18th Birthday Girl
September 19, 2006 10:02 AM   Subscribe

What should I buy my sister for her 18th Birthday?

Last year I bought her an ipod and she loved it. The year before I got her a bunch of nerdy stuff from ThinkGeek and she thought it was great. This year I can't come up with a cool idea.

My problem is that I am just not in touch with what is cool to her age group. Anyone have an interesting suggestion? I am having tons of trouble coming up with a good idea.
posted by aburd to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Stylin' bag for all that cool geek stuff? These Casauri bags are totally cute.
posted by desuetude at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Did she just start college or move out on her own?
posted by voidcontext at 10:11 AM on September 19, 2006


She is going to be starting college next fall. I've been thinking it is too soon to get her college gear. Is this thinking flawed?
posted by aburd at 10:14 AM on September 19, 2006


How much older are you then her?

You could always just get her a more expensive iPod.
posted by delmoi at 10:16 AM on September 19, 2006


I am 28 and she is about to be 18. I think she is cool with the iPod she has. It's a nano and she doesn't even fill it up. Is there another toy/gadget like that that 18 year old girls would like?
posted by aburd at 10:21 AM on September 19, 2006


The laptop bag is a good idea, but she is in Private School and they force them to carry these bags with their school logo on it (this is per Dad who was dragged over to the monitor by me). Thanks for the suggestion though.
posted by aburd at 10:28 AM on September 19, 2006


Camcorders can be awfully inexpensive these days. Perhaps a lower end Canon? And a boatload of tapes?

One of my most prized possessions is a box of tapes documenting my senior year.
posted by mmdei at 10:30 AM on September 19, 2006


If I got her a nice digital camera/vid camera, I think I would win this birthday. Is there one with an anti-blur feature?
posted by aburd at 10:36 AM on September 19, 2006


Depends on budget, image stabilization is starting to trickle down into the not-highest-end point/shoot cameras.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_sd800is.asp

still not ... 'inexpensive'
posted by mmdei at 10:45 AM on September 19, 2006


I second a digital still/video camera. Is her school on the facebook? Does she have a MySpace? You would definitely win this birthday.

Plus, as a recent college grad, I can say that this will easily be an essential item for her next year. My friends and I all had good luck with a bunch of different Kodak EasyShares.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 10:45 AM on September 19, 2006


How about filling up that ipod for her then? Does iTunes sell gift certificates?
posted by cgg at 10:46 AM on September 19, 2006


I third the digital camera. Digital cameras made for stills (of course most of them can take short vid clips) seem to be more popular than video cameras. Maybe that's just cause they're more expensive though?

Does she play video games at all? Maybe she'd like a Nintendo DS? They have black and pink in addition to white now.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:55 AM on September 19, 2006


Her school actually bans MySpace. A couple of years ago a girl put really naughty pictures of herself up on myspace for her boyfriend. This upset everyone. Many meetings were convened. The end result is that MySpace was banned. I don't think it has been a successful banning but my sister being the saint she is (She actually goes on missions trips to build schools in third world countries on her vacations) she is actually following the rule. At least she is telling me that she is.

That Cannon doesn't look bad. It seems like a reasonable price comparitively.
posted by aburd at 10:57 AM on September 19, 2006


The Canon PowerShot series is great. They hit a mid price-point, have pretty good quality, and seem pretty indestructible. I've known oodles of friends with various versions and we've all been happy with them. There is the option for video - get a card with lots of space for her.
posted by barnone at 11:01 AM on September 19, 2006


Not to derail, but: her high school actually has jurisdiction over what activities she does outside of school? I didn't think I graduated that long ago, wow.

That being the case, though, she'll still love sharing her digital pictures with her friends the, uh, old-fashioned way, via e-mail or flickr, etc. It'll also be a great way to document her travels.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2006


"Not to derail, but: her high school actually has jurisdiction over what activities she does outside of school?"

It's common in Private High Schools. It is part of the "Honor Code". We had one in our school where we had to live moral lives outside of school. It never really works but it makes the parents feel better about sending their kids to a particular school.
posted by aburd at 11:26 AM on September 19, 2006


The image stabilization is nice, but a virtually indestructible camera might survive longer.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Olympus/oly_stylus720sw.asp

The movie mode is a bit lacking, however.
posted by mmdei at 11:35 AM on September 19, 2006


It's a bit far off from the gadget theme, but I always think a significant, lasting present means a lot for "big" birthdays like your 18th or 21st. I got given silver cuff links by a relative for my 18th that I still wear, and it always makes me think of her. So you could go for a good-quality ring, or a funky necklace - something in silver or gold maybe - that would be with her for a long time. When she goes off to college, she'll always have something that will make her think her brother is looking out for her. A bit cheesy, I know, but 18th birthdays are big milestones.

Failing that, a Nintendo DS would go down brilliantly I'm sure! :D
posted by greycap at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


She is 18, does she have pearls?
how about black cocktail dress?

She is crossing a huge line into adulthood and I think your gift should acknowledge that major milestone.

It is one of the 3 most important birthdays in a young person's life.
posted by Megafly at 12:10 PM on September 19, 2006


"She is crossing a huge line into adulthood and I think your gift should acknowledge that major milestone."

Dad is covering the clothes and jewelry. Honestly, I would rather buy her a nun's habit for her 18th... or maybe a chastity belt of some sort.

It would be neat to recognize the importance of the birthday though. Maybe I can get the camera engraved or something.
posted by aburd at 12:56 PM on September 19, 2006


On the digital camera front, I've been looking for a good carry-everywhere point-and-shoot for myself. Among the best were the Fuji F-series: the F20 and F30.

What's great about them is their low-light capability. Most of the pictures she would likely be taking are indoors - parties, dorms, hanging out with friends. For these kinds of conditions, it's supposed to be the best point-and-shoot on the market.
posted by miagaille at 1:09 PM on September 19, 2006


If she likes music, and if she's going off to college soon, what about a really good pair of headphones? I'm talking something like Bose noise-canceling headphones. I have a pair of JVCs, and while they're hardly as posh as the Bose ones, they're still one of the best [practical] gifts I have ever gotten. They're great for public transportation, they're much more comfortable (in my opinion) than the typical earbuds that most kids have, and also they block out so much ambient noise that you don't need to turn the volume up as high.
posted by anjamu at 2:23 PM on September 19, 2006


I second the timeless gift idea to commemorate the 18th: nice jewelry or a good watch (which can be engraved) would be something she might hold onto for a lifetime, as opposed to a bit of tech that will break and/or become obsolete before she's done with college.

re: digital camera - stay away from the Casio Exilim cameras. They are very popular right now and seem really great and solid and well-built, but mine fell apart completely within a year. Part of this is me being rough on it, to be fair. However, the cool electric orange color was a poor paint job that started flaking off immediately, and the on/off button was way too sensitive, casing the lens to extend inside pockets and bags, damaging it and taking videos of the insides of those pockets and bags.

If you are set on tech, have you considered a Razr phone? Maybe a pink one?
posted by Cranialtorque at 2:57 PM on September 19, 2006


Take her on a cool trip.
Help her fill up the I-pod with a bunch of your favorite music that you think she'll like.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 4:34 PM on September 19, 2006


Hmm, I turned 18 this year and got a laptop from the folks. If she doesn't have one, get her one! Very handy and would be great for college.

What else? Oh yeah, a new mobile - you can't buy a new model without it being "outdated" in a few months so I would think she would be pretty happy with that.

You mentioned she goes on missionary trips for her vacations? You could even think of donating the money you would have spent on a gift to a charity or to sponsering a child. I've always tried to convince my parents to do that, but they're unwilling.

How close are you to her? You mention your dad's got the bling covered, but maybe something personalised like a bracelet or necklace that you can get engraved would be very sweet.

As others posted above, digital camera would be a great gift. But then so would a car (still waiting on that one!).

I must ponder on this subject a bit more, I shall get back to you. Heh.
posted by liquorice at 4:51 PM on September 19, 2006


I don't know how nerdy she is, but I go totally ga-ga over stationary. I would have loved to get a bunch of stuff from places like this.
posted by liquorice at 5:08 PM on September 19, 2006


I would like to note that I received no less than eleven engraved charm necklaces on my 18th. They're all sitting in my jewelry box and I've never worn any of them. Just because something is timeless doesn't mean it will get an infinite amount of use, value, or attention.

The exception would be something she will actually wear, like a slim, elegant, functional watch.
posted by miagaille at 6:52 PM on September 19, 2006


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