50th Birthday Gifts

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Polaroids may be dead, but the people who like to use them aren’t. Not all of them anyway. There’s something especially gratifying about holding a tangible photograph, especially in a world dominated by virtual commodities where everything is becoming digital. Having an instant printer on hand means they don’t have to wait for a photo printing company to print their photos from the cloud and mail them by horseback or whatever. And we all know that nobody has time to wait for a horse these days. Oh, and we should also mention: these look way better than Polaroids.

Chances are, your 50-year-old will have tried a lot of wine in their time, and experienced many a disappointing Sauvignon. Now, with this crafty kit, they can make their own supply, exactly to their taste (after a few trial-runs, we’re sure). Why not get them a white lab coat too, for the full Breaking Bad experience!

Different people learn in different ways. Not respecting those differences is a major reason the public education system has failed us so terribly. Some people learn visually, some learn by mimicking, and some learn by beer. This book is for the last group.

Hitting any milestone birthday can be traumatic. We all set ourselves goals in life, and a big birthday is a reminder of all the things we haven’t yet achieved. This is your chance to assuage the fears of your 50-year-old, by giving them a fortune cookie which conveniently tells them exactly what they need to hear. Aww.

Make them feel like they’re dining out in a posh restaurant every night with the gift of this giant peppermill. If you’re feeling really generous, you could even be their waiter for the evening, as a special 50th birthday treat - ‘More pepper, sir? Fine or coarse?’

The first time they filled the basement with batteries was just before the Y2k crisis. Or if they’re old enough, perhaps during the cold war. In both cases, nothing really happened. But maybe three times is a charm. Even if the modern world doesn’t collapse on itself, you’ll be giving them peace of mind knowing that their 84 remote controls will always be well fed.

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.

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.

Science is never better than when you can eat it. But you can’t safely eat most science, which is why this book is such a dang miracle. Technically all food is science, but the food in this book has more science than like a hot dog or something. And it’s no gimmick either — The New York Times Book Review says it’s “the one book you must have, no matter what you’re planning to cook or where your skill level falls.” Finally, a worthwhile use for chemistry.

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?

For the person who’ll try anything once, why not pop them in a local isolation tank and deprive them of their senses for an hour or so, see what happens? It might make them feel super relaxed and chilled-out. It could even be an enlightening experience. Or, it might just make them feel lucky to be alive when you finally let them out!

Speed is dangerous, but some kinds are more dangerous than others. This one is mostly just fun. But be careful: once they’ve experienced the feeling of flying around the track, the engine roaring like a wild beast, the smell of smoldering rubber in the air, they may never quite be the same.

High quality craft beer deserves a vessel made to the same exacting standards. Leave the pitchers for the Bud Light. An insulated, pressurized micro keg is the best way to dispense a fancy brew when taste and freshness really matter. The perfect gift for parties, casual gatherings, or personal consumption.

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or maybe just gives you PTSD. Either way, it’s better than dead. Here’s a book that can help the owner avoid the dead category for a little longer, even when things get hairy. Rough world we live in.

Back in their day, all they had was a quill and ink, a scroll of stained parchment, and the flickering glow of candlelight… Ok, we may have gone back a little too far. But the point is, there wasn’t anything like this. And for the artistic 50-year-old, this pen presents limitless possibilities.

As a person approaches the big 5-0, the long walk from the couch to the fridge can start to feel unbearable. They begin to crave being able to reach down and produce a new, freshly chilled beer, with zero effort. It’s the small things. This genius table will keep their laziness secret when guests come over.

Lobsters have many, many great qualities, not least among them are their nutritional and flavor profiles. But they’re dumb as dirt, exceptionally slow, and don’t drive. So if it’s inconvenient for you to go all the way to the ocean to find the best lobsters, you’re going to have to get someone to mail them to you. Thankfully, lobster mail is now a reality.

Everyone used to have that one weird friend who would set up a portable swimming pool in the middle of the living room just so they could take a bath and watch TV at the same time. Now technology allows them to bring the TV to the bathtub, not the other way around, in the form of a small tablet. But electronics and water still don’t really mix that well, so you need something like this. Provides space for food, beverages, soap, aromatherapy candles, entertainment, and whatever else they might want within arm’s reach while soaking away their worries.

If there’s one skill that every responsible citizen should have, it’s the ability to access things that aren’t theirs. But you better believe you don’t get there without practice. Some day they’re bound to come across something they want that has been locked away by some other thoughtless and selfish human. Don’t let them approach this dark situation unprepared.

The last thing they’ll want to be doing on their 50th birthday is cleaning the shower in preparation for their overnight party guests (it doesn’t hurt to be optimistic about the scale of the celebrations!) Give them this practical, if unglamorous gift, and they (and their back!) will thank you in the long run!

They might have survived for 50 years on a diet of macaroni cheese, mashed potato and McDonalds, but now it’s time to spice up their cooking (literally) with this artisan, culinary gift. They’ll soon be getting hot and sweaty in the kitchen - just be wary about accepting food from them anytime soon.


Plain white envelopes are so overdone. Giving a stack of money doesn’t have to be boring. Fold every bill into an origami flower, mount them on sticks, and arrange the cash into a stunning bouquet of blossoming currency. Everyone loves flowers, and everyone loves cash money. It’s the perfect gift!

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.

For 50 years, they’ve been mixing their own cocktails, the old-fashioned way. All that free-pouring. All that guesswork. The amount of times they’ve served a Cosmo that was too orangey, or a Mojito that was almost pure rum (ah, what a night that was!) Happily, technology can now control this part of our lives as well.

The thought of turning 50 might leave them wanting to be beamed up but logic dictates that after a long soak in the bath, they’ll slip on this plush, warm bathrobe and be ready to live long and prosper. An absolutely enterprising gift for any closet or not-so-closet Star Trek fan.

Hats have long been used as a means to hide a balding scalp, both from the painful effects of solar radiation and the equally loathsome fate of public judgment. But no longer are they merely for concealment. Thanks to the ingenuity of medical engineers, they are now also a means of treatment. What the hydroponic growth box is to the tomato, this cap is to the poor cranium suffering from thinning coverage. A dual-purpose fashion accessory if there ever was one.

A magical gift that works silently in the background to fill the home with scented mist – just what your 50-year-old has always wanted. Give them this and in a matter of minutes, their home will go from smelling faintly of wet dog, leftover takeout and regret, to delicious oranges, lavender or peppermint.

If they don’t know how to do these things by now, chances are they’re too embarrassed to ask. How to change a tire? How to make scrambled eggs? How can any self-respecting 50-year-old ask these questions and not be mocked? Give them this book on the sly, and you could save them from their hidden shame.

Because knowledge is power, and (as someone very wise once said), with great power comes great responsibility – and most people under 50 are trying to avoid responsibility at all costs! But now, on this milestone birthday, they’re finally ready (either that, or they’re in trouble and need to know how to beat a lie detector test!)

People nearing their 50th birthday can often be heard complaining about their feet. It’s just human nature. Something else that is human nature is loving the feel of wool. What if we could combine sore feet with the feel of wool? That would be amazing!

Who doesn’t love sitting around a campfire, toasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories? By the time their 50th birthday rolls around, we bet they’ve done this a fair few times (before social media, it was all they had). But now, they’re at the age where all those flames and smoke really doesn’t agree with them. Enter the modern-day, dishwasher-safe alternative.

Chess pieces may look cool, but they’re extremely dated. Here’s a chess board that makes use of something they can relate to: drinking vessels that help them forget everything they hate about their life. Don’t worry, they’ve kept the little horses and whatnot. Now you can just drink out of them.

The morning drinker: one of the most misunderstood fellow citizens. Once imbued with the spark of firewater, they can do anything, especially if it’s delivered with the bold energy rush of caffeine. You think we should eradicate morning drinking? Well, you can kiss all your favorite novels goodbye then, because all great authors are drunk by 10 am. But I guess if you want to try tricking someone out of their morning cup of whiskey, this would be the best way.

What better time to abandon all dignity and attempts at ‘style’ and just start indulging your passions? For your friend or relative who’s always been obsessed with Star Wars, light sabers and droids (and who you often think might just live in a galaxy far, far away), this gift is an astronomic choice.

Yeah, we weren’t too sure about this one either, but it’s certainly unique. And they’re unlikely to already have one. For the 50-year-old homeowner who’s started to find the regular doorbell just a little too abrasive for their increasingly fragile nerves, this soothing musical guest-announcer could be just the gift you’ve been looking for. Saved by the… harp?

Well, they’ve spent 50 years in this reality, they’ve probably had enough – we didn’t invent a whole new one for no reason. Give them a virtual reality headset and allow them to come face to face with dinosaurs, dance on the moon, meet their idol… you’ll probably never see them in the real world again.

Chances are, your recipient might be feeling a bit agitated on their 50th birthday. They’ve been alive for half a century, and what have they achieved? What is the point of life?! Calm them down with these soothing, hypnotic jellyfish. ‘Look into the tentacles, count to 3… that’s better’. Who knew deadly sea creatures could be so relaxing?

Depending on how much of a receding hairline your 50-year-old has, you may not want to give them something that could potentially encourage more strands to abandon their follicles. But if they’re still looking quite fluffy up top (or that ship has already sailed), this oddly relaxing, spider-like massager should be well received.

For the practical 50-year-old, who likes to be well-prepared in case of emergencies like hurricanes, tsunamis or running out of battery and not being able to FaceTime their friends, this emergency charger and radio is a no-brainer. They’ll be able to safely Snapchat their way through the next natural disaster / zombie apocalypse, all thanks to you.

So much of golf is a guessing game. They have to estimate the wind, take calculated risks to avoid water and sand hazards, and pace their beer consumption appropriately. A laser range finder at least takes club choice out of the equation. It’s also waterproof, which is great for those times when they feel like hurling it into a creek in a fit of rage. Armed with tools like these, it’s only a matter of time before they take the pro tour by storm.

Never let your 50-year-old run out of gas again! With this practical gift, your recipient can monitor the propane level in their canister, and know exactly when they need to buy more. It could prove particularly helpful now they’re getting older – chances are they’ve got other kinds of gas to worry about…

We’re not sure how far the constitution goes as far as ring marks on tables are concerned, but if you know someone who’s passionate about defending their household surfaces then you might just hit a bullseye with this present. This set of heavy duty coasters are as much a conversation starter as they are a conservation effort so we’d definitely take a shot on them if we were you.

Vacuuming will no longer feel like a chore with this powerful canister strapped to their back. Liberating and sporty, this dust-defeating, crumb-eating soldier of suction is strictly reserved for today’s most ambitious and orderly housekeepers. The latest in domestic fitness regimens, this lightweight apparatus will strengthen their core while reducing unsightly nicks on walls and unnecessary scratches on floors. Tidiness redefined.

By their 50th birthday, they’ve probably managed to acquire some decent jewelry. Maybe not a lot, but some, and good enough that they want to keep it clean and nice. So instead of giving them another gold bracelet, perhaps this Jewelry Steam Cleaner would be a prudent gift.

One for the BBQ kings out there! By the time they reach fifty, they’ve hopefully established themselves as a master of outdoor cooking (if not they need to have a word with themselves). But it’s time to take it to the next level. The Skewer Flipper will allow them to create perfect kebabs, every time.

After 50 years of boring normal water, it’s about time they got something to make it more exciting, and everybody likes fizz, right? Jacuzzis, champagne, lava lamps… bubbles make people happy, and that’s what you want in a 50th birthday gift.

Chocolates used to (and perhaps still do) come from factories run by shady recluses and populated by obese midget slaves. Or at least that’s what the video evidence suggests. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Stick it to big business by giving someone this home chocolate making kit and help them join the artisan revolution. A whole new way to make chocolate “guilt free”.

You’ll have to explain to them that this is the modern-day equivalent of feeding up your carrier pigeon to make him speedier… ok, maybe not. But on a serious note, this is the kind of practical gift that anyone living in the 21st Century (and in sunny climes) is sure to appreciate, including your 50-year-old.

Have the last few dinner parties hosted by your 50-year-old been a bit, well, lackluster? It’s time to take charge and change this forever by giving them the awesome gift of a fondue maker! They’ll feel obliged to use it when you visit, and how could a pot of communal melted cheese or chocolate not improve any social situation?

Everyone loves pizza, which means you literally can’t go wrong with this culinary gift! Well, we mean, in an ideal world, they probably would have preferred a trip to Italy, to stroll along the Amalfi Coast, bathing in Mediterranean sunshine and stopping at a traditional pizzeria for their 50th birthday meal, but hey – we do what we can.

Just because they’re 50, doesn’t mean you have to give them a stuffy ‘grown-up’ gift – you know what they say, ‘you’re only as young as the sandcastles you bulldoze with a car!’ Infinitely more exciting than socks or a bottle of Cognac, we think the risk of duplication on this blood-pumping gift is minimal.

Sunflowers are some of nature’s most obnoxiously beautiful creations, and they make a real statement when planted in your yard. Bright yellow and absurdly tall, they grab the attention of every passerby. Almost like standing on the porch and yelling at people, but in a really endearing and pleasant way.

For the 50-year-old who’s always dragging you to sushi restaurants on your nights out, then casually spearing bits of rice and fish with chopsticks and speaking Japanese, this make-your-own sushi tool is the perfect 50th birthday gift. Now, they’ll be able to invite you over to their house to casually spear rice and fish and speak Japanese. At least you’ll save money.

Humanity’s relationship with fire spans hundreds of thousands of years – further back than even your 50-year-old can remember. Give them this for their special birthday, and allow them to indulge their inner caveman or woman with this ultra-modern take on the ancient discovery. What would our ancestors make of us now?

The perfect gift for the 50-year-old who’s always getting lost in the dark, tripping down the stairs on their way back from the bathroom, or struggling to summon The Batman, the light from this flashlight is visible from five nautical miles away. They’ll never need to fear the Joker again!

If money’s no object and your recipient has a large hootenanny sized space in their house just waiting to be filled, look no further than this luxury musical gift. With a host of instruments and thousands of songs to choose from, your 50-year-old will be partying away every night! Note: their neighbors might not be quite so thrilled.

Well, they’ve made it to their 50th birthday, so they’re obviously doing something right (either that or they’ve been very lucky, and have good friends!) Still, with the zombie apocalypse on the horizon, it can’t hurt to know this stuff, and it’s sure to make your recipient feel like James Bond – a much needed pick-me-up, we’re sure!

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..

For all the hardcore, dinosaur-loving 50-year-olds out there! (And we do mean, hardcore.) They’ll need to eat, sleep and breathe dinosaurs, as well as own at least a small mansion with a 15 x 40ft space for a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You’ll need to be a multi-millionaire, and prepared to splash some cash on hugely impressive, but ultimately useless gifts.

Finally, after 50 years of indecisiveness, your recipient will now be able to make important life choices in mere seconds with this helpful device. Should they buy their daughter a car? Is it worth paying for Alex’s college fees? Should they have that fifth glass of wine? (The answer to all three is ‘no’, but they’ll do it anyway).

A real conversation starter, this unique 50th birthday gift is made by and supports veterans, and might pique the interest of an ex-military or historically-minded recipient. Now, they can use an actual bullet to crack open a well-deserved beer at the end of the day. Which, surely, is a much better use for it than originally intended.

Just what they need to get rid of 50 years of grime on their prized jewels (ok, their wedding ring), this hi-tech jewelry cleaner will ensure their wrists and neck sparkle for years to come. Plus, it can also be used to clean dentures and eyeglasses – which let’s face it, will probably come in handy soon!

‘Yes, it really does go back that far – who knew!’, you’ll quip as you hand over this personalized gift (they’ll be creasing up, we’re sure). The perfect gift for the reflective 50-year-old who likes to quote ominously, ‘Back in my day…’, this will give them a whole new source of ways to finish that sentence.

If your recipient has recently been complaining that a regular vacuum cleaner just doesn’t cut it anymore (in the face of all these ‘modern’ germs), consider this practical 50th birthday gift. But, only if you’ve heard them say these words, or something very similar. A cleaning product can be a risky gift, if not requested.

It used to be the only way to smell like your favorite alcohol was to get so drunk it came out of your pores. Although a few people have probably tried using whiskey as cologne, too. Thank god someone finally came up with a better solution. Beer soap uses real craft beer ingredients to make rich, fragrant soap that not only smells great but nourishes your skin with natural vitamins and nutrients.

Everyone likes a nice stiff after-dinner drink, but sometimes you get tired of swearing at strangers and getting in fights with the sheriff. What’s a country boy to do? A great gift for anyone who’s looking to tone it down a notch but can’t give up the taste of that sweet Kentucky nectar. Or anyone who wants an extra special kick to start the day.

Back when old people were kids, shadow puppeteering was accepted as a legitimate skill. That meant holding your hands in front of a light to create rudimentary animal shapes on the wall, because there was no internet. These candleholders are a serious step up. Just try making a mature cedar with your hands. Ok, stop. It’s not going to happen.

This is the real stuff. You don’t start off drinking 50 year old whisky. No, you buy the cheap stuff,  then maybe the fancier stuff, and once in a while the good stuff comes your way. But a liquor that’s aged for 50 years, like a human, is on a whole other level. This has to be earned by living.

Admittedly, this is kind of a niche gift. But somehow, inexplicably, this has become a giant niche. Fans of the animated sitcom - as well as the associated blog, comic book, and soundtrack album - will have a great time geeking out to these real life, chef-tested recipes for the outlandishly-named burgers the show is famous for.

Along with abundance comes the responsibility not to bore the crap out of people by making the same silly casserole every night. The problem is that nobody wants to think that much about food. They just want to eat. Place the burden of creativity - and blame - on these ingenious foodie dice, and watch the possibilities multiply.

Every 50-year-old is a secret chess player – somehow, they all just know how to do it. Like ironing. But, not everyone can play vertical chess. That takes skill, courage and a feat of gravity. Give this to your chess-playing 50-year-old (don’t worry, that’s all of them), and watch them rise to the challenge.

Look, soap is great. Nobody’s denying that. But you have to realize that while it does make you clean, it doesn’t accomplish the one thing that so many people wish it did: cover them in chocolate. For obvious reasons, however, being covered in chocolate is a somewhat dubious goal. After all, they would have to wash it off right away to avoid getting it on the furniture. This chocolate soap is the perfect compromise: they get to cover themselves in chocolate and somehow get cleaner at the same time. And wow, it really smells good too.