need present ideas for sis's 40th birthday
July 19, 2007 6:49 AM   Subscribe

I need a present for my sister's 40th birthday. turning 40 isn't going to be easy for her and I'm looking for something that'll take some of the sting out of it.

I had initially planned on getting her 40 earrings with a card that went something like "40 isn't all that bad when you get an earring for each year ;-)", but darn, I can't afford that many.

Any other ideas?
posted by mirileh to Shopping (14 answers total)

I had initially planned on getting her 40 earrings with a card that went something like "40 isn't all that bad when you get an earring for each year ;-)", but darn, I can't afford that many.

Couldn't you do the same thing with a different object? Like, a box of chocolates with 40 pieces?

A gift basket with 40 presents--it can be inexpensive things, anything that's she's into. A lot of little presents is often better/more fun than one big one.
posted by nuclear_soup at 7:13 AM on July 19, 2007

More clues! What does she like? And what's your price range? I think "experience" presents are great for a lot of people. Or what about a book she loved when she was a kid? Something to take her back to that feeling...
posted by cocoagirl at 7:34 AM on July 19, 2007

This is based on not knowing enough about your sister of course, but maybe if she really does have a genuine problem with being 40, a gift focusing on the fact that she's 40 isn't such a good idea?

My guess is that if I was insecure about reaching a certain age, I'd want something clearly oriented towards how many decades of great opportunities and experiences lay ahead of me. So, something like a subscription or membership-type gift, or relating to travel, or something like that.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:37 AM on July 19, 2007

Something that reminds her of all she's accomplished. I think one reason we don't like getting older is that we're concerned that we haven't done as much as we'd hoped. A reminder that, yeah, we've really made an impact in the world would probably be welcome.
posted by monkeymadness at 7:40 AM on July 19, 2007

Wow, so me and game warden have completely opposite ideas. Why not combine the two?
posted by monkeymadness at 7:41 AM on July 19, 2007

Balloons! Who doesn't love a huge bouquet of balloons?
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 7:44 AM on July 19, 2007

My wife got me 45 things on my last birthday. Most came from the dollar store (a whoopie cushion, raver glo-sticks), but she also got me some little bottles of booze (the tiny bottles from behind the counter), some very good chocolates from a gourmet chocolate shop, and a packet of 12 fridge magnets (she counted those individually to reach 45). I loved this so much - it brought back memories of childhood Xmases - that I didn't care about the exact count or how much had been spent.

For her 45th she wants a tattoo. I guess she wants to add some sting to it.
posted by booth at 8:00 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: monkeymadness, the problem is that she isn't where she wanted to be at forty, so game warden's direction will make her happier, though i still don't know what to get.
posted by mirileh at 8:59 AM on July 19, 2007

To try and be more specific, I was sort of meaning things like:

- membership/'friend' status at a theatre / arts complex / symphony orchestra / arthouse cinema / museum. These can cost less than you think
- a symbolic travel-related thing like a great bag / flight kit / travel magazine subscription
- a lesson (or lessons if you can afford it) - cooking in a specific cuisine, a sport, etc

Increasingly I like to give "gift cards" for things even when gift cards aren't technically available. Your local masseur / independent coffee shop / dive bar / tai chi coach will almost certainly be happy to come to a one-off arrangement.

Or a consultation with a life coach, even, if you have that kind of relationship with your sister. (It would make my sister furious, I suspect, but I'm just throwing it out there.)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:44 AM on July 19, 2007

NOTHING will take the sting out of it. You could buy her the moon and it would make no difference. If you could turn back the clock, great. Otherwise she's going through was everybody (everybody lucky enough to make it to 40) goes through to varying degrees.

That's not to say that this birthday isn't momentous, and trust me, you don't want to forget the "milestone" birthdays (this is coming from a guy whose mother didn't even phone for 30 or 40, and it still hurts- I'm 43 btw). But don't think you'll be making her feel good about being 40. Get her something that will make her happy because it's something she'll like. Don't think that highlighting the "40" part is going to make 40 "sting less."
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2007

I'm turning 40 this year, and someone actually did take the sting out of it a bi telling me something like this.

When you reach the end of a decade, you know it because the next number ends in zero and you're faced with ideas of aging, and regret and what you haven't achieved, and that's all very natural, but the thing is, when the year ends in zero, it means it's a start, a new decade, like a once every ten years new year's eve. It's an end, yes, but it's also a new beginning.

Oh and for presents, if you're my brother - I have enough clutter, I want experiences. Cook for me, or take me on a picnic and make me laugh.
posted by b33j at 2:04 PM on July 19, 2007

I'm with game warden and b33J - many people by age 40 really don't need more stuff.

I've got a list of 12 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter that might give you some ideas.
posted by jeri at 4:37 PM on July 19, 2007

Response by poster: thanks for the ideas!

game warden, i'd love to adopt u to be my sister.

jethnomethodologist, i'm sorry about your hurt.

b33j, i hope your brother gets a peek at your answer (isn't me).

awe, jerry, i love stuff. i'll try to make it fun stuff though. am thinking of play tattoos (inspired by booth) to get it out of her system ;-), and maybe nostalgic playstuff we had as kids.
posted by mirileh at 2:31 AM on July 20, 2007

For what it's worth, I'm halfway into my fifth decade (45, that is) and I've found that every new decade is better than the past ones. So I tend to say, "Thank god my [twenties|thirties|forties] are over. Let's move on."
posted by booth at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2007

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