50th Birthday Gifts for Women: The Semicentennial Epiphany

Giving present
Buying 50th birthday gifts for women is a process that can require an extraordinary amount of delicacy. There’s a change that comes over women of a certain age — and I’m not talking about menopause. It’s more about sociopathy — not in the criminal sense, but sometime around 50, many women have an epiphany.

In the words of Sara Thompson, a completely ordinary 50 year old woman, “I stopped caring — not about myself — actually quite the opposite. I began truly caring about myself as I began to care less about how I sound, how I am perceived, what people think of me.”

The thing you have to know when you’re buying 50th birthday gifts for women is this — have they had that epiphany yet? Because gifts for the women who have achieved this liberating state of being are much different than 50th birthday gifts for women who haven’t.

50th Birthday Gifts for Women Who Haven’t

Before the epiphany, women of a certain age tend to be fairly caught up in images and appearances. It’s more important to appear wealthy than to be wealthy, to appear magnanimous than to be magnanimous, and so on. As long as the veneer of complete civility and general amazingness is maintained, everything is good.

50th birthday gifts for women like this include things of quality. Gift baskets of fine wine or fine chocolates always go over well, tickets to charity dinners if they’re the high-society type, a Cooking Club of America membership for a dedicated homemaker, and such things make great gifts for these kinds of ladies.

Alternately, if you really don’t know much about them, you can always make a donation to a charity that’s relevant somehow to their lives in their name. Even if they don’t jump with joy at know it, they’ll be gratified that they will appear philanthropic and kindly.

50th Birthday Gifts for Women Who Have

Once the realization that — in Thompson’s words — “I simply do not bother with many of the things I felt bothered about before and I laugh more,” kicks in, getting 50th birthday gifts for women gets a lot more fun, but a lot more difficult as well.

Suddenly, you have a lot more freedom of expression, but on the other hand, you have to know your ‘victim’ much better as well. A generic wine basket goes from ‘I acknowledge your quality as a person’ to ‘I don’t know who you really are on the inside.’

Instead, look for hobbies, eccentricities (come on, at 50, we ALL have them), and other characteristics to exploit. Suddenly that dedicated homemaker would much rather have an iPod to listen to while she makes new drapes for the back room then a stuffy Cooking Club certificate.

Wine and chocolates will still be a hit, but skip the big basket with the cellophane wrap, and buy a tour of a local vinter or chocolatier. The generic, all-purpose fallback 50th birthday gift for women in the post-epiphany phase of their lives: A year’s membership in the Red Hat Society, complete with accompanying red hat — look it up.