60th Birthday Gifts

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If you haven’t heard, the digital publishing revolution has been in full swing for years now. Anyone can order their own custom created books, pamphlets, and other propaganda material with the click of a button. Online printing experts Shutterfly have gotten in the game with a custom printed photo book. No more slipping Polaroids into clear plastic sleeves. That was cool in the 60s, but we’ve come a long way since then. Now you can commission the kind of glossy, professionally bound photo book that used to be reserved for the fancy-pantsed big shot photographers.

We all like to think we’re larger than life, but in truth we’re really just branches on the grand tree of our ancestry. Screw that, most of us are just leaves at best. Some of us are maybe just a little speck of caterpillar vomit on one of those leaves (you know who you are). Your family tree doesn’t have to be that detailed though.

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.

With any normal chocolate bar, even the generously-sized original Toblerone, one’s enjoyment is always tarnished by the sad thought that the experience will soon be over. Candy bars simply don’t last long enough. In contrast, candy lovers look upon this giant Toblerone bar the same way that a mountaineer gazes up at a lofty peak. In their mind, they understand that one day the expedition will be over, and the mammoth before them will have been conquered. Yet in the moment they can’t quite believe it.

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.

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.

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.

As time passes, people are bound to change. This fillable glass memory locket was made with that personal evolution in mind. The double-sided glass design gives them more options for filling it with photos, small objects, keepsakes, or anything else they might want to carry with them. And swapping out one image, object, or arrangement for another is as easy as snapping the locket open and then closed again. A beautiful, versatile peace of jewelry that can change and grow with its owner.

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”.

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.

Few household hobbies have the potential to be as hard on the joints as gardening, unless you like playing “Army Men” and parachuting off the roof with umbrellas, like some of us did as kids. This waterproof nylon stool does double duty as a knee/ankle saver and a tool bag, so the right implement is always within reach.

Go big or go home. Wait, they can do both with these giant yard games! They’ll supersize the fun at backyard parties with these larger than life versions of the games we all played growing up. All sorts of giant games are available including checkers, chess, Connect Four, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Jenga and more.

This gift gives them actual ownership of a tiny piece of a real Scottish castle, which gives them the legal right to call themselves a Laird or Lady. It’s a perfect boost to their ego, instant bragging rights, and endless opportunities to make them try a Scottish accent. When you add next year’s gift of a kilt to the mix, the transformation will be complete.

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.

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 worked damn hard for this part of their life, and they deserve some free stuff. Or, if not free, at least cheap. This is like the cool kids club for old people, except everyone can get in if they pay the dues. There’s no reason they can’t go on living in style.

It’s nice to have the option to get an endless massage from somebody whose hands never get tired. And you don’t have to worry about being a captive audience to some godawful boring story or suffer through ten minutes of vomit-inducing garlic breath. Machines do it better.

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.

If you’re looking for a truly one of a kind gift, you might consider commissioning a local artist to create a unique piece of jewelry. It will not only be cherished by the lucky recipient, but it’s also a gift to the starving artist, so it will mean a lot to everyone. Remember to plan in advance for this one, custom made artwork is not created overnight.

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).

For many thousands of years, “grilling” has meant chopping something up and suspending it over an open flame. Sure, maybe you add some new proprietary seasoning to spice things up a little and impress your in-laws, but for the most part nothing’s really changed. It’s time to disrupt (that’s what the B school kids call it) this primal practice with a little infrared technology. Call this grilling 2.0. Life has sped up immeasurably since the days when we were chasing down goats and killing them with our bare hands. We’ve got jobs now, and Netflix shows to watch. This crazy little box will get the grilling done in no time so they can get back to real life.

There are lots of monthly and weekly meal subscriptions to choose from, but not so much for the people who like the meals in between meals the best. Look, grass-fed steak with organic heirloom carrots and Arabian saffron roasted potatoes is great, but some people would genuinely prefer a handful of edamame or a blueberry lemon oat bar instead. We’re not here to judge, and you shouldn’t be either. The Graze monthly snack subscription provides healthy alternatives that allow the recipient to indulge in their love of snacking without paying the junk food tax.

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.

So many of your household appliances would be better if they weren’t fixed in place. Wouldn’t you sometimes like to bake in the backyard? Do the laundry on your roof deck? And what about the toilet? Wouldn’t you like to…well, never mind. For now, we’ve got the inflatable hot tub. Move it, deflate and store it, set it back up and inflate it in three minutes whenever it’s needed.

This is what you do when you realize your taste in home decor is crap. Or maybe the person you’re buying for is too weird to appreciate it. Whatever the case, sometimes it’s not such a good idea to decorate someone else’s house for them. If you’re feeling a little gun shy, let them pull the trigger themselves.

Knowledge is the lifeblood of commerce, and sharing knowledge is how the human race continues its noble march toward destruction. But these days, people would just as soon carry a stone tablet as a paperback. An Amazon Kindle is the best way to look smart in public without seeming like a relic.

The classic party game where everyone either reveals reputation-demolishing secrets about their past or shamelessly lies to save face. Depending on the temperament of the various participants, it can make for an hour or so of good-natured ribbing, or it can devolve into closet doors being flung open to reveal hideous skeletons beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. In other words, it’s rip-roaring fun. But depending on your own personal history, you may want to sit this one out.

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?

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.

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.

DIY

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.

Well, they’ve spent their entire life 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.

Spilled alcohol and broken glass simply don’t fit with the luxury life. Let the lowbrows balance their stemware on the wet, glossy surface of the tub like the hapless fools they are. Your friends and loved ones deserve better. Bring some peace of mind to their relaxation hour.

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 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.

Pepper is an in-your-face spice, and its essence has nothing to do with subtlety. Here is the perfect vessel for the preeminent seasoning at the table. Let this beautifully crafted ebony grinder tower over the other lowly flavors, including its eternal rival, salt. Any other symbolism we’ll leave up to your imagination.

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.

Men of discerning tastes should not suffer the indignity of walking back and forth from the couch to the kitchen for a beer. We put a man on the moon for God’s sake. Hand-made by Amish craftsmen and built to last for generations, this is no flimsy Walmart furniture. Class out the wazoo.

Symbolic furniture is all the rage. Champagne lovers will feel tipsy when they see this decorative and functional living room table that pays homage to their favorite beverage. Then maybe you can buy them that dining room table shaped like a cow. Or that butt-shaped toilet seat cover. So many choices in this category.

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.

People weren’t joking when they said this coffee is the sh#t. The undeniably rich, full-bodied flavor produced by these rare beans has redefined the food chain and flipped the coffee industry on its head. Perhaps one of the most imaginative adaptations of the farm-to-table movement, this coffee product is redefining waste management.

The perfect gift for your friend who struggles to leave their fluffy unicorn slippers at home in the morning- cough, um, did we say unicorn? We meant stylish sheepskin moccasins, obviously. Anyway, these cozy shoe liners will make them feel nice and warm and sleepy… oh no, Jeff’s fallen asleep at his desk again.

Who doesn’t appreciate a hug every once in a while? It may have never occurred to you, but our feet don’t often get the love they need. Well, someone’s feet are going to be in for a real treat now with this pair of custom insoles. Up til now they’ve probably always been crammed into ready-made factory-produced shoes. It’s no wonder they’re getting so ornery. These custom molded insoles fit like a glove (we’d say “like a sock”, but these are light years better than socks), help prevent injuries, and ease foot fatigue and associated pain.

Nothing makes you feel more at home in a foreign place than knowing the right way to tell someone to go f*ck himself. Don’t let a traveler you know venture off into the great unknown without arming them first with this essential guidebook. No matter where you end up on this great planet of ours, respect follows those who command the rough outer edges of the language.

If they’re anything like us, they’re not wild about some anonymous person manhandling their pork. The problem is, of course, that someone has to turn it into bacon. A make your own bacon kit is the perfect gift for someone who really wants to take control of their lives, starting with the most important parts.

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.

Looking for a really forking good gift? Okay, so fried foods may not be the healthiest choice out there, but there are times when you just can’t help but make an exception. This electric fondue maker is the perfect thing for dinner parties and puts a fun twist on appetizers and desserts. The oil, cheese, or chocolate will stay at the perfect temperature and it never runs out of fuel.

Since the dawn of time, chaos, terror, and death have periodically rained down from the sky. Only the lucky were spared. But now we have weather radios, so you can go inside instead of dying. This one also conveniently charges your phone so the next hurricane doesn’t have to interrupt your game of angry birds.

If they seem bored with preparing their meals the traditional way – you know, by microwaving them – then this futuristic cooking contraption could be the gift for them. Simply vacuum pack food in a bag, submerge it in water and the all-powerful Sous Vide will turn it into mouth-watering, restaurant-worthy steak. Yes, really. Check out our Guide to Sous Vide Cooking to learn more about this underutilized method of cooking.

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.

Bunster’s Shit the Bed Hot Sauce is a mix of super-hot chilies and healthy superfoods (like goji berries and apple cider vinegar). It’s also a crowdfunding phenomenon and a painfully delicious gift for any health-conscious masochist you might know. There are lots of gourmet hot sauces out there, but this one is unique and strange in a way that true hot sauce connoisseurs find irresistible. Their mouth is bound to have a love-hate relationship with this stuff.

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.

For centuries artisans have toiled away, diligently refining their skills until becoming masters, so that they can create exquisitely detailed work of the highest craftsmanship. Well, there’s a much easier way now. 3d printing technology has rapidly advanced over the past few years, to the point that they’ve begun printing just about anything. Even houses. The kind people live in. We’re not suggesting that you need to invest in a home-building 3d printer, as those are rather large and might be out of your budget. But 3d printing can be used for all kinds of smaller things as well, from artistic models to home furnishings. And 3d printers are really fun to play with. If you know someone who needs a new hobby to keep them out of trouble, this could be just the thing. And if they’re lucky enough to get this as a gift from you, you will in turn be the recipient of printed thingamajigs for the rest of your time on Earth.

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.

Your friend or loved one may have already started to suspect something about the inherent absurd futility of life. If not, then perhaps you can inform them with this gift, which is an extraordinarily apt illustration of the horrifying predicament in which we the living find ourselves. Doing exactly what it says on the package, this box has no purpose other than to instantly turn itself ‘off’ when you try to turn it ‘on’. Despite being useless, we have to admit it does have a certain charm.

If you’re looking for a subtle way to tell them that they always have spinach in their teeth, look no further than these whisky flavored toothpicks. On the plus side, you’ll no longer have to look at the salad growing in their mouth. On the downside, their breath will smell faintly of Scotch forevermore.

Here’s some art that really grows on you. A hanging garden that can be placed on any wall in the house, it can add a bit of unexpected life to an interior space. The frame comes decked out with easy-to-care-for succulents, so you don’t have to worry about giving this to someone with a brown thumb.

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.

Replicating bloody warfare between kingdoms, and played by some of the most brilliant minds in the world, chess stands large in the human game-o-sphere. Yet it carries such a small physical footprint. Something had to give. This giant chess set makes its players feel like Roman gods directing the earthly battles of royal dwarves. It also serves as a stunning piece of landscape art, like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The last word in life-size board games.

In our crazy modern world, who has the patience to wait more than a day for their online purchases, or to watch one episode a week of their favorite series, instead of a 10-hour binge? If they don’t already have a subscription to Amazon Prime, it’s your duty to bring them out of the dark ages. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, and you can get it for them right now. They’ll get free shipping on tons of great stuff from Amazon as well as access to a bizillion movies for free. Whatever their addiction, they can feed it on Amazon. Help them feed it faster and better.

Many scientists consider smell to be the strongest of the human senses, tied up so intimately as it is with emotions and memories. It’s also sometimes the most neglected aspect of the home. You know who we’re talking about. Help that person craft a more sensuous and pleasing atmosphere for everyone who steps inside.

The Echo Spot might look like the Echo’s little cousin, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks in features. This is the all-in-one smart speaker with video screen for the space-conscious person on your gift list. It makes a great bedside alarm/smart home companion, and does virtually everything the full size echo can do, plus it makes video calls. So they can basically run their whole life without ever getting out of bed.

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.

DIY

It can be hard to get the whole family to sit still for a portrait, but with generational photos you only need to get them to sit still one at a time, which can usually be accomplished with nothing more than subtle threats. Not only is that easier to manage, but with a little Photoshop magic you can turn the raw materials into a graphic representation of one little branch of your family tree. The finished product is like looking down a long hall of mirrors into your genetic history.

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.

The old-fashioned wooden whiskey barrel has become a symbol of class and refinement. Big change from the old days when having one of these in your basement meant the feds might crash in any day and haul you off to prison for moonshining. There’s nothing like tasting the sweet fruit of your own labors, and these handmade barrels allow the owner to age spirits to their exact specifications. Now, even bottom-shelf bathtub whiskey can be turned into dusky gold in a few weeks time.

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.

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.

Just like you wouldn’t send a samurai into battle with a pocket knife, you shouldn’t let a serious home chef attack his foodstuffs with some dull old blade off the shelves of Walmart. Bob Kramer is a certified Master Bladesmith, and the only one to specialize solely in making kitchen cutlery. In other words, this is a “next level” set of knives, one that any culinary artist would be thrilled to dice their carrots with.

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.

How many times have they said, “I know this town like the back of my hand”? Present them with this accurate jigsaw representation, sit back, and ask them to prove it. Or stoke their nostalgia with a puzzle version of their long-lost birthplace. A great choice for a more personalized gift.

In the land of the drunk, there are two categories: the worldly and the degenerate. Everyone else is sober. This old world globe bar sends a not-so-subtle signal which one they belong to. Help them appear wise and fascinating by appropriating the air of an intrepid explorer, even if they’ve never left the state.

The original smart speaker and still the reigning king (or queen) of the market, the Amazon Echo invented a new category and has been dominating it ever since. The Echo’s virtual assistant, Alexa, is kind of like Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, except she’ll never kill your friends and lock you out of the house to die.