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Fantastic 50th Birthday Gift Ideas

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We "women of a certain age" are dynamic, multidimensional women, with many interests. So, why do all those "dimensions" make buying gifts for us seem more challenging than wrestling with a pair of pantyhose on a hot and sweaty summer's day? When that special birthday is at hand, why are we often stumped? What to get the woman who seems to have everything? To make it easier for you, we've put together a group of gift suggestions that will appeal to the amazing woman you know and love.

1. Fashion without the Fashion: Clothing is a very personal thing to try and purchase for someone. And unless you know specifically what that someone wants, a gift certificate from her favorite boutique might be a better (and safer) idea. But that is a little boring. Try this gift grouping that will make a splash for that 50+ fashionista, and be sure to wrap it up pretty: first, a subscription to Vogue Magazine is always a fantastic treat. Include a DVD copy of the movie The September Issue, the iconic film chronicling editor-in-chief Anna Wintour's preparations for the 2007 fall fashion issue (it weighed five pounds!) And third, since everyone falls in love with Grace Coddington (Vogue's longtime creative director) once they watch the film, include a copy of the book Grace, (Coddington's biography) where she dishes about all things fashion -- it's a perfect piece to round out this "couture collection." (This gift ranges from $13.95 and up, depending on how many goodies you'd like to include.)

2. Rent Mother Nature: We LOVE this gift because it keeps on giving. This gift subscription will provide the 50+ City Slicker (who thinks she'd rather be a farmer) with a connection to farming, without ruining her manicure. The premise of Rent Mother Nature is similar to a CSA, but it's more direct because you actually lease your own little corner of a farm... or a beehive in the Catskills, a cocoa tree in the rainforest of Costa Rica or a cow on a farm in Massachusetts. And the farmer does all the work! The gift recipient will receive all of whatever the lease yields (cheese, honey, cocoa, etc.), and in turn she will be helping small farmers throughout the world. Now that is a gift to feel good about! (The gift leases range from $39.95 and up, with the majority in the $59.95 price range.)

3. For the Chocolate Lover: Perfect for one person or a group of friends, siblings, and moms and daughters (a great idea for a Mother's Day gift too!). A chocolate tour like the NYC Luxury
Chocolate Tour
(other similar tours are available in all major cities) is a great way to celebrate the BA50 who loves all things cacao. Traveling from one decadent shop to another and sampling chocolate truffles, bonbons, and a host of other luscious treats will send everyone to chocolate heaven. And if purchasing sweets as you go along is not enough, be totally decadent and add a Giant Chocolate Slab from Hotel Chocolat -- another delicious layer to this delectable gift. (The cost of the 2-hour Chocolate Tour is $70 per person, and the Chocolate Slabs are $27.00 per slab.)

4. For the Beachcomber: A celebration on the beach for a summer birthday is a great way to bring out the child in any seashore-loving gal. Make sure there are lots of blankets, umbrellas, a big picnic basket well-stocked with sandwiches and goodies for the entire day, a cooler loaded with cold drinks and a few sand toys, then pray for sunshine (and have a rain date). But summer birthday or not, a great gift for the beach lover is a Burlap Eco Beach Bag from The Mayan Store, a company that is committed to the preservation of Mayan culture and aims to revive traditional techniques of Central America. They promote environmental and social awareness, and their products make use of recyclable materials. Fill this Beach Bag (or another of your choice) with a big fluffy beach towel, some sunscreen, lip balm, and a baseball cap or sun visor and a great looking pair of flip flops. (The price of the Burlap Eco Beach Bag is $92.50.)

5. For The Worker Bee: Whether the woman you know works behind a desk that's located in an office building or a home (or a corner of a closet), that space still needs to look as beautiful as she is. Rablabs makes a lovely desk accessories set called Caro that pairs semi-precious agate stones with silver and gold-leafed boxes. Included are a pen cup, a letter tray, a business card holder, a trinket box, and a pen box (the pieces can also be purchased separately and prices range from $165.00 to $269.00). Any or all of the pieces would say, "This woman means business" in a very beautiful and definitive way.

6. Giving Back: For the better-after-50 woman who would rather give a gift to others, pre-plan a day with her at a local Food Bank, Homeless Shelter or charity she supports. The group of friends or family doing the planning could get together and make a donation to that organization in honor of her birthday. Make sure someone is there to take photos to document the day, so she can later be presented with a scrapbook of the event. (The amount of the donations are up to the individual gift givers.)

7. Dear Old Alma Mater: If the birthday girl still has attachments to the college or university she attended, a donation to a scholarship in her name or to the alumni association would be another gift that keeps on giving. A goodie bag containing a sweatshirt, hat, sweat pants, or fleece blanket from the school store would be a nice add-on as well. (Alma Mater gifts from University stores can range from $25.95 and up.)

8. I Want to Ride My Bicycle: Any lady who takes to the road on her bicycle will stand out amongst the crowd with a leopard helmet from Sawako Furuno. Too bad they don't wear a helmet at spin class, right? The company claims they make helmets for "women who don't want to compromise on style." And isn't that precisely like women after 50? (The price of the helmet is $150.00.)

9. I Smell Pretty: Who needs a bottle of fragrance when you can be wearing a hand-crafted, bronze or silver, amulette from Talon NYC filled with a delicate scent all day? The amulettes can be filled with a scent of your own, or you can choose from one of their custom-blended scents. (The price of the amulettes begins at $178.00.)

10. Bling It On Home: Because every gal loves some bling, if you are going to splurge (and at $800 we do mean splurge) we suggest a Tom Binns necklace... a little bit edgy, a little bit retro, a little bit traditional. Sort of like that better-after-50 woman you know!

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