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    How to Deliver 18 Lollipops For 18th Birthday – Symbolic Joint Gift

    symboliczny prezent składkowy

    I love it when several people chip in to buy a joint gift. Especially when this gift is from people who aren’t expected to gift anything because they are not very close acquaintances. Yet even such people can make others happy – without sparing much effort or money – with a symbolic joint gift.

    It was back in high school. I didn’t know the birthday girl very well. She attended the same school, and we were on a foot pilgrimage together, but apart from a few joint friends we had little in common. If one of those friends had asked me to chip in for an expensive gift, I would have probably tried to weasel out of it. But the gift idea that was presented to me made me accept it without hesitation.

    On the day of her 18th birthday, Marta was supposed to receive 18 lollipops from 18 different people. We were free to choose the flavour, size, price, means of delivery and possible supplements to the lollipop. Close friends could add a gift they had prepared themselves. Casual acquaintances could just present a Chupa Chups, say: ‘Happy birthday!’ and walk away.

    Our symbolic joint gift turned out to be a great success. Marta spent every break that day receiving wishes and sweets, and her smile was getting increasingly radiant. We, in turn, were really happy that we gave her so much pleasure with such little effort.

    What were the strengths of our symbolic joint gift?

    • The number of people who joined in the fun. In the times of Facebook, wishes from eighteen people may not seem too impressive, but when you receive them in real life, with a thoughtful gift, it does give you thrills.
    • Low cost and simple gift preparation. This enabled involving also those people who wouldn’t have even thought of offering birthday wishes.
    • Freedom of choice and variety. Each person could decide on their own how much effort and money they wanted to spare on their gift. Owing to that nobody felt forced to do more than they were willing to, and those who wanted to show Marta that they really cared had means to do so.

    lizaki - symboliczny prezent składkowy

    Alternative symbolic joint gifts

    Due to their low price and great variety, lollipops are a perfect symbolic joint gift. Naturally, they are not the only option. Here are some other ideas for symbolic joint gifts:

    Jenga bricks

    Chip in to buy Jenga (which costs ca. $5 – 15). Each person signs or writes their wishes on one or several blocks. Such a personalised Jenga will always remind the birthday boy or girl of the people who spared some of their time to extend their wishes. I described the possible rules of the game with such personalised bricks in the post: ‘Jenga Tower – Creative Gift Ideas For 5 Occasions And 3 Game Variations.’

    Tea bags

    Similarly, you may personalise tea bags – all of them from the same box or each of them from a different one, representing various flavours. Read more about this gift idea in the post: ‘DIY Tea Gift‘.


    While I appreciated variety in our ‘lollipop gift’, in the case of flowers I would rather advertise uniformity. Especially that flowers are quite a popular gift, so if each person bought a different type, it would no longer look like a joint gift. Instead, it is better to agree on one type, e.g. a rose or a tulip, and only allow for variety regarding their colours. Owing to that, the recipient will be able to put them all in one vase and enjoy a huge bouquet that hasn’t eaten into anybody’s savings. We actually received such single flowers at our wedding from relatives on one part of the family. Since we hadn’t asked for any flowers, it pleased us that they formed a nice bouquet fitting into a single big vase.

    Origami paper cranes

    How about a dozen origami paper cranes, each of them folded by a different person and with a different message on its wings? This gift doesn’t cost a penny. The only thing you need to do is to learn how to fold this simple origami model. The message or picture on the wings is up to the giver. You will find the template and instructions in the post: ‘Personalised Origami Paper Crane.’

    If you know what a given person is interested in, you may prepare a more personalised gift for him or her:

    • Does your friend write short stories? Give her a set of pens – each chosen and presented by a different person.
    • Does your friend enjoy drawing? Give him a colour pencil case with the names of the people who chipped in engraved on the pencils.
    • Does your work colleague – a botanist – change her job in autumn? Pick nice autumn leaves during a walk, dry them and make a bouquet, which may be stuck to a sheet of paper and framed.
    • Does your friend – a handyman – get married? Give him a tool box with each tool brought by a different person. You may engrave your names on them or supplement them with a story.

    If you have other ideas for symbolic joint gifts, please share them in the comments below!

    My advice:

    Don’t worry if you can’t find 18 people to chip in for the 18th birthday. Frankly speaking, I don’t know if our friend received exactly 18 lollipops. I think that she was so giddy with the number of people who tried to catch her during break time, offer her best wishes and give her a sweet that she quickly stopped counting. What mattered was that there were many more of them than 3 or 5, and that she didn’t know who else to expect.

    – You may give your symbolic joint gifts the whole day round, making this day really special and memorable, or arrange a kind of a flash mob and surprise the birthday boy or girl all together.

    – If you have a big gang of friends that you can rely on to be willing to put some more time and effort into preparing a creative joint gift, check out some other gift ideas: ‘Treasure Hunt for the 18th Birthday‘, ‘Sing at Wedding‘, ‘Photo Comic from Schoolmates‘, ‘Marriage Game – Mission Marriage‘ and ‘Birthday Video Clip for a Football Fan‘.

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