20 Birthday Gifts for Women Turning 40 – Plus Retro Gift Ideas 8


There’s a gift for every woman on this list of the best gifts for women turning forty – even if she’s not thrilled to be facing her 40th birthday.

The Mulco Unisex “Bluemarine” Stainless Steel and Light Watch pictured is both a pretty and a practical 40th birthday gift idea. It’s timeless, and perfect for any 40 year old woman. An elegant watch might help her feel good about turning forty.

But no matter what gift you buy for a woman turning 40, remember that turning forty 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.





My first set of ideas includes lovely 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.

Birthday Gift Ideas for Women Turning 40

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.

40th birthday gifts for women

“40th birthday gift ideas” image via Amazon

Sun pendant necklace. One of the most beautiful gifts you can give a woman turning forty is a pendant such as the 10k Yellow Gold Diamond Sun Pendant. People will compliment her on this birthday gift because it’s both classy and light-hearted – and every time someone notices it, she’ll be reminded of you.

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

Tennis bracelet. Sterling Silver and Cubic Zirconia Tennis Bracelet – a dazzling, classic bracelet that looks like diamonds but isn’t nearly as expensive. Jewelry is one of the best gift ideas for women turning 40 – 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.

Pearl and diamond drop necklace. Silver and 14k Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Diamond Drop Necklace is a beautiful pearl and yellow gold diamond necklace. No conflict diamonds are in this necklace, which makes it an even better birthday gift for a woman turning 40.

Retro Gift Ideas

40th Birthday Gift Basket Box of Retro Candy

Retro candy box. A box of 40th Birthday Gift Basket Box of Retro Candy is a gift many readers give to women turning forty, as a creative retro idea addition to the “real” gift. This retro candy box is filled with forty different kinds of retro nostalgic candy, and comes shrink wrapped in a Retro 40th Birthday Gift Box. Who doesn’t like candy from “back in the day”?

A vintage women’s Lauren wallet. The HOBO Lauren Vintage Wallet is an imported 100% leather wallet for women, with a magnetic and clasp closure. Read through the reviews on Amazon – women love it! It includes two interior back wall zipper pocket and two interior multi-function pockets, nine card slots, two bill pockets, and ID window.

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.

A leather handbag. The Scarleton Large Drawstring Handbag is made from synthetic leather, so there shouldn’t be a problem if your birthday girl is opposed to leather products. It has classic gold hardware, with a drawstring closure and magnetic snap.

An experience is an exciting way for a woman turning 40 to spend her 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 – but note that not all women want to drive a car on their fortieth birthdays. I wouldn’t. If your birthday girl loves perfume, read Floral Perfume Gift Sets for Women Turning 40.

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.

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.

A custom-made 40th birthday cake. Hire a cake decorator to bake a beautiful custom cake for her birthday. The one in the picture is an actual edible birthday cake, baked for a woman who loves shoes. The people who bake and decorate cakes are absolutely amazing in their creativity and artistry, and a cake like this will be something a woman never forgets when she celebrates her 40th birthday. For more ideas, search the internet for “custom creative 40th birthday cakes for women.”

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!





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.

A Kindle, digital or e-reader, or an 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 as a 40th birthday gift. 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.

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.

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 “add on” gift ideas for women turning 40 is an Amazon Gift Card. Gift cards are like stocking stuffers – or icing on the fortieth birthday cake.

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.

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.

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.

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 Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets Victorian Lace Tea, Spa and Treats Gift Chest – 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.

Yga 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 3 Gift Ideas for Women Turning 40

An Extravagant 40th Birthday Gift

Sterling Silver 3.0 Carat Diamond Bracelet – (pictured) an elegant gift for a woman who wants to look and feel beautiful.

Apple iPad Mini – this would by my first choice, if I was turning 40 again. I’ve never owned an Apple product – except for my iPhone – but I’ve always thought it’d be awesome to get a Mac for work and play. Apple’s iPad has received thousands of awesome reviews on Amazon, and is great gift for women.

A Time Capsule – 40th Birthday Gift – a bucket of items and momentos from the year she was born. This is an easy gift that’d be fun to unpack together.

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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8 thoughts on “20 Birthday Gifts for Women Turning 40 – Plus Retro Gift Ideas

  • Tuyet

    These are some of the best birthday gifts for women who are 40, thank you. Depending on your own budget, there’s something for everyone. I created a scrapbook for my wife’s fortieth birthday and gave it to her as a gift, but it took alot of time.

  • merrill

    I’m really enjoying these gift ideas for 40 year olds, thank you. But I still haven’t found quite what I’m looking for.

  • Laurie

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your message to men whose girlfriends or wives are turning 40! I definitely agree that we need SOMETHING special or different. It doesn’t have to be expensive or ornate…just something to make you feel different on this day.

    A fortieth birthday is huge, and it deserves at least a nod….doesn’t it?

  • Linda

    I wish my partner read this before my 40th birthday. Turning 40 is a big deal especially for a woman, he didn’t plan anything, apart from a dinner in the evening, didn’t treat me special, and I am really upset and disappointed. I don’t need expensive gifts, but would have loved to receive personal little gestures throughout the day from him – breakfast in bed, candlelit bath, massages from him, etc. So any men reading this – treat your partner, wife or girlfriend like she is a princess on her 40th birthday make her feel special and remember you don’t need to spend lots of money – it’s the small things that really do count.

  • Laurie Post author

    My husband didn’t get me ANYTHING for my 40th birthday – not even a birthday card!

    But he had a reason: a month earlier, we spent a week in Alberta. He took care of my best friend’s two kids while I took her to chemotherapy treatments. I told my husband this would be my 40th birthday gift – and I meant it at the time. But the day of my 40th birthday, I was surprisingly and profoundly disappointed to wake up to nothing, not even a birthday card.

    It’s not his fault, and I wasn’t mad at him. After all, I told him not to get me anything! But still, I was sad not to have anything to make the day different.

    So that’s what he got me for my 40th…nada.