50th birthday gift ideas for Mom?
November 3, 2006 8:10 AM   Subscribe

BirthdayGiftFilter: Anyone have any really great ideas for a 50th birthday gift for Mom?

I know there are a ton of birthday gift idea threads here.
I searched a bit, but didn't come up with anything specific to 50th birthdays...
I'm thinking something from the era (1956) would be neat...
Or possibly just something representative of the concept of a half-century...
I've got a few ideas, but thought I ought to consult the hive.

posted by dan g. to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think that really depends on your mom's personality. Is she the sort of person who wouldn't mind being reminded that she's turning 50? Many people would.

I would tend to think she might enjoy more things from when she was a little girl--say, from the early '60s, because she'll remember them, whereas she won't remember things from the year she was born. You could use IMDb's search utility to find movies that came out in the years you're interested in, and get her some DVDs.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:16 AM on November 3, 2006

Tell her you love her, while looking right into her eyes. Hug her tight.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:16 AM on November 3, 2006

While this isn't really specific to 50 years exactly, but perhaps a mothers ring containing everyone's (siblings, your father, perhaps grandchildren) birthstones.
posted by Gooney at 8:20 AM on November 3, 2006

Aww... Gooney beat me to it. "Mother's" Jewelry is on my list for my pseudo-mother-in-law this Christmas. If you do this, just chose a type of jewelry she usually wears - earrings, rings, necklaces etc. And I'm planning on avoiding the necklaces with the charms that actually look like little people, with gems for bodies. They seem a little tacky to me.
posted by youngergirl44 at 8:35 AM on November 3, 2006

Sorry, but no no no on the jewelry idea. I turned 50 last year and I think lots of women my age (secretly) prefer to pick out their own jewelry. It's terrible when you feel obligated to wear something that's cost significant cash and you feel like you should love it, but it just doesn't suit you. That's just more mom-guilt to shoulder.

I got a new iPod loaded with great music and video -- customized just for me from my daughters. I also got a funny, touching, insightful, rehearsed, not off-the-cuff champagne toast that they delivered in front of a dozen of my near and dear, and they framed a printed version. I treasure it.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:52 AM on November 3, 2006

My boyfriend and I found a collection of beautiful jewelry made of fossils (!) of trilobites and ammonites (like this) and gave a pendant to his mom. Beautiful fossil... har har. She taught him to love nature and science, so it was appropriate on that level too.

My sense is that most 50 year old moms don't need much. Perhaps fine wine, old port or scotch even? Name a star after her, plant a tree, write her a love letter and take her out on a date!

on preview, thinkpiece raises a great point about jewelry. I love the toast idea. I was thinking of suggesting framing the love letter, and that's similar.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:59 AM on November 3, 2006

50 is the new 40, or some such magazine headline like that. If an iPod seems too tech-y or gadget-y for her, give it to her anyway, along with an hour of your time helping her use it on her own. She'll be thrilled you think she's cool enough.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:09 AM on November 3, 2006

My family (siblings and others) rounded up cash from all of our mother's friends and sent her to Hawaii. Now Hawaii may not be for everyone, but travel as a gift seemed to go over very well.
posted by French Fry at 9:25 AM on November 3, 2006

Response by poster: Great ideas so far...thanks!
I'm pretty sure she's not afraid of being reminded she's turning 50.
We're having a bit of a big family gathering to celebrate.
There's been talk of the kids and cousins putting on a silly skit, which I know she would get a kick out of.
I think she already has a piece of jewelry with our birthstones, and I'm pretty sure I'm terrible at choosing jewelry...
I always try and make a personalized birthday card, and I'll probably go all out for this one...I considered a gift certificate of some sort to go with the card, which would probably be appreciated, but also can tend to seem unsubstantial (potentially).
Thanks, and keep the good ideas coming!
posted by dan g. at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2006

Day Spa will make her feel 20.
posted by JABof72 at 10:14 AM on November 3, 2006

Women your mother's age tend to have all the stuff they need or want. So think alone the lines of gifts that can be used up:

- wine
- magazine subscriptions
- perfume, or high quality personal care products if you can be sure you're giving her things she likes. I've snuck into my mother's room or bathroom before to secretly make lists of products she uses.
- gift certificates for trips, restaurants, massages or manicures, etc.
posted by orange swan at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2006

How about a photo collage? It's an easy, inexpensive, and lovely gift that your mom will treasure. Your mom can see it everyday when it hangs in her home, and she will surely be touched when she opens it at the party.

You will need:

1. Snapshots and photographs of you, your siblings, your mother with her children, alone, or with other loved ones. Make sure you collect photos throughout the years--lots of baby and kids pics, etc. to remind her of her joys of raising her family.

2. A nice ready-made picture wall frame with a glass front. Get a big picture frame--20-inch x 24inch, 22-inch x 28-inch, or larger to accommodate all of the photos. Most of the time you can find frames that come with mats, but you don't have to use the mat if you don't want to.

3. Ivory or other light-colored quality card stock, or handmade paper. The frame, paper, and card stock can be found at craft stores like Michael's.

4. A nice poem about mothers, a beautiful quote about mothers, or heartfelt sentiments about your mother written by you and your siblings. .

5. Calligraphy pens, a nice computer font, or a calligraphy artist.

6. A few pressed flowers or other decoration if desired.

7. Acid-free glue stick and/or acid-free double sided tape.

8. 12x12 pieces of acid-free paper.

Cover the cardboard with acid-free paper--also found at craft stores in the scrapbooking section. Keep your background color in a tone that compliments the frame--but not too light in color. Chocolate brown, navy blue, forest green, burgundy, etc. should look nice. You won't see much, if not any of the background color, so don't worry if it is the paper is pieced, it will be covered with photos. Affix the paper with acid-free spray mount, glue stick, or double-sided tape.

You can also make your own new insert out of foam core posterboard and cover that if the one included with the frame is too flimsy.

Position the quote that is written in calligraphy at the center of the cardboard insert. If you and your siblings are using your own words, then don't bother with calligraphy, your mom will appreciate your own handwriting. Place a few pressed flowers at opposite corners of the quote to jazz it up a bit. Use an acid-free glue stick, spray mount, or usually the pressed flowers come with an adhesive on the back. Position the pics around the quote--go ahead and crowd them a bit, the more the better. You can mount them with acid-free double-sided tape.

Put the frame back together, wrap in festive paper.

Have fun at the party, and happy 50th to your mom.
posted by LoriFLA at 3:57 PM on November 3, 2006

Second the techy gifts. My mom also turned 50 this year and got a copy of PhoneTools and some other gadgets so she could make ringtones for her RAZR. From me. My sister went the mother's ring route. But I'm a geek, so she gets the geek gifts from me.

Otherwise, maybe a set of DVDs--her favorite movie (or TV show, or both) from each decade (or year, depending on your budget) in which she's lived (decades could be either six, for late 50's, then 60's, 70's, etc., or five for 56-66, 66-76 and so on) (you could also do this with CDs/albums/make a double-disc set of her favorite song from each year or the #1 song of every year of her life).

If you don't like the techy ideas and if she's into coins or commemoratives in general, a set of 1956 coins or mint proofs might be an idea.
posted by Cricket at 11:46 PM on November 3, 2006

Have you asked her what she wants? Then you'd be sure she'd like it - and you can always throw in some small extra "you"-trinket to make it more personal.

I gave my mother a power drill for her 50th birthday and an mp3 player for her 55. that what she wanted. And she's pretty happy about it. She's mumbling about tandem skydiving for her 60th, but I'm not sure I'm up to that. Also a new family photo is nice (with her in it).

Giftcards, for a spa (yes!), things, holidays and personal (In exchange for this card I'll do your spring cleaning / paint the ... you've been complaining about since forever) works great in my family at least.
posted by mummimamma at 2:34 AM on November 4, 2006

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