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Give any 21-year-old their main character moment with these fun, practical and unique gifts

Finding the perfect present doesn’t need to be that hard.

Made by mle; Vivian Le / TODAY; The Happiness Project
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Home gifts | Clothing | Beauty and self-care | Entertainment | Unique gifts

While shopping for toddlers and teens may seem easy, buying for those who have recently made the jump from young adults to just adults may feel a bit more challenging.

If you've got a 21-year-old to shop for and you're struggling to find the perfect gift, don't fret. Shop TODAY has got your back.

This is typically the age when most not-so-young adults are trying to find their footing in the world, moving into their first apartment, finishing college and diving even deeper into their personal interests. Help them embark on their new life journey with these useful (and may we say mature?) gift ideas for their home, kitchen, wellness routine and more.

Best home gifts for 21-year-olds

"The Unofficial TikTok Cookbook," by Valentina Mussi


Salmon rice bowls, baked feta pasta, twisted bacon — these are just some of the delicious recipes that have gone viral thanks to TikTok. Author and foodie Valentina Mussi will take them on a culinary trip where they'll discover new ingredients and mixes. This unofficial TikTok cookbook will give the foodie or trend-follower tons of recipes to record themselves trying.

“The I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook: 10th Anniversary Edition,” by Cherie Mercer Twohy

If a trip to Trader Joe’s is a weekly ritual, they’ll love this cookbook that will put all of the tasty finds to work. From eggplant lasagna to raspberry brownies, this recipe bonanza offers everything from lunch to dessert.

Yui Brooklyn Bubble Cube Candle


Yui Brooklyn uses its candles to express "Kawaii" with fun and funky shapes and patterns. Its cube design is different from traditional candle shapes, which makes it a unique piece to add to your home decor

Brumate Hopsulator Slim Koozie


If they love seltzers, normal koozies just won't do. Available in over 20 colors, this accessory has over 3,300 five-star ratings, most raving about how it keeps their drinks "super cold."

Yeti Insulated Wine Tumblr

Wine nights at home just got a lot more relaxing thanks to this insulated wine tumblr from Yeti. Not only does it keep your drinks at a temperature you desire, but it’s “good looking” and “very functional,” according to one reviewer. Plus, there is an option to add on a travel lid to make your wine portable for movie nights or parties.

Staglife Moscow Mule Mugs

For a different take on the traditional copper Moscow Mule glasses they're used to seeing, gift them with these (still copper!) mugs that will fit in on any bar cart.

Sizing in at 16 ounces, reviewers love these "great quality" mugs even more so because they "really keep your drinks cold," as the brand promises.

Owala FreeSip 32 oz. Water bottle

Sure, they've most likely heard of the recent craze surrounding Stanley, but for a water bottle that leaks less, provides three layers of insulation and includes two different options for either sipping or guzzling their water, Owala seems like the more obvious choice.

Fullstar All-in-1 Vegetable Chopper


For the 21-year-old who’s just starting to venture into the kitchen, help them make mealtime easier with this kitchen tool. This multi-blade system comes with a chopper, slicer and grater to put your cooking skills to the test. It also features a catch tray to keep all your countertop mess-free.

Wrangler 20-Inch Smart Spinner Carry-On Luggage


For the traveler in your life, this carry-on luggage is a perfect gift that they will use on every vacation. It’s hard-sided, features a cup holder and is super light according to reviewers. When it’s not filled with clothes and souvenirs, it can slide easily under a bed or in a closet, which is perfect for 21-year-olds living in dorms or small apartments.

Pottery Barn ‘Cheers’ Neon Sign

Give their bar cart area an upgrade with this neon exclamation often heard at wine nights, during toasts, or after a long day when a drink is needed.

Chargetree Swing Multi-Device Charging Station


Like the rest of us, 21-year-olds are always looking for a way to charge their devices. The Chargetree Swing allows them to charge their phone, smartwatch and Apple AirPods all in one convenient spot.

Food Network 10-Piece Textured Titanium Nonstick Cookware Set

A good set of pots and pans is a useful gift for anyone, especially 21-year-olds who are setting out on their own. This set is nonstick and dishwasher-safe, making it ideal for those who are just starting out in home cooking.

Wayfair Bar Cart


Ring in 21 the right way with a bar cart stocked with all of their soon-to-be favorite drinks and accessories. This wooden and metal cart will add a modern and elevated look to their living room or kitchen, and will definitely serve as a talking point when they have friends over. Reviewers love this item because it's "sturdy," "easy to assemble" and "looks great" in their space.

L’OR Barista Coffee and Espresso System

For the coffee lover who wants express brew at home, this coffee machine is a must-have. It comes with 30 capsules on the first order and features a high-pressure system that makes the perfect consistency. Also, it has a small container that holds used capsules, plus doesn’t take up much countertop real estate.

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser


Diffusers are a home must-have these days, and if your 21-year-old lives in a small apartment, this one from Vitruvi is ideal. The cordless device can be moved throughout their home and can run continuously for your choice of four- or eight-hour runtimes.

Hatch Restore


If they have trouble falling asleep or waking up, this gift will change their life. The machine works as a sunrise alarm, a meditation app, smart light and sound machine. It's the perfect sleep assistant for those that need a push in their sleep routine.

Mark & Graham Silver Boat Bar Tool Set


If the 21-year-old in your life has already developed a budding interest in mixology, they'll appreciate this one-of-a-kind bar tool set. It looks like a boat sculpture but if you take a closer look, you'll notice all the pieces working together for the unique nautical design. The set includes a shaker, stirrer, jigger, bottle opener, four coasters and a tugboat stand.

My Sheets Rock "The Regulator" Set


New bedding is a great way to make a 21-year-old feel a little more grown-up. The super-soft sheets are specifically designed to keep you at an ideal sleeping temperature. They come in a variety of colors to match any bedroom design as well.

Best clothing gifts for 21-year-olds

Telena Small Sling Bag


Every college student should be equipped with a belt bag when running errands. This stylish chest bag will fit all their storage needs while they're rushing from class to the gym and everything in between.

Made by mle Hair Clip

If you’re looking for a small, practical gift, then this hair clip set is ideal. The set can easily be tossed into a purse or backpack and be taken anywhere. It's a simple and fun way to update any hairstyle.

Indy Dolly Beige

They’ll love sporting these rectangular sunnies on game days, coffee runs and everything in between. This style is extremely on-trend right now and will look great with their casual summer look.

Latuza Women's V-Neck Short Sleeve Bamboo Pajama Set


For their sleepless nights, gift them this pajama set for added comfort. With a combination of cotton, bamboo viscose and silky rayon, this set is ideal for someone that battles night sweats. Its cooling properties will keep them fresh and maintain their body temperature at night.

Sheertex Classic Sheer Rip-Resist Tights


Tights are a necessary evil in any woman's wardrobe, but the worst part about tights is that they can easily snag and rip. These Sheertex tights are guaranteed to stay intact and have even been tried by staff at Shop TODAY. The results? Rip-resistant and super soft. This is one pair of tights she’ll reach for all winter long.

Mint and Lily Statement Initial Necklace

A classic gift for a 21-year-old girl, this statement initial necklace made the Shop TODAY list of Gifts We Love. You can gift it in gold, rose gold or silver to the girl looking for a timeless necklace to add to her wardrobe. 

Men’s Solids Ankle 4-Pack

When you’re in college, receiving items that you would typically have to pay for yourself is a game changer. We’re talking Starbucks gift cards, extra layers and socks. Bombas socks are a favorite among Shop TODAY editors for the comfort and support they provide feet. This four-pack includes subtle, solid pairs for the classy young man

Quince Mongolian Cashmere Sweater

Shop TODAY editors love Quince because of its high-quality garments that don’t break the bank. This cashmere sweater has all the benefits of cashmere —  warmth, softness and more — without the high price tag. Plus, it’s available in 17 colors.

Fossil Fenmore Multifunction Luggage Leather Watch

Looking suave is No. 1, so get them a sharp-looking watch to add to their wardrobe. Get an extra 30% off this pick from Fossil for a limited time only!

Crocs Brooklyn Buckle Low Wedge

Crocs have been all the rage for the past few years. Not only are the rubber clogs super comfy and perfect for all-day wear, but this one can be your favorite pair for your traveling needs. This shoe can also be personalized to show off individual style and personality with Jibbitz charms from the brand.

Quince 100% Silk Reversible Scarf


Everyone needs a comfortable scarf to keep them warm during cool summer nights. This one from Quince is made from 100% silk and features fringe detail for a bohemian feel.

Buck Mason Leather Wallet


Give him the gift of security and luxury with this leather wallet. The classic design will keep his new credit cards and IDs in place and accessible. With a vintage feel and natural hue, this makes a perfect gift for any 21-year-old to secure their driver license.

Birkenstock Boston Clogs

Gift them with the shoe that's most likely been taking over their TikTok "for you" page. Splurge-worthy, this classic style has outlasted other trends seen on social media for years. These shoes rank high with reviewers because of their comfort, casualness and ability to be worn all year-round.

Best beauty and health gifts for 21-year-olds

Maracuja Juicy Lip Plumping Gloss


Lip care is an important part of a skin care routine and this lip color from Tarte plumps and adds gloss at the same time. It's infused with maracuja oil and has a powerful hydrating result that makes your lips smoother and bolder. Shop TODAY writer Danielle Murphy tried this product and admitted it to being an addicting product due to its click-and-apply button.

Duke Cannon Supply Co. Cologne Balm


People worldwide love this cologne balm. It's easy to apply and very effective. Plus, the Buffalo Trace Whiskey scent must be one of the most recognizable things out there.

The Happiness Project One Sentence Journal


Those 21-one-year-olds are always running around doing something, but they are also mindful of their mental health and wellness. For the person who’s busy but also wants to take time to look inward, consider this journal, where all they have to do is write one sentence about each day to reflect on.

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream


Rich, buttery and sensorial are three ways we can describe Sol de Janeiro's Bum Bum Cream. This Brazilian-inspired lotion comes in a duo and contains smoothing ingredients like coconut oil, Brazil nut, Cupuaçu butter and more for soft skin. Your 21-year-old will appreciate this luxurious beauty treatment in time for summer.

FoxyBae Mini Rose Gold Travel Kit

Everyone needs a good hot hair tool and styler for quick makeovers. This multipurpose kit will let you straighten, blow-dry and curl your waves whenever you need. The kit comes with a bag and mini tool to tame the frizz during your travels.

Too Faced Born This Way Eye Shadow Palette


Now that she might be going out more, this makeup palette will complete her daily and nighttime routine. The set comes with nude tones and shimmery shades to enhance her eyes.

Briogeo Strength + Repair Solutions Set


For the young woman looking after her hair care routine, this Briogeo gift set will set her up for success. The kit comes with a shampoo, conditioner, mask and treatment oil to repair dry and damaged strands. With a combination of ceramides, argan oil, B-vitamins and algae extract, the kit helps to reinforce and strengthen hair cuticles.

Cadence Build Your Six


Cadence magnetic travel product pods have been trending throughout the year. If your 21-year-old travels frequently, these are a great gift. Each pack of six is fully customizable, from color choice to the product words on the top of each pod.

Best entertainment gifts for 21-year-olds

Confident? Board Game


Game night just got a lot more fun with CONFIDENT?, a group game that can accommodate up to 30 players. Everyone has to answer trivia questions with a range of numbers based on how confident they are in their answers. The lower the range, the more points you earn, and obviously the person with the most points wins.

Disney Adventures of a Lifetime: Magical Experiences From Around the World


If your 21-year-old is still a Disney kid at heart, this book offers them out-of-the-box ideas for their next Magic Castle adventure. While some of the suggestions occur at the parks, like watching Cars Land light up or getting a haircut on Main Street USA, others are much more over-the-top, like a private after-hours tour of Egypt’s Luxor Temple with Adventures by Disney.

Booze Clues Drinking Game Set

Turn what they thought was going to be a chill movie night into a game night with this Booze Clues set. The cards will give them drinking prompts to act out such as "something happens in slow motion," or "a training montage set to music." Depending on how they do, this game will either leave them completely sober or hungover the next day.

Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device

Let your loved one stream all of their favorite Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and Disney+ shows with the Fire TV Stick. The stick uses Alexa technology to instantly start shows and movies at the sound of their voice.

RiotPWR Mobile Cloud Gaming Controller for iOS

Waiting for classes to start just got a lot more fun with this controller — it looks and feels just like an Xbox one. All they have to do is plug their phone into it to play. The controller will also charge their phone so there’s no need to worry about a drained battery.

Crosley Radio Cruiser Plus Turntable


Record players are still a popular gift. We like this one because it’s got Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair it with a speaker or your phone and listen anywhere in your house.

JBL Charge 4 Waterproof Portable Speaker

Whether they’re hosting a dorm room soiree or a need some tunes while on the go, they’ll love this portable speaker. It comes in almost a dozen different colors and has up to 20 hours of runtime on a full charge, according to the brand.

Jenga Giant JS7


For the 21-year-old who has friends over 24/7 and can’t wait for summer barbecues, this will be a hit. The game stacks to over five feet tall, and comes with a carrying bag so they can take it to a friend’s house or store it easily.

Shokz OpenRun Pro


If they enjoy outdoor runs, give them peace of mind with Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones. Unlike over-the-ear headphones or earbuds, these leave the ear uncovered so they can hear what’s going on around them. The headphones rest just outside of the ear and music is heard through bone conduction tech.

Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

Over-ear wireless headphones are a must-have for any 21-year-old with an office job. They will love the Beats Solo3 Wireless version because they are incredibly comfortable and allow in outside ambient noise so the entire world isn’t completely blocked out.

Best unique gifts for 21-year-olds

"The Puffy" Puffin Drinkwear Can Holder

For upcoming tailgates, house parties, bonfires and more, gift them with this puffer jacket that might match their own. With 10 colors to choose from and a variety of styles, from hoodies to Hawaiian tees, keeping their drink cold has never looked more stylish.

Uncommon Goods Taco Truck


Taco lovers will rejoice with this quirky presentation. You'll be the star at the next hosting party when you gift your 21-year-old this taco truck-inspired stand. This will definitely be a conversation starter for the next dinner gathering and taco fiesta.

Uncommon Goods DIY Delicious: Dumplings Two Ways


If they're looking to expand their cooking skills, this Uncommon Goods Experience is perfect for them. Instead of just giving them a cookbook, you can sign them up for a live class with chef Jannie Huang for a chance to learn how to make boiled and pan-seared dumplings from the best of the best. They can even bring a friend along if they don't want to do it solo.

Twelve South AirFly Pro


Wired headphones are a thing of the past, especially according to 21-year-olds. This neat gadget enables any non-Bluetooth device to instantly become Bluetooth-able. It's great for someone who enjoys traveling, as it works great with airplane screens.

Calm Subscription


Gift the gift of a one-year subscription to this highly-rated app named Calm. It focuses on teaching you how to meditate, relax and sleep better — things all college students could use even if they don't realize it yet.

Sincerely Silver Custom Sound Wave Necklace


Give your loved one a stunning custom piece of jewelry with this sound wave necklace. Record yourself saying a personalized message like “I love you” and Sincerely Silver's software will engrave the message in the form of a sound wave on a necklace.