The Best Milestone Gifts.

The Best Milestone Gifts

In my Friday email newsletter, I usually do a weekly Q&A at the end. One of the most popular questions is usually about what to get someone for a BIG gift. Those special milestones. We’re leaving off weddings (I always say, don’t try to be a hero here – shop the registry!!!). But what about those big moments that people don’t (at least usually) register for, like a big birthday, a graduation, a new home, a book deal, a big promotion, etc.! (As an aside, I wish we celebrated accomplishments like a promotion or a new home more. Those things are HUGE and take so much work but our society is more fixated on weddings and babies. Also great things. But you know what I mean.)

Today I wanted to do a roundup with all of my personal favorite ideas. (I’d love to hear yours in the comments as this is always a hot topic!). Some are smaller and some quite expensive, but those can also be split up and shared among friends. I love the idea of teaming up with 3 or 4 pals to get another friend something realllly special for a big birthday or to congratulate them on their new home.

The Best Milestone Gifts

For a new job / a promotion / the recent grad:

A beautiful leather tote (I love this one from Cuyana) to use for work. For something more luxe gosh do I love this one from Loewe. It’s currently extreeeemely high on my wish list, but it’s very pricy.

A Smythson notebook or planner. Expensive but so luxe. I use mine every day and also bought one for my boyfriend to celebrate a big project as he had admired mine.

This refillable lipstick case (with the recipient’s initials – you can order custom from the brand’s website) and a refillable lipstick bullet. Or, spring for the set.

A gift certificate to Swan Beauty to help her upgrade her beauty game. (Their service is really, really cool – I’ve found some of my favorite products through Swan!)

For something less expensive, try a feminist book. I think that this book and this book are both really inspiring.

For the newly engaged or a big (!) birthday:

An amazing set of champagne glasses (I also bought these for a girlfriend who had just purchased her first home). Or a gorgeous glass carafe like this. Or a marble wine chiller – how pretty is this one!?

A bottle of champagne and flutes or the Coravin sparkling. Such a good pairing.

Really great glassware. A friend gave me these for my fortieth and I love them so much. The perfect Negroni glasses!

The new homeowner:

A set of fancy coupe glasses. I love Estelle or Augustina Bottoni.

My realtor gave me a beautiful martini shaker like this one, engraved with my closing date. I thought it was such a special, thoughtful gift.

A cricket for their mantle. I didn’t know about this but one of my friends bought me a beautiful one as a housewarming gift and I thought it was so thoughtful of her. As Charles Dickens said, “To have a cricket on the hearth is the luckiest thing in the world!” There are lots of beautiful ones out there; this one is just $13.

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Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Patty B:

    Today’s my closing day (!!!) and I’m immediately buying that cricket 🙂 Thank you!

    8.11.22 Reply
  2. Bhavna:

    I definitely did not know about the cricket thing! Buying immediately! Such a well thought out and comprehensive article Grace! Loved it

    8.11.22 Reply
  3. Nancy:

    A beautifully curated list to bookmark. Thank you Grace!

    8.11.22 Reply
  4. Lyndee:

    Great list! Thank you!!

    8.11.22 Reply
  5. Lauren:

    This is a little different than the occasions you mentioned above but, for my daughter’s first birthday, a good friend gave me and my husband a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate surviving the first year. It was the loveliest gift–that first year is HARD and, let’s be honest, a one-year-old doesn’t need more toys. A nice bottle of champagne is now my go-to gift for first birthdays!

    8.11.22 Reply
  6. Rachel:

    I have that Loewe in a different color (bright green). I will be buried with this bag I love it SO much.

    Great list, bookmarking!

    8.11.22 Reply
  7. Morgan:

    Great ideas! I strongly agree that there are so many milestones that are just as rewarding as marriage and babies and SHOULD be more celebrated. And I have been married and have kids! Those two things are (usually) partnerships; we should recognize the things we all do independently just as much. I’m turning 50 next month and trying to come up with something to give myself!

    Some other ideas:
    New Home – bigger tools (lawn mower, drill, really nice tool kit), outdoor seating, grill, gift cards to Lowe’s/Home Depot/Target/Furniture stores/favorite home decor shop, etc., voucher for handyman or professional organizer, big planters already full of flowers. The amount of unexpected $$ that needs to be spent on the unsexy things when you move in (new or old homes) is astronomical. If I feel comfortable knowing the person’s style, ART! And the person I gave a Dyson vac to one time still says it was one of the best presents they ever got.

    Big weight loss (for healthy reasons) – Shopping spree. Replacing all of your clothes, underwear and bras included, is fun but very expensive, even if you only shop at Old Navy.

    First Car – Full detail package. It’s like a spa day for your car and makes it feel like new! Trunk box full of necessities, a portable battery charger/tire pump, replacement all weather mats and trunk liner.

    Promotion/New Job/Work Accomplishment – for this I really like to do something like getting a small group together for a nice dinner/spa day/overnight trip to celebrate the person, making sure to ask them lots of questions about how they got there!

    PS. I still think it’s safe to say that if you are giving your romantic partner a big gift, it should be something special and NOT one of the practical gifts. Let friends and family take of those things.

    8.12.22 Reply
    • I LOVE these ideas, thank you for sharing! And yes to non-practical gifts for a partner 🙂

      8.12.22 Reply
  8. Emily:

    We’re currently building a house and I’ve been trying to think of a thank you gift for our contractor…I know it doesn’t exactly follow the “big milestone” theme, but do you have any ideas?

    8.13.22 Reply