Your 50th (or 55th, or 60th) is a milestone worth celebrating, meaning the “gift pressure” is on. What do you want to get? What do you want to do? Here, some ideas to forward to family and friends, or better yet, treat yourself to that won’t break the budget.
1. A Scrapbook of Memories: One of the best gifts I ever got was from my sister who sent out notes to family and friends asking them to write a funny story, memory or event, ideally with a photo attached. (You can even go with the “50 Things I Love About You” theme.) She then put it together, along with her own heartwarming messages and surprised me with a gorgeous keepsake book. You can take this idea a step forward by creating a video montage or slideshow on your computer. Just be careful what you upload to YouTube!
2. Take a Trip. Spa vacations are popular for the 50+ set, either with a bunch of girlfriends, a sister (or sisters), just the girls in your family (including teens and young adults), or if your hubby doesn’t mind spending more time out at the golf course, the whole bunch of you. Don’t have the time? A spa day is just as nice. Another option of course is the full-blown go with the family (or a bunch of girlfriends) trip Someplace Special like California’s Wine Country or Shopping and a Show in New York City, or trekking to Paris or Italy for a long weekend just because…well, you’re 50!
3. Do Lunch. Of course you don’t want to do the cooking and cleaning so organize a lunch with friends either catered in or at your favorite restaurant. Dinner works too. (Live near the beach–how about a clambake?) Not into the expense of what can feel like an “event” complete with the head-spinning dilemma of do-you-or-don’t-you-invite all the PTA moms and book club buddies? Do what a friend of mine did: Have people over for a more informal evening of a selection of birthday cakes (yes, I said “cakes”) and champagne. And to make the occasion seem even more festive, add a group of beautiful cake stands on which to display the cakes. For added conversation (and fun): you can also serve cookies imprinted with your childhood photo on them (or give them away as party favors).
4. Donate to a charity. This ranks among one of my favorite ideas. After all, don’t we all have enough? I’d honestly rather feed a hungry family in my local community or invest in a cow that can feed an entire village through Heifer International (www.heifer.org). I also like the idea of donating a tree either in Israel, where you can get a lovely certificate through the Jewish National Fund (www.jnftrees.com), though UrbanReleaf.org (www.urbanreleaf.org), or in your own backyard. My friend had a peach tree planted in honor of her husband’s 50th and they see it blooming every day outside their window. Another idea is to have one planted in your community where you’ve put down roots. In some areas you can add a nice plaque.
5. Give a Gift Basket. A basketful of presents – some gag (like anti-aging creams, old-time candy, drugstore reading glasses, etc.) along with a yearly membership to a magazine, or a gift certificate to a favorite store (perhaps amazon.com), spa, restaurant or gym is nice. Sets of intoxicatingly scented and luxurious bath products and wonderful candles add to the pamper yourself theme, though I love adding something more nostalgic like a frame with a photograph of the two of you in your younger years. Adding wine (or champagne) and great chocolate (like our own BA50 Girlfriend Bar) to the basket is another option, along with some nice drinking glasses for toasting the b’day girl together. (By the way, we don’t mind saying that BA50′s Girlfriend Bar makes a great party favor too.)
6. Tradition Counts. A family heirloom or keepsake is a lovely and meaningful gift. Jewelry, antiques, old coins or anything else that has been handed down for generations makes this a sentimental treasure she will cherish.
7. Bling! There’s a reason the saying “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” is so popular. We women — at least most of us – love jewelry. Be it silver, gold or simply something costume-y, we tend to adore it. (Even if we return it, we adore what we get instead!) Three of my favorite sites, where portions of sales go to various charities, include: Shema, Presents for Purpose or Jewelry for a Cause. All offer unique and affordable options. And while we’re at it, we’ll add BA50 to that list…our beautiful Fair Trade Bracelets are handmade in Nepal and proceeds from all purchases go back to their handcrafters.
9. Live Healthier and Happier. If you haven’t been doing so already, now that you’re turning 50, you are determined to take better care of yourself. UP by Jawbone is a monitoring system and mobile app in a wristband that’s like having a personal trainer with you at all times. It tracks how you sleep, move and eat so you can become better acquainted with your lifestyle, and thus help yourself make smarter choices and feel your best.
10. Make Your Dreams Come True. Has swimming with sharks been on your bucket list? Learning to salsa or tap dance more your beat? Or maybe you’re more about the thrill of riding in a hot air balloon or going hiking through a rainforest? Instead of talking about it – make it happen. You’re 50 after all. If not now, when? Life’s an adventure. Celebrate your 50th with a bang.