40 Great Gift Ideas For People Over 40

Surefire ways to surprise your friend who already has everything.

40 Great Gift Ideas For People Over 40

Surefire ways to surprise your friend who already has everything.

As you come into your 40s, gift giving becomes an art—a quick gift certificate or a duty-free purchase from your trip abroad won’t cut it. You need shrewdness, quirkiness, and great taste to pick out out the perfect present for your peers. Whether you’re shopping for the practical pal or the hard-to-please diva, we’ve compiled everything, from grown-up games and grown-up drinks to wearable offerings (not just clothing!) and intelligent, unforgettable experiences. Brush up on these gift ideas and you’ll be a present-presenting maestro in no time. For more on living your best life in your 40s, don’t miss 40 Ways to Stay Sharp After 40. 

dart board gift ideas

1
A Cooler Dart Board

$140; buy now from Fredericks and Mae

Games are good fun. Having a chic adult set of darts and a dart board is not only a decorative statement, but a great gift. This option, from Fredericks and Mae, is a flashy retro throwback to everyone’s favorite bar game.

luxury spas, Texas, Lake Austin Spa Resort, gifts

2
A Day at the Spa

A spa day can consist of a couple hours soaking in hot springs to a full-day replete with treatments and massages. No matter the level of decadence, a spa day is always appreciated. For inspiration, check out our list of The 15 Most Luxurious Spas in America.

gifts

3
A Charitable Donation

For those friends over 40 who scoff at gift-giving, making a charitable donation in someone’s name is a perfect presentation of your affection while still maintaining their wishes. Some suggestions: Heifer International, Books for Africa, and Food for the Hungry.

telescope gift ideas

4
A Telescope Fit For An Adult

$199; buy now at Astronomers without Borders

We don’t ever really grow up, we just get older and make more money. A telescope is a rather unexpected—yet very cool gift—for curious adults who want to relive a bit of childhood spark. The base model from Astronomers without Borders is basic enough to operate easily yet powerful enough to see some cool celestial bodies.

kitchen knife gift ideas

5
A Samurai-Grade Kitchen Knife

$145; buy now at Amazon

Every home cook should be equipped with at least one knife that can through raw meat like it’s butter. The DM0706 from Shun is exactly that, and is a rare Japanese blade that’s dishwasher-friendly. And for some ideas on what to cook with this new blade, be sure your friend check out the 15 Best Steak Marinade Recipes of All Time.

candle ken fulk gift ideas

6
 A Sumptuous Candle 

$50; buy now at Ken Fulk

A candle is always acceptable—you just have to get the right one. Skip the Bed Bath & Beyond aisle and spring for a sumptuous, sexy model, like Ken Fulk’s 007.

gifts

7
Season Tickets

Getting friends Hamilton tickets or court-side seats for a night is nice, but season tickets to the Nets or the Met is a mature gift that will keep on giving.

bkool pro 2 gift ideas

8
A Top-Gear Bike Trainer

$475; buy now at Bkool

Equal part elegant and efficient, a beautiful bike trainer—like the Bkool Smart Pro 2—is a far cry from those clunky metal messes that end up in the garage.

gifts

9
A Rowing Machine That Double As a Piece of Art

From $895; buy now at WaterRower

Well, here’s a piece of training equipment you could easily keep in plain sight. WaterRower’s row machines are, simply, pieces of art—the machine version of being in the royal enclosure at the Henley Regatta.

best car one hundred grand chevy corvette

10
An Auto-Racing Experience

We all have that friend who may be entering the requisite mid-life crisis sports car phase. Why not help them be smart about it? Racing lessons are a safe and generous way of keeping your speedy friend on track.

surfing lessons gift ideas

11
A Surfing Lesson

Your 40s are when you really establish yourself and your hobbies. But some of those hobbies you just haven’t found yet. Here’s a chance to open your friend up to a new hobby—like, say, a surfing lesson. The activity is hard to pick up, but, once you get the skills down pat, it’s an incredibly exhilarating and therapeutic workout.

wine bottles, gifts

12
A Rare Bottle of Vino

Prices vary; buy now at Dirty Laundry

Wine is a no-brainer. But gifting a bottle from an up-and-coming region, like Okanagan, British Columbia, will show that you really know your grapes. (Best Life suggestion: Spring for a bottle from Dirty Laundry, the top award-winner in the region.)

spirits liquor booze gift ideas

13
Spirits with Spirit

Prices vary; buy now at Ventura Spirits Company

No one will complain about a bottle of nice whiskey, of course. But if you really want to go above and beyond, sui generis spirits, like those produced by Ventura Spirits Company (they’re the only manufacturer in the world to make vodka out of, as opposed to flavored by, strawberries, for example) will really leave an impression—so long as the recipient doesn’t drink the whole bottle in one go.

cider gift ideas

14
Cider—For Adults

$6 per bottle; buy now at Couer de Lion

‘Tis the season—for drinking cider! (And, yes, giving gifts…) Put a little twist on the classic fall libation by gifting a pear cider instead of an apple one. For our money, the good folks at Christian Drouin make the best one: equal parts tangy and sweet, and the perfect ABV (4.5%) for sipping all day long next to a toasty autumn fire.

beer making kit gift ideas

15
A Beer-Making Kit

$40; buy now at Williams Sonoma

Put the “craft” in “craft beer.” A beer-making kit is like an adult science project with the added bonus that you get buzzed at the end. The basic option from Williams Sonoma comes with all of the ingredients and a step-by-step guide to ensure a perfectly hoppy, buzzy product comes out the other end. (Note: The beer-making process takes 30 days to complete.)

dog bed gift ideas

16
A Dog Bed For Saving the World

From $65; buy now at Toad and Co.

Chances are, one of your friends will have a best friend who’s furry and walks on all fours. You want to befriend this cute critter; buy them a comfortable dog bed. Bonus points if you spring for an eco-friendly option, like this poof from Toad and Co.

gifts

17
Cooking Lessons

As we get older, we can also get set in our ways. Branching out and learning new skills, especially in kitchen, can be transformative. An interesting cooking lesson is a fun gift that might actually boomerang benefits back to you—with a home-cooked meal!

breville espresso machine cool gift ideas

18
A Barista-Worthy Espresso Machine

$599; buy now at Amazon

For the coffee fanatic—the pal who can smell the difference between Nicaraguan and Jamaican beans—nothing beats a barista-grade espresso machine. The Breville BES870XL is exactly that. This beast comes with a grinder, countless customization settings, and a built-in frothing wand.

gifts

19
Provisions

Prices vary; buy now at Patagonia

Giving food is always nice, but habitual gift baskets of the same old, same old gets redundant. A fresh take on an old present—like Patagonia Provision’s sustainable gift boxes—are a guaranteed hit this season.

gifts

20
Flowers (That Last a While)

Flowers are always nice, but they die quickly. Go the everlasting route: Give some orchids.

boconcept vase gift ideas

21
And An Accompanying Vase

$75; buy now at BoConcept

If you are going to give cut flowers, give them in a special vase. The design-forward Twist, from BoConcept, is sure to delight.

alarm clock gift ideas

22
A Timeless Timepiece

$379; buy now at Leff Amsterdam

Since we all have the time in our pocket, giving a clock seems odd. But they’re a steadfastly classic gift, and a solid decor upgrade, no matter the style—especially when they are as tasteful as Leff Amsterdam’s striking brick clock.

foscarini gift ideas

23
An Suspension Lamp

Price upon request; inquire at Foscarini

When it comes to décor style upgrades, everyone looks around, and few people look up. Don’t let your friends neglect their ceilings. The sleek, metallic Arumi by Foscarini is a sublime example of how stylish ceiling lamps can be. (When it’s alit, the aluminum glints like a raw diamond.)

rag and bone cashmere scarf

24
A Scarf Upgrade

$275; buy now at Mr. Porter

Rejoice: It’s scarf season! Your coldest-blooded friend could probably use upgrade—to cashmere. A black option is the way to go; it matches with literally everything. This is among the safest gifts you can get. But if you want to put a little twist on it, spring for a ribbed option, like the Ace from Rag & Bone.

hemp blanket jungmaven gift ideas

25
A Unique Blanket

$96; buy now at Jungmaven

A blanket that isn’t something you would see in a hotel but is neutral enough to be in a hotel is key here: Distinct enough to have meaning, while still able to fit in anyone’s bedroom. Jungmaven’s hemp blankets fit that bill to a tee.

ai weiwei gift ideas

26
An Extravagant Library Addition

$1,500; buy now at Taschen

Yes, that’s a $1,500 book. But Ai Weiwei‘s limited edition (only 1,000 copies were printed) compendium is worth every penny: The tome features unseen images from Weiwei’s collection and features paper-cut chapter openers designed by the man himself.

Product photo by Mark Seelen

mayfair leather smartphone case gift ideas

27
Protection Case

$52; buy now at Gear 4

Considering the replacement costs for LCD screens, cases for laptops, phones, and tablets are never a bad idea. Gear 4’s Mayfair leather smart case is both tasteful and durable.

gifts

28
A Portable (Yes, Really) Shower

$100; buy now at Rinse Kit

Something useful and thoughtful might seem boring at first, but each time your friend uses a practical gift—like Rinse Kit’s portable shower—they will think of you fondly.

bogs slippers gift ideas

29
Indestructible Slippers

$110; buy now at Bogs

Slippers are an age-old gift for the winter season. But most folks typically get flimsy pairs that wear out fast. For the friends who have been gifting slippers for decades, change it up and do it right with an impervious pair, like those from Bogs.

gifts

30
An Leash for the Unleashed Pup

$25; buy now at Flowfold

The Sterling x Flowfold dog leash is made entirely from repurposed climbing rope. It goes hand in hand—or rather, hand in paw—with every outdoors-loving dog-and-human duo.

mansur gavriel gift ideas

31
A Handsome Clutch

$190; buy now at Mansur Gavriel

Perfect for both men and women, an oversized wallet is a great gift for your fashion-conscious friends. The options from Mansur Gavriel are especially stylish. We suggest keeping a few around the house for last-minute occasions.

gifts

32
Barber Shop Shave

For any man of any hair length, a visit to the barber shop is like the male version of a blowout—especially if it comes with a hot shave.

sagely naturals gift ideas lotion

33
A Healing (Literally) Lotion

$20; buy now at Sagely Naturals

Everyone gets sore from time to time. Make sure your friends are set with a cooling recovery cream, like this sustainable hemp-based offering from Sagely Naturals. It’s designed specifically to combat muscular inflammation.

gifts

34
A Personal Stylist Appointment

For your friend who just landed their biggest client ever—but has yet to land any time for looking the part—gifting a day with a personal shopper or stylist is a fun and flirty present for the young professional making a name. And trust us, they will make time for this gift.

french tip fedora gift ideas

35
An Head-turning Hat

$325; buy now at Lola Hats

Giving hats in the cooler seasons is a surefire bet—if you pick wisely, that is. A minimalist French tip fedora—like this sumptuous felt number from Lola Hats—is a departure from back-to-basics seasonal beanies.

backgammon gift ideas

36
A Board Game for the Ages

$395; buy now at Neiman Marcus

Everyone knows how to play chess. You know what’s cooler? Backgammon, the game of kings—literally. (It’s believed that the Persian royal court invented the modern iteration of this game in the 6th century.) A colorful board, like this one from Jonathan Adler, brings the game into the 21st century.

warmer socks gift ideas

37
(Much) Warmer Socks

From $17; buy now at Amazon

Winter is coming, and everyone could use a good pair of wool socks. But kick up the heat—literally—but gifting a pair with a pocket fit for hand warmers, like Heat Factory’s Merino Pocket Socks. They’re perfect for especially frigid days.

eye cream gift ideas

38
Smoother Eye Cream

$100; buy now at Barney’s

Let’s face it: We aren’t getting any younger. You can never have too much eye cream. We suggest Aqua di Parma; the stuff include silk extract for an extra smooth finish. (Just make sure you don’t inadvertently insult by giving it to that 40-year-old friend who thinks they look 25.)

paper cloth shirts gift ideas

39
A Gift Certificate for a Custom-Made Shirt

Prices vary (pictured, $95); buy now at Paper Cloth

Nothing fits and flatters like a custom-made shirt. And now, with the advent of online retailers, they’re easier to find—and gift—than ever. (No more scouring Yelp! for the best tailor in town.) For our money, Paper Cloth is the place to start: They do everything from business-casual plaid to halls-of-power twill.

red paddle sup board gift ideas

40
SUP Board

$1,299; buy now at Red Paddle Co.

Supping is one of the fastest0growing sports in the world right now. It can be done anywhere there’s water: lakes, oceans, rivers, and yes, even pools. A SUP board is the perfect gift for your most aquatic friend. We suggest Red Paddle Co.’s inflatable boards, since it won’t take up too much space. This year, to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, they released a special edition 10-foot paddle board (center-left) that’s designed for all skill levels—so your friend, too, can share in the fun. Remember: Trying new things is just one of the many Best Things About Being In Your 40s.

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