Fun > Giving Gifts > 40th Birthday Gift Ideas That Will Surprise and Delight Her

40th Birthday Gift Ideas That Will Surprise and Delight Her

Turning forty is a once-in-a-lifetime event! These 40th birthday gift ideas for women will add a dash of fun, creativity and playfulness to this celebration. Even if she isn’t excited about turning forty, she’ll be surprised and delighted by one of these thoughtful and unique gift ideas.

40th birthday gift ideas for womenThe Anuschka Hand Painted Leather Handbag is first on my list of 40th birthday gifts for one reason: it will make your “birthday girl” feel cheerful, artistic, pretty, and loved. Even though it’s hand painted, it will last forever, and the colors will enhance any outfit your fortieth birthday girl chooses. It’s big enough to fit lots of purse-type items, but not as unwieldy as a backpack. And, it’s whimsical and happy – which is what any woman turning forty needs.

The first suggestion on this list is one of my absolute favorite 40th celebration gifts because it helps with surviving a birthday when you aren’t happy. Don’t worry if it doesn’t appeal to you or the birthday girl – when you scroll through you’ll find a wide variety of classy jewelry, luxury birthday ideas, and even gourmet chocolate gifts.

The following gifts will make a woman’s 40th birthday meaningful because they focus on experiences as well as elegant and practical gifts. Most of these 40th birthday gifts are linked to Amazon, to make your shopping easy, fast, and efficient. The sooner you buy her gift, the sooner you can start planning how you’ll surprise her on her fortieth birthday :-)

Remember how important it is to give her a gift that matches her personality and lifestyle. Turning forty is a big deal for most women, and finding the right 40th birthday gift idea is important. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

My first set of ideas on this list includes elegant, thoughtful 40th birthday gifts for women. The second list contains unique, creative ideas for fortieth birthday celebrations that involve experiences – which I explore more in Creative Things to Do for Your 40th Birthday. First, though, I want to tell you what my husband’s gift to me was on my 40th birthday…

The Gift My Husband Gave Me for My 40th Birthday

My husband didn’t give me anything for my 40th birthday – but he had a great reason! About three weeks before my birthday, we went on a 15 hour road trip to be with my sick friend. My husband took almost two weeks off work for this trip, and I told him it would be my 40th birthday gift because I was so grateful.

40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Women

I’d like to be able to say he gave me these Black Diamond and White Gold Round Hoop Earrings as my 40th birthday gift, but I’d be lying. If your  birthday girl likes earrings, she’ll love these hoops. The black diamonds and white gold complement each other, offering a stunning twist on classic hoop earrings.

My husband did exactly what I told him to: he didn’t give me a gift for my 40th birthday – not even a card. I had no right to be disappointed because he was only doing what I told him to. If your birthday girl told you not to get her a gift for her fortieth birthday, don’t listen to her.

The best gift my husband ever gave me

For Christmas last year (no, I didn’t have another 40th birthday!), my husband gave me the most amazing, best, wonderful gift I could ever ask for: a Apple MacBook Pro MF839LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop.

I love this gift because I would never have spent that much money on myself – even though I earn my living online! I love this gift because I told my husband I wanted one, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money. And every day I use this laptop for my work…and every day I am so grateful he bought me this gift.

For your birthday girl’s 40th, give her a gift that surprises and delights her.

40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Women

The biggest lesson from my experience turning forty: don’t believe any woman who says she says she doesn’t want a gift for her 40th birthday.

A weekend getaway on her birthday

40th birthday travel gift ideaGive her the Artist’s Circle Carry On Travel Suitcase, with a ticket tucked in the side pocket. This would be one of the most surprising, delightful, amazing 40th birthday gift ideas for women! The one pictured is a carryon, which will save you checked bag fees.

If you think she’d love a weekend getaway, pack her new travel suitcase with a few small gifts (anything from retro candy from 40 years ago to pearl earrings). Surprise her with a birthday card that explains where you’re going for your weekend getaway – or just give her a hint. Make it fun, light-hearted, special.

Even just one night away is an amazing birthday gift for women turning forty – and you don’t have to go to a faraway place. The fact that you thought ahead, planned something different, and took steps to celebrate her 40th birthday by doing something different will make her happy. That’s one of the best gift ideas you could give her.

If you’re not in a relationship with this birthday girl – and if she’s dealing with a breakup – read 10 Gifts for Someone Going Through a Divorce.

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.

Time travel

A Time Capsule gift for her 40th birthday is a creative, fun alternative to a “real” getaway for the weekend. Not everyone can afford to go away for the weekend or even a day to celebrate a birthday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel in other ways! Go back in time with this Time Travel 40th Birthday Gift.

This unique 40th birthday gift for includes a card that describes a funny reason why each item was included, as well as retro candy from the 70s. This is a great party gift, because she can share the trivia questions with guests. This is fun entertainment that will help her remember the past fondly.

Jewelry Gifts for Her 40th Birthday

Here are several pretty, elegant 40th birthday gifts for women. Jewelry is one of my favorite gift ideas because it’s really hard to make a mistake in terms of colors, styles, size, etc. If you’re not planning on buying 40th birthday jewelry, you can rest easy. Right after this section are unique and creative birthday experiences for women – plus a fun Retro Candy Box for Women Turning Forty :-)

The most important thing you can do for a woman on her fortieth birthday is show her how important she is to you, and how much you care about her. That’s one of the most thoughtful 40th birthday gift ideas of all.

A diamond sun pendant

Thoughtful 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for WomenThe 10k Yellow Gold Diamond Sun Pendant is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give a woman turning forty. 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! This will help her feel good about turning forty.

The key to helping a woman feel good about herself on her 40th birthday is knowing her personality, likes, and dislikes.

Jewelry Gifts for Her 40th BirthdayThe Mulco Unisex “Bluemarine” Stainless Steel and Light Watch – this watch is both a pretty and practical 40th birthday gift idea for her. It’s timeless, and perfect for any 40 year old woman who likes to wear watches as jewelry. Turning forty might make her pay more attention to how fast time passes, and a beautiful watch is a lovely way to encourage her to live fully, deeply, madly!

A 40th birthday toast:

“To a woman that we all know
And who all of us adore,
Congratulations on your 40 years,
And here’s to 40 more!”

40th birthday gift idea for herThe 10k Yellow Gold Diamond Infinity Pendant Necklace is meaningful because of its reference to time. The “infinity” message is important, because your 40 year old woman is infinitely beautiful, wise, and lovely no matter how old she is. This infinity pendant features diamond-studded and yellow gold crisscross bands suspended by yellow gold rope chain. It has an easy spring-ring closure, and the diamond suppliers confirmed they complied with the Kimberley Process to ensure that the diamonds are conflict free. This is a gorgeous 40th birthday gift idea for her.

birthday gifts 40 year old womanSterling Silver Infinity Created Blue Sapphire and Diamond Bracelet – a dazzling, classic bracelet that looks like diamonds but isn’t nearly as expensive. 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.

If your birthday girl likes to travel, scroll down to the African safari vacations and Caribbean cruise ideas. They’re extravagant 40th birthday gift ideas for her.

thoughtful gifts for women 40th birthdayThe 10k White Gold and Diamond Double Heart Pendant Necklace is an extravagant gift to put in the leather travel bag! It’s a symbol of love and unity. I’m not a woman who welcomes or even wears jewelry gifts, but I would wear this pendant if my husband gave it to me.

Jewelry is a “safe” gift for 40th birthday gift idea for her because most women really like to glam it up once in awhile. The tricky part is knowing what kind of jewelry she likes. For instance, I don’t like big costume jewelry because I’m a small woman. I also don’t wear earrings, rings, or bracelets.

Take a good look at your birthday girl: if she’s not a jewelry person, then don’t buy her necklaces, earrings, rings, or bracelets.

Creative 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her

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 most thoughtful 40th birthday gift ideas: something fun and creative.

An experience is an exciting way to spend any birthday. Here’s what @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 for her.

Silk pajamas – the most popular 40th birthday gift for women

birthday gift ideas for women turning 40Believe it or not, the Women’s Classic Silk Pajamas Luxury Gift is  one of the most popular and thoughtful 40th birthday gift ideas for women! These pj’s are a soft, gentle way to go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. They’re comfortable and sleek against her skin, and a luxury she wouldn’t buy for herself.

Time is one of the best gifts you can give any woman turning forty. Time to herself, time to pursue her goals and dreams, time to center herself. Give her the pajamas, and a whole weekend to do whatever she wants in them.

A YouTube video of loved ones saying “Happy 40th Birthday!”

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

A handpainted leather bag – a beautiful gift idea for her

40th birthday gifts for womenYes, I’m going back to the purse aisle, and picking up the Anuschka Collage Leather Tote Bag. Does your birthday girl love purses? (yes, all women do) Does she love pretty, cheerful things to look at? (yes, we all do) Is she not thrilled about turning forty? (yes, all women have a glitch on their 4oth birthdays, and your gift ideas will help her cope).

Anuschka bags are a feast for the eyes. The vibrant colors are a very powerful element in these designs. The wide range of abstracts, imaginary and natural scenes, depicted in muted colors of all shades and hues, transforms each handbag into an object of timeless art. What other gift could you give on her 40th birthday?

A birthday gift 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 woman’s bucket list for a novel experience you can do together.” I love it! 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 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 “40th birthday gift ideas for her”.

Gifts for Women Who Love Technology

Is your birthday girl part of a book club? Many of the women in my book club have a kindle or digital reader, and they love them. Electronic or digital gifts are an extravagant way way to celebrate a big birthday.

Apple iPad tablet

birthday gift for woman turning fortyIf 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.

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.

More Gifts for Women Turning Forty

The next few ideas on this list of 40th birthday gift ideas vary from cruises to retro candy…

A gorgeous silk scarf by Van Gogh or Monet

creative birthday gift for 40 year old womanThe Silk Scarf – Shawl Art is an exquisite and expressive 40th birthday gift idea for women! This line of scarves and shawls are covered with Van Gogh and Claude Monet’s paintings. They’re colorful, elegant, and luxurious in style. These scarves are exceptional, rich and superior in quality. They make wonderful birthday gifts for women because they’re versatile and go with everything!

Hot flash survival kit for her 40th birthday (not my best gift idea)

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).” ~ 40th Birthday Gag Gifts for Women. This is one of my least favorite 40th birthday gift ideas for women. I know menopause is a new beginning, but who needs to be reminded of “the change”?

Retro candy from 40 years ago

40th birthday retro candy gift ideaA box of 40th Birthday Gift Basket Box of Retro Candy is a gift many readers give for fortieth birthdays, as a creative addition to the “real” thoughtful gift idea for her fortieth birthday.

You know what’s really interesting about this list of gift ideas for women on their fortieth birthdays? The three most popular ideas are:

  • Box of retro candy for 40th birthdays
  • Women’s silk pajamas
  • The diamond sun pendant

Those three most popular birthday gifts are so different! Candy, sleep, and elegance. To find the perfect gift for a woman on her 40th birthday, think about what she most wants in life. Sweets? Sleep? Sunshine? That’s the most thoughtful idea – and only you can give it.

40 small thoughtful 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.

Gourmet Chocolate Gifts for her 40th Birthday

Women love chocolate, but we don’t often splurge on gourmet melt-in-your-mouth chocolate delicacies. Why? Because they’re expensive. That’s what makes gourmet chocolate a good gift for women on their fortieth birthdays!

40th birthday gifts for womenThe Fairytale Brownies Magic Morsel 48 Gift Box is handcrafted with rich, dark Callebaut Belgian chocolate, pure creamery butter and farm fresh eggs.

This 40th birthday gift for women includes 48 individually wrapped pieces are hand packed in this gourmet gift, and it’s guaranteed fresh upon arrival. It includes a sampling of 1.5″ x 1.5″ bite-size Magic Morsel brownies in all six assorted flavors; a personalized gift message card is included with every order.

chocolate 40th birthday gifts for womenLeonidas Belgian Chocolates: 1 lb General Assortment includes a well balanced and representative selection of Leonidas’ fresh butter creams, sinfully smooth truffles and delectable pralines.

An assortment of gourmet chocolates is an indulgence for a woman on her fortieth birthday – and that’s exactly what you wnt to do! Indulge her with someone guaranteed to tantalize even the most discerning palates.

For more ideas, read 20 Birthday Gifts for Women Turning 40 – Plus Retro Ideas.

A cruise vacation (perhaps a better gift idea for women twice as old as 40)

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?

The Last 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Women

This is your last chance to find the right birthday gift for your woman’s 40th birthday…

40th gift idea for woman The Sterling Silver Oval-Cut Amethyst with Genuine White Diamonds Bracelet is an elegant gift for a woman who wants to look and feel beautiful (and don’t we all?).

Yoga retreat or African safari on her 40th birthday

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.

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.

A whimsical, artistic wallet and handbag gift set for her

leather handbag birthday gift ideas 40thThe Anuschka Leather Front Pocket Handbag and Wallet is a gift set that includes  a removable leather organizer wallet, an optical case for her reading glasses (she is forty, after all), and a cosmetic pouch. It also has a slip-in cell phone pocket and 2 zippered pockets in the front.

I keep coming back to these handbags – in fact, I rewrote this whole list of 40th birthday gift ideas so I could include these three bags – because they are so special. Each piece is sketched, then painted in layers to ensure long lasting quality. The vibrancy of colors, beautiful design and top-quality craftsmanship will last for many years. The Anuschka purses are hand painted on genuine leather and finished with stylish top stitching. 

Tickets to the Dr Oz show – or Ellen

I’m blessed with the luxury of working from home; 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.

Make her 40th birthday a positive experience!

40th birthday gifts for womenIs your “40th birthday girl” unhappy or even depressed about turning forty? Give her time and space to be sad.

Turning 40 is difficult for many women, because it does seem old in comparison to those younger milestone birthdays of 30 and 20 years old. Don’t push or try to convince her that 40 isn’t old, or that she should be positive about her fortieth birthday.

Instead, give her a gift that makes her feel good about herself. Try to match the right gift with her personality.

Also, research shows that the more positive a woman’s attitude is towards aging, the better her physical and cognitive health will be in later years. If she can find ways to focus on the benefits of aging – and ignore those negative attitudes in the media and culture about being a woman over 40 – she will live a longer, happier life. And so will you :-)

If your birthday girl is dealing with cancer, read 17 Gift Ideas to Help Her Heal After a Mastectomy. I know this isn’t the most pleasant “40th birthday gift idea”, but it is a reality for some women. Sometimes it’s better to address reality, instead of pretending things were different.

I hope you found something helpful on this list of 40th birthday gifts for women. If you have any ideas, please comment below! May you find the most thoughtful and perfect gift for the woman in your life, and may her fortieth birthday be awesome.


Need encouragement? Get my free weekly "Echoes of Joy"!

* indicates required

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 thoughts on “40th Birthday Gift Ideas That Will Surprise and Delight Her”

  1. A “celebration vacation” for her 40th birthday – an awesome gift idea!

    According to American Association of Retired Persons, 75% of adults aged 45 and over have taken, or plan to take a celebration vacation to celebrate their birthday – whether it’s turning forty, fifty, or older.

    In the New York Times’ article The ‘Celebration Vacation’: The New Way Friends Are Marking Milestone Birthdays, Keith Blanchard says more people are choosing to celebrate their big birthdays and anniversaries far from home. They invite everyone along for a blowout trip. What do you think of that gift idea for a woman’s 40th birthday? And, luxury-travel agents and tour operators report fielding more requests from clients looking to arrange these traveling parties.

    “It’s a very different and very personal way to celebrate with friends and family,” said Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell, co-owner of London-based bespoke travel company Cazenove + Loyd. Whether it’s a three-day or weeklong trip, he added, “you have quality time with everyone, which would not be possible in a one-night event.”

    If your birthday girl doesn’t want gifts for her 40th, consider the idea of a celebration vacation – especially if she truly loves being surrounded by friends and family, and being the center of attention :-) This isn’t a good 40th birthday gift idea for women who are introverts.

    To read the full article, go to

  2. Maybe helping a woman celebrate her 40th birthday isn’t about giving her something she’d give you…maybe it’s about surprising and delighting her with ideas she’d never expect! And the maybe she’ll do the same for you when you’re celebrating your fortieth birthday :-)