Buying birthday gifts is hard. Do you go the fun route? The practical route? The gift card route? Or do you dwell too long and go with the belated text that says, “I owe you a drink! HBD!”?
Answer: None of the above! As your friend enters a new, more mature stage of life, pick pieces that she’ll actually want and use in her new decade. Because practical is the new gag gift. (Oh, who are we kidding? There are still shot glasses on this list!)
1. Matt & Nat Chanda Dwell Backpack
If your pal has been lugging around the same pack for years, it might be time for a mature upgrade. Enter one of our favorite brands, Matt & Nat. They have a full backpack line with dozens of designs for both men and women, but we’re big fans of the unique trapezoid shape of the Chanda Dwell. You can feel pretty good about buying it, too: The brand never uses leather or any animal products, meaning the line is 100% vegan.
2. New York Times Custom Birthday Book
In a world of fake news, present your pal with something 100% real—a custom coffee table book all about them! Well, not exactly about them, but pretty close—this customizable New York Times book includes the front pages of every issue since of the paper since the date of your friend’s birth. 1987 was one hell of a year! (Bookmark this book! You can use it for anniversaries and other special dates, too.)
3. Lettered & Lined Food Rules Art Print
It's time to tell your friend in a not so subtle way to ditch their college band posters for something that's—shocker!—more mature... and framed. This print in five different sizes with the option of 12 different frames. Tell your pal to think of a space that you wouldn’t normally think about for art, such as the kitchen, which is why we like this Letter & Lined vintage-inspired print that’s all about food. In fact, those foodie tips are life lessons that can be used in year 30 and beyond!
4. Geode Coasters
Rings around the coffee table just aren't cute. Instead of cardboard coasters you steal from the bar, opt for chic geode. Each amethyst and rose quartz stone coaster is lined with gold paint, yet no two are exactly the same. It’s a unique gift that does double duty by protecting your surfaces while also serving as elegant decor. (If you’re feeling generous, grab the matching agate cheese board for $78 that’ll help make their 30th birthday gathering that much prettier.)
5. Birthstone Mineral Soaps
Consider this an upgrade to any of those generic birthstone gifts you would have bought for 29th birthdays. Grab a soap in the birthstone coloring of your choice—though it’s probably a good idea to go for the month of the birthday girl—that also come in varying scents that match their colors. The handmade soaps are about the size of a fist and will be a stylish addition to any guest bathroom.
6. Ceramic Succulent Plant Pots
That's right. A pot for real life plant. Your friend is 30 now and it’s time to learn how to take care of a plant without letting it die immediately. It’s easier with hard-to-kill succulents and cacti, and it’ll be that much easier with a sharp minimalist planter. The pack of two pots are made of sturdy ceramic with a white bamboo tray. Choose from any of the 11 geometric containers depending on the size of the plant you will inevitably buy as well, and don’t forget to include pebbles or small glass beads for the succulents to thrive in.
7. Umbra Tesora Jewelry Box
Take it upon yourself to make the investment in better storage for your friend. This jewelry cylinder is small—just 4.5 inches tall—so it’s the perfect spot for rings, necklaces, and tiny knick-knacks. The two compartments fit on top of one another and is adorned with a zinc lid, perfect for showcasing your favorite pieces. And that concrete and copper combo? To die for. (Gentleman, don't scroll past this! Use it for those pieces that you don’t pull out that often, such as cuff links. It’ll make your dresser prettier for your lady, while serving its storage purpose for you, too.)
8. Blush Pom Pom Pint
Ever since we discovered Pehr in the baby section, we’ve been secretly trying to find a reason to gift their bins and baskets to all of our adult friends. Who says your pal needs to have a bambino to have adorable storage bins? Nobody, that’s who. We use these canvas bins for everything from laundry to throw blankets, dog toys, shoes, and so much more. While the soft gray is great for most decor, we're partial to the Millennial pink puffs. Pehr sells these bins in various sizes, so you can toss the small ones on your dresser for small storage and tuck the bigger baskets in corners of rooms that need to function as decor and storage.
9. Happy Plugs Ear Piece Wireless Headphones
Raise your hand if you actually like Apple's headphones? No one? Exactly. And even if your friend does like them, we think it’s time for them to opt for something slightly nicer. These wireless buds last up to five hours before needing to be recharged, and come equipped with three handy buttons that let you change the volume and skip and repeat songs.
10. Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses
Unfortunately, you and your friends aren't 21 anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still knock back a few like back in the good ol’ days. Binge drink in style with Himalayan salt shot glasses. Himalayan salt anything has been a staple on gift guides for years, but that’s because the unique color and salty after taste are really just that special and enhance any eating and drinking activity. The hint of salt is perfect for those late-night tequila shots, and because salt is antibacterial, you don’t need to clean them very much. Just a quick wipe and you’re good for round two!
11. Sprinkling Foil-Pressed Stationery
Stationery doesn’t have to be boring! Case in point: these chic note cards from Minted that are totally customizable with your pal’s name. Pick from five shapes and foil that comes in gold, silver, or rose gold. The best part? Your friend can use these for her thank you notes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
12. Coffee Press
Thirty-year-olds wake up at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and make French-pressed coffee—that’s just what they do! Over time this clay pot will take on the aroma and flavor of your favorite teas and coffees, so make sure you pal cleans it well or saves it for special coffee occasions. Stay caffeinated, my friend.
13. Grown Ass Woman Mug
And to go with your new, mature coffee press? An equally as mature mug of course. Because your friend is a grown ass woman who makes French-pressed coffee and still has a sense of humor.
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