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15 Fabulous 40th Birthday Ideas

Wish someone special a Happy 40th Birthday and celebrate the big 4-0 in a big way with these unforgettable 40th birthday ideas!

15 Fabulous 40th Birthday Ideas

Happy 40th Birthday!

A 40th birthday is a momentous milestone because it marks the start of middle age and a new decade of life. How can we make the most of this special occasion? 

Find the perfect present, plan an awesome party, and spoil your favorite 40-year-old rotten with these fantastic 40th birthday ideas! 

40th Birthday Party Ideas 

Let’s take a look at these tips and ideas for fun and fabulous 40th birthday parties! 

40th birthday cake

40th Birthday Invitations. Send beautiful online 40th Birthday invitations that will match any party theme — a fancy birthday bash, a casual get-together and more. Once you choose the perfect design, customize the text color and font, envelope liner and stamp and email or text it to your guests. You can easily track your guest RSVP responses anytime and on any device.

40th birthday invitations

Cooking Class Party. Is the birthday honoree a serious foodie? If yes, throw them a gourmet cooking party! Hire a professional chef to come to your home or find a local cooking school or restaurant that can accommodate the party. There are also plenty of virtual cooking classes available if you’re not able to find a chef close to home.  

italian food

Does the birthday guy or girl love Thai, Mexican, or Italian food? Think about their favorite cuisine, pick a dish, and shop for ingredients within a day of the party so everything’s fresh. Make sure you have enough cooking utensils on hand, and if you don’t, ask guests to bring a few items. Lastly, be sure to have some munchies on hand for guests to enjoy while they cook. The birthday honoree will have a great time learning new cooking skills with friends and everyone is sure to go home happy and full of delicious food!

Paris Party. Many people dream of going to Paris. Help the birthday honoree knock this trip off their bucket list with a Paris-themed birthday party. First and foremost, focus on the food! Start with a cheese plate with traditional French cheeses, grapes, and baguettes. For the main course, choose a traditional French dish like coq au vin, pair it with a nice French wine, and end the meal with crepes for dessert. For decorations, use blown-up pictures from Paris to adorn the walls and purchase or make a large Eiffel Tower for the table centerpieces. Lastly, be sure to play French music in the background to enhance the ambiance.

Note: if the honoree isn’t a France fan and would rather ski in Switzerland or sunbathe in Saint Croix, create a themed party around whatever their dream trip is!

Casino Party. Treat the birthday honoree to a night out at the casino, at home! Encourage guests to dress up in cocktail attire and set up a few tables for a few games like poker and blackjack. Instead of using real money, print up your own money with the guest of honor's face on the fake bills. Get some prizes so your guests have something to play for—gift cards or a bottle of wine work well. Consider setting up a martini bar and be sure to have plenty of appetizers and finger foods on hand so guests can easily munch while they play. 

40th Birthday Cake. If your 40th birthday party has a theme, then the cake should definitely match! For example, a Casino cake could be red, black, and white and incorporate hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs throughout, and a sleek and sophisticated Paris cake could be gold, pink, black, and white with an Eiffel Tower topper.

birthday cake

Other 40th birthday cake ideas include decorating the cake with references to old age, like miniature dentures, reading glasses, medication, and a walker or cane. If the birthday honoree appreciates dark humor, a black and white cake decorated with gravestones and coffins is another option!


40th Birthday Gift Ideas

Not sure what to get your special person for their 40th? Here are a few gift ideas to help get you started.

40th Birthday Cards. Not all gifts need to be big. In fact, an online 40th Birthday card with a thoughtful, personalized message can go a long way. Pick your favorite greeting card, then include a heartfelt video and gift card to make someone’s birthday extra special! Digital birthday cards can even be sent by text or email and scheduled to deliver in advance of the big day.  

40th birthday cards

Group video. For a memorable 40th birthday, have family and friends create video clips sending warm birthday wishes and sharing a favorite throwback photo of the honoree from their younger years. Easily combine the clips into a thoughtful group video that can be cherished for years to come. Take your birthday message to the next level and add a personalized greeting from a celebrity. Need some inspiration? Check out these 40th birthday video ideas.

Hosting a 40th birthday party? Another fun idea for a group video is to have guests create video clips throughout the party— singing happy birthday, playing any games, and sending the birthday boy or girl heartfelt wishes for a special day. This is a great way to capture special moments throughout the party and create a digital keepsake of the celebration.

woman smiling at phone

Jewelry.  Bracelets, rings, or necklaces are perfect gifts for women turning 40 because they can be engraved with the recipient’s initials, birth date, and sometimes a special message. And let’s not forget about men! Cufflinks, watches, and money clips can also be personalized to help commemorate this special milestone.

Charity. Does the birthday honoree have a charitable cause that’s very close to their heart? If yes, a special way to celebrate the birthday boy or girl could be through a donation to a nonprofit in their honor. Your generosity to a cause they support is sure to make their day! 

40th Birthday Ideas for Wife, Daughter & Sister

Check out these 40th birthday ideas for the important women in your life. 

spa day

Spa day. Help the birthday girl enter her fifth decade pampered and relaxed. Treat the birthday honoree to a facial, manicure, back massage – whatever she wants! Invite her girlfriends to tag along or, if she prefers, let the birthday girl enjoy some serious quiet and alone time. 

Wine tasting or tour. This is a fun idea for a girls night out or a romantic evening with your partner. Check local wineries, restaurants and bars to see if they have any special wine tasting events scheduled on or close to the recipient’s birthday. After the tasting or tour, head to a favorite restaurant and enjoy more wine and food with the honoree! 

Sports game. Is the birthday girl a huge sports fan? Get tickets to their favorite major league sports game, whether it’s baseball, soccer, hockey, or football. Gift them their favorite player’s jersey so they can show their team spirit and be sure to arrive at the game a few hours early to tailgate!


40th Birthday Ideas for Men 

Need something special for your brother, son, boyfriend or husband? Here are a few 40th birthday ideas worth checking out! 

golf cart

Golf outing. A golf weekend away is an ideal 40th birthday idea for men. Let the birthday honoree escape work and the monotony of everyday routines with a surprise weekend trip to a golf hot spot with the guys. What could be better than getting in a few rounds of golf, having birthday drinks at the clubhouse, and returning from the weekend fully relaxed?

Concert. Does the birthday honoree have a favorite band or artist he’s been dying to see? Surprise him with concert tickets! Don’t worry if the band isn’t touring around the honoree’s birthday; as long as the concert takes place within a year of the birthday, you’re good to go! If you’d rather attend a concert closer to the recipient’s actual birthday, check out venues in your area to see what local bands are playing and if tickets are still available.

Adventure gifts. For the thrill-seeking man in your life, give an experience gift like skydiving, a fighter pilot experience, bull riding, or whitewater rafting. Some of these activities might require some travel, so make a fun weekend of it! Get a group of friends together, find a place to stay overnight, and explore local restaurants and bars. 

Make your special someone’s 40th birthday memorable. Get planning today with these ideas for a very Happy 40th Birthday!