DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER
Valentine's Day in your 40s is almost too easy to miss. You're at perhaps the busiest point in your life, you're short on time and, despite everyone thinking they're going to have it all together at this point, life doesn't want to play along with your script. It's for all of these reasons that the woman in your life wants you to try even harder around Valentine's Day and go beyond the usual flowers. It's a time to show simple appreciation for everything the two of you do together. In your 40s, that adds up to quite a bit, which is why we've come up with the following 40 gift ideas for that special woman in her 40s.
INSTAGRAM PHOTO BOOKS
Price: $18 | Buy it from Artifact Uprising
She may be losing count of the smartphones she's used in the past five to 10 years. How many photos from those smartphones were simply wiped with their memory, were left to waste away on the cloud, or are buried in a social media timeline somewhere? Artifact Uprising knows the answer is more than she cares to mention, which is why its entire business is based on making calendars, wall art, framed photos, and even albums out of digital photos. It pulls photos directly from an Instagram feed or other online source and doesn't require her to upload any of them to a site. When you save every photo you take, but never look at any of them other than the most recent shots, curation is key. She might also consider these inexpensive ways to display her photos.
INSTANT POT 6-QUART MULTIFUNCTION COOKER
Price: $79.95 | Buy it on Amazon
This isn't age or gender specific at all. Basically anyone who cooks meals for themselves or others and lacks time in the day for full preparation can use some version of this. A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice steamer, and saute/browning pot in one, the Instant Pot and its ilk (brands including Cuisinart and Crock Pot make them now) are now essential to anyone pressed for time. What's more, there's an abundance of wonderful Instant Pot recipes.
MASON JAR INDOOR HERB GARDEN
Price: $20 | Buy it on Uncommon Goods
Gardening can be an inexpensive pleasure for those who do it, but almost an impossibility for those who have neither the time nor space. If you're in an apartment or on a postage-stamp lot and have a family or hectic business and personal life, you have to get creative. Chicago couple Sarah Burrows and Nick Behr did just that, using passive hydroponics to grow herbs in mason jars by bringing nutrients directly to the plants' roots and regulating water. If the woman in your life has a sturdy windowsill, she can grow organic basil, mint, cilantro, oregano, parsley, and sage with minimal effort.
Price: $9.95 a month | Buy it on MoviePass
We recommended this for women in their 30s as well, but does this ever stop being a good idea for a woman who loves movies or nights out? MoviePass argues that it helps theaters guarantee attendance and free up customers' cash for concessions and other items. Yet, MoviePass buys up tickets, doesn't ask for permission, and makes it tough for theaters to opt out. Even if she's too busy to make it to more than one movie a month, the National Association of Theater Owners put the cost of an average movie ticket in the U.S. at $8.97. For a woman in a city that's on the high side of that average, a movie a month is still a bargain. There are plenty of other reasons to get MoviePass, too.
AESOP DELPHINUS SKIN CARE KIT
Price: $137 | Buy it from Nordstrom
Australia's Aesop built its brand on minimalist labeling, placement in boutique hotels, and a defined purpose for each set of its products. This particular kit includes an olive-based bergamot, chamomile and rosemary gel cleanser, a vitamin B and green tea toner, a camellia nut facial cream, and a primrose face mask. It helps when aesthetically striking packages contain products that she might actually want to use.
ARTIS ELITE MIRROR 10-BRUSH SET
Price: $360 | Buy it from Artis Brush
Buying makeup for a woman is a dicey proposition. Buying her the tools to apply that makeup like a celebrity is far less risky. The Kardashian clan regularly praises these particular brushes, but to hear the makeup artists who work with Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston, Rashida Jones, and Megan Fox tout them as well makes it clear that they aren't just baubles, but respected tools of the trade. The reward far outweighs the risk when spotting a special lady a set of these well-respected brushes.
RECYCLED GLASS NIGHTLIGHTS
Price: $38 | Buy it on Uncommon Goods
Maybe she'd like to get to the bathroom at night without slamming into a wall or corner. Vawn and Mike Gray get it. This married couple has been making these recycled-glass nightlights in a computer-controlled kiln in their Cape Coral, Fla., studio for years. If she needs a little help from illuminated cats, deer, or mountain scenes every now and again, they understand.
SPAFINDER GIFT CARD
Price: Varies | Buy it on Spafinder
A little time away isn't a lot to ask. That time can be as short as a quick manicure, pedicure, or facial. It can be as long as a weekend at a resort with great masseurs and soaking tubs. However, unless someone knows where she'd regularly go for the former or where she's dreamed about going for the latter, getting a gift card to either on a hunch can be disappointing for everyone. The Spafinder card lets her choose where she wants to go and how much she wants to spend. That time is personal and, in many cases, long overdue. Don't leave it to chance.
GUCCI SILVER DIAL TWO-TONE WATCH
Price: $450 | Buy it from Costco
Yes, you can buy designer watches in the same place that you get your paper towels and condiments in bulk. The brands that pop up in Costco or that often hide behind its Kirkland brand name (Starbucks roasts its house coffee and Macallan makes its house scotch, for example) are often surprising. In this case, Gucci puts its entry-level stainless steel and sapphire crystal watch in Costco's jewelry section just in time for the holiday. It's sparkly, but 50 meters worth of water resistance make it functional as well.
Price: $39 for three months, $99 for a year | Buy it on Amazon
What kind of present is this? The kind that lets her shop without paying for shipping and without waiting weeks for something to arrive. The kind that lets her stream movies and shows from just about every device she owns and stream music playlists, stations and album's from a giant online collection. Amazon Prime isn't going to be for everyone, but if you get the feeling that she'd be happier if she didn't have to leave her comfortable home as much this year, it might be for her.
CORNINGWARE POP-IN MUGS
Price: 4 for $33.95 | Buy it on Amazon
Ah, reheating: The bane of any household's existence. You just want to make yourself a quick cup of soup, but you have to deal with pots, dishes, microwave splatter, microwave-safe splatter guards, and the like. Reducing your entire household's reheating regimen to one 20-ounce vented cup that can go right into an oven, microwave, refrigerator, or freezer may not be romantic, but like jewelry, she'll still be using it regularly for years.
GINGER BEER MAKING KIT
Price: $17.34 | Buy it on Uncommon Goods
Does she like the idea of a homebrewing hobby that gives her a little solace every week, but doesn't particularly like ordinary beer? Nevada couple Ryan and Melanie Belshee make kits that produce mixers and infusions instead of liquor itself, which is illegal and kind of dangerous. This beer kit can produce ginger beer with alcohol content of up to 10 percent, but it's real strength is making flavorful, spicy ginger beer that works well on its own or as a base for a decent Moscow Mule or Dark and Stormy, depending on whether she favors rum or vodka.
GODIVA VALENTINE'S DAY TOWER
Price: $37 | Buy it from Costco
Valentine's Day isn't typically a value play, but a bulk club store is going to do its best to give you the most for your money. In this case, the price includes just under an ounce of milk chocolate and white chocolate truffles, 2 ounces of coffee and chocolate truffles, 4 ounces of Godiva chocolate pretzels, and 5 ounces of dark chocolate ganache hearts. The red metallic boxes make it all look a bit larger than it is, but that's still a big pile of sweet treats for your special lady.
RADEN CARRY-ON LUGGAGE
Price: $295 | Buy it from Nordstrom
At some point, playing games with carry-on luggage just gets tiresome. Is it the right size? Is it too heavy? Is someone going to break into it? Is some other passenger going to crush it in the overhead? She won't have to ask any of these with the last piece of luggage she'll ever need to buy. It's already at the TSA-approved carry-on size, has a built-in scale in the handle, and has a TSA-approved lock. Oh, and an easily removable battery with two USB ports for device charging and GPS to locate it if it gets lost.
BIDDLEFORD PLUSH ELECTRIC BLANKET
Price: $49-$99 | Buy it from Kohl's
An electric blanket is amazing around this time of year. It's an all-ensconcing portable heater that keeps out drafts, soothes aching muscles and draws every chilly pet within a room of you. However, it's also often a tangle of cords and hardware that requires you to be seated next to an outlet. This gem, however, takes the controls off of the cord and gives the user remotes to adjust the blanket's temperature and even preheat it before use. The cord itself, meanwhile, is 12 feet long and easily kept out of the way.
PARADISE FOUND SILK PAJAMAS
Price: $225 | Buy it from Julianna Rae
Just about every retailer selling women's clothing around Valentine's Day is going to push lingerie. That's great and all, but for women who actually want to be comfortable in what they lie around the house in or sleep in, it's hard to find a greater luxury than silk pajamas. These, in particular, come in six patterns and are stylish without sacrificing either quality or comfort.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN HEROINE 21 HANDBAG
Price: $1,000 / members only | Buy it from Costco
If you aren't a Costco member, the occasional designer handbag deal might compel you to find someone who is. Costco will typically come across an Alexander McQueen, Salvatore Ferragamo, or Gucci bag and use it to entice non-Costco members into filling out an application. This $1,000 Alexander McQueen may not look like a bargain, but considering that the comparably sized Heroine 30 sells at Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom for $2,490, Costco is offering a considerable cut.
POLAROID SNAP INSTANT DIGITAL CAMERA
Price: $100 | Buy it on Amazon
What's the point of taking instant printed pictures in a digital world? Well, what's the point of taking thousands of digital pictures you never look at? She's part of the last generation to have used Polaroid cameras before the original Polaroid went bankrupt in 2001. She also remembers a time when we had to be far more judicious about photo selection, since film cost money and the photos themselves ended up in frames and albums for posterity. This pocket-sized 10-megapixel camera still holds 32 gigabytes of digital images, but uses an ink-free printer to produce 2-by-3-inch photos in less than a minute. If she's a casual photo taker who's never quite embraced the smartphone as a camera and believes in photo quality over quantity, maybe it's time to get back to basics.
BEST FRIEND BIRTHSTONE RING
Price: Starting at $279 | Buy it from Olivia Kane
These are gifts for women who play any role in your life. Even on Valentine's Day, when every jeweler is insisting that the holiday is only for significant others, there's a great opportunity to let your friend know they're appreciated. This ring links your birthstone and that of the woman who means so much to you with a band of silver 14-karat gold or 14-karat rose gold. It can be a romantic gesture if your significant other just happens to be your best friend, or it can simply show some love to someone who deserves it.
GOOGLE HOME MINI
Price: $50 | Buy it from Kohl's
Does she want answers to simple questions, voice controls for her Chromecast streaming channels, or even voice activation for her smart-home devices (thermostat, lighting, etc.), but doesn't want a device that looks like a giant air freshener controlling it all? The Google Mini is a puck-sized speaker that does the same job for roughly a third of the price of the original Google Home. If frequent shoppers use some Kohl's Cash on their purchase, the savings can be even greater.
WONDER WOMAN BLU-RAY/DVD/DIGITAL PACK
Price: $10 | Buy it from Target
It only took DC Comics about 40 years and three different iterations of big-screen Batmans to get around to a Wonder Woman movie after Lynda Carter's television portrayal of the Amazonian superhero. The result was the third highest-grossing movie of 2017, with Gal Gadot's lead character only outdone by Emma Watson's Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Daisy Ridley's Rey from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With multiple formats of this film selling for the price of one, it's easy to spread the love of the most iconic and enduring of female heroes to the next generation.
ILA 'SMALL ZODIAC' NECKLACE
Price: $98 | Buy it from Nordstrom
What use is turning 40 if you're still worried about being cool? A woman who knows her astrological sign and gets astrology updates isn't on the path to becoming the eccentric aunt who sells crystals out of an airbrushed van. She just has an interest, which this necklace acknowledges by punching her sign's constellation into a golden circle. It'll be meaningful for her, and she can wear it without judgment. It also helps that, to the rest of the world, it just looks like a bunch of dots punched into a gold necklace.
SLIP SILK PILLOWCASE
Price: $79 | Buy it from Sephora
A pillowcase can do a number on skin and hair. You can see it in the creases it leaves on your face and the bed-head you get in the morning: Just because your head moves, it doesn't mean the pillowcase will. Silk, on the other hand, lets skin and hair sail across its surface and won't dry out a person's face like cotton. Unless she has a pillowcase she loves, you'll be doing wonders by slipping her one of these.
Price: $18 | Buy it on Amazon
Loose-leaf tea is some of the best tea there is, but it also involves a few added steps no one needs. The infuser works, but it's one more thing to clean. Teabags are effective, but the tea in them isn't always great, and they're just more stuff to throw away. With this, she can just tip the cup to the strainer side, add loose tea, pour boiled water over it, let it steep, and then tip it to the other side for drinking. At an age where life is chaotic enough, it pays to simplify.
SPIRO STEMLESS GLASS WINE SET
Price: $170 | Buy it on Uncommon Goods
At 40, she should really be beyond the half-broken set of wine glasses she bought at Target or Ikea after she moved into her first place. Carrie and Patrick Frost realize that not everyone is going to be bailed out by a wedding registry, which is why they've created these stemless wine glasses with colorful lacing emulating the Spirograph art of '70s and '80s youth. Each glass is unique and comes directly from their studio in Mantua, Ohio.
CLASSIC BATH ROBE
Price: $99 | Buy it on Parachute
Somewhere between summer silk and winter flannel is the perfect year-round robe. No, it isn't terry cloth, and may the fates curse you for suggesting it to a 40-year-old. This robe is made of Turkish cotton that doesn't sit too heavy or too light and feels cozy with its low-slung pockets and its shawl collar around her neck. If that's all she asks of a robe, she'll never have to put this one into storage or go rummaging for it when the seasons change.
CUISINART AIR FRYER TOASTER OVEN
Price: $199 | Buy it from Best Buy
Hear us out: Intent matters a lot with this gift. If you're giving a woman in her 40s a toaster oven because she occasionally cooks for you and you'd like more of that, prepare to have a kitchen appliance thrown at your head. However, if she likes fries, potato chips, beignets, wings, or any other item that tastes better fried, this oven uses a fan to circulate hot air around food and create a crispy layer. It's frying with little oil, and anyone who's been scorched on the arms by grease spatter for the sake of having some fried goodness will be grateful for this.
PRIMALOFT PACKAWAY HOODED JACKET
Price: $179 | Buy it from L.L. Bean
It's made from recycled materials, has a protected pocket for a smartphone or media player (with an audio port), and has a removable elastic hood. It's also a lot more aesthetically appealing than most jackets made for multipurpose winter use. The best part, however, is the fact that it folds into its own pocket and packs away (hence the name) in reduced form during travel.
UGG SHEARLING SLIPPERS
Price: $119.95 | Buy it from Nordstrom
Shearling slippers are just incredibly soft and warm during the harsh winter months surrounding Valentine's Day. The issue is that they're almost completely impractical if all they have are slipper soles. This is why we like Ugg's approach: Put a rubber boot sole on the bottom and pretend as if people actually have to go outside and pick up mail, walk a dog, or make an early morning run to the shop because they're out of creamer.
BREVILLE BARISTA EXPRESS ESPRESSO MAKER
Price: $600 | Buy it from Bed Bath & Beyond
Cheaper than a commercial-grade machine (like Breville's own $2,000 Oracle), but definitely a step up from a grinder-free, single cup uni, the Barista Express is a lot in one package. The built-in, adjustable grinder puts grounds right into the filter and allows coffee lovers to pull a shot right after the beans have been ground. The machine cuts and presses excess grounds, pours hot water for Americanos and has its own cup-warming tray.
WELLNESSMATS MOTIF TRELLIS ANTIQUE KITCHEN MAT
Price: $129.95 | Buy it on Wayfair
Four decades of standing tend to take a toll on even the most nimble human. Muscles stiffen, joints ache, and the idea of standing at the sink -- never mind the desk -- for any amount of time is just unpleasant. The idea behind these spongy, bouncy mats is to put as much distance between hard surfaces and her feet and legs as possible. It's also to keep those lower muscles in constant, buoyant motion to prevent fatigue. These mats tend to be fairly utilitarian and not much to look at, but this particular version is colored and patterned to be a lovely-yet-helpful kitchen accent.
CHONKO PALLET WOODEN COAT RACK
Price: $96 | Buy it on Hipcycle
A coat rack can be just some place you hang a coat, or it can be, thanks to Hipcycle, a pallet and hardware rescued from the landfill that now makes a bold statement. Granted, that statement is mostly "I'm holding your coat," but even minor elements can have major impact if we put some thought into the design and story behind them.
ECHO CAMBRIDGE REVERSIBLE WRAP
Price: $79 | Buy it from In God We Trust
A great scarf or shawl never goes out of style, which is why it pays to get two of them for the price of one. This coral and burnt orange wool/synthetic wrap bridges from late winter into early spring and gets her through a tough style shoulder season that eagerly awaits the warmth of early summer. There may be little more than a month left in winter when you give this to her, but it'll come in handy for years.
L.L. BEAN 6-INCH DUCK BOOTS
Price: $119 | Buy it from L.L. Bean
Waterproof, snow-hardened, and nearly indestructible, the Duck Boot has become a fashion statement all its own in the more wintry corners of the country. No, they aren't pretty in conventional terms, but take a walk around an East Coast city in the middle of a nor'easter and tell the myriad women trudging to work, digging out cars, or making their way to a dinner reservation through nearly a foot of snow that these aren't fashionable. What's more, they're guaranteed for life. If you buy her one pair, you're buying her the only pair she'll ever need to own.
CAFE DVD SUBSCRIPTION
Price: $12 a month | Buy it on Cafe DVD
At some point, binging "content" becomes less fulfilling than actually watching films. Since 1999, Cafe DVD has filled a niche by dodging big-budget releases and streaming and filling its fans' need for artistic, foreign, fringe, and classic films. Its subcategories -- including Criterion Collection discs, anime, Dogme95 films, Blaxploitation, and neo-noir -- should look familiar to those who once frequented or still frequent independent video stores. If your lady loves film, but misses the video store, this is a fine fallback.
THE BIG ONE MICROFIBER PILLOW
Price: $12 to $20 | Buy it from Kohl's
Pillows are a constant tug-of-war between purists. Feather pillows are plush, but often don't offer a whole lot of support. Synthetic pillows are more durable, but often unforgiving. A large microfiber pillow can be the best of all worlds. Constructed of and packed with polyester fiber, this pillow manages feather softness and comfort while offering synthetic durability and support. She spends hours of your day on a pillow: She may as well spend them with one she likes.
HORTENSE DIAMOND NECKLACE
Price: $338 | Buy it on Bespokepost
Rice is thrown at weddings for good luck, with rice found in wedding garments afterward supposedly indicating that the new household will never go hungry. Well, this 14-karat gold rice grain featuring three diamonds is a far better indication of how her household is doing with or without a wedding and wasted food.
WARM VANILLA SUGAR MINI SCENTS AND SPARKLE GIFT SET
Price: $10 | Buy it from Bath & Body Works
If she loves bath and body products, but you find the in-store shopping experience a bit too much for your senses to bear, just realize that it's tough to go wrong with vanilla. It's pleasant without being overpowering and, in this set, she'll get a gift-wrapped shower gel, body lotion and fragrance mist all in one modest package. This is likely the easiest way to show your appreciation without causing long-term damage to your delicate olfactory senses.
Price: $285 | Buy it from AllModern
Wayfair's niche site AllModern knows there are women out there who dream of buying a house built by Eero Saarinen and stocking it with Eames furniture. It also knows that the majority of those women will fall well short of that dream. However, by starting small, using inexpensive touches like Ikea fixtures and this comfy-yet-minimalist Scandinavian-inspired chair, she can give just about any space some modern, mid-century sensibility.
DAVEK ALERT UMBRELLA
Price: $135 | Buy it on BuyMeOnce
After 40 years, you get a good idea of why you go through so many umbrellas. You lose them, so you pick up cheap ones where you can. Those cheap ones are garbage, so you think nothing of losing them or replacing them once wind turns them into modern art. This umbrella asks you for $135 because it vows not to do any of those things. The frame is made of steel and fiberglass, the canopy is 190 thread count and a chip in the handle can be tracked on your phone within 30 feet and sends an alert to your phone with coordinates should you stray beyond that point. Should it break, Davek will send you a new one for free (minus shipping) and, should it go lost beyond your ability to get it back, Davek will sell you a new one for half the original price.