50 Perfect Birthday Gifts for All the Special People in Your Life
We've put together a list of birthday gifts with near-universal appeal so you'll be the most-wanted guest at every party.
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The best birthday gift ideas
Birthdays are a time for celebrating, but they also come with expectations. How do you find the perfect birthday gift to honor the person of the day? With our help—because we’ve got lots of great birthday gift ideas for you! Whether you need gifts for her or gifts for him, we’ve found presents with near-universal appeal to thrill any recipient.
Personalized gifts? Check. Tech gifts? Check. Unique gifts? Check. Read on for our carefully curated recommendations for the best birthday gifts for everyone on your list, so you can spend your time celebrating instead of stressing. Consider it our gift to you!
For the candle lover
Homesick Birthday Party Candle
For those who love scented candles, this birthday treat makes any day a celebration! Candles are, of course, a birthday requirement, and this one will remind them of their delicious birthday cake—because it smells exactly like it! Made from a natural soy wax blend, Homesick’s Birthday Party Candle features the fragrance of a luscious butter cream cake, with notes of vanilla, sugar cane, caramel, and more…minus the calories. With a burn time of 60 to 80 hours, the party can continue for days.
For the insomniac
Cozy Earth Classic Bedding Bundle
Cozy Earth is the stuff of which dreams are made. Oprah calls their bamboo bedding the “softest EVER,” and your birthday gift recipient will be just as glad to call it theirs! A great group gift, this luxury bedding bundle includes sheets, pillowcases, extra pillowcases, and even a duvet cover to totally immerse themselves in coziness and help them fall asleep comfortably. Or, pick a pair of Cozy Earth’s beloved women’s pajamas or men’s pajamas, because the best pajamas for women and the best pajamas for men always make great birthday gifts. All they’ll need now is a “Do Not Disturb” sign!
Score our favorite editor-tested Cozy Earth pajamas and products for 30% off with code READERSDIGEST through May 30. Silk, cashmere and some new products are excluded.
For the one with a serious sweet tooth
Caroline’s Cakes Birthday Cake Bites
Oprah is also a fan of Caroline’s Cakes—just like everyone else who’s ever tasted one of her decadent desserts. Perfect gifts for friends, these bite-sized indulgences are made of Caroline’s classic yellow cake mixed covered in white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles. Small enough to enjoy guilt-free—as long as your gift recipient doesn’t finish the pack of 12 in one sitting—each one is a celebration in their mouth.
For the tea lover
DAVIDsTEA Double-Walled Glass Latte Mug
This extra large mug holds a whopping 20 ounces of their favorite tea, and the double-walled glass retains heat inside without burning their hands on the outside. It’s simple and simply elegant, and could make a great gift for coworkers you always see with a mug on their desk. Add a Sweet Indulgence Sachet Tea Wheel filled with flavors like Hot Chocolate, Cardamom French Toast, and of course, Birthday Cake.
For a student
Fjallraven Kanken Pack
This classic bag has such a loyal following because it is just plain perfect. Available in lots of colors so there’s something for everyone, it holds a ton but looks cool and breezy. The hard-working fabric is dirt and water-resistant yet surprisingly lightweight, and the unisex backpack even comes with a seat cushion that provides padding for their back and lets them sit down comfortably anywhere they need to take a break. These bags make great gifts for teens, college students, or commuters.
For a significant other
Uncommon Goods Personalized Map Clock
This is such a unique way to commemorate an important place in your relationship, and makes a great gift for your wife, husband, or other special someone. Choose the spot you first met, had your first date, got engaged, or spent a romantic weekend away. Uncommon Goods will custom-make a three-square-mile map, with the center of the clock marking the exact spot. The clock, which can be hung on the wall or displayed on the included easel, will be a real conversation piece.
For the homebody
Sunday Citizen Casablanca Throw
There’s nothing like a cozy throw to turn a living space into a warm and welcoming sanctuary, and Sunday Citizen makes some of the best throw blankets around. The Casablanca, which comes in several colors to match any decor, is hypoallergenic, machine washable, and as soft and enveloping as a hug.
For the puzzler
New York Puzzle Company City Living 500-Piece Puzzle
This New Yorker magazine cover by Harry Bliss, originally published in 2018, is now a fun jigsaw puzzle that could rate as one of the most challenging jigsaw puzzles without being frustrating. Your gift recipient will get a kick out of seeing inside Manhattan apartments as they put the building together piece by piece, brick by brick. They may even decide to proudly frame it when they’re done.
For the health nut
Fitbit Charge 5
The brand’s most advanced 24/7 fitness and health tracker, the Fitbit Charge 5 tracks physiological metrics across recovery, sleep, and training while providing personalized recommendations and actionable feedback. The birthday boy or girl will wear it on their wrist and be able to get tons of information about everything from heart rate to blood oxygen to skin temperature to help optimize their performance. One of the best fitness trackers for your money, it includes a six-month premium membership; once they see how it’s helped them, they’re likely to want to continue.
For an old friend
Mimeo Photos Photobook
Find your favorite photos of the two of you or from some of your wildest adventures together and create a keepsake book. Just the fact that you took the time to do it—and it’s so much easier than you’d think when you see the beautiful end result—will show them how much you care. They’ll get such a kick out of it every time they look through it, which will be often. It even makes a wonderful coffee table book.
For the coffee enthusiast
Keurig K-Express Single Serve Coffee Maker
This is one of the best gifts for coffee lovers because it lets them wake up to their fresh-brewed beverage of choice within minutes. They can even use the Keurig‘s “Strong” button for a more intense jolt. The 42-ounce removable reservoir lets them brew up to four cups before refilling, and the back-to-back brewing capability means they won’t have to wait for it to reheat before their next cup. Consider adding the My K-Cup Universal Reusable Coffee Filter so they can use their own ground coffee if they prefer.
For the casual dresser
Reuben Oliver Aran Pima Hoodie
Substitute their old sweatshirt with this indescribably soft hoodie that’s artisan-made in Lima from 100% Peruvian Pima cotton. Reuben Oliver’s plant-based knitwear is as dedicated to sustainability as it is to style: It’s crafted from their signature Recycled Denim and 100% biodegradable, making it a gift to the planet as well.
For the pet parent
Oliver Gal Custom Pet Portrait
Looking for gifts for dog lovers or gifts for cat lovers? Next time they share a new photo of their adorable pet, download it and send it off to Oliver Gal to create a custom portrait. Choose from a variety of sizes, backgrounds, and frames to highlight their furry family member. This special gift will take a place of honor on their wall.
For the frequent host
Uncommon Goods Decorative Wine Serving Tray
Give them their own little wine bar to entertain their guests with this beautiful wooden tray personalized with their name and the year—you know, like a good wine. The tray holds four standard stemmed glasses and a bottle of wine, and it will become a treasured piece that they’ll want to display even when they’re not using it.
For the napper
Ostrichpillow Light Versatile Pillow
If your gift recipient has been known to enjoy a daytime snooze—which, let’s face it, makes it one of the great gifts for dad—this cushy solution lets them rest their eyes in comfort. Whether they wrap it around their head or neck, the adjustable pillow will provide them their own safe space to catch some zzz’s anywhere. It’s perfect for travel, work, the couch, or even their own bed.
For the meal planner
Proscenic T21 Air Fryer
At this point, everyone should have an air fryer because it just makes cooking everything so easy and flavorful—and the Proscenic T21 is the one to get. You can even use its app to schedule, adjust, and monitor the cooking process. It also has an exclusive preheat function and a Keep Warm button, and it’s big enough to feed a lot of people at once. Maybe you’ll even be invited to dinner now.
For the frequent flier
Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner
For those who don’t always pack light, this customer-favorite suitcase provides all the room they need for their next getaway. Soft-sided quality luggage always has more give, and the Eco Advance even expands another two inches for added capacity. The interior has a variety of pockets, so organizing is a snap, and the four spinner wheels make maneuvering easy, no matter how full they’ve packed it. Plus, the fabric is made from recycled bottles, so you can feel even better about this eco-friendly pick.
For the beginning cook
Great Jones The Starting Lineup
Designed for newbie cooks (but really ideal for anyone), this gorgeous set comes with a trio of core kitchen essentials—a frying pan, a Dutch oven, and a baking sheet—that, thanks to Great Jones’s cool aesthetic, are anything but basic. Available in three stunning colorways, they’re meant to be used rather than tucked away in a drawer, so don’t be surprised if your birthday gift recipient suddenly develops a deep interest in cooking.
For the music lover
Victrola Revolution GO Portable Rechargeable Record Player
If your birthday gift recipient is still trying to convince you that nothing sounds as good as vinyl, they will so appreciate this award-winning, battery-powered record player to take to the office, to a party, on vacation, or for a picnic in the park. The world’s first portable, rechargeable, Bluetooth record player, it’s a modern take on a classic—and designed to become a classic itself. It’s one of the perfect gifts for your boyfriend who loves vinyl. And if you have a shelf full of old records you can’t part with, you just may want to treat yourself to one too.
For the side hustler
Bloomscape Mini Money Tree
Money trees are a perfect gift for entrepreneurs, or those aspiring to be. They’re meant to bring good luck and prosperity, and this mini plant is just the right size for any space—including their new CEO desk. It requires very little maintenance, so its owner can spend their time building up their business.
For the ice cream connoisseur
Milk Bar The Ice Cream Sampler
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Milk Bar, the New York City–based bakery that takes its custard-style ice cream to a whole new level. Their flavor sampler includes Birthday Cake, Pie, Cereal Milk (it’s delicious, we promise!), Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Crush. You can get it so fast that it also makes a great last-minute gift. Or, go all out and gift them The Birthday Scoop, with three ice cream flavors plus their iconic three-layer birthday cake.
For the book lover
The Kindle revolutionized reading on a tablet, and every reader should have one. This Paperwhite is a #1 Amazon Best Seller because it makes it easy to read anywhere, anytime. Instead of carrying heavy books on vacation, your birthday gift recipient can simply load up their Kindle and toss it in their bag. It’s waterproof for the beach and is glare-free even in bright sunlight. This is definitely one of the best gifts for book lovers.
For the writer
Papier Classic Border Notecard Set
A handwritten note makes any sentiment feel special, and this birthday gift idea allows the recipient the opportunity to express themselves with these personalized notecards. The paper is thick and beautifully textured, and you can choose from 10 border colors. You may just get your own thank-you note written on it.
For the trendy traveler
Rollink Flex AURA 21-Inch Hardside Collapsible Carry-On Plus
The world’s first collapsible hard-shell suitcase just hit the U.S., and all on-trend travelers will want one now. Just look at the numbers: It’s 10 gallons of packing volume, weighs only five-and-a-half pounds, and folds flat to two inches. Plus, it comes in four great colors and features a water-resistant front pocket to hold a 15-inch laptop. It makes a perfect gift for husbands— but no matter the recipient, they will give it a 10!
For the smoothie lover
BlendJet 2 Portable Blender
This ingenious little blender lets you make smoothies, coffee drinks, protein shakes—whatever!—anywhere. It’s lightweight yet powerful, cutting through ice, frozen fruit, and leafy greens in seconds. Not only does it recharge quickly after lasting through 15 uses, but it even cleans itself. Plus, it comes in more than two dozen gorgeous colors and prints.
For the digital native
Casetify Custom Phone Case
There’s nothing the birthday guy or gal uses as much as their phone, so a new cell phone case will always be appreciated—especially when it’s as lightweight yet strong as this one. Available in 30 colors, it can even be customized with your recipient’s name or initials in cool fonts. They’ll especially appreciate that it features 6.6-foot drop protection and 360-degree all-around impact protection. These cases also make great gifts for tween boys who are just getting their own phone.
For the home barista
Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle
A work of art in itself, this stunning kettle will look great in any coffee lover’s kitchen or on their desk—but it’s so much more than its design. The gooseneck spout and ergonomic handle make it easy to hold and pour, and the temperature control and stopwatch assure a perfect cup of coffee, whatever their favorite brewing method.
For the spa lover
Cozy Earth The Premium Plush Bath Sheets
Worthy of a five-star spa, these oversized bath sheets are the showpiece of Cozy Earth’s new line of towels and the easiest way to make someone feel pampered. Made from 40 percent viscose from bamboo and 60 percent cotton, they’re plush and luxurious yet also ultra-absorbent. Perfect self-care gifts, they even come in a set of two, so your recipient can toss one in the wash—it won’t pill!—and always have one to use.
For the lifelong learner
There’s nothing as valuable as the gift of knowledge, and a membership to MasterClass offers access to the greatest minds in every industry. Gordon Ramsay will teach the recipient how to cook, Ringo Starr will teach them drumming, Malala will teach them how to create change. There are more than 150 classes available, all of which can be streamed at their convenience, and watched or listened to at their own pace. You may want to buy yourself a membership too, to keep up with them.
For the jet-setter
Sofia Cashmere Cable-Knit Travel Set
This luxurious, splurge-worthy cable-knit set contains the perfect gifts for the jet-setter, with everything the recipient needs to travel in style: a blanket, an eye mask, and a pouch to put over an airplane pillow, all made of the softest cashmere. In fact, each piece is so sumptuous, they’ll feel like they’re sitting in first class even if they’re stuck in a middle seat in coach.
For the business traveler
Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag
Made of 100 percent premium neoprene, this is the perfect practical carry-on bag for so many reasons: It’s water-resistant, hand-washable, shock-absorbent, and filled with functional features like a dust bag for shoes and a pouch for valuables, as well as dedicated spaces for a water bottle and keys. Plus, it’s made with recycled bottles, so it’s a gift for the environment too.
For the healthy eater
Brightland The Duo Olive Oil Set
Show them you care about their health with this pair of heart-healthy olive oils made in California with heirloom California olives cold-pressed by a master miller within 90 minutes of harvest. The set comes with two different 100 percent extra virgin olive oils: Awake and Alive. Both are so fresh, they’re like nothing your gift recipient will have ever bought from the grocery store. These also make great hostess gifts.
For the wine aficionado
Peugeot Elis Reverse Rechargeable Electric Corkscrew
Make it simple for your gift recipient to pop open their favorite bottle of vino with this beautiful beechwood corkscrew made in France. Its old-world charm is given a modern touch with 100 percent automatic advanced technology that uncorks 50 bottles on one charge. This is one of the birthday gift ideas that can lead to many more celebrations!
For the runner
Adidas FWD-02 Sport In-Ear Wireless Earbuds
Music makes a run go faster with this cool tech gift of sleek earbuds from a company that knows a thing or two about staying active. Sweatproof, water-resistant, and glove-friendly, the earbuds feature intuitive controls that are simple to operate, so the user can keep listening to their tunes, and an ergonomic design so they stay put without slipping during a run or workout.
For the lounger
Matouk Matteo Robe
This unisex seersucker robe turns a lazy Sunday at home into a relaxing retreat. Elegant, with menswear-inspired stripes, it’s lightweight, breezy, and made of 100 percent cotton—perfect for an early morning cup of coffee on the deck. Like all of Matouk’s luxury fabrics, it’s OEKO-TEX®️ certified (which confirms textiles are free from toxic substances), and it’s machine washable for easy care. Choose from five colors, and if you want to make it really personal, you can even add a monogram. It would also make a great gift for your sister.
For the home chef
Misen Chef’s Knife
The right tools can make all the difference, as anyone who cooks has probably discovered the hard way. A perfect housewarming gift in addition to one of the great birthday gift ideas for gourmet cooks, this highly celebrated chef’s knife, which raised more than a million dollars on Kickstarter, is a game-changer for pros and amateurs alike. It comes in four colors, and because it’s designed to do 99 percent of kitchen cutting, it can replace all those dull old knives just taking up room.
For the doting grandparent
Monster Smart Home Digital Photo Frame
One of the best gifts for grandma, this digital frame is a great way to show off and share endless photos of your gift recipient’s grandchildren (or other friends or family members). Use the app to send your own faves directly to the frame, where it will pop up unexpectedly and remind them of their loved ones. The frame holds 4,000 photos and allows users to speedily upload 100 photos at a time.
For the armchair traveler
Ridley’s 50 Awe-Inspiring Travel Destinations Bucket List Puzzle
If your gift recipient is itching to travel, they’ll be so inspired by this 1,000-piece puzzle that will take them from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon Rainforest—all from the comfort of their own home. As they add each piece, they’ll also add to their travel bucket list.
For the beach bum
Aviator Nation 5-Stripe Zip Hoodie
This unisex hoodie from California brand Aviation Nation is so comfy, they’ll feel like they’ve been wearing it forever—and they will. Plus, its laid-back surfer vibe makes it the perfect beach cover-up. Hand sewn, it’s got a vintage look and is made from lightweight, breathable fleece that turns any day into a weekend. You can’t go wrong with this if you find it hard to picks gifts for your sister-in-law.
For the adventurous coffee drinker
Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. Single Origin Explorer’s Kit
If you’re looking for birthday gift ideas for those who are always eager to try new coffees, this trio is a great way to experience some of the world’s best coffee growing regions from home. It includes single origin Fair Trade Organic 100 percent Arabica whole bean coffees from Papua New Guinea, Chiapas, Mexico, and Colombia, each with its own distinct flavor. They’re so good, your next coffee date just may be at their place.
For the practical traveler
Leatherology Privacy Luggage Tags
Help your gift recipient travel stress-free with these luggage tags that hold all their contact information safely. Made of rich, full-grain leather and available in three colors, they can even be personalized for easy identification. You can buy them individually or gift this set of two that comes with a standard size for their suitcase and a mini for their carry-on. It’s one of the perfect gifts for your father-in-law.
For the gourmand
Mochidoki Signature Collection Mochi Ice Cream
For those who prefer their ice cream in mochi (traditional Japanese rice cake) form, this signature collection from Mochidoki is a sweet gift. It includes 24 pieces of their dozen best-selling flavors, from Strawberry to Black Sesame to Salted Caramel, all made from the highest-quality ingredients. No wonder this delicious Japanese-inspired dessert has become such an international treat.
For the art appreciator
ArtSugar Op Art Candy Dish
You can never go wrong with giving a beautiful piece of art, which is why the craftsmanship of Etsy gifts makes them so popular. And this eye-popping candy dish from ArtSugar, which aims to make trend art accessible, will instantly brighten up any space. Made of food safe, BPA-free acrylic, it can hold your birthday gift recipient’s favorite sweet treat, or even their keys.
For the sharp dresser
Finley Solid Cotton Lawn Boyfriend Shirt
The white boyfriend button down is a wardrobe staple, and this one is cut so well, it looks good on everyone. Its relaxed silhouette and shirttail hem make it super comfortable, and its barrel cuffs give it a crisp, sophisticated vibe. It’s the perfect piece for work or weekend.
For the hiker
Hydroflask 32-Ounce Wide Mouth Water Bottle
Active people can never own too many water bottles, and this one from Hydroflask is a must-have—in fact, your recipient may jump for joy just like the brand’s instantly recognizable icon. It keeps drinks icy cold for 24 hours and hot for 12, so it’s great for all-day activities such as hiking. Plus, it comes in a dozen gorgeous colors, so they’ll always know which is theirs.
For the indoor gardener
Bloomscape Tough Stuff Collection
Giving an indoor plant can be iffy because if it doesn’t last, it can make the recipient feel bad. This hearty trio is easily adaptable to less-than-ideal conditions and is extremely low maintenance. The set includes a pre-potted Sansevieria, ZZ Plant, and Hoya variety, all of which will thrive wherever your recipient puts them. Also, if they do die within 30 days, Bloomscape will replace them for free.
For the foodie
Kyoord The Governor Premium Edition Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A good olive oil can make such a difference in a dish, and this one ups the nutritional value along with the taste. Cold-pressed to preserve its rich flavor, the premium edition of one of the best olive oils around is packed with polyphenols as well as tasting notes that include green tomatoes, green almonds, and pink pepper. It comes in a beautiful bottle that will take pride of place in any foodie’s kitchen.
For the yoga devotee
Manduka Pro Yoga Mat
Yoga teachers around the world recommend this mat for its superior cushioning and durability. It’s even OEKO-TEX certified, so your favorite yogi can do a tree pose or downward dog safely, without worrying about harmful chemicals. Choose from nine colors in standard or long sizes. It also makes a great birthday gift for mom.
For the amateur photographer
Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro Camera and Photo Printer
Combining the best of both worlds—a vintage-looking camera boosted by modern technology—this Kodak bundle provides everything necessary for taking and printing out spur-of-the-moment photos: a 2-in-1 instant camera/printer and 60 sheets of laminated photo paper. Be prepared to strike a pose. Want more options? Here are our top picks for gifts for photographers.
For the athlete
DNA Vibe’s Jazz Band
This revolutionary Intelligent Light Therapy wearable is trusted by hundreds of elite and professional athletes to help reduce inflammation and pain while improving and accelerating recovery. It improves blood flow and oxygenation and can be used on ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, shoulders, necks, and backs, letting the user remain active. It makes a great gift for your brother who’s always hitting the gym.
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