35 is a fabulous age—free at last from the insecurity that’s followed you doggedly since you were 13 (fingers crossed), you’re finally happy in your own skin—it’s definitely a birthday that merits celebration.
Even if your friend or loved one takes a more pessimistic approach (35 just means I’m closer to 40, I’m practically middle-aged, look at all these grey hairs, I’m getting wrinkles, etc.), don’t sweep the day under the rug. Show them how much fun being 35 can be.
And, to prove to them that they’re not already past it, tell them:
Actress Keira Knightley celebrated her 35th birthday back in March, with fellow film stars Amanda Seyfried and Anna Kendrick not too far behind her. Singers Bruno Mars and Carly Rae Jepsen will also be commemorating their 35th birthdays later this year.
Plus, sportsmen Reggie Bush and Michael Phelps have both recently reached the same milestone, and they’re still in fantastic shape. The prime of their lives, practically.
Just in case you’re interested, other things that have turned or will turn 35 years old this year include Pictionary, Live Aid, and films Back to the Future and The Goonies.
But, if their games cupboard is full to bursting, and they’ve seen those films already, what are you going to buy them?
Well, we have a few ideas …
Why not browse the list below and see if anything captures your attention?
Food & Drink
There’s nothing like a birthday to indulge yourself and your friends in the frivolity of eating, drinking, and being merry…
A 1985 Vintage
A wet winter followed by a mild spring, with heat building up over the summer months, meant the 1985 grape harvest boasted perfect weather conditions. Consequently, the port from this year is deep, rich, and delicious—and currently at the peak of its maturity.
Wine from Italy, Bordeaux, and Spain would also make great choices. Reds from Bordeaux usually have a gorgeous bouquet of dark fruits to them – like black cherry and cassis, or, for something softer, why not try a magnificent Montepulciano from central Italy?
Whatever their taste, Vintage Wine & Port is sure to have the perfect bottle. And, as all of their products come with free tasting notes, there’s no reason that birthday boy or girl shouldn’t enjoy an exquisitely matched dinner with their drink.
A Pasta Maker
By the time you’re in your mid-thirties, chances are you’ve already acquired all the things that you need for your kitchen: pots, pans, plates, cutlery, maybe a spice rack if you’re super fancy.
But what about a pasta maker? Since we’re writing this during the COVID-19 pandemic, and can’t go out, let alone away or abroad… it’s difficult to celebrate in style right now. So, it might be fun to bring a little bit of the Mediterranean home with you instead.
Get one for the foody in your life and let them fill you up with delicious hand-milled pasta—or, you could go one better and use it yourself to make your spouse a birthday meal that they’ll never, ever forget.
A Cooking Masterclass
Do you know someone who’s about to turn 35, but they’re living off beans on toast, pot noodle, and takeaway kebabs? Yes? Oh dear, then perhaps it’s time they learned to expand their repertoire a bit!
Both buyagift.co.uk and masterclass.com have a vast range of cookery classes to choose from, including Modern Italian Cooking from Massimo Bottura; Restaurant Recipes at Home from Gordon Ramsay; or, if they’re really not ready for that kind of pressure yet, a Pizza Workshop at The Avenue Cookery School in London.
In fact, both websites have so many great masterclasses to choose from that, even if cooking isn’t there thing, they’re worth taking a look at anyway. Maybe you’ll find something else right up their street.
Parma Violet Gin
This premium craft gin is perfectly balanced with botanicals that include violet and juniper, making it ideal for gin connoisseurs and children of the 80s alike! They can create a crisp G&T that tastes just like their favorite retro sweets—or serve it neat over ice to preserve every possible note of its floral flavor.
However you like yours, be sure to raise a glass to Firebox and their incredible array of crazy concoctions. After all, nothing says welcome to real, responsible adulthood quite like a bottle of alcoholic confectionary!
Or perhaps the gift of nostalgia might be the order of the day? If so, one of these gift ideas could be just the ticket…
An Epic 80s Sweet Hamper
If the loved one you’re buying for has an unsatisfiable sweet tooth, but alcohol’s not their thing, don’t sweat it; we’ve got something here to sate even the strongest cravings for sugar.
Cue, the Epic Eighties Sweets Hamper, from Bah Humbugs on Amazon.
Unfortunately, it’s not available for international shipping but, if you’re in the UK, and you want to make sure their birthday goes off with a Fizz (Wiz), buy now—and try not to snack on it before you give it away!
If the loved one you're buying for has an unsatisfiable sweet tooth, don’t sweat it; we’ve got something here to sate even the strongest cravings for sugar with this Epic 80s Sweet Hamper
An Instant Camera
Could this be more nostalgic!?
Amazon’s instant camera of choice is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera with Fuji Instant Film, and it’s easy to see why. Not only do you get the camera (in a choice of seven colors, no less!) but it also comes with:
- A matching case;
- 40 sheets of film;
- 64-photo album;
- Selfie lens;
- Four colored filters;
- Ten hanging frames;
- Ten clips and string;
- 60 sticker frames;
- Five plastic stand-up frames;
- A microfibre cleaning cloth.
Everything you need, in short, to take and (most importantly) display those snapshots that are too special to sit, ignored, in your phone’s camera roll.
Amazon’s instant camera of choice is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera with Fuji Instant Film, and it’s easy to see why. Not only do you get the camera but it also comes within an incredible accessory kit!
Neon Wall Art
Neon’s undergone something of a renaissance lately. As a result, there’s been an explosion of shops and websites selling customized wall art. Etsy, in particular, has lots to offer on this front:
- Individual, light up letters and symbols;
- Motivational quotes, like this one; or,
- Your message on a tropical background.
For the all-out 80s effect, though, you’ll want this iconic PAC MAN image. Or, if that stretches your budget a little too tight, this affordable and aesthetic “Game Time” art print would make just as excellent an addition to your buddy’s man cave!
Still not sure what to go for? Choose from over 20,000 results by searching for “Neon Wall Art” on Etsy.
A Stackable Tetris Lamp
Seven colors and countless combinations – you can stack the blocks in any order and watch them light up. Perfect for the 30-somethings who are still very much kids at heart!
Not only are they fun to play with, but they’re also a great lighting feature for any room of the house. The Tetris Stackable Nightlight is available from VEEKI on Amazon for $22.79 and can be shipped internationally.
Seven colors and countless combinations - you can stack the blocks in any order and watch them light up. Perfect for the 30-somethings who are still very much kids at heart!
Flux Capacitor Charger
Disclaimer: This Flux Capacitor is fully functional as a cell phone charger but, while it’s likely to transport the user down memory lane, they’re unlikely to reach 1985 in a physical sense!
This fits into the vehicle power adaptor and features two charging ports that are suitable for simultaneous use. Compatible with all electronics that charge via USB (smartphones, tablets, GPS, etc.).
Rest & Relaxation
Or perhaps your loved one would appreciate some time to relax and unwind? If so, we’re sure any of the gifts below would go down a treat!
A Bathtub Tray
You know you had a good birthday when it takes you a couple of days to recover from the celebrations. At 35, however, you might find it harder to bounce back after a night out on the town than say, ten years earlier.
With that in mind, why not give them the gift of relaxation this year? With this Bamboo Bathtub Caddy Tray, they can retreat into a world of bubbles (both in the tub and in their glass, if they can still face it!) once the party’s over.
It can hold a wine glass or a cup of tea…depending on what mood you’re in. And the adjustable wooden slats support a book, tablet, or phone…perfect for a bit of bath time browsing. This is the life, eh?
With this Bamboo Bathtub Caddy Tray, your loved one can treat into a world of bubbles (both in the tub and in their glass) once the party’s over.
A Silk Sleep Mask
Silksleep.com makes their sleep mask out of 100% pure mulberry silk. Not only does this make them soft and comfortable to wear, but it also visibly reduces the appearance of lines around your eyes. Thirty-five might be the new 21, but, at this point, every little helps, right?
Not that I’m suggesting for a second you ought to tell the birthday girl she’s getting her first wrinkles! But after a hard day’s work, or hours spent running ’round after children at the weekend, a good night’s sleep is the least she deserves. Especially if she’s the mother of toddlers!
Make sleep more than a necessity, make it a luxurious experience with this champagne colored eye mask, thickly lined to keep out all of the light.
A Weighted Blanket
This is an especially great choice if you’ve got your SO’s birthday coming up because you’ll reap the benefits just as much as they will.
Best be careful if neither of you is morning people, as you’re unlikely ever to want to get out of bed after sleeping beneath one of Gravity’s weighted blankets!
Voted the world’s most popular weighted blanket, it uses the power of “deep touch pressure stimulation” to reduce stress and anxiety levels for a longer and more satisfying night’s sleep. Gravity blankets come in several different colors, and with the coziest exterior, it’s like being wrapped in a warm hug all night long.
Aftershave / Perfume
Is the gentleman you’re buying for on the hunt for a more mature scent to match his years now? Or, does the lady in your life want something more sophisticated that’s going cloud her in a feminine mystique …?
Well then, these fragrances are certainly not to be sniffed at (pun intended):
- Absolute, by Hugo Boss. A woody fragrance with notes of apple, bergamot, plum, and cinnamon.
- Diorissimo, by Dior. Fresh, floral, and hopelessly romantic, it contains lily-of-the-valley and ylang-ylang.
But obviously, we know that choosing an aftershave or a perfume is a very personal choice and can be very tricky to get right—lots of people switch between different scents until they find their signature one—so make sure you go out and try a few.
You know the birthday boy or girl best, (we won’t call them men or women because, as I said earlier, 35 can be a touchy age for some!), so we’re sure you’ll find one that suits them. The above fragrances were just a couple of examples to help kickstart your search.
FAQs about 35th Birthday Gifts
Last but not least, we’ll wrap up with the answers to a few FAQs surrounding 35th birthday gift-giving:
How should you celebrate a 35th birthday?
35 is a strange age for many. You’re no longer young exactly, but you’re not old old either, and you may have a full-time job, but you still like to go out with your friends on the weekend.
A lot of people welcome their mid-thirties, feeling like they’ve finally hit their stride. It’s a far cry, after all, from the awkwardness of adolescence and the confusion that obscures most of your twenties.
It’s time to party!
And it might be fun to celebrate this new chapter in your loved one’s life by arranging for them to do something they’ve always dreamed about but never got around to actually doing. Book a cruise, go and see Niagara Falls, skydive. Remind them the world is their oyster because they’re still only 35.
What are some theme ideas for a 35th birthday party?
- Dance like it’s 1985 again – in legwarmers and under a glitterball light. You could even compile a playlist of the top hits from the year they were born. Best dance tunes include: “Into the Groove” (Madonna), “Dancing in the Street” (David Bowie & Mick Jagger), and “Love and Pride” (King). For the top 100 songs from 1985, just click here!
- Murder Mystery. This is a great one for almost any birthday because it gives you so many options. Get a group of friends together and go out to one that’s being hosted professionally. Or, you could get a story off the internet and hold your own at home. Alternatively, depending on how creative you’re feeling, you could even write one yourself if you don’t mind knowing how it ends! Plus, murder mystery evenings are always a great excuse to get dressed up, enjoy good food and wine, and (most importantly) a whole lot of fun.
Not Quite What You’re Looking For?
No problem! You know your friends and family better than we do and, though we were hoping to give you a little bit of inspiration, you’re always going to be the best judge of what they’d like to receive.
Maybe they’re more into exercise, or they wanted something generic that wouldn’t remind them of their age. Perhaps these lists might come in handy:
- The Best Gifts for the Woman Who Wants Nothing. I could have done with this list when shopping for my mother this year; not only does she want for nothing, she doesn’t actually need anything either! Sound familiar? Then check out this list for some much-needed inspiration.
- How to Find the Best Gifts for Plant Lovers. For ideas that go far beyond the garden, have a look at this list. It features plant-themed apparel, homeware, and immersive gifts experiences that any millennial plant mom or green-fingered grandparent will adore.
- Best Stress Relief Gift Ideas: Find Out Here! These are strange times we’re living in, and stress is on the rise. If your loved one has been suffering as a result of the recent lockdown, have a look at our suggestions for the perfect pick-me-up and send them something that you’re sure will put the smile back on their face.
Let us know what you ended up buying in the comments section below. We’re always looking for fabulous products to feature on future lists to help the desperate-present-buyers of tomorrow!