with a ribbon.

Birthdays are a special occasion in the lives of many people, and the gifts make it even better and more memorable. Birthday gifts don’t have to look a certain way or cost a certain amount. The tips above can help you re-evaluate your gifting technique and have people looking forward to your birthday gifts every year. The key thing is to understand what someone likes and think in that direction to get them the gifts that give them the biggest smiles.

You might also be interested in: The 30 Best Gifts For $10 Or Less [Complete Gift Guide]

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