Welcome to our monthly gifting column, where you’ll find the answers to – and best gifting recommendations for – all of your trickiest present-buying pickles. From what to buy your mother-in-law for her birthday (that won’t result in a less-than-amused raised eyebrow), to what on earth we should bring to a baby shower; you’ll find it all right here.

Dear Gift Guider,
It feels like everyone I know has a birthday this month. I’ve got my cousin’s 21st, my best friend’s 30th (she’s dreading turning the big 3-0) and my mum’s 60th all looming in the next few weeks! And these are the BIG, pull-out-all-the-stops birthdays, right? If we can’t all see each other and have a massive party, do the usual present-buying rules still apply? Help!
Dear Overwhelmed,
You’re right, these are the big celebratory birthdays, and with three all at once,  it’s no wonder you’re feeling a bit frazzled. But have no fear, I’m here to alleviate the present-buying pressure, and I have the answers you’re looking for. (Yes, I did frantically message the Selfridges chat to ask if anyone – anyone!? – remembers with any clarity what it felt like to turn 21. It’s been a while.) So, deep breaths, and let’s break it down a bit, shall we?
The Gift Guider (aka Selfridges Editor Charlotte Core)

The cousin’s 21st

Ah, 21. Though it may feel like a very, very distant memory, one echoing thought remains from that time: the idea that you’re standing on the precipice of adulthood, ready to get out there and make your mark on the world. For most 21-year-olds, though, this year hasn’t been the best example of the joy and freedom adulthood can bring – it’s been quite miserable. That’s why I’m recommending 21st-birthday gifts that are all about pure, unfiltered joy. What’s needed right now is less of the grown-up-, organise-your-life-type things (there’s plenty of time for that – maybe next year or even the year after), and more of the grin-inducing stuff ­­– from grown-up games to joyful accessories. (And you’ll be known forevermore as ‘the cool cousin’. Result.)

The best mate’s 30th

Why is it that the words ‘turning 30’ feel like they could be interchangeable with ‘on the verge of an existential crisis’? It appears that a lot of us have lumbered ourselves with a self-imposed life litmus test that kicks off at 30 years old, making us question why we haven’t yet reached Beyoncé levels of success and productivity. Yep, life at 30 can feel like an unbalanced path, but while we ricochet from ‘I am a professional businesswoman’ to ‘I don’t think I’ve changed at all since I was 18’, it’s the nights we have with our closest friends that keep us smiling and let us enjoy the best that the decade has to offer. After all, could Beyoncé have done it without Kelly and Michelle? I suggest not. So, to thank her for being there, I’d put together a knock-out gift box that includes a bottle of bubbly (personalised with the date you two became BFFs), a filled photo album of your most hilarious (read: embarrassing) Instagram snaps and maybe a little something that will remind her of your friendship for the next 30 years…

The mum’s 60th

When it comes to family members, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of rebuying the same gifts, year on year. Yep, the ‘failsafe’ gifts – as positive and efficient as they may be for all involved – can fall a little bit flat on a landmark birthday like a sixtieth. This year, steer away from her favourite perfume (honestly, she’s probably stockpiled enough of it to last a lifetime), and surprise your mum with something unexpected. Whether that’s a luxurious bottle of gin she’d never think to pick up for herself or a rejuvenating face toning device for some serious pampering; there’s no time like the big 6-0 to really wow her. 

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From carefully selected hampers to extraordinary gifts for the home, our team of gifting experts, the Elfridges, can help you find sure-to-please-presents for any occasion. Simply dial into your video call to view a personally curated selection of items that can be delivered to your loved one’s home.

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