Our list of 40th birthday gift ideas features thoughtful, practical items geared toward people who have a much better idea of who they are and what they want out of life. Once associated with being 'over the hill,' turning 40 is now a celebration of new beginnings and embracing a life well-lived thus far.
Whether they're your significant other, friend, sibling, or work colleague, you'll find the perfect 40th birthday gift idea for them in our guide below. We have a list of 50th birthday gift ideas to peruse, as well, if you know someone who is approaching that milestone. (Several of those items may be fitting for a soon-to-be 40-year-old, too.)
The best 40th birthday gift ideas
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Our edit of the best 40th birthday gifts includes a range of items and experiences across multiple price points. From themed journals and DIY whisky kits to personalized video greetings recorded by celebrities, you're bound to find something that your gal or guy will be thrilled to receive.
Of course, that's not to say you shouldn't buy them anything that overtly declares their official passage into their forties. Our list includes those items as well, but they celebrate turning 40 in a way that's both tasteful and sentimental.
Where to find the best 40th birthday gift ideas
To help steer you in the right direction, here are a few storefronts worth exploring for gift ideas:
- Amazon: Find everything from apparel and tech goods to small appliances, gift sets and so much more (opens in new tab)
- Uncommon Goods: As the name implies, this merchant specializes in fun, unique gift ideas (opens in new tab)
- Cratejoy: Themed subscription boxes will give your recipient something to look forward to each month (opens in new tab)
- Airbnb: Ideal for gifting experiences in destinations across the world (opens in new tab)
- MasterClass: Your special guy or gal can learn filmmaking, cooking and other skills from the world's leading experts (opens in new tab)
- Cameo: A personalized video greeting from a celebrity is a gift your loved ones will never forget (opens in new tab)
40th birthday gift ideas for women
RRP: $155 | This gift is ideal for ladies who love the after-effects of a salon visit but neither have the time nor money to visit their stylist regularly. We've rated the DryBar Double Shot as one of the best dryer brushes thanks to its ease of control and ability to add shine and fullness for all types of hair.
RRP: $130 | One of the best gifts for gardeners who possess a green thumb but have limited to no space to cultivate an outdoor garden will enjoy growing their own herbs in this AeroGarden Harvest Indoor Garden. This sleek hydroponic system fits nicely on any counter and only requires water to grow—no worries about dirtying the kitchen with soil here.
RRP: $40 | A new decade of life symbolizes the prospect of many new adventures ahead. Recipients can scratch off 50 random ideas to create memories that'll last a lifetime, then record their experiences through journaling and photographs. Choose from editions for family, friends, and gifts for couples, too. You could also look at our guide to the best goal planners, of the same ilk.
RRP: $41 | Here's a subtle way to celebrate a very special woman's four decades of life. Amazon may not be the first place you think to shop jewelry online, but this .925 sterling silver necklace is made in the USA and includes a 19" chain that can be adjusted for free if it's too long or short. Also included is a gift box plus a blank note card upon which you can write a personal, heartfelt birthday message, making it a lovely personalized jewelry gift.
RRP: $30 | Help your friend or family member usher in a new phase of her life by clearing any residual bad juju from decades past with this Energy Cleansing Candle. It features notes of cedar, sage, and lavender plus dried herbs and lilac crystals—one of the best scented candles for attracting those positive vibes.
RRP: $50 | Whether your recipient is new to the world of Jo Malone fragrances or not, this set offers a little bit of something for everyone. It includes travel-sized versions of Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne and Peony & Blush Suede Body Crème, plus a mini English Pear & Freesia Candle. Who knows? This set may introduce your birthday gal to her new favorite Jo Malone scent.
RRP: $100 | Air fryers are one of the most versatile kitchen appliances anyone can own. They require no oil to make healthier (but still tasty) versions of your favorite meals and snacks. If your soon-to-be-40 friend has been contemplating an air fryer, surprise her with the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer. It has a 4-quart capacity plus four programmable cooking modes (air fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate) for making everything from crispy fried chicken to homemade fruit snacks—it's definitely one of the best Ninja Air Fryers.
RRP: $458 | If birthday girl's go-to handbag has seen better days, this Michael Kors bucket bag will be the perfect update – especially since this style of bag is one of the biggest handbag trends for 2022. This medium-sized handbag features a signature MK logo-print canvas, adjustable cross-body strap and a decorative polished chain-link pendant, with dual interior slip pockets and plenty of room for essentials.
RRP: $249 | Give the gift of restful sleep with the Bose Sleepbuds II. They work in tandem with the Bose Sleep App to passively block noise while offering more than 50 snooze-inducing sounds so your recipient can fast asleep fast and stay that way until her morning alarm goes off. And no matter if she tosses and turns at night, the ear tips for these specially-designed earbuds are made to stay in-ear, always. They're some of the best ear plugs for sleep on the market.
RRP: $32 | A milestone birthday such as 40 is a natural time for individuals to reflect upon what they've accomplished thus far. For that friend or family member with plenty of stories to tell, this clothbound journal will make a great gift. It features a variety of writing prompts to help bring memories to the surface. Who knows—it could serve as a basis for a future best-selling memoir!
RRP: From $15 | It's never too late to try something new! For that friend or family member with an insatiable desire to learn, an annual MasterClass subscription will suit her quite well. She can learn about writing compelling fiction from Amy Tan, improve her cooking chops with Gordon Ramsay, and receive acting tips from Samuel L. Jackson, among many other star-studded courses.
RRP: From $40 | This cute retro-inspired mini-fridge from Frigidaire will make a fine addition to any home or office. It can store drinks, leftovers, and even skincare products like sheet masks (which feel so refreshing when chilled, plus skincare fridges are very on-trend right now). Not only does this little refrigerator come in four fun colors, but it also has a built-in Bluetooth speaker for streaming music and podcasts.
RRP: From $35 per month | As we get older, we learn not to sweat the small stuff. But if you know someone who's yet to grasp that concept after four decades, give her an assist with a TheraBox Self Care Box subscription. Each monthly box includes a happiness activity plus seven wellness items curated by a therapist to help melt away stress and frustration. You can choose to have a new box arriving every month for up to 12 months.
RRP: From $25 | What can you get the woman who seemingly has everything? A gift card to the world's largest online store will do the trick. Whether she wants to load her Kindle with the best eBooks, listen to the best audiobooks or podcasts for free via Audible or pick up cute decor for the house, she can purchase whatever she needs whenever the mood strikes and save some of her own cash in the process.
RRP: $220 | IKEA's collaboration with acclaimed audio brand Sonos has culminated in a work of art that doubles as a WiFi-enabled speaker. It's a trendy (and inconspicuous) way for the birthday girl to add room-filling sound to her living space. And if she already owns a Sonos speaker, she can link it to the SYMFONISK to create a larger home audio system.
RRP: $38 | Your recipient doesn't have to be a professional artist to channel her creativity with this vibrant paint-by-numbers kit. It comes with an 8x10" canvas, a paint set, and brushes. Plus, it's portable enough for her to bring just about anywhere — like a vacation home or campsite so she can relax and allow her creative juices to flow as she enjoys a much-loved past time or discovers a new hobby.
RRP: $330 | If she's ready to hit the road or skies again, prepare her for future adventures with this 25" spinner from Bric's. She'll be able to breeze to her destinations thanks to a telescopic top handle and 360-degree wheels. There are also dual outer pockets plus an interior zip wall pocket for plenty of storage, making this one of the best suitcases for those planning to visit a new destination for 2022.
RRP: $35 | 'Say it with flowers' is a common sentiment but if you don't want to rely on the best flower delivery services to send a gift, you can say it with a flower that corresponds with her birth month via this DIY growing kit. Included are seeds, a glass bottle, soil-less growing medium and an info sheet about the meaning of her birth month flower.
RRP: $16 | Celebrate your 40-and-fabulous loved one with this chic milestone bracelet. It contains 40 14k gold-dipped beads strung along an adjustable bracelet cord. (No worries if your recipient has a nickel allergy, as this bracelet is nickel-free.) Best of all, she can pair this bracelet with just about any outfit and wear it for years after she's officially crossed into her forties.
RRP: $119 | When it comes to practical 40th birthday gift ideas then buying one of the best pillows for a restful night's sleep will be a welcome present. The adjustable layers of the Emma Memory Foam Pillow will allow the recipient to make it as high or low as needed - perfect for anyone who loves thin pillows. And if she's prone to overnight hot flashes, there's a soft, breathable top cover that'll help keep her comfortably cool throughout the night.
40th birthday gift ideas for men
RRP: $15 | For the guy who truly wants to make the most of his 40s, this scratch-off bucket list poster will provide him with plenty of activities he can attempt to tackle over the next decade. Ideas include 'attending the Olympics,' 'drive a train' and 'go whale watching.'
RRP: $30 | Who says Viewmasters are just for kids? This take on the favorite childhood toy will allow you to create reels featuring snapshots of your birthday guy's favorite memories from his first 40 years. He can pick it up and flick through the images whenever he's feeling nostalgic.
RRP: $54 | Takeout and delivery will be a thing of the past for your man thanks to this Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven. This nifty kitchen appliance has a small footprint and uses 60 percent less electricity than a conventional oven. And it's not just capable of making pizza—it can also cook up appetizers like jalapeño poppers and chicken wings.
RRP: $130 | Any 40-year-old who wants to overturn bad habits should rely on an activity tracker to help guide them, and they seldom get better than the Fitbit Charge 5—one of the best Fitbits on the market. It boasts up to a full week of battery life plus a vibrant color touchscreen that'll allow health-conscious guys to track everything from stress levels and heart rate to sleep quality and oxygen saturation levels.
RRP: $60 | For 40th birthday gift ideas which definitely get better with age, you can't go wrong with whiskey. If he fancies himself a whiskey aficionado, he'll enjoy making his own using this DIY kit. With three types of wood chips and six varieties of botanicals included, he can concoct a whiskey that suits his tastes. All he'll have to supply is the vodka (yes, you can seemingly turn vodka into whiskey).
RRP: $35 | For the man who is consistently misplacing his things, the Tile Pro will be a godsend. He can attach it to his keys, wallet or backpack and search for tagged items on his phone from within 400 feet (alternatively, the Tile Pro can also be used to find a phone by making it ring). It works with iPhones and Android devices and is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri for hands-free support.
RRP: From $15 | Your guy can learn new skills (or brush up on latent ones) courtesy of some of the world's most renowned pros in a variety of fields with a one-year subscription to MasterClass. He'll be able to take self-paced online classes helmed by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Carlos Santana, Neil Gaiman, and many more.
RRP: $28 | Your man might be one to use his wallet until it's falling apart at the seams. If that's the case, gift him this Herschel Roy Wallet as a 40th birthday present. Featuring a classic bi-fold design, multiple card slots, and an RFID-blocking design, it's practical and stylish—the perfect combination.
RRP: $20 | A 40-year-old gamer will appreciate this retro-inspired Level 40 Unlocked tee. He can wear it as a reminder to himself (and others) that while it may have taken a lot of work and button-mashing, he finally made it to the next level of this crazy game called Life.
RRP: Varies | Quick, who is your guy's favorite celebrity? There's a chance you'll be able to find and request them on Cameo to wish him a very happy 40th birthday. Behold his reaction when he receives a personalized video birthday greeting from a personality that he's otherwise admired from afar.
RRP: From $27 per month | Give the special fellow in your life something to look forward to each month with a subscription to SnackSack. Each box contains between 11 and 13 different treats centered around a specific theme or season. Best of all, these snacks are delicious and healthy so he'll be able to enjoy them guilt-free. There are also vegan and gluten-free boxes available.
RRP: From $100 | An interesting way to chronicle your man's first 40 years is through the front pages of the New York Times. From the day he was born until his most recent birthday, he'll be able to see just how much the world has changed since he's been in it. This hardbound book is personalized with the recipient's name and birth date on the cover and would also make an original 60th birthday gift, too.
RRP: $230 | This LEGO set is geared towards the kids at heart. It comes with an astonishing 2,646 pieces, which come together to create brick versions of the classic NES console and a TV showcasing a scene from Super Mario Bros. Add the LEGO Mario minifigure (sold separately) and it'll react to what's on-screen, complete with sound effects.
RRP: $280 | If your guy likes to listen to his Spotify playlist during his bus or train commutes, he deserves a pair of one of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market. The Bose QuietComfort 45 wireless over-ear headphones feature an adjustable EQ, up to 24 hours of battery life, and varying levels of noise cancellation so he can still be aware of his surroundings whilst out and about.
RRP: From $25 | At a total loss for ideas? You can't go wrong with an Amazon gift card. This will allow your man to buy something he really wants when the moment strikes, without having to dip into his own wallet too much.
RRP: $150 | As your recipient enters a new decade, it may be time for him to level up his grooming routine beyond dollar store razors and 10-in-1 shower gels. Manscape offers a complete full-body grooming package that includes its best-selling Lawn Mower 4.0 Waterproof Electric Trimmer, Weed Whacker Ear & Nose Hair Trimmer, and an assortment of skincare and haircare products that'll leave him so fresh (and so clean).
RRP: $34 | Pick up this 9-in-1 multi-tool for your man and he'll be prepared for any situation that calls for a wrench, screwdriver, hex key, or bottle opener on the spot. It'll be an especially handy pickup if he's a cyclist, snowboarder, or camping enthusiast.
RRP: $200 | Maybe he has a full-blown vinyl collection (or is keen to start one). In either case, he'll appreciate this Fluance turntable. It has an Audio Technica AT91 Stylus for crystal clear audio plus a lightweight, hollow cabinet for minimal reverb. This vinyl player has a small footprint so no matter how much space he has available, it'll fit nicely.
RRP: $20 | This is a slightly cheeky 40th birthday gift idea that'll appeal to a good-humored Star Wars fan. It's made from a cotton-polyester blend and ranges in size from XS to 3XL.
RRP: $50 | Is your recipient a wordsmith? Then he'll get a kick out of this crossword print. You can customize it with six original clues, which will be highlighted and integrated with the rest of the puzzle. An answer key and a worksheet page are also included in case he gets stumped.
Is there a traditional gift for a 40th birthday?
A traditional gift for a 40th birthday (or anniversary) is a ruby. Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 40th year on the throne with a Ruby Jubilee in 1992. (She's now celebrated her Platinum Jubilee this year, 30 years later.)
Ruby signifies wealth, prosperity, and courage. This vivid red gemstone is also the birthstone for July, so if your recipient's birthday falls within that month, it becomes an even more fitting present.
You can gift your partner or loved one a ruby pendant, bracelet, or a pair of ruby studs if you want to buy some jewelry to mark the occasion. However, if they're not one for jewelry, you can still go the traditional route and purchase a ruby-colored item instead — for instance, glassware, a wallet, flowers or a leather-bound notebook.
What do you get someone for their 40th birthday?
The oldest millennials are either in or on the brink of their 40s. Millennials have a reputation for valuing experiences over material items – and a 2021 survey from StorageCafe (opens in new tab) about gift-giving trends confirms that's still the case. According to the millennials polled, 17% of them said experiences make the best gifts, followed by tech (13%), jewelry (9%), and household items (8%).
Based on the above data, you'll truly impress your middle-aged millennial with an experience gift like an online class, weekend excursion or virtual meet-and-greet with a beloved celebrity. However, if you insist on giving something tangible, a practical gift will suit, whether it's a high-tech activity tracker or a table-top pizza maker.
What else do millennials enjoy? Nostalgia (just think of all the franchise reboots and retro product re-launches that currently exist). Of course, as we grow older, we're naturally inclined to think of 'the good old days,' anyway. Thus, a gift that harkens back to older millennials' youthful, carefree days of the '80s and early '90s is bound to hit the right notes.
As for milestone-specific gifts, you'll go far with something subtle. No longer is turning 40 a sure sign you're becoming 'old'—in fact, 4 in 10 adults view their 40s as a fresh start according to research from South West News Digital (opens in new tab). But keep in mind that everyone is different. If you know for sure that your recipient isn't ready to accept the fact that they're entering their fifth decade, avoid gifting them anything that expresses that sentiment, no matter how tasteful.
Alison Barretta is a freelance writer and editor from Philadelphia, USA who specializes in home and lifestyle, skincare, and tech. For the last 15 years, she has been sharing buying advice and product reviews with curious, cost-conscious shoppers from around the world. Alison's work has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Tom's Guide, TechRadar, and Creative Bloq.
When she's not reviewing mattresses or waxing poetic about her favorite face cleansers, Alison can be found teaching/training in martial arts, streaming underrated TV series, trying new recipes, and singing karaoke until her throat is hoarse.
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