Gransnet forums


21st birthday keys

(18 Posts)
maddy629 Thu 12-Apr-18 19:51:51

My granddaughter will be 21 years old tomorrow, my husband and I have looked high and low for a 21st key. We can't find one anywhere, when did they go out of fashion? We bought one for our eldest grandson 5 years ago and I can only suppose that they are not being sold anymore. Sadly another nice tradition disappears.

tanith Thu 12-Apr-18 20:10:01

I’ve seen them in the Cardfactory.

paddyann Thu 12-Apr-18 20:11:25

21 isn't seen as coming of age anymore,so the key to the door tradition is out of place.Most folk treat 18 as coming of age now ...well all the young people I know do

Lisalou Thu 12-Apr-18 21:46:00

There are loads on amazon. some of them are quite pretty, although I do agree with some posters, that most people view coming of age at 18, these days.

Hope your granddaughter has a lovely 21st birthday xxx

ginny Thu 12-Apr-18 23:05:46

Try a vintage, junk or retro shop. They often sell very attractive old keys. Clean it up and add a ribbon.

gummybears Fri 13-Apr-18 09:10:47

Card Factory, and Amazon, presuming you need it for tomorrow.

shysal Fri 13-Apr-18 11:22:23

I have done as ginny suggests and bought several fancy vintage keys on Ebay and attached them to a keyring with the age on (18 in my GCs' case).

ginny Fri 13-Apr-18 13:18:26


M0nica Fri 13-Apr-18 18:20:03

Surely keys at 21 stopped when the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18? It should be keys at 18.

I think this tradition has fallen out of use because the key was meant to represent when you finally got your own front door key and didn't have to relie on your parents to monitor your comings and goings. Most young people get the front door key long befor they reach 18 or 21 so it is no big deal and its significance has been forgotten.

Bathsheba Fri 13-Apr-18 19:07:22

I have to agree with M0nica. It’s a totally outdated tradition, an anachronism really. The voting age, i.e. the ‘coming of ag ‘, changed to 18 nearly 50 years ago, and I’m astonished that celebrating 21 as a ‘special’ birthday has persisted for so long.

ElaineI Fri 13-Apr-18 19:08:33

You get lovely silver ones from Links of London - at a price!

Gerispringer Fri 13-Apr-18 19:23:53

I think key of the door idea has fallen out of favour - 18 is the big birthday these days.

maddy629 Mon 16-Apr-18 13:00:42

Bathsheba as far as I am concerned 21 is a very special birthday. Coming of age changed to 18 nearly 50 years ago? I don't know where you come from but it certainly did not change anywhere near 50 years ago!!!

maddy629 Mon 16-Apr-18 13:03:06

Thank you Lisalou she had a wonderful day x

maddy629 Mon 16-Apr-18 13:05:42

Thank you for the idea's everyone, I didn't get one in the end. Just another nice tradition gone to the wall sad

M0nica Mon 16-Apr-18 13:06:50

In the UK the voting age was reduced to 18 in 1970. This date has always been treated as the date that 'Coming of Age' dropped to 18. May be not 50 years, but it is 48

Bathsheba Mon 16-Apr-18 19:53:29

Thank you M0nica for confirming that. I've never had any problem remembering how long ago the voting age was changed, because it was in between my 18th and my 21st birthdays so I felt kind of cheated out of reaching my 'coming of age' grin

I'm in the UK maddy629, how about you? wink

M0nica Tue 17-Apr-18 13:22:42

Maddy I understand how you feel about the loss of a tradition and it is something I have been thinking of recently. Just how longstanding are many of the traditions we miss?

I think we look back to our childhoods and look at traditions we had then and assume it has always been so and get nostalgic when they go, but if we investigate, we find that they may only have started a few years before we were born.

The idea of celebrating 21 birthdays and getting the key of the door, probably didn't exist in any form before WW1. Then women did not get the door key at all and although officially of age at 21, still lived at home under their parents thumb.

I suspect the tradition didn't really get going until the 1930, when everyone, male and female got the vote at 21 and, as a result of the war, women got an independence they had never had before. Many would never marry because the men they might have married had died and they expected more from life than domestic servitude to their parents if they did not marry.

The tradition became obsolete in 1971 when the age fell to 18 and even more obsolete as young people got more and more freedom and got the key to the door at a much younger age.

This tradition really only had a life of about 50 years from the 1930s to the 1970s. Sad to see it go, yes, but there must have been 1000s of such bief traditions over the centuries. Good for a lifetime then lost and forgotten.