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Gift Ideas for Friends

Celebrating your friends with a great gift is a great way to show them just how important they are to you! While sending birthday greetings for a friend can be as easy as firing off a text or writing a quick email, the best birthday wishes usually take a little bit more effort, and sometimes, they’re part of a unique gift.

Gift Ideas for Friends

A friend birthday can be just as important as a significant other or family member's birthday because, often, our friends are the family we choose and many stick around longer than a romantic relationship might last. So let’s talk about a few of the best friend birthday gifts.

Group Videos for Friends

Now, naturally, my first suggestion is going to be a birthday group video! After all, that’s our specialty here at Memento. Nearly 80% of our customers participate in at least one birthday celebration, whether that’s for friends, family, coworkers, or romantic partners. A group video from friends can mean the world to someone. Recording birthday wishes for a friend and sharing them in a group video adds that personal touch that many consider to be one of the most thoughtful gifts they’ve ever received! After all, most of human communication is done non-verbally, so seeing a friendly face is ten times better than receiving a text message or email. Plus, a birthday group video makes a great keepsake that you can watch again and again. 

You don’t have to take my word for it, though! Just take a look at this heartwarming story, from K-Pop superstars BTS. When Jin expressed disappointment that he hadn’t received many birthday messages in the early hours of his birthday, his bandmate, V, quickly reached out to all his friends - asking them to send Jin some birthday video messages so that Jin would know just how loved he was. When he woke up a few hours later, Jin was delighted to find his inbox full of video messages from all of their mutual friends and several actors that V knew as well. Just imagine how amazing it would have been if V had planned the video surprise ahead of time and organized all those messages into one easy-to-view, shareable video montage!  As a member of ARMY, I have to admit that when Jin related this story in his birthday livestream, I could only think of how I’d love to tell them about Memento! (In person, preferably… a girl can dream!)

Gifts for Your Best Friend

As best friends, we often like to one-up each other, and that applies to birthday celebrations, too! After a friend planned a birthday countdown from the 1st, to the day of her mid-month birthday, my friend Sherri recently took on the challenge of a ½ YEAR countdown for her best friend! So far, I’ve seen everything from birthday video messages of people just telling her what day in the celebration they’d reached (I was recently tapped to record “EIGHTY”), to gifts of handmade hats-made with more love than skill! Anything that brings a smile or a laugh is a winning gift, right? I’m not sure what the June grand finale is going to be yet, but I can tell you that I’m really looking forward to finding out. 

person holding sign that says 23 days to 40

Similarly, when my friend Chris turned 40, his wife arranged a 40 Days of Good Things countdown leading up to his birthday. She assigned each of his friends a specific day. On our day, it was our mission to either give him a little gift, or simply send him a special message to give him a little bright spot in his day. Those who lived nearby could do little things like treating him to coffee, and those who were long-distance friends could send him a virtual gift or message, just to let him know that we were thinking of him. I sent him a picture of an adorable cat with my message, because who doesn’t love adorable cat pictures?

Homemade Gifts for Friends

One thing I’m certain is on Sherri’s list of little gifts is a personalized cake or cupcakes. Sherri is a baker who specializes in unique birthday cakes. She’s made everything from a tribute to heavy metal to a perfect recreation of a sub sandwich - all made out of cake! Naturally, not everyone is a wildly creative and talented baker, but many are capable of hiring one!

amazing sub sandwich cake
Yes, it's really cake!

Personalized pastries and cupcakes can be really special unique gifts for a friend, because it shows that not only do you think they should treat themselves, but also that you know them well enough to know they’ll love a unicorn cupcake, or a baseball themed chocolate cake, or even just their favorite indulgent snack.

Another favorite homemade gift is soaps and scrubs. This refreshing coconut lime mint sugar scrub is simple to put together and makes such a thoughtful gift. Just put it in a jar, then add one of the printable tags that comes with this recipe. Embellish with twine or ribbon, and your gift is ready to go!

Unique Gift Ideas

While everyone knows the fun and ease of browsing Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, or even Wish to see if anything catches the eye, it’s hard to know the quality or the origins of what you’re buying online. Are you going to get the product exactly as advertised? Does it look cool, but you’re worried that it may not be made ethically or sustainably?

craft market wood crafts
Woodcraft gifts from a craft market.

Try shopping local for thoughtful gifts. Check out your local craft fairs, flea markets, or farmer’s markets. Churches, animal shelters, and other nonprofits often do fundraisers where handmade goods are donated for sales by the community. Visit a local craft store or boutique. Or follow makers who sell their wares via Facebook or Marketplace. There’s no better way to purchase a unique gift for a friend than buying it directly from the artisan!  And hey, if you’re feeling creative and adventurous, find some inspiration on Pinterest or YouTube and make something yourself! A true friend will love and appreciate the time and effort that you spend creating something unique for them.

Group Events for Friend’s Birthday

Much like a Group Video from Memento, a surprise birthday event such as a Birthday Scavenger Hunt can bring your entire friend group together to celebrate! For the friend who loves puzzles and adventure, it’s a great way to plan a whole day of fun activities and memories that you can make together.

scavenger hunt starts here sign

Start with a simple clue that leads them to their first destination. Add locations or activities that are meaningful to your friend, or that recall memories that your friend group has made together. Include clues that direct them to other friends who’ll present the next clue for them to follow. Build up to a special reveal at the end - maybe they’ll arrive at a party where all the friends they’ve “collected” during the day are there to raise a glass, or a sporting event, or a concert, or whatever will mean the most to them!

During the pandemic, when hosting a party or even running around town following clues wasn’t an option, my sister created a variation on this idea for her roommate. She hid poetic clues throughout their apartment and small garden. What would have been a simple gift handoff turned into a little puzzle, with fun clues and amusing hiding places. The greatest gift was the fun time that they had together, despite the limitations of staying at home.

No matter what unique gift for a friend you choose, the real fun is always in the time spent together and the appreciation of a friendship that lasts through thick and thin.