Choosing gifts for 21-year-old guys can be tough. They're somewhere between teenhood and adulthood, so you might not know whether comic books or a briefcase is a more appropriate gift. And most young men aren't super forthcoming about their hopes and dreams—even about something as simple as what they want as birthday presents.
Whether you're searching for Christmas gift ideas or 21st birthday gift ideas, start with thinking about categories of gifts that he might like. Don't get stressed about finding unique, out-of-the-box ideas, and steer clear of decorative keepsakes or gag gifts. Sometimes the best gifts are practical—especially when you're 21 and probably don't have a ton of cash to buy your own stuff.
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Gaming gifts for guys
Young men tend to spend a lot of time hanging out with their friends, so games they can play with a group make great gifts for 21-year-old males. Lawn games are a good choice if he's the kind of guy who's always inviting people over to grill. If he's more of a Dungeons and Dragons kind of guy, look for a new highly rated game that he might enjoy learning to play with friends.
Video games are obviously a popular gift with many young men, but ask the recipient for direct guidance before buying something for a gamer. You probably can't choose a gift he'd actually love and be able to use unless you know what kind of console he has, what games and accessories he already owns and what kind of games he likes to play.
Practical gifts for guys
If he's a college student, he might be on the verge of having his first professional job and paying his own bills for the first time. A young adult can appreciate practical gifts in a way he might not as a teenager. You might want to choose things that don't seem exciting but that you know he'll be able to use, especially if he's going to have to furnish an apartment in the near future.
Practical gift ideas include:
- Kitchen essentials, like a skillet, mixing bowls and a set of knives in a knife block.
- A basic tool set, or a few specialty gadgets if he's already an experienced DIY-er with his own tools.
- A meal kit subscription so he can have healthy, home-cooked food and develop some cooking skills.
- A nice leather wallet or leather keychain.
- Cookbooks, lamps, nice towels and sheets, kitchen gadgets and even cleaning supplies are other good practical gifts for young adults starting out on their own.
To drink or not to drink?
It's a milestone birthday in the U.S., so turning 21 is often celebrated with alcohol. Things like shot glasses, whiskey glasses, pint glasses, bottle openers, beer gift sets, cocktail shakers and/or bottles of high-quality liquor might be perfect gifts for guys who plan to drink... but make sure you know the recipient well if you give anything related to booze. Not all 21-year-olds drink alcohol. Ask a family member of the young man for guidance if you're not sure whether he would appreciate this kind of gift.
Hobby gifts for guys
How does he spend his free time? If he has any notable hobbies or interests, draw gift-giving inspiration from them. If he's really into playing golf, give him a tabletop golf game that he can play anytime. An exercise nut who's always working out might like a new gym bag, stainless steel water bottle or a month-long pass to an online workout subscription service so he can try new classes from home.
Is he into gadgets and electronics? The tech world tends to be a good place to look for gifts for 21-year-old males. Depending on his preferences (is he an Apple guy or an Android guy?), a young man might appreciate something like a new wireless charging dock or a Bluetooth speaker with an interesting design.
More gifts for 21-year-old guys
Still stumped for gift ideas? Things he can eat right away tend to make good gifts for 21-year-old guys. Give him a gift basket packed with delicious snack foods and local delicacies, or a grilling gift basket filled with sauces and spices. Or if he's a foodie, scour specialty stores (or Amazon) to find snack foods and candy from other countries that he probably hasn't tried.
Cash always works
When in doubt, give cash along with a handwritten note. A typical young adult will never be unhappy to receive that gift on their special day.
Gift cards for the grocery store, gas station and big-box stores like Walmart or Target are also perfectly appropriate gifts for a 21-year old man. The fact that they're practical doesn't make them any less thoughtful than something that needs to be wrapped in a gift box.
With these easy gift ideas, you're bound to find something that a guy will be thrilled to open at his 21st birthday party or on Christmas morning—even if all he says is "Cool, thanks."