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Top 10 Best 40th Birthday Gifts 2015

Updated on February 8, 2015

The Big Four-Zero gives the celebrant an opportunity to look back on life's accomplishments, peer ahead into the crystal ball, and absolutely freak out, all at the same time. Do not panic! Forty is quite possibly the best age ever.

What are your options? You can give them a gag gift, if they are a good sport; you can give a gift harking back in some way to 1975, forty years ago; you can try to give a gift for a typical 40-year-old, if there is any such thing; or best yet, use your knowledge about what they are interested in doing or trying or looking at, and show them something they might like.

Cheer Up! 40 Is Nothing!

Your loved one with an upcoming 40th birthday may be looking at the event with a little trepidation? If they are a really good sport, they might be delighted at getting black balloons, walking sticks, false teeth, gray wigs and stuff like that, or they might actually need cheering up and being reminded of the good things about being 40.

It's true that being 40 means you don’t look 25 any more. But that change is just cosmetic. Appearance is not reality. Forty doesn’t come with any really drastic change in the way your body and mind work. It does, however, come with valuable experience. Remind your friend of all the things they've finished and gotten out of the way and don't have to do again: drunken foolishness, love triangles, graduate school. At forty some people are just beginning to enjoy some things: a relationship, comfort, the work they discovered they should be doing, the ability to say what they think. So 40 is good, and over-the-hill T-shirts shouldn't be taken seriously.

10. An Over-the-Hill T-Shirt

Every forty-year-old should be resigned to getting at least one of these. Have them made at,, or a hundred other places on the web that will make you a custom T-shirt.


9. A Dance Party!

Why not travel back in time and enjoy music that recreates that retro feeling, or have a dance party of music that brings back memories! You are old enough know to know how to dance and old enough to not care who watches. Your city may have a dance club for “adults” or “grown folks” or the “over 30 crowd," in which case the music will be all cued up. Or cut a CD of music that will make your birthday boy or girl remember.

Here's some music from the year they were born. Of course the birthday baby may or may not have been dancing then, so also consider music from 1991 or so, when they were Sweet Sixteen.

Billboard Top Singles (Including Top R&B Singles) of 1975

  • "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" (B.J. Thomas)
  • "Baby That's Backatcha" (Smokey Robinson)
  • "Bad Blood" (Neil Sedaka)
  • "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" (Freddy Fender)
  • "Best Of My Love" (Eagles)
  • "Black Water" (The Doobie Brothers)
  • "Boogie On Reggae Woman" (Stevie Wonder)
  • "Do It Any Way You Wanna" (People's Choice)
  • "Dream Merchant" (The New Birth)
  • "Express" (B.T. Express)
  • "Fallin' In Love" (Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds)
  • "Fame" (David Bowie)
  • "Fight the Power (Part 1)" (The Isley Brothers)
  • "Fire" (The Ohio Players)
  • "Fly, Robin, Fly" (Silver Convention)
  • "Full of Fire" (Al Green)
  • "Games People Play" (The Spinners)
  • "Get Down Tonight" (KC & the Sunshine Band)
  • "Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor)" (Joe Simon)
  • "Give the People What They Want (The O'Jays}
  • "Happy People" (The Temptations)
  • "Have You Never Been Mellow" (Olivia Newton-John)
  • "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" (Tony Orlando & Dawn)
  • "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon" (Sharon Paige, Harold Melvin, & The Blue Notes)
  • "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)" (The Pointer Sisters)
  • "I Belong to You" (Love Unlimited)
  • "I Love Music (Pt. 1)" (The O'Jays)
  • "I'm Sorry" (John Denver)
  • "Island Girl" (Elton John)
  • "It Only Takes a Minute" (Tavares)
  • "Jive Talkin'" (Bee Gees)
  • "Kung Fu Fighting" (Carl Douglas)
  • "L-O-V-E (Love)" (Al Green)
  • "Lady Marmalade" (LaBelle)
  • "Laughter In The Rain" (Neil Sedaka)
  • "Let's Do It Again" (The Staple Singers)
  • "Listen To What The Man Said" (Wings)
  • "Look at Me (I'm in Love)" (The Moments)
  • "Love Rollercoaster" (The Ohio Players)
  • "Love Will Keep Us Together" (Captain & Tennille)
  • "Love Won't Let Me Wait" (Major Harris)
  • "Lovin' You" (Minnie Riperton)
  • "Low Rider" (War)
  • "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (Elton John)
  • "Mandy" (Barry Manilow)
  • "My Eyes Adored You" (Frankie Valli)
  • "One Of These Nights" (Eagles)
  • "Philadelphia Freedom" (The Elton John Band)
  • "Pick Up The Pieces" (AWB)
  • "Please Mr. Postman" (Carpenters)
  • "Rhinestone Cowboy" (Glen Campbell)
  • "Rockin' Chair" (Gwen McCrae)
  • "Shakey Ground" (The Temptations)
  • "Shame, Shame, Shame" (Shirley & Company)
  • "Shining Star" (Earth, Wind & Fire)
  • "Shoeshine Boy" (Eddie Kendricks)
  • "Sister Golden Hair" (America)
  • "Slippery When Wet" (The Commodores)
  • "Spirit of the Boogie" (Kool & the Gang)
  • "Supernatural Thing (Part I)" (Ben E. King)
  • "Sweet Sticky Thing" (The Ohio Players)
  • "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" (John Denver)
  • "That's the Way (I Like It)" (KC & the Sunshine Band)
  • "The Hustle" (Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony)
  • "This Will Be" (Natalie Cole)
  • "To Each His Own" (Faith, Hope & Charity)
  • "What Am I Gonna Do With You" (Barry White)
  • "You're No Good" (Linda Ronstadt)
  • "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" (Barry White)
  • "Your Love" (Graham Central Station)

8. A Boat Ride


Often the best gift is an experience. Why not take a ride on a boat? It's an unforgettable experience to be with your close friends when great music is playing and you are in the middle of the water.

If you wish to invite a large number of people then you can also think about hiring a yacht. This is a wonderful gift for any occasion and it's available in many US cities.

7. A Basket of Goodies

Forty-year-olds enjoy food and drink as much as or more than other people do. Depending on their tastes—fine wine, picnics, ethnic cooking—give them a basket full of of hand-selected things to eat and drink.

  • wine
  • beer
  • cheese
  • sausage
  • fruit
  • nuts
  • coffee or tea
  • condiments, sauces, ethnic foods
  • chocolate
  • cookies

Some tips:

Food should not just look good, but taste and smell wonderful. Candy and cookies should be fresh and made with real butter. Fruit should be ripe, fragrant, in season. Cheese should be real, not just "processed cheese product.” Coffee should smell wonderful. Sausage should be dense, well-aged, and spicy, not rubbery. Crackers should be crisp. Nuts should be this year’s crop. Jam should be tasty. Spices should be fresh—because a little bit of nice food is better than a lot of ordinary food.

6. Pie or Cheesecake

Lemon meringue pie
Lemon meringue pie | Source

Cakes are pretty, but a real grownup may or may not want to lick up all that greasy, sugary frosting. Cupcakes present the same issues. But if you know a place to get a really tasty pie, tart, or cheesecake, men especially will enjoy it. Or make it yourself.

5. A Picture Puzzle

If it turns out they can take a joke, you can tease them at least a little bit about being an old codger fit for nothing but Reader's Digest, solitaire, and picture puzzles. But get them a personalized puzzle. You can turn a one-of-a kind photo into a one-of-a kind puzzle, for example at, and give it as a gift. Or get the front page of the New York Times as of the day they were born, made into a puzzle (at the New York Times online store).

4. A Picture, in a Frame


If you want to give them a souvenir of the occasion (in addition to over-the-Hill noisemakers, toy bifocals, false teeth, black cocktail napkins, and such), you could give them a photo of them together with their friends, or of their family, or maybe even better yet of a place they love, in a frame saying for example, "To Fred on his 40th Birthday." Personalized frames are widely available on the internet, in all kinds of materials at all kinds of prices.

3. Diapers

Not for them! But if they are having their first baby at 40, as some people do, they will appreciate a few months of a diaper service, or a fat stack of disposable diapers.

2. The Ideal Gift Certificate

Money is nice; a gift certificate to a grocery store, Wal-Mart, or Target is okay too. But if you want to make sure your gift will go for something much more fun than dog food and paper towels, and you know your birthday person very well, give them a gift certificate to a local store where they have services or supplies associated with the things your friend might like to do a little more of, in his or her spare time.

For example:

  • art museum
  • art supply store
  • craft supply store
  • cookware store
  • music store
  • bookstore
  • sporting goods store
  • ethnic grocery store
  • a restaurant they like
  • batting cages (if they play softball)
  • nursery (if they garden)
  • thrift store (if they like labor-intensive shopping)

You get the idea. There has to be something they love to do that isn't just work-work-work or party-party-party; try to identify it.

1. Climb a Mountain

Old Rag Mountain, Virginia, US
Old Rag Mountain, Virginia, US | Source

Over the hill? Why not see what's on the other side. Organize a trip to a medium-sized hill or mountain. You don't want one that's hard to climb, you want one with a commanding view. Be sure to get the party started early enough in the morning so you can get back down in the daylight. Have a drink on top, if it's too windy for a picnic, and then get back down and celebrate in a restaurant.

I'm not 40, I'm 21 with 19 years of experience!

— some 40-year-old

Guestbook and Comments - Please Say Hi While You're Here...

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    • profile image

      Eddie Frenchi 3 years ago

      Great work. I love the article. Thumbs up. Social Media Marketing -

    • profile image

      Guntur 3 years ago

      Best article, thanks for sharing :

    • profile image

      christinebravo 3 years ago

      Great list. I guess the personalized picture frame is the best of all them. I love the picture framing in nyc. I think I'll visit one this week.

    • biorra2 profile image

      biorra2 3 years ago

      great ideas, well thought out .

    • martingallagher profile image

      martingallagher 4 years ago

      These are wonderful ideas!

    • profile image

      stevemarker 4 years ago

      I must say here are very good ideas, i will use them for my wedding

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens, if you have time please check my new one, and if you have time please share it around :

    • Shopping in PJs profile image

      Shopping in PJs 5 years ago

      These are great ideas!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 5 years ago from US/TN

      The time capsule sounds like a really unique and fun gift!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent lens.

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Fantastic birthday gifts, nicely done! SQuidlike

    • profile image

      greenlungsofpoland 6 years ago

      Great lens greta ideas love it