They say 40 is the new 30. Whatever that means, it sure sounds nice. And maybe you shouldn’t scoff when they say they’re just hitting their stride, just starting to gain momentum. After all, they should have accumulated enough wisdom by now to start figuring this thing out. Anyway, they’re still old, so you should buy for them accordingly. But don’t buy really old person gifts, you know? We think we’ve hit the sweet spot on this list of creative 40th birthday gifts. Just don’t tell them that feeling of momentum only means they’ve started rolling down the other side of the hill. Let them figure that out on their own.
A 40th birthday is a momentous occasion that marks a crossroads between mental and physical well being. Years of experience, gained wisdom, and emotional maturity are at their highest levels, but the body is beginning a slow process of falling apart piece by piece. Have a laugh at their expense with this funny eye test chart that will likely become a useful indicator as their vision inevitably deteriorates over the coming years.
Most people go through life never knowing how old they truly are. No, we’re not talking about questioning the authenticity of your birth certificate. We’re talking about your internal age. The one that determines how you act, think, and make sense of the world. Because outside of insurance premiums and senior discounts at the local diner, your internal age is the one that really matters. This game uses a super scientific formula that calculates the players’ true age based on how they answer seemingly innocuous questions. Isn’t it about time to find out the truth?
Help them open a new decade of biological existence by cracking open a cold beer (or a warm one if that’s their thing) that’s tailor made for the occasion. After all, you’re not celebrating “Miller Lite.” You’re celebrating their entrance into the world, even if it happened so long ago that hardly anyone remembers. Your 40s are a time when you finally have the maturity to look back at what you’ve done with some level of comprehension. But they’ve got a whole decade to do that. Here’s to spending this night in a pleasant stupor.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn from the best in the world? This is the idea behind MasterClass. A wide range of courses designed and taught by some of the most famous, renowned, and respected luminaries in fields as diverse as cooking, guitar playing, negotiation (hostage or otherwise), fiction writing, film making, and gardening, just to name a few. You can give a single class as a gift or a subscription for all of them.
The subtle appeal of the universal wish to reverse the relentless march of time comes in the form of a regular round kitchen clock. But instead of ticking away the seconds in the standard clockwise direction, this clock goes backwards, seeming for a moment to be leading to the idyllic past rather than uncertain future.
They say change always starts with the person in the mirror. But when you look into this mirror, you actually see two people. There’s you, and then there’s someone else in way better shape who’s trying to get you to do things you might not really feel like doing. And that’s not just any old fit person who’s goading you on — it’s an elite personal trainer from a top gym. So you better listen. This is the perfect workout gift for someone who needs that little bit of extrinsic motivation, but is narcissistic enough to kind of like staring at themselves while they work out. So, pretty much everybody.
People who get into studying their family’s genealogy can get really into it. The simple family tree keeps expanding, with every branch having a story to tell, and it can take decades of research to learn about it all. Why not give them the gift of a start on that journey while they are young enough to complete it someday?
Every birth is an incomprehensible miracle, and it’s a shame that we only allocate a single day to celebrate each one. Seems kind of lazy when you think about it. With Kindnotes, you can keep those good vibes coming for an entire month. Thirty-one little envelopes, each with a tiny note containing thoughts of inspiration, appreciation, and love. They’ll never get tired of opening these up every day and being reminded of how great they are. Choose from ready-made sets with messages already included, blank cards that you can fill in yourself, or Kindnotes will custom print your personalized set and jar.
Forty used to be the standard age to judge someone as being over the hill. Now, with our breakthroughs in medical science, improved understanding of nutrition and exercise, and advances in collective denial, we all know that 40 is young as hell. But in case they insist on having a mid-life crisis, here are 40 expert-selected ways to distract themselves from their dark night of the soul. Help them go boldly into middle age.
If they’re turning 40, they’ll have spent enough time in supermarkets to last a lifetime. Buy them a Costco membership and not only will you save them money, you’ll also be saving them time so they can start doing other exciting old people things instead, like gardening and bridge club. In fact, you might get really lucky with a jumbo pack of toilet roll as a thank you.
A virtual cooking class with Gordon Ramsay is a chance to learn from a culinary master without the yelling and food punching you've seen on TV. His MasterClass lessons feature the seven-star Michelin chef in his home kitchen teaching everything from kitchen setup, buying ingredients, prepping, plating, and pairing restaurant quality recipes that wow guests. Crispy duck with red endive and spinach anyone?
Nothing creates a sense of urgency like counting the seconds until the time when you can’t count the seconds anymore. The surest way to beat procrastination, this watch doesn’t let you off the hook. Strap it on someone’s wrist, give them a hearty slap on the rear, and tell them to get to work.
This ingenious shirt tricks kids into giving back massages to their parents. It has a cartoon network of roads printed on the back so kids playing with a toy car driving around the town will secretly be loosening tight muscles and soothing back pain while they play. It’s brilliant!
People age, but senses of humor rarely do. If you only knew what your grandparents joked about when you weren’t around. Well, at 40 years old the recipient of this shirt may be old enough to be a grandparent themselves (the sexiest grandparent on the block, naturally), but perhaps they still haven’t come close to outgrowing their Beavis and Butthead era sense of humor. The perfect wardrobe addition for the “man” who’s 40-going-on-15.
The thought of turning 40 may leave a bad taste in their mouth so they’ll be incredibly grateful for a gift that will make them a little less bitter about getting old. These clever little tablets make even the sourest of foods taste sweeter, though we can’t make any promises over whether or not this will sweeten their mood.
This birthday, why not give them a bouquet of something they actually want – like the chance to win the lottery and retire early to travel the world in a super yacht! Plus, if they win, they’re sure to share their millions with you, right? Right?? Jon, can you hear me, you seem to be sailing in the other direction…?
In classier quarters this might be called a “decanter.” But the built-in stupidity of a decanter is that it’s really just a big glass you’re not allowed to drink out of. You see, in the genteel world of wine, “classy” consists of adding unnecessary steps to what should be a simple process. Of course, bourgeois society has attached all kinds of stigma to drinking straight from the bottle, so some kind of compromise is necessary. And that compromise is right here.
By their 40th birthday, a person has probably had the chance to go a few places, and has definitely had the chance to think of a few places they’d like to go. This personalized travel map comes with colored pins to mark those them all on an attractive US or world map.
This is a 40th birthday gift that can backfire, be warned. You may turn an otherwise normal, mild mannered person into a raving hypochondriac worried that every cough is tuberculosis, every headache a tumor, and diarrhea radiation sickness. It could happen.
Experiences make some of the best gifts, but it can be a real challenge to come up with good ones over and over again. This birthday grab bag allows the recipient to choose any one experience from a list of over 300 options that range from relaxing dining experiences and laid-back ocean cruises to extreme sports adventures in far-flung locales. With experiences available in 100+ countries scattered across six different continents, this is an especially great choice for globetrotters in search of unique and thrilling activities in faraway lands.
Nothing brings a middle-aged adult back to their youth like a box of classic candy from their childhood. We all tend to get attached to the things that we eat when we’re young, and we’ll keep eating it and even enjoying it, even if it’s not that good. Which explains the survival of weird Halloween staples like candy corn and circus peanuts. But the Retro Candy Box doesn’t stoop to the level of serving up that kind of generic crap. This is the candy box full of classic stuff that even a 40 year-old can get excited about.
We can’t emphasize this enough: you ride the motorized cooler full of drinks to the party, you drink its contents, and then you WALK it back home. Nobody wants to be the guy on the news who got arrested for drunk driving an empty cooler. So stay safe.
Perhaps the best gift you could give is a well-earned day off. Watch their face light up when they kick back and enjoy a day of total relaxation as you take care of all the hard work for them. Just be careful not to do the job too well or you’ll find them asking for the same thing for every birthday and holiday to come.
The beer world has truly exploded with breweries over the last decade-plus, which is great for anyone who likes trying new things. However, this proliferation of choice has a dark side. Dyed-in-the-wool beer lovers now face overwhelming anxiety every time they go to pick up a six pack or fill up a growler. The Craft Beer Club removes this pain point by making the necessary choices for all involved, so beer time can go back to being the sweet revelation it used to be.
So you’ve decided to get her a bomb kit? Scour the internet and you’ll find instructions for making the worst kind of gift imaginable. But instead of making one that blows up, why don’t you teach her how to make a bath bomb? No costly medical bills or long, drawn out criminal trials. Just an explosion of peace and relaxation.
“Ha ha,” they’ll say, “very funny!” And, as they open this kit containing among other things prune juice, reading glasses, hemorrhoid cream, and comfort soles, they’ll laugh at how they’re not THAT old yet. But they’ll also try on those glasses one day soon, and maybe discover the joys of prune juice. And ponder.
They can’t quite put their finger on what they want for their birthday and you really don’t want to get it wrong because, let’s be honest, it’s not every day they turn 40. Solve the problem with a 3D Printer. That thing they forgot they needed? There in a flash and quicker than Amazon Prime.
The dirty secret of gift giving is that we are really just imposing our will on others. People don’t give what everyone really wants - cash - because they want to tell others what they ought to have instead of letting them decide for themselves. Well, to heck with all that, just give money. But fold it into little flowers first so it looks pretty.
Much like an oil dipstick, this wine scanner gives the user vital information about an important liquid. But unlike the dipstick, it doesn’t simply tell them how much is left. Instead, it helps in calibrating their palate by providing information on critical wine tasting metrics like tannins, acidity, maturity, and even food pairings. It’s nice that technology has finally caught up with the wine world, so we can start reigning in some of the bullsh*t. And so your cretin friends can stop embarrassing you by suggesting a nice pinot grigio with your steak.
Do you know someone who’s always in search of the perfect hot sauce? Well, maybe the answer is to let them make their own. This kit allows you to experiment with different pepper, spice, and vinegar combinations until you find the holy grail of hotness. No more excuses, just hot pepper perfection.
They’ll only ever turn 40 once, so there’s no better excuse to get them something as unique as the occasion itself. Choose something as colorful as they are or something that reminds them of their favorite memories. Either way, a piece of original artwork is a gift that they can treasure forever and who knows? It could be the next Picasso. Then they’ll really be thanking you!
Chocolate and chili peppers go together much better than one might suspect. But chocolate and intense pain? That’s definitely a niche combination, one that takes a special kind of nonstandard personality to relish. Chances are, you know at least one such pathological eater. Not everyone is looking to be “challenged” by their chocolate, but to some of our more adventurous mouth masochists, that probably sounds like heaven. Just don’t blame us if this turns out to be a gateway to snorting wasabi.
If there’s anything that can make wine taste better, it’s a little frustration. If you think life in our rapid-delivery consumer culture is just a bit too easy, then teach someone a valuable lesson on their 40th birthday, by making them work more than they anticipated for their reward. You’re not only giving the world’s oldest artisan beverage, you’re helping develop life skills.
If someone has reached the age of forty without realizing the joy of luxuriating in a hot bath while drinking a glass of cold white wine, buy this gift for them. If they have reached that age and know exactly how nice it is to do that, then, again, buy this gift for them! It works either way.
No longer just the province of fancy schmancy chefs in the big city, sous vide cooking is now available for the home cook as well. Give your friends the gift of perfectly cooked, melt-in-the-mouth meats at a fraction of the cost of dining out. Just make sure they invite you over! Check out our Guide to Sous Vide Cooking to learn more about this underutilized method of cooking.
Is your favorite soon-to-be 40 year old complaining about foot pain yet? Well, no matter; they will be soon enough. Prevent it for as long as possible with these amazing custom insoles. Made from a mold of their feet, these insoles relieve foot pain and help prevent injury.
If they were an intrepid explorer in their youth, they are sure to gravitate towards this gift that will remind them of all the adventures they’ve experienced. And just in case they’re feeling a little down about being too old to be footloose and fancy free nowadays, there’s a little pick me up conveniently tucked away in the middle.
This is the old people version of buying them their own pool cue. Like every game of chance, bingo is ruled by the secret and unfathomable rubric of superstition. Using a borrowed dauber is like spitting in the face of the lottery gods. Not a good idea.
Try as they might, those frozen cocktails they’re always making in the blender never quite come out right. It’s not because they got the recipe wrong (although by the fourth batch, that’s a good bet too) - it’s because the’ve been using the wrong tools. You wouldn’t let them try to cross a lake in their car, would you? So why are you letting them try to make frozen drinks in a blender? Making a proper beach cocktail first and foremost requires using the right contraption: a specialized frozen drink maker. It’s a small investment for the gallons of glorious delight it will produce.
If they’re feeling a bit hot under the collar at the thought of being over the hill, it often helps to crack open a cold one to take their mind off it. Thanks to this incredibly thoughtful gift, they’ll never be too far away from some ice-cold refreshment…just make sure you’re not walking behind them, expectations will be high.
When you were a kid, your mom probably told you not to sit so close to the TV — at least, if you were born way back before parents gave up on that sort of thing. Well, here is the Oculus Go, designed to be the ultimate in sticking it to your parents. It’s also the perfect gift for someone who loves big screen movies but hates sitting next to other people. Pretty much the most immersive personal entertainment system available, designed for people who want to be in the movie, not just watch it.
40 years is a long time, they probably know that better than anyone else. Remind them of all the milestones and memories that have come before this one and give them a gift to treasure with a book designed especially for them. It’s also a great way to make sure they never forget any embarrassing moments. Like we said, 40 years is a long time, there’s bound to be a few.
It’s not meals on wheels, they’re not quite at that stage of old age yet, but if they’re looking for some inspiration in the kitchen, Blue Apron can help them out. A brilliant gift for any gourmet guru, this subscription takes the stress out of cooking up a storm and guarantees a delicious dinner. Liquidizing it is optional.
These were made for 40 year olds who are competitive in a big way. They’ll also be able to see the pieces, which is always a good thing. Giant games always mean big fun with family and friends. Just remember though, it’s their party and they’ll cry if they want to, but we don’t want them to, so maybe let them win.
The last thing they need is more stuff, and at the end of it all it’s really the experiences that they will cherish the most. Help them create some new memories to look back on by finding a fun activity to do locally. Be adventurous and choose something they’ve near done before. It’s a gift that will enrich their life and yours too.
If you have never had kids, it might be hard to understand how nice of a gift this is. But consider - if a babysitter makes just $12.50 an hour (which is conservative), 4 hours of babysitting is worth $50 before you even get into tipping. It’s a great gift! And you get to have fun with some kids as a bonus.
Sure, some DIYers like to be hands on, but in your heart of hearts, you know that if you offered to make beer easier, nobody’s going to turn you down. Because turning down easy beer is like turning down free beer - it’s the kind of decision your reputation never quite recovers from. With everything we have to do in a given day just to hold our hectic lives together, being able to push a button and create beer almost seems too good to be true. But it’s not. Good lord, how could life get any better?
Nobody wants to be left in the dark, and turning 40 is enough of a shock, so make sure they’ve got all bases covered when it comes to planning for power outages. A portable generator isn’t just great for use in emergencies, it can be used for camping and outdoor festivities too. They’ll be absolutely ex-static that you put this much thought into their gift.
Birthdays are the classic occasion to celebrate the passage of time. And what is the passage of time? It’s really just a collection of memories. But with all of the distractions and competing messages constantly bombarding us, it’s easy to lose track of so many of these important memories. That’s what jars were made for. Well, maybe not originally. But in today’s world, where your attention is your most precious commodity, the most important thing you can do with a jar is put your thoughts in it. This one is specially designed to hold happy thoughts about the past.
Who needs photorealism when you can have the charming warmth of skillful human error? There is something undeniably touching about having an artist recreate your image by hand using the old-time tools of long-gone artistic masters. After all, any old fool can press a shutter button and spit out a photo of your homely mug. It really means something that another person was willing to stare at that photo for hours while they painstakingly recreated your form by hand, imbuing it with all the personality and living charisma of your aura. Help someone you love celebrate a cherished moment the old fashioned way.
The future of food is all about making weird shapes with your dinner. Or at least that’s what the modernist chefs will have you believe. And some of the things you can make with this molecular gastronomy kit are enough to make you feel like you’re eating with the Jetsons. Spheres, foams, and chocolate spaghetti are a few of the strange treasures that await inside this bizarre culinary kit.
Entering your forties is often the start of big nights out becoming big nights in, be it because of the kids or just the dancing shoes not having the right orthopedic insoles. Make the transition from party animal a little smoother for them with a gift that will give a not-so-exciting bottle of beer on the couch the taste of a night on the town.
Let’s face it, they’re going to learn this stuff anyway. You may as well make sure they learn it right, and some of the things in this book are better not learned the hard way. For example, it may be best to beat that lie detector test the first time around. Plus, it’s a gift for you too – after all, who knows when you might need someone who knows how to crack a safe?
An old classic that they love, perfect for an old classic that you love. Whether you track down a childhood favorite or a book that has a particular meaning to both of you, owning a first edition is the ultimate gift for literature lovers and they are sure to be touched at the thought that’s gone into finding a present that is perfect right down to the last letter.
Just because someone wants to have a smartwatch doesn’t mean it has to ruin their sophisticated wardrobe. Conversely, just because someone wants a classy watch doesn’t mean it has to be as dumb as…an old watch. The Armani Touchscreen Smartwatch bridges that gap elegantly, with a classic analog-style watch face as well as Android and iOS compatibility. The Armani touchscreen allows them to text, track their activities, monitor their sleep, control the music on their smartphone, and tell the time (as if anyone does that with a watch anymore).
Great art doesn’t always take the form you’re expecting. Twitter gives everyone with a phone and an opinion to spare the chance to reach millions of people with a single ill-conceived utterance. With all that verbal garbage coursing through the airwaves, bizarre gems are certain to arise. Lest they drift away and go to waste, someone had the brilliant idea to start framing them. Move over Picasso, it’s time to make room for the real modern art.
It’s easy to forget that you aren’t the only thing that’s ever happened on your birthday. On the other hand, the New York Times keeps quite the detailed record, in case you’re ever curious. In fact they’re pretty much the best resource to hit up if you want to find out what kinds of epoch-making world events someone is linked to by pure coincidence. This birthday book collects all of the New York Times front pages for a given date in one handy hardcover volume, making it the ultimate gift for the historical narcissist.
It’s a sensitive subject for many people reaching middle age but their looks won’t last forever. Make sure you capture the best of them with a personalized bobblehead. This is sure to make them smile and smiling causes less wrinkles than frowning, so those good looks will be preserved for a little while longer.
If you’re after a gift that’s fit for a king or queen, go one better and make them a member of the aristocracy. While we can’t guarantee an invitation to tea at Edinburgh Castle, they will be entitled to call themselves Lord or Lady for the rest of their lives…just be careful it doesn’t all go to their heads.
It’s going to be hard to find a vintage that is quite as special as your favorite 40-year-old so why not give them an opportunity to make their own? This wine making kit will allow them to create a bespoke beverage to mark the big occasion. We’re sure it won’t age as well as they will though.
Mornings getting harder? Bedtime getting earlier? They probably won’t want to admit it but they’ll be feeling 40 creeping up on them. Make the transition into middle age a little less exhausting with an extra big dose of caffeine in the mornings. Words cannot espresso how happy they’ll be with this gift, they’ll love you a latte for it.
Bacon is the official food of the month, every month of the year. Now somebody has gone a step further and made a delivery service with a special kind of bacon for every month. Every time we go a level deeper with bacon it just gets better. Rumor has it Elon Musk is working on a bacon replicating machine. It’s about time he did something useful.
They might be feeling frosty at the idea of turning 40 but they’ll love the throwback to their younger years with a snow cone machine. Even if they’re in a bit of a flurry over their upcoming birthday, they can chill out with a classic, refreshing treat. It might be the coolest gift you can get them.
If they have a jam-packed schedule of celebrations, make sure you start them off early with a breakfast toast to the birthday boy or girl, literally. Yes, you really can put their face on toast, because a cake with a picture on it is so 1990s. Not convinced? We think they’ll be even more impressed at the thought of waking up every morning and not looking a day over 39, at least until they’ve finished their breakfast anyway.
Everyone wanted to be a spy at some point, so whether your 40-year-old is a budding Jason Bourne or a James Bond-to-be, why not get them started with a collection of spy secrets from a former CIA agent? Just as a side note, we are not responsible for any booby traps you fall foul of as a result of the recipient reading this book.
If you know a 40-year-old who’s looking for a bit of a career change, make sure you keep their options open by sending them on a CIA Survival Training Course. Put together by a former covert agent, this survival course will, at the very least, help them endure the tricky territory of middle age and we all know what a minefield that can be.
The last thing anyone wants to do after a long day is wrack their brains trying to figure out what to drown their sorrows with. That’s really the last straw. With this beautiful, handcrafted set of drunk dice, the possibilities are endless—and so are the regrets. But hey, a party isn’t complete until things get a little dicey..
If humans were meant to fly, the logic goes, we would have been born with wings. Well, logic is an overrated buzzkill. Leaving the earth and relying on your own wits to return in one piece is something everyone should experience. Give the middle finger to gravity and biological destiny.
These pepper boxes are for responsible cooks who are ready for the big leagues. Beware of gifting this to the oblivious or to anyone with a penchant for practical jokes — this is one serious box of flame. But for the true spice connoisseur, the assortment of capsaicin fury contained in each shipment unlocks a whole world of culinary experimentation. For most of us, hot is just hot. But for someone who understands the subtle differences between the many chili pepper varietals (or is interested in learning), some next level tongue magic awaits.
Alright, enough pussyfooting around. Are you gonna open that damn bottle or not? This authentic 50 caliber shell will definitively end the standoff with any stubborn bottle cap, no matter how strong a fight it’s willing to put up. The Bottle Breacher is made by and supports veterans, and might pique the interest of an ex-military or historically-minded recipient. Using an actual bullet to crack open a well-deserved beer at the end of the day is surely a much nicer use for it than originally intended.
When they’ve got to nearly 40, they’ve probably had their fair share of pushing a vacuum cleaner around and we wouldn’t want to begrudge them some time off on their special day. In fact, if you buy them this gift, they’ll never have to push a vacuum cleaner around again and you’ll probably end up being their favorite person for affording them that luxury.
In a couple of generations, nobody’s even going to know what the hell a book is. Have you seen a teenager try to figure out how to use one of their parents’ audio cassettes? But for those of us in the know, books are the real source of pure knowledge and wisdom, untainted by the runoff of digital culture. Like a cold, clear mountain stream, but with words.