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, some have a personalized message and some are 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 and a great choice.

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 and such a simple gift idea.

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

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 thoughtful, personalized 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
  9. shannon:

    Hi! when you have time, any chance of updating your milestone gift links? I don’t mean new ideas but for example, I’m dying to see which Loewe bag you recommend for work but the link no longer works. Same with the Smythson planner.
    Love the recs!!

    3.17.23 Reply
    • I will try! The products featured have sold out but I’ll add this to my to-do list in case anything’s still in stock.

      3.17.23 Reply