A Present for a Big Birthday

By Lloyd Graff

(The comments section on our website is live again so please give me your thoughts.)

My wife, Risa, will celebrate a big birthday next week, and I do not know what to give her. I have considered the usual presents–jewelry, clothes, a trip. None seem right.

This brings back a conversation that I had with my father a couple of years after my mother had died. We often talked about business, and he told me many stories about his family and his youth but very little about his relationship with his wife. 

A few years before he died, about five years after my mom had died, I visited him in Florida by myself. He was in an unusually pensive mood one night, and he told me with great feeling that he wished he’d “given her more jewelry.” 

I was shocked by the remark because it had never occurred to me that she lacked for rings or pins or necklaces. 

I filed the comment away, but I was seeing a psychotherapist at the time and asked him about the phrase that had struck a nerve in me. He said “the jewelry” was not gold or diamonds. It was a substitute term for love and sex. I had never heard that before, but I guess it runs through the therapy literature.

I can honestly say that I have given, and am still giving Risa all my love at the age of 76, but I still want to give her a memorable gift that is not a nightgown or a sweater on this big birthday.

COVID-19 has definitely been a problem for us this year. We haven’t traveled to California to visit my daughter and family for well over a year, and they have not visited us since last February. We have seen our Chicago family, but the visits have been short and masked, except for the month when Noah and his wife lived with us. With our second vaccination shots coming up soon, we hope to improve on that, but the steps will be cautious for a while.

This year we had a 50th Anniversary Zoom party, and we have family Zoom sessions frequently.

I am stumped for a memorable present that defies the commonplace. I am sure you have faced the issue of giving a gift that will be valued and remembered.

As a couple, we have been truly blessed. We live in America and have the joys of affluence. Everybody our age has health issues, but both of us get to work rather than have to work. We also exercise and read.

I have some ideas, and I still have enough time to move on them, but I would also like to hear about presents that you have given to a special person on a special day. 

(The comments section on our website is live again so please give me your thoughts. )

Question: What is your suggestion for a present for my wife’s 70th birthday?

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14 thoughts on “A Present for a Big Birthday

  1. Phillip Hawkins

    If you are not a Christian and have not accepted Christ as your savior please take her to church and pray with her. Ask god for his forgiveness and to come into your hearts. You and her can share the gift of eternal life! Then tell her you want to read the bible to her from cover to cover this year 2021. Set some time daily to read to her or her to you. By the time you finish reading all of Gods Holy word, your relationship with your wife will be better than you have ever imagined. That is a great gift!

  2. John

    I have learned that it wasn’t the gift that my wife loved, it was always the thought of the effort, fretting, etc. in getting the gift that brought my wife joy.

    You are halfway there!

  3. Jo

    A “picture” of your life together. People often do this for funerals, to remember their loved one, but how much better it would be for that person to be able to look back on a “slide show” of their life. No matter if its photographs or a Powerpoint or an automatic scrolling picture frame, this would be a wondaful present. (I’ve got a Nixplay brand frame and my “kids” can add pictures to it any time from anywhere, they scroll through automatically with the parameters I set – MUCH better than most of the electronic frames that you have to be with to load new pix)


    Years ago my sisters and I gave my parents a small handmade book, “Our Favorite Christmas Memories”. We each wrote our favorite memories on parchment paper, and I bound it and put an old Christmas picture of us on the front. Nothing fancy, but we recalled how our parents made the holiday so special for each of us. My parents are gone now, and I have the precious book.
    Can you record some of your favorite moments or events with your wife?

  5. Leo

    You’re on the right track – spending time thinking about it. Try for something that appeals to her interests. If it is jewelry, go for it. Maybe it’s a trip for just the 2 of you.

    Ask Noah for ideas?

  6. Cynthia Wheeler

    I would suggest a simple cuff bracelet engraved with words (either inside or on the top) that have a special meaning between the two of you. She would wear it always and know what the special phrase said every time she glanced at it and know that you are close to her always. Sometimes the simple things relay what is closest to our heart. At this age, we don’t need more of the same or extra fancy things – just something to make us extra close to one another.

  7. Valorie Ray

    Lloyd, how about an actual scrapbook – memories of the past (pictures, ticket stubs, maps and mementos of vacations, family events, etc. You could write a ‘special note’ and add to the front of the book – – on the last page, you could attach an envelope with a ‘special note’ and two tickets for a special birthday future event, trip, etc. that you have already planned. This scrapbook can be shared with family and friends in the years to come! Happy Birthday Risa!


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