30Th Birthday Gift Ideas? SWH Added

Updated on May 21, 2019
D.B. asks from Westborough, MA
11 answers

Our son is turning 30 (gulp!) at the end of June. He's been nagging us to come visit him and his girlfriend in their new-ish apartment (since last fall), so we're ready to make the drive. His girlfriend says that weekend is actually good for them (I was surprised), and I have a willing partner in her to put something together.

My husband and I enjoy the drive from New England to DC, and besides taking the dog (who cannot be boarded - PTSD from prior abandonments), we will have room in the car for any kind of gifts. We'll stay in a hotel across the street from the kids' building. Maybe we'll make dinner one-two nights and go out the other(s) - we'll go down Friday (his actual birthday) and leave Monday, so 3 nights. I won't have time to buy anything when I get there, although his girlfriend can help me out if I give her lead time and direction.

So, do you have any great 30-themed ideas? I know I can Google this, but before I subject myself to 6 months of ads on silly t-shirt slogans as a result, I thought I'd ask you all.

Things I've seen in the past with others:
- 30 $1 scratch tickets. We're not big lottery players but it might be fun this once. Not sure if there's a lottery in either DC or Maryland (where he works) but I could buy tix here and then work out redemption later on the off chance that he wins anything.
- 30-pack of beer. I'm not sure I'd do the regular 30-pack of Bud Light (although the kids don't mind taking something like that to a party), but I could go to the big liquor store near us and buy 30 individual bottles of better beer (which my son likes). How to package/wrap? Just in 5 six-pack cardboard holders?
- 30 photos from birth to now, either in a collage or a matted/framed (6x5 rows).

The kids are doing fine financially - he's a business analyst for a construction company (he started as civil engineer/project manager) and she's in public policy at HHS. Their school loans are just about paid off. Other than keeping up with all their friends' weddings (with travel and gifts), they are doing pretty well.

They are both marathoners, but my son is quite specific about gear he likes. Other than buying a few jerseys for practice runs, I wouldn't even buy him running socks (30 of them?) because he's so particular.

They love to do stuff in DC, they are outdoorsy, they don't have a car (just use public transportation, Uber and a rental on occasion for travel), and they are pretty adventurous in their eating/restaurants. They are into plants, filling one wall of their apartment with one of those ladder-style plant stands and lights. They have a good sized balcony that looks out on a nature area, and they have put a bunch of bee-sustaining plants out there. So maybe I could add to that supply? It has nothing to do with "30" but maybe that doesn't matter.

I can do "non-30" gifts (coffee from our local roaster in his hometown, or clothes), but I was looking for other suggestions.


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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the wonderful ideas! I think the votes are in for the 30 beers, and I love the idea of individually wrapping them. I will look for "30-themed" tissue or wrapping paper, and I think we'll put them in one of those galvanized tubs with handles that a lot of people use as coolers for parties/BBQs and which also could serve as a garden/balcony accessory, as he keeps sending me photos of every new tomato plant or flower pot they purchase.

Yes, they are quite serious and I think that's why they are both so gushy about every new home item they add. I'll survey the scene when we visit and that will give me more ideas for Chanukah to match their decor.

The watch is a nice idea but I forgot to mention that he has a very sophisticated athlete's watch that he wears all the time, when he bikes to work or runs there and home (10 miles each way) or for his workouts with his running club. It tracks every damn thing you can think of - respiration, heartbeat, steps, route, air temperature, calories taken in/used up and I don't know what else. I know he won't give that up for something dressy.

I will take the idea of art and merge it with photos "through the years" which will be a nice memento for him and a nice glimpse into his life for her. Hubby will work on that and do the layout, and I'll frequent the local breweries (!).

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answers from Atlanta on

What about 30 small bags of coffee beans, maybe 6 each of 5 different varieties? Or you could do 15 bottles of beer of different kinds along the line of Elena's suggestion and 15 bags of varying coffee beans, putting all 30 objects in the 5 6-pack holders? Or 10 beers, 10 bags of coffee, and 10 containers of interesting spice/spice blends for their cooking? That would give him a variety of consumables to enjoy.

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answers from Philadelphia on

We did the beer gift with 30 different craft beers for our son when he turned 30. He loved it! Doesn't drink every night but likes to have one occasionally. Like your son, ours is doing fine financially and also loves new restaurants/food. They can afford to go out, but don't go out a lot. We researched some restaurants in his area, and got him a generous gift certificate to go there as well. He was also thrilled with that. Sounds like you already have good ideas!

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answers from Norfolk on

Plant /gardening related gift sounds good to me.
Perhaps a gift cert to Gardeners Supply catalog.
That catalog makes me drool every spring.


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answers from Denver on

I like the 30 bottles of good beer idea. Maybe you could go to a larger liquor store and get 30 bottles of all kinds of beers from all kinds of places. The possibilities are endless. Then wrap each one individually and put them all in a box. He can enjoy unwrapping them one by one all at once, or he can enjoy saving them and unwrapping one on a Saturday night and enjoy your fun and creative gift for a few weeks to come.

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answers from New York on

Your 30 beer bottles idea sounds fun! And maybe "wrap" them with some "beer related" stuff - a picnic cooler bag, a few fun koozies, a beer bottle floater for the pool, etc. That stuff will be reusable when the beer is gone.

ETA: I love Margie's idea, great for the holidays if you do not give him the bottles now! There are companies that sell advent calendars of bourbon and stuff like that, but making your own is a really nice way to do it. And to control the overall cost, some "doors" can be regular non-craft beers or fun bottle openers or other beer-related things (silly things like koozies that I mentioned above).

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answers from Washington DC on

Awww, Happy B-day to your "baby". I was thinking that the pictures "through-the-years" idea would be nice - sometimes our young men don't go "ooh" and "ahh" as women do, but if he and the girlfriend are serious and their relationship might lead to marriage and children - this would be a gift that could keep on giving. Heck - it's a great throw-back even if not! In fact, you could do a "30 Throw-Backs" picture book! Maybe even couple that with the 30 Craft Beers? DC has a LOT to do outdoors, so a gift card to use towards the Capital Bikeshare or the plentiful electric scooters' systems that are in the city could be useful and appreciated as well. If they like shows - maybe gift them tickets to something at the Kennedy Center that's showing on the 30th of this month or next?

I hope you and your family enjoy the long weekend together. You are ALWAYS giving such wonderful advice and responses here, so I also wanted to take this moment to say THANK YOU.

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answers from Portland on

If he likes beer .....

So every year here, my friends and I do an advent calendar for our hubbies of craft beer.

That is my main gift for my hubby really - because he doesn't drink beer every night, and he will have the guys over for some to sample (you will find the funniest ones out there with weirdo names), and it's just enjoyable.

To make it more affordable, you can totally mix in some regular beers. We do that, otherwise it does get pricey. You can specialty wrap the craft beer in some fancy tissue.

So they have those wine boxes and we just fill those using some packing supplies and some shredded packing stuff (I think it's shredded paper?) in the bottom because the bottles/cans are not as tall as bottles. We kind of altered the boxes to suit our needs. Then we wrapped them in paper to make festive.

They enjoy reaching in every evening after work to pull out a 'surprise' new craft beer to try or even a regular one at end of day. I bet your son would enjoy one after long day at work this summer.

We also have those flight paddles (probably saying that wrong) which are these wooden paddle things with about 4 little glasses on it for sampling different beers. You could give him one of those too - if he's into craft beers.

We do a strong and clip pictures on for birthdays like a clothesline. Everyone likes that. Do a big 3-0 in the middle.

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answers from Aguadilla on

For non 30 themed gift ideas, don't know what your budget is but among many options and if he likes wine there are very nice electric wine bottle openers with accesories for sale in Amazon. Does he have a beard? Nice beard grooming kits are also found online. Since he likes to run, how about a gift card of his favorite sports store? If they like meats, there are great online delivery of high quality US meats, same for cheese. May I also add, if he is a coffee drinker, I am currently living in Costa Rica and I know that there is an online Costa Rican store that sells a delicious coffee called 1820. My brother is in the States and orders this coffee by bulk since he can't stand US coffee after tasting the brands from Costa Rica.

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answers from Los Angeles on

-gift card to a sporting goods store so he can get new shoes for his marathons
-love the craft beers idea
-an Uber gift card
-a gift card for a nearby furniture place so they can buy some things for their apartment
-a few items for the kitchen since they are just starting out that you know they probably won't have but are essential the longer we cook
-write 30 sweet memories or 30 things you love about the individual he's become
-cash $30 or $300
-a sm picnic backpack w/items in it (lk online at REI)
-a giftcard to a nearby cabin

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answers from Abilene on

I hope he has a wonderful birthday and I know you and your hubby will enjoy celebrating your son. I think the beer idea is a great one. Maybe with a 30 things I love about you jar? Or 30 greatest hits (events that made you proud of him).

If there’s a cause that’s dear to his heart you could always make a $30 donation to it.

Enjoy your weekend and family. Thank you for always being a source of positivity on mamapedia.

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answers from Tampa on

Honestly I would purchase something a bit more with meaning and that he would remember. He is a 30 year old man and I am sure beer and T-shirt’s are cute.. but a bit more mature present i think is a bit better.

I would aim for a watch or some sort of art work. Figure out a budget and find something. Maybe if you have local artist painting of a house he grew up in or hiking/bicycle trail.. etc. or a watch if you have a budget. Ulysse Nardin might be a bit more $ so panerai is great or omega, even Brigtling. ( and if you purchase it off jomashop or world of watches they do decent discount) smaller stores seem to like to jack up prices.

But either way good luck!

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