The 18th birthday is a big step in everyone’s life as, certainly in the UK, it falls at the end of the school years and at the beginning of University – or life in the world of full-time work. Most importantly, however, it marks the start of adulthood and is therefore a birthday that should be marked in the most exciting way possible, littered with memories and a selection of 18th birthday gifts from family and friends that eclipse anything that have come before.
There are endless ideas that can be thought up to make the occasion a little bit more special and nothing has changed the way birthdays are celebrated more than the growth of the internet. Shopping online allows for an endless array of gifts that can be easily bought, gift-wrapped and delivered, often with more of an effect than if the present is bought in the shops. Common gifts that could be bought in the shops like CDs, DVDs and books can easily be found online, sometimes for half the cost. Sites like Amazon and Play.com are fantastic places to search for cheap deals, and a tried and tested delivery system is in place at both, meaning there’s never a need to worry whether it will arrive or not. A small delivery charge is worth paying to secure arrival, and options of wrapping and insurance are often offered at the online checkout.
Exciting days out are an original alternative that help make a fuss of the occasion. Ideas for activity days that work great for groups of friends include paintball, slap-up meals and bowling trips, and group bookings are often discounted. The legal drinking age, of course, brings celebrations that often centre around alcohol. So, as the 18th is such a milestone, it’s a great idea to treat a loved one to a bottle of their favoured beverage, to be enjoyed with family or friends during their birthday celebrations. Or, spending-money for a night out to celebrate the coming of legal age allows for the birthday boy or girl to show off their ID and go a bit wild. Or, a ticket to a music gig or a festival of their choice allows for an event that would ordinarily be too expensive to save up for to become a great birthday gift. On the other hand, a common gift for a birthday of this significance is money, which can then be spent by the receiver in whatever way they wish. Whether it’s £1.80 from a classmate, £18 from a close friend or £180 from family, birthday money somehow incorporating the age is a fun alternative to buying a gift.
There are a few odd birthday traditions in the UK that might be worth remembering for family and friends on the day. For example, in Ireland, it’s normal for birthday boys and girls to be delivered the gift of a ‘birthday bump,’ where they are lifted upside down and ‘bumped’ on the floor for good luck – the number of bumps corresponding to the age. And, in England, there’s the tradition of mixing money in with the cake. Or finally, Scotland combines the two, with the old tradition of giving both a pound coin and a smack on the bottom for each year of their age. Whichever suits the occasion best, adding a bit of humour should always go down well. Perhaps the most known birthday tradition is the singing of ‘Happy Birthday To You’, which is most recognised song in the English language. It is also translated in to at least 18 languages and is sung around the world every day. This tradition is a great way to mark a birthday and is an important moment on the day – the timing and presence of the song is often as crucial as the gifts that accompany it.
Giving a birthday present to someone you care about is a simple way of making their birthday a day worth remembering. If you require any more persuasion that there’s a need to mark the occasion, there is a superstition theory to note that the tradition of celebrating birthdays originated the Europe in a time when people believed that good wishes, presents and positivity would ward off evil spirits. It was feared that they would be more attracted to boys and girls celebrating a birthday so, with this in mind, simply giving a great gift to a loved one will help keep away bad spirits!