Under $40 Gifts for Over 40 Women

This year the best gifts are useful, thoughtful and less expensive than they look.
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Gap Metallic Ruffle Flats

A little bit classic, a little bit trendy, these ballet flats are equally perfect for a holiday party or a day running errands. ($39.50)


Jonathan Adler Glasses Case

Who says bifocals aren’t rock and roll? This pouch from the king of funky-yet-functional design keeps glasses stylishly scratch-free. ($38)


Stacking Lunchbox

Driving less, forgoing pedicures, bringing lunch to work — who isn’t cutting back these days? Toting meals in this three-compartment bento box feels classier (and more environmentally friendly) than brown-bagging it. ($35)


Illustrated Books by Assouline

A bit of luxury for your style-obsessed girlfriend: The little picture books from chic French publisher Assouline make charming — and affordable — coffee table fodder. Subjects range from legendary fashion designers (Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior…) to fine art. ($18.95 and up)


Rorshock! Game

What’s more entertaining than analyzing your loved ones’ Freudian hang-ups? This set of 20 inkblot cards comes with a diagnosis book, so you’ll finally find out who’s battiest. ($15.50)


Calypso St. Barth Gardenia Candle

It’s not just a candle — it’s the Caribbean vacation no one can afford this year, wrapped up in an elegant, gardenia-scented package. ($38)


Chocolate Fondue Kit

More fun than a box of truffles and just as decadent, this might be the perfect little hostess gift. ($24)


Vera Wang for William Arthur Notecards

In our e-mail and Facebook age, these stunning, laser-cut cards make an impression. ($38 for 10)


Laura Mercier French Vanilla Honey Bath

A vanilla-scented bath for grown-ups, Laura Mercier’s formula isn’t cloyingly sweet. Honey, a natural humectant, helps tone and tighten skin. ($40)


Double-Wall Latte Cup

For design lovers, or leisurely sippers: Insulated double-walled glass keeps drinks hotter, longer. ($39.95 for a set of two)


Alex & Ani Earrings

Delicate, pretty, and more affordable than they look. ($32)


Wooden Magnet Boards

Help fight midlife brain fog with these memo boards. Magnets magically stick to their real wood surfaces — genius! ($20 each)


Water Lilies Umbrella

This elegant umbrella, featuring a pattern based on a Frank Lloyd Wright window design, is one of those everyday luxuries no one thinks to buy for herself. ($30)


"Bochox" Chocolate Bar

This all-natural anti-ager makes a cute stocking stuffer. From the box: "Simply break off the desired dosage and consume. You should quickly be overcome by stress-relieving endorphins and no longer concerned in the slightest about your wrinkles." Best of all, the 55 percent cocoa dark chocolate inside is divine. ($5)


Arty Magnifiers

It’s a fact: Small print gets fuzzier as we age. Leave it to the Metropolitan Museum to reinterpret useful objects as objets d’art: These credit-card-size magnifiers illuminate text with the press of a button, and look much more stylish than other versions we’ve seen. ($12.95)


Leather Gloves

A bright accessory pops in a sea of dark winter coats. The best real-leather gloves we’ve found for under $40, these come in five standout colors — and in black, for the purists. ($39.50)


Grobal Self-Watering Planter

Between reinventing her career, running marathons, and changing the world, a MORE woman has little time to worry about things like watering plants. This slick Karim Rashid-designed pot takes care of the dirty work. ($28)


Banana Republic Cocktail Rings

Even during a recession, occasions will arise that call for a little bling (such as New Year’s Eve parties, or Mondays). No need to feel shopper’s guilt when the price is this affordable. ($29-$39)


Victorian Wallpaper Print Water Bottle

The increasingly ubiquitous aluminum water bottle as interpreted by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum: It features a famous William Morris wallpaper design from the Arts and Crafts era. Also: It’s pretty! ($16.95)


Fair-Trade Indian Sari Wine Bags

Green and gorgeous: High-quality vintage saris are reinvented as luxe wine bottle bags. Their under-$10 price tag means you’ll have enough left over for a nice merlot. ($9.50 each)

Originally published on MORE.com, December 2008.


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