21 Birthday Gifts Your Girlfriend Actually Wants for Her 21st

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You’ve searched high and low, sneakily dropped hints and even resorted to asking her friends, but you still haven’t found your girlfriend the perfect birthday gifts for her 21st birthday. If you’re stuck in a cliché rut of roses, chocolates and teddy bears (which are great…once), College Magazine has the solution.

Check out our list of 21 birthday gifts that will make your girlfriend fall in love with you all over again.

Birthday gifts are the ultimate way to show your love.

We make it super easy and fun to find the best birthday gifts to fit your girlfriend’s personality perfectly. We say gifts in the plural because sometimes a combo gift allows you to get creative and show off your thoughtful side while also staying on budget—we know you can’t afford that backpacking through Europe trip she pins about daily. But if you know she’s got major wanderlust, you can pair this adventurer collection to her favorite a cappella group. That means there’s an experiential gift with a decorative gift she can keep.

the adventurer collection

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Or if she’s totally obsessed with her cat, consider going all out with a cat themed for her birthday gifts with a kitty cone duvet cover, a super soft kitty blanket and a kitty pouch.


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If you’re seriously on a budget you can get a little more crafty. These gifts range from DIY to activity birthday gifts you can experience together. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Just take that extra time to match the gift to what you girlfriend loves. We know you’r birthday gift will be her favorite.

21 Birthday Gifts Your Girlfriend Will Love

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1. Take Her Out

Make a reservation at a nice restaurant. “I would want to have a special night where we would dress up and go to a fancy dinner,” said University of Maryland sophomore Hannah Borison. Don’t break the bank, but something nicer than your usual Friday night date spot, dress up (khakis and a tie, please) and even splurge for dessert. Make sure there’s a candle in that dessert too. Simply find a secret moment to let the waiter know it’s her birthday.

Pro tip: Groupon has awesome deals for discounted meals and fancy-schmancy places. Use it wisely.

Your girlfriend will love spending time with you and you’ll get a delicious meal out of it. Win-win. If you want to bring a physical gift with you to the dinner, you can never go wrong with dorm decor.

Shooting star tapestries make for excellent birthday gifts for your girlfriend

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Or get your girlfriend a cute t-shirt for her birthday.

mew yorker tshirtlgbt outfitters i'm magical

More gifts for your GF’s 21st birthday.

22. A nice bath

8 USA Made Vegan Bath Bombs Kit: $16.99

“[I would love] bath bombs, candles, anything lavender related, tea, essential oils, and anything bath related.” – Dominique Dwyer, Cascadia College, Sophomore

23. Something traditional

Benchmark Bouquets 2 Dozen Red Roses, With Vase: $45.21

“I love traditional gifts like flowers and chocolate. Sometimes the simpler the better as long as the gift is meaningful.” – Elysse Dallas, University of Florida, Junior

Flowers make great gifts for girlfriends at any age.

24. Succulents

Shop Succulents Unique Succulent (Collection of 12): $29.99

“It’s like a box of chocolates but it’s a box of succulents. I’d want that instead of roses.” – Summer Cantello, Penn State, Senior

25. The ultimate movie night

kitty cone blanket

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Pair a seriously soft blanket and some popcorn for the ultimate movie night. “A chill dinner and a really good movie, either at a movie theater or at his house so we can just hang out,” said Luther College sophomore Claire Little.

26. Take her to the Happiest Place on Earth

“Hakuna Moscato It Means Drink Wine” Yoga Shirt: $17.99

Drinking around the world in Epcot is the ultimate 21st birthday Disney trip. Treat your girl to a day in Disney and the perfect boozy tank to get her pumped. “Doing something together is always a nice gift. Like going to a theme park or having a well planned out date,” said UF junior Megan Hazlett.

27. Stock up her pantry 

“Food. Surprise me with food.” – Aliecia Bouligny, Spellman College, Sophomore

28. Tickets to her favorite Broadway Show

“I like doing things more than getting things so maybe tickets to a Broadway show or hotel reservations in a random place we could drive to spontaneously. Maybe even like a plane ticket somewhere.” – Elizabeth Wallace, Wake Forest University, Senior

29. Candles to set the mood

Voluspa Prosecco Rose 2 Wick Candle: $20

“Candles smell amazing and set the mood.They can represent the burning love you share,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison Catherine Zastrow. And on her 21st, you know she wants a candle that smells like Prosecco.

30. All the wine she could ever want

Barski 4 Handmade Glasses and Wine Decanter: $189.95

College Magazine does not promote underage drinking. Please drink responsibly.

*Updated November 27, 2016 with even more birthday gift ideas and links to get them.

*Updated November 17, 2017 by Celina Pelaez to include student quotes and more gift ideas and the latest trends.


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Senior at Boston College. Future high school English teacher. I laugh, eat, and talk too much. My main loves include the Boston College Marching Band, peanut butter, pandas, country music, and Breaking Bad.

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