50th Birthday Gifts

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This is when it starts to get real. No one says 50 is the new anything. It’s just 50. A half a damn century. It’s enough to make your head spin. Luckily for you, the gift buyer, there’s enough accumulated history in those 50 years to give you some ideas about what they’ll find humorous, useful, touching, thoughtful, or even just annoying, if you’d like to go that route. This is a big one, but don’t sweat it. We’ve got plenty of ideas.

Hopefully, five decades into their life they’ve finally begun to mature into something that does justice to their vintage. With any luck, they’ve aged as well as the wine you’re about to uncork in celebration of their advancement. At 50, you’re firmly in the midst of middle age, and damn right they should be proud of it. Don’t be afraid to display it for the world to see. They’ve cracked a half century, and everyone knows they’re just getting started. Kick the next half century off in style.

People often have the illusion that their options are dwindling the older they get. The genius of a book like this is that it proves the opposite. As your experience and wisdom grow, so does your understanding of what’s possible. But that doesn’t mean they can’t use some guidance. Before you let Aunt Martha indulge her lifelong hidden desire of becoming a stripper, you may want to intervene with a little expert advice. This is a great place to start.

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.

Almost everyone has a bucket list. But if you talk to enough people, you’ll find that a lot of those buckets are kind of empty. The Bucket List Experiences Gift Box allows you to dump a whole bunch of stuff into someone’s bucket, and let them pull one of those things out for free. It’s simple: for a flat price, you buy them access to a whole list of unique activities and experiences at locations across the world, and they get to choose whichever one tickles their fancy the most.

By the time a person gets to fifty, they’ve probably experienced at least a few health problems and injuries. But now they’re getting older, these will start to multiply. They’ll need to be afraid. Very afraid. Their only chance is to keep this book with them, like a talisman, and consult it constantly.

Whether it’s Charlotte’s Web, Hamlet or Harry Potter, a first edition of their favorite book is sure to top the gifting charts. In the past, you’d scour bookshops, eventually stumbling across a kindly old bookseller, who’d take pity on your plight, and climb a rickety ladder, to dust off a long-lost volume... nowadays, we have the Internet.

Get them started on that Bucket List while there’s time and health to finish it, with a tangible, physical bucket. They can pick an adventure whenever life permits. It's a gift that gives them the opportunity to make memories, rather than giving them a reason to make more closet space.

Sure, it will be strange when you have to get that cheek swab from them without them knowing what you’re up to, but it will all make sense when you reveal this custom portrait that showcases their unique DNA. Or you could just give them the DNA collection kit as the gift if that’s easier. Or just swab your dog. They’ll never know the difference.

Start the countdown, because the 50th birthday means they are in range for this gift. Count down every day, hour, minute, and second until retirement begins with this nifty clock. They can even bring it to work to make the whippersnappers jealous. With the average age of retirement always on the rise, you may want to throw in some extra batteries too.

There is a chance they might be underwhelmed when they realize that they themselves will have to cook the dinner(s) you bought for them, but only up until they actually follow along with Blue Apron’s clear easy instructions and eat their delicious, gourmet food. Then they won’t stop thanking you.

The only reason we don’t count age in days is because it’s inconvenient. But every once in a while it’s good to do the math just to get an idea of how much damn time has actually passed. If someone asked you, “What could you accomplish in 18,000 days, plus or minus a few hundred?”, your answer would probably include some pretty impressive stuff. So this mug is a great way to hold a dear loved one accountable for all that time they’ve been here, sucking up resources.

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.

Has your 50-year-old recently been showing signs of loneliness? Perhaps the kids have just gone off to college, or they’ve finally escaped an unhappy relationship? Get them the gift of this small cylinder-shaped friend, who’ll listen to music with them in the evenings and discuss the weather.

Just give it to them. Don’t make a big deal about it, or give them diet books or a lecture or anything like that. They know. They have figured out for themselves that their body is not quite the well-tuned machine that it once was. Just give the Fitbit, and leave the rest to them.

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The 50th birthday is probably the last time you can get away with “over the hill” jokes. From here on in, these kinds of jokes will sound more like observations. Take advantage of your last chance to pick on the old guy by putting together a basket of embarrassing senior citizen’s products like prune juice, orthopedic shoe inserts, hemorrhoid cream, Metamucil, Depends diapers, Beano, and reading glasses.

It’s amazing to think that giving someone a kit to take a sample of their own DNA, that will then be sent off and analyzed, resulting in a detailed personalized genetic analysis, would have seemed like total science fiction just a few decades ago. But here we are, and the kit makes a thought provoking gift. They could be related to Genghis Khan, Cleopatra, Chuck Norris, and Batman… Probably not that last one. But you can’t prove it. Now you can either both spend your lives wondering, or you can finally understand where that fixation with roundhouse kicks came from. The choice is yours.

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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…?

Generally speaking, the last person in the room who needs more wine is the person who’s already gone feet up. But as long as that posture signals relaxation and not unconsciousness, it’s probably fine. There may be a moral grey area, but that’s not your problem. This is the perfect gift for the most shameless wino you know.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

A fun clock where the numbers are printed in reverse and the hands run counter-clockwise, it makes obvious sense that this is a great 50th birthday gift. The one thing about it, though, is how hard is it going to be to use for telling time? Pretty hard, right? Give it to someone with a flexible mind.

Perhaps you feel that undisguised love is just gross. For you, the proper way to show your feelings is through verbal abuse, because it gets the point across without making anyone’s skin crawl. You’d only speak this way to someone you really care about, and everyone knows it.

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.

Why not? There’s so many good things about Amazon Prime – things that didn’t even exist when your 50-year-old was a kid. Free shipping in 2 HOURS? What kind of sorcery is this? Millions of songs? That’s a lot of mix tapes. Video streaming? The closest they had to that was a black and white nature documentary about rivers.

At 6 feet tall, this is perhaps not one for a down-on-their-luck 50-year-old still living in a shoebox apartment (although it would certainly cheer them up!) Modeled on an actual suit of armor, this luxury bar gift is guaranteed to make them feel like King Arthur serving their knight guests – now all they need is a round table!

Let’s face it, now they’re 50, they might start to need a little help getting around (ok, hopefully not for a few years yet!), but even the fittest of us get tired now and again. With this quirky motorized cooler, they can combine a sneaky rest with transporting and keeping their favorite beers chilled. Cool!

The great conundrum of losing your glasses has always been that you’ve lost the one thing that you need to find the thing you’ve lost. That is, until technology stepped in. Now, through the magic of bluetooth, there’s one more layer of foolproof assistance to undo the errors of human carelessness. That is, until they lose their phone too. At that point, the only answer is super-gluing their belongings to their body. Even idiot-proofing has its limits.

Birthdays are often seen as a measure of how much time we’ve lost doing things we didn’t really want to, whether it’s being behind a desk or doing the dishes. This countdown watch should inspire your favorite 50 year old to make every second count as they helplessly watch them tick by.

What better gift for a 50th birthday (or any birthday really) than the power of creation? Ideal for the 50-year-old who loves to tinker in the garage, paint, build sculptures or who has ever aspired to build themselves a new house, or own a yacht – now they can just print it! (Ok, it’s maybe not quite that simple…)

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.

This doesn’t have to be awkward. Yes, you are giving someone, as a 50th birthday gift, something they will use for pooping. It’s OK. Then someday you’ll say, “Hey, you, uh, you ever use that Squatty Potty?” They’ll look horrified for a half a second, but then they’ll crack a quick smile and say, “Yeah, actually. It’s great. Thanks.” Then you never speak of it again.

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.

It’s hard to stay active and moving around when you’re chained to a desk with work all day, so consider giving them this Under-Desk Elliptical machine on which they can pedal away all day, working up a sweat and staring at spreadsheets. As a bonus, they’ll look like a duck treading water, with their feet pedaling frantically under the surface.

It’s finally happening. The robot revolution has begun. And they’re starting with our floors. Making them all clean and spotless, so we feel inferior at our own vacuuming ability, perhaps we even slip on their shininess. And oh, how they’ll laugh. Resistance is futile, you might as well embrace it, and start gifting them to all your friends.

What hard working person has not at one time wished for a warm-blooded giant to place his hands on their shoulders and ease their weary muscles? That was the inspiration behind this cordless neck and shoulder heat wrap. Aches and pains simply melt away under its heavenly influence, and with a maximum temperature of 120 degrees, it reaches the really deep muscles that no giant can soothe without inflicting skeletal injury.

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.

Help your favorite 50-year-old get away and recharge in a faraway place where nobody knows them and they can act however they want with virtually no longstanding social repercussions. Because when things get tough, evacuation is usually the only solution.

When you get to fifty, practical gifts that you would have treated with disdain at twenty start to hold a lot more appeal. This handy discount card is something they’ll use every day, reminding them of your thoughtfulness – they might even use it to buy you something in return. A gift that keeps on giving!

mBerry tablets are a natural product derived from berries that temporarily alter your perception of taste by binding to your taste buds and tricking your brain. It’s a pretty crazy experience and would make a memorable gift that they’ll be telling stories about for years. The tablets make sour and bitter things taste sweet. You can chow down on a lemon and swear it tastes like an orange. Vinegar tastes like apple juice. Hot sauce and spicy foods become sugary and beer tastes like Kool-aid.

You probably know someone who would like their own personal supply of organic produce but doesn’t have the time to manage a multi-acre farm. Or go to the grocery store for that matter. This is also a great gift for the healthy eater who’s too busy to garden or who tends to kill everything they lay their hands on.

As much as we love old people, we can’t stop laughing at how often they lose things. But alas, we really should take some pity on them. How many times can one person lose their reading glasses before they find that their sanity has vanished along with them? These portable, foldable reading glasses are the answer that elderly folk everywhere have been waiting for, whether they know it or not. Now if you can only find something to help them stop losing their keys…

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.

When you get to 50, you start to prioritize comfort in a way you probably didn’t at 21 – yes, we’re thinking of all those nights spent wobbling home in 4 inch heels and ending up with a sprained ankle. These custom-made, shock-absorbing insoles will allow them to do all their current partying pain-free.

It’s a big claim, we know. But yes, apparently all of life’s mysteries can be explained using flow charts, and this handy book has collected them all together. Give this to the 50th birthday recipient who has always wondered about the meaning of life, and berated the lack of a sufficient diagram to explain it.

Okay, so they can’t really tell anybody when they’re going to die. But they can measure cell aging based on things you’ve probably never heard of and don’t need to know about. A vital new way to measure health and lifestyle-related longevity. Much more reliable than that palm reader at the state fair.

If their memory of past events is starting to get a little hazy (hey, some of them happened half a century ago), give them this thoughtful birthday book as a reminder. Best of all, you get to choose the photographs - remember that ‘hilarious’ yearbook picture, questionable fashion choice, or The Year of The Perm? They will now!

Flowers don’t just look nice and fill the air with pleasant aromas, they also carry various levels of symbolism. Much like the zodiac, each month has its own flower variety, reflecting the character of everyone born therein. Or at least, that’s what someone decided a long time ago. And it sure is a nice idea. Regardless of whether the person you’re buying for really is a carnation at heart, or whether they’re more of a Venus fly trap, these earrings are going to look great on them.

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).

The ideal gift for the commitment-phobic 50-year-old, who in fifty years, still hasn’t managed to choose a piece of artwork they like enough to display on their wall permanently. Enter technology, to save them, by offering thousands of pieces of art in one frame. And if they don’t like any of these, they’re beyond your help.

Many studies point to a higher life expectancy for those that follow a Mediterranean diet. What looks like a humble bottle of olive oil could well be the elixir of youth. We can’t think of a better present to give to someone that's turning another year older.

At some point during their forties, it becomes acceptable for people to use a small stick to pick out bits of food in their teeth, and leave them lying around. We know, it’s gross. But chances are, your 50-year-old does it. You might as well make it nicer for them with these Scotch infused versions.

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 50th 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.

When a person turns 50, they usually start to have a few ‘aches and pains’ – help them to diagnose exactly what and where these are with this informative book. Now, they’ll be able to tell anyone who’ll listen about their suspected ‘pectoralis major rupture’, and how much it hurts. Awesome!

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.

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Well, it was quite a long time ago now – they’d probably appreciate the reminder! Guaranteed to bring a tear to your recipient’s eye, this gift is a great excuse to go and visit their friends and relatives to get them to dish the dirt from their childhood, and be offered a zillion snacks along the way. Yay!

By the time they reach 50, they’ve earned the right to lie back and sink into bubbles with a glass of bubbly. It’s one of the few pleasures life still awards them, having stolen their youth, hopes and dreams. Give them this handy glass holder to ensure that, unlike their dreams, their wine will never drain away.

Unless you live under a rock, or on Tristan de Cunha (Google it), you don’t get to this age without ticking a few places off your bucket list. This personalized travel map is a fabulous way for your recipient to document their adventures of the last fifty years, and pin point where they’re going to spend the next fifty!

Scrabble often gets a hard rap as an ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘fuddy-duddy’ game, but your hip and trendy 50-year-old is about to change all that. 4D TV? Tropical aquarium? An original Picasso? No, it’s all about the giant vertical scrabble, that’s what all the cool kids want on their walls these days.

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.

Nothing quite makes an impression like someone who has a giant tool and knows how to handle it. Get everybody within a half-mile radius drunk in one fell swoop with this absurdly proportioned mixology shaker. A brain-cell smiter of truly biblical proportions.

Normally, if you were to hand over a dirty bedsheet or a scribbled picture of a can of soup as a gift, your recipient would be at best courteous, and at worst instantly retracting your invitation to their 50th birthday celebrations. But somehow, when it’s contemporary ‘art’, you can get away with it. So, do.

This shiny balloon dog eliminates the sadness of both the traditional party balloon that is destined to pop, and the real-life canine companion that rarely outlives a human (whoa – sorry). This man’s best friend will stay by their side from their fiftieth birthday to their last (if it doesn’t end up in a yard sale before that!)

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If you decide to do this, go all out. Show up at 5 in the morning dressed impeccably in a tuxedo. Proceed to handle all unpleasantness with quiet grace, never faltering, never betraying any emotion save unswerving loyalty to the person whom it your your honor to serve. Take care of them the way that they think they deserve. Really buttle them good.

Now they’re nearing fifty, their eyesight might be going a bit, and they might be slowing down – but they’re still a big kid at heart. This giant yard game will be easy for them to see, even without their glasses, and is a fun way to keep fit and active. Plus, it looks great – the height of landscape design.

For your old-world 50-year-old who’s been around the globe a bit, and loves a good antique (and a good wine!) why not chose this 16th-century Italian bar cabinet replica? Perhaps the best thing is, it looks far more expensive than it actually is (which is what we all secretly look for when buying a gift, right?)

By their 50th birthday, a person is probably pretty sure they are not going to ever have a royal title. Like, what are the chances? Now you can blow their mind with the gift of a Scottish Laird or Ladyship decorative title and a real piece of an ancient estate.

Back in the old days you were really rolling the dice when you chose a hotel. Either you called blindly after skimming the phone book or simply drove all night and hoped you saw a vacancy sign before you ran out of gas and got murdered by a vagrant. A hotels.com gift card is not just a way of picking up the tab for a night’s stay; it’s also the priceless gift of peace of mind.

Kombucha is the ancient art of making tea into something half the people who try it will love and the other half will vomit back onto your carpet. The people who love it are objectively correct, because it makes you live forever (almost). Anyone who has fallen head over heels for it will do the same for you if you buy them this homebrew kit.

Here's a gift for the older person struggling to keep up with all the latest texting lingo the young whipper-snappers are using. Much of it doesn't really apply to them anyway, unless they were to write something like "ROFL and can't get up" which should really be written ROFLACGU. Here's a set of senior texting codes that will make a whole lot more sense to them, conveniently printed as a cheat sheet on this handy coffee mug. They'll find plenty of useful shortcuts like BTW (bring the wheelchair), BFF (best friend's funeral), and WTFA (wet the furniture again).