20 Elegant & Exciting 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Women

Written by on August 25, 2013 in Birthdays, Celebrations, Gifts for Women with 30 Comments

Here’s a list of the best 40th birthday gift ideas for women, plus a list of several unique tips for celebrating a fortieth birthday. Experiences, not stuff, is the focus!

The first list of ideas includes classy, elegant 40th birthday gifts for women. The second list contains unique ideas for fortieth birthday celebrations that involve experiences. In between these two lists of birthday gift ideas for women turning forty is a quick story of my husband’s gift to me on my 40th birthday.

gifts for women turning fortyOne of the most beautiful gifts you can give a woman turning forty is jewelry. The Sterling Silver Diamond Hoop Earrings pictured are elegant and gorgeous.

No matter what gift you buy for her 40th birthday, remember that turning 40 is a huge milestone in a woman’s life. I loved my 40th because I felt like I was starting fresh. I felt strong, healthy, wise, and calm. The best 40th birthday gift is something that makes a woman feel good about herself. And, the key to knowing how to help her feel good about herself is knowing her personality, likes, and dislikes.



Elegant 40th Birthday Gift Ideas

We’ll kick off this list of 40th birthday gifts with a quick list of easy yet elegant gift ideas (jewelry), then go into the more unique experiences.

fortieth birthday gift ideas for women

Mulco Bluemarine Swiss Watch - this watch (pictured) is both a pretty and practical 40th birthday gift idea. It’s timeless, and perfect for any 40 year old woman.

14k Yellow Gold Round-Cut Diamond Hoop Earrings - a stunning twist on classic hoop earrings, with round cut diamonds that will light her up.

Sterling Silver and Cubic Zirconia Tennis Bracelet - a dazzling, classic bracelet that looks like diamonds but isn’t nearly as expensive.

Silver and 14k Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Diamond Drop Necklace - a beautiful pearl and yellow gold diamond necklace (not conflict diamonds).

Jewelry is one of the best 40th birthday gift ideas for women – even for women who don’t normally wear jewelry. Jewelry is elegant, but not necessarily extravagant. African safari vacations and Caribbean cruises are extravagant 40th birthday gift ideas.

If your 40 year old loves dogs, read Best Gift ideas for Dog Lovers. I wouldn’t recommend a dog gift as a main birthday gift for a woman turning 40, but it’s a fun side gift!

More of the Best 40th Birthday Gift Ideas

It’s important to know how she feels about turning 40. Does she see this birthday as a new beginning, or a tragic ending? If she thinks she’s over the hill, consider getting her something exciting and challenging, such as sky diving or ski lessons. If she couldn’t care less about turning 40, give her one of the best 40th birthday gift ideas: something fun and creative.

An experience is an exciting way to spend a birthday. Here’s what Gretchen @BamaGretch tweeted:  “I’m asking for my husband to rent me a Ferrari for the day on my 40th birthday. :-) ” An extravagant gesture is one of the best 40th birthday gift ideas.

Also – if your birthday girl loves perfume, read Floral Perfume Gift Sets for Women Turning 40.

More 40th birthday gift ideas…

1. Something from her bucket list. This creative idea for 40th birthday gift ideas is from Alicia King, writer and creator of The Lili Effect. When I asked for gift ideas for women on Twitter, she said: “Plunder the birthday person’s bucket list for a novel experience you can do together.” I love it! Just yesterday, I told my husband that the number one thing on my bucket list is a boat. His dad recently gave us an old zodiac (inflatable boat with a teeny tiny motor), and we’ve gone boating twice. What a blast. So, if your birthday girl likes boating, gift her with a water experience! Rent a kayak for a couple hours, or even a houseboat for a weekend.

2. Technology, such as an e-reader or iPad.  Amazon’s newest Kindle Fire in Full Color - loaded with her favorite books – will jolt her out of the doldrums that come with turning 40. If she loves to read, surprise her with a digital reader she wouldn’t buy for herself. If she hasn’t tried an Apple iPad tablet, think about giving her one. When I went to a women’s writing conference a couple weeks ago, a woman brought hers — she loved the convenience and flexibility that it offers. I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, and I love it. It’s less expensive than an iPad, and almost as good.

3. A YouTube video of loved ones saying “Happy 40th Birthday!” When I searched the internet for 40th birthday gift ideas for women, I found several YouTube videos of friends and family members saying “Happy Birthday” to the woman turning 40. If you’re technologically inclined, this is a fun gift, especially if you get creative about how you send birthday wishes. For instance, you could tease her with all the possible 40th birthday gifts she might be getting.

4. Encouragement to create a bucket list. Thinking back to one of the best 40th birthday gift ideas for women: does your birthday girl even have a bucket list? The idea comes from Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s The Bucket List – which could be a great birthday gift for a woman who feels over the hill. This movie will encourage her to grab life by the horns and life fully and freely — and show her she’s never over the hill. Turning 40 is a new beginning.

5. A Carnival, Royal Caribbean, or Disney Cruise. When searching the internet for 40th birthday gift ideas for women, I found this entry on a cruise forum: “I’m a cruise addict…I have only been on 6 cruises so far. When my marriage ended last year, I gave up hope of EVER going on another cruise. Well….just today….approaching the top of the Wild Thing rollercoaster at Valleyfair in Minneapolis…. my boyfriend told me he is taking me on a cruise for my 40th birthday next month. I am SOOOOO excited! Who knew turning 40 could be so wonderful! I pretty much missed the whole rollercoaster ride after he said that because my mind was fixated on the cruise! We are sailing on Carnival Imagination on September 25. I have been on four Carnival cruises before, and I just love them. He has only been on one cruise and that was 20 years ago, but he knows how much I LOVE cruising!” Can’t you just feel her excitement? She doesn’t feel “over the hill” – she’s thrilled, excited, and happy about turning 40. Can you afford to give your birthday girl a cruise for her 40th birthday?

One of the best “side” gift ideas for women turning 40: 

An Amazon Gift Card

6. Tickets to the Dr Oz show – or Ellen! I’m blessed with the luxury of working from home, and the only two TV shows I’ll turn on for background company while I write is Judge Marilyn Milian and Dr Oz. I like the judge show better, but get a kick out of the women in the audience of the Dr Oz show! They’re so excited and happy – like the women on the Ellen show, actually. A lot of those women are over forty years old. The best 40th birthday gift ideas are those that take women out of their comfort zone – and give her plane fare to get there.

7. Forty small gifts for her 40th birthday. Here’s a fun idea from the Gift Ideas Muse: “Giving 40 small gifts is a cool idea! You can do something fun like 40 coupons or a collage of 40 photos… or something really meaningful, like 40 personal letters from their closest friends and family expressing love and appreciation. Get creative and throw in some surprises, like perfume for a woman or sporting event tickets for a guy. If you’re on a budget, bake them 40 cupcakes or cookies!” ~  40th Birthday Gift Ideas from the Gift Ideas Muse. This is one of the best 40th birthday gift ideas for women who like to open lots of presents.

8. Hot flash survival kit. This is the only 40th birthday gift idea for women that I’m not excited about. It’s from Prank Ideas Central: “For a woman turning 40, hot flashes are a real concern and can strike anytime! So show her you care with a hot flash survival kit as her 40th birthday gag gift. Get a nice box and add useful things like a hand held fan and ice packs to cool down, a small towel or pocket handkerchief to wipe her brow with, a spare shirt and emergency medication (chocolates). You can also include the hot flash danger sign below for her to warn others!” ~ 40th Birthday Gag Gifts for Women. This is one of my least favorite 40th birthday gifts for women. I know menopause is a new beginning, but who needs to be reminded of “the change”? If you give her this gift, make sure you know she’ll find it funny.

Does your 40 year old love to knit? A knitting gift might be just what the birthday girl ordered! Read 8 Creative Gifts for Knitters.

40th Birthday Gifts for Women - 10 Unique Ideas9. A gift basket (a secondary gift, not one of the best 40th birthday gift ideas for women – not the main present). This is one of my best 40th birthday gifts for women, because it’s about ending the day well and starting fresh tomorrow. Try the Just Elegant Lavender Spa Gift Basket - she’ll love going through the gift basket, pampering herself. Even better for a 40th birthday is a gourmet wine and food gift basket. It doesn’t matter what birthday a woman is facing; a gift basket eases the pain every time.

10. A yoga retreat or an adventure weekend. If I were turning 40 again, I’d love a yoga retreat. Other women might like to experience zip lining, sky diving, or hot air ballooning as their 40th birthday gift. These are once-in-a-lifetime adventures that can change her perspective on life.

Bonus 40th birthday gift idea: When my best friend turned 40, her birthday gift to herself was a five week trip to Africa. Now that is a luxurious birthday present! She went to Jamaica for her 50th birthday. A less extravagant 40th birthday gift is a power point presentation of flattering or funny photos of her, paired with beautiful poetry or the lyrics of a song you both love.

Last Three 40th Birthday Gift Ideas

40th birthday jewelry for women40th Birthday Gift Bracelet for Her (pictured) - Swarovski crystals, sterling silver and freshwater pearls. Comes with a poem card and gift box.

40th Birthday Gift Basket Box of Retro Candy - be a kid again! A blast from the past is a fun way to celebrate turning forty.

A Time Capsule 40th Birthday Gift - a bucket of momentos from the year she was born.

What My Husband Gave Me for My 40th Birthday

Nothing. He didn’t give me anything for my 40th birthday! About three weeks before my birthday, we went to Edmonton to help my friend who was getting chemotherapy treatments. Bruce took time off work to make this trip, and take care of my friend’s kids while I was doing the chemo thing with her. I told Bruce this would be my 40th birthday gift because I was so grateful.

My husband did what I told him to: he didn’t give me anything for my 40th birthday – not even a card. I was so disappointed, even though I knew he was only doing what I told him to. For the following wedding anniversary, he gave me a power point slideshow of pictures of us on vacation, which was beautiful and fun. That may be a good 40th birthday gift idea for the woman you’re shopping for.

I hope you found something helpful on this list of 40th birthday gifts for women! If you have any suggestions, please comment below….

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  1. Laurie says:

    The key to finding the best 40th birthday gift ideas for women is knowing who she is and what she loves most in life. A cruise isn’t the best gift for someone who hates boat rides! My friend was given a cruise for her birthday, and she’s afraid of water. Her family want her to get over this fear, but I don’t think it’s a great way to celebrate a fortieth birthday.

  2. Laurie says:

    Janina, thank you for your comments!

    I tried to include a variety of birthday gifts for women on this list, because turning forty is a big deal. And, many 40 year old women may be dealing with health issues (like cancer, which you mentioned) – that really affects how we feel about getting older.

  3. Janina says:

    I really like the 4oth birthday gift ideas here especially in combination with the article you wrote about breast cancer gifts for women. I have a friend who is turning 40 and just diagnosed with cancer. Has to have a double mastectomy. These forty gift ideas are great thank you.

  4. Laurie says:

    Here’s what Jay Jay gave his wife for her fortieth birthday:

    Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Nigerian football legend threw a lavish 40th birthday party for his wife of 16 years, Nkechi Okocha on Friday October 25th at Civic Centre in Lagos. Report according to Maestromedia has it that Okocha gave his wife a brand new White Mercedez Benz G-Wagon SUV as birthday present.
    Nkechi was said to have gone down on her knees to thank her husband for all his love and support in front of the party guests. This is a display of genuine love.
    Happy 40th birthday.

    Is this REALLY a display of genuine love? I’m not convinced…I think giving experiences is more genuine than giving a car, no matter how expensive that car is. Of course, you can have lots of experiences in a car that you got as a 40th birthday present…

  5. Mike Young says:

    After 17 years, I started running out of idea. I mean Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary, Valentines and Mothers day can start depleting the gift ideas. Remember being all creative and then you get to the point where you say “I’ve down that, I’ve bought that”. I ran out of ideas. My buddy told me about this one present for under $100 bucks she’d love it. It was a wickless candle warmer. They look pretty cool and went with the white kitchen cabinets.

    Then you can choose the wax that melts and smells awesome. My lady loves SIMPLY LEMON. It’s the only gift I’ve ever purchased that she uses and loves EVERY DAY!

    Here’s where I bought it. https://easyscent.scentsy.us

    Anyhow that’s what I did and she loves it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  6. sara says:

    Thank you for sharing these 40th birthday gift ideas.

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Here’s another 40th birthday gift idea for women: a personalized wood 40th Birthday frame, with a photo of her at her best :-)

  8. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Here’s another 40th birthday gift for women:

    Piece together history with a unique jigsaw puzzle featuring a front page of The New York Times. You get to select any date from 1851 to the present. This puzzle, not available anywhere else, is an ideal gift for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and retirements. As the puzzle comes together, read the headlines and see the photos!

    From http://www.nytstore.com/New-York-Times-Front-Page-Jigsaw-Puzzle_p_89.html

  9. sara says:

    Thanks for sharing these birthday gift ideas! I’m turning 40 in a couple of months, close to Christmas, and don’t know what I want on my wish list. A cruise would be a great present for my fortieth :-)

    • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

      Hi Sara,

      Thanks for your comment! I hope you have a great 40th birthday, and that you get a cruise to celebrate. That would be an amazing gift – I’d take it in a heartbeat!

      Stay true to you,
      Laurie

  10. Bruce says:

    I used to take my wife on a mini-vacation for her birthday each year. A two or three or four day trip via plane or car to a touristy place. Since her birthday is in March it is off season near us so it requires little preparation. Lately life has become busier and taking this time simply doesn’t happen. I know what we’ll do the next time we can. But it’s a secret!

    • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

      A surprise holiday – even if it’s just overnight – is one of the best 40th birthday gifts for women!

      Where are you taking me? :-)

  11. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    The best 40th birthday gift I got was a weekend in Whistler with my 3 closest girlfriends. My husband and friends set it up, and it was the nicest surprise I could ever ask for. I’ll never forget my 40th birthday!!!

  12. Leona Heraty says:

    Hi Laurie, thanks for another neat article!

    That is such a cool photo of you in Peru. The bird is lovely…is it a raptor? :-)

    • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

      It’s actually an eagle, and an American tourist gave me heck afterwards. She said that we contribute to eagles being taken from the wild and tamed when we (tourists) pay locals for photos like this. She’s right…but it was SO cool to see an eagle up close! That’s the constant argument: taming and imprisoning animals so we can get up close and see them live. Is it a good idea? A difficult question, I think, but some people think it’s clear! Do not imprison animals.

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