Celebrating the 21st birthday with a party is a tradition young people look forward to as an exciting way to mark that significant milestone. Finding a way to differentiate that particular birthday from previous ones is to capitalize on the significance of the number 21 and generating ideas that relate to that number.
For some young people about to turn 21, the perfect party is a small gathering at someone’s home. For others, a crowd-filled raucous celebration fits the occasion. Taking into consideration the lifestyle and preferences of the birthday celebrant is the first step in creating a perfect 21st birthday party. If drinking alcohol is going to be a part of the celebration, it’s also important to keep in mind that some guests may not yet have reached their 21st birthday, while other guests may not drink alcohol.
Some 21st birthday celebrants might enjoy a pub crawl or an evening at a microbrewery as recognition for reaching the legal drinking age. For a small celebration at home, a 21st birthday party might include opportunities for reflection and for both meaningful and entertaining interaction. For example, each guest might write a list of 21 things they like about the celebrant or 21 memories they have of the celebrant. The party planners might want to ask relatives to help them find 20 photos to display, one for each year of the celebrant’s “previous” underage life. A champagne toast with remarks from each guest is a nod to the legal drinking age.
A relevant game for the party is the poker game “21” with one person taking the role of dealer for every seven guests. The Learn Poker 21 features a complete list of rules. Handing everyone a stack of poker chips when they arrive and promising prizes for the guest winning the most chips by the end of the evening gets everyone immediately involved. Another possibility for entertainment is to ask a local wine merchant to conduct a wine tasting. Before the party, the host can purchase a selection of cheeses or chocolates (following the suggestions of the wine merchant); learning about wines and participating in taste pairings serve as the evening’s entertainment.
Gifts and Favors
Hosts can order the birthday celebrant a printed T-shirt, such as “It took me 21 years to look this good,” “21 and ready for fun” or “The Princess is 21” from the Zazzle website. Every guest should have a chance to have his photo taken with the celebrant wearing the special T-shirt. For fun, each guest can bring the 21-year-old 21 identical gifts. For example, someone might bring 21 candy bars, 21 glow necklaces, 21 pairs of dice, 21 cans of soda, 21 roses. There is always the welcome fall back gift–21 crisp new dollar bills.
Drinking too much to honor your own 21st birthday or that of a friend’s has led to numerous drunk driving accidents and deaths. Binge drinking and alcohol poisoning are serious health risks for young people. According to the Science Daily website, the practice of downing 21 drinks at 21st birthday parties on college campuses has grown increasingly more common. Patricia C. Rutledge, Ph.D., the lead author of a University of Missouri study on the subject, says that “the 21st birthday drinking is a pervasive custom in which binge drinking is the norm.”
- Poker image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com