Of all of the milestone birthdays that we celebrate, the 40th might be one of the least looked forward to by women. The threshold between being young and middle-aged, 40 is sometimes not considered a cause for celebration. Finding the right way to usher in the second half of a woman's life can make turning 40 a joyous occasion rather than a trying event.
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Celebrate for 40 Days
If the birthday girl is really dreading the idea of a big party, where everyone can rib her about turning the "big 4-0" all at once, consider instead planning a mini-celebration each day. If you know what time she was born, then plan to do a little something nice for her each day at that time. This can range from bringing her a nice coffee, to dropping off a card, to going for a walk to serenading her with the birthday song. Start 20 days before her big day and end it 20 days afterward, to symbolize that life goes on after this big milestone day.
Plan a Getaway
If there is somewhere that she has always talked or dreamed about going, then her 40th birthday is the perfect excuse to finally just do it. If it is a domestic trip, surprise her by whisking her away on a moment's notice. Work with her employer and arrange childcare in advance. Enlist help packing her bags for her, so that she won't have a clue what is coming. Pick her up from work or home or wherever you plan to leave from in a limo, and let her know that she is about to embark on the getaway of a lifetime. If you are planning an international expedition, odds are that you will have to include her in the planning, as there is no "sneaky" way to make sure her passport is current.
The Story of Her
If you don't have the kind of budget to allow for an extravagant trip, and keeping up the celebration for 40 days is too much for you, you can put together a scrapbook of sorts, chronicling each year of her life. Use a high-quality scrapbook, that can be expanded as needed, to put together a page or two with highlights and events from each of her 40 years. Include plenty of extra pages, so that she can continue documenting her personal adventure for the next 40 years. Use newspapers, family members and friends to cull information that is sure to bring on a nostalgic moment or two for the birthday girl.