My dear sister-in-law gave me my all-time favorite birthday gift the year I turned fifty. If you’re good on the computer and with photo-shop and have the time this is a spectacular gift. She made a magazine, which she entitled Person with me on the cover. She cleverly designed it to look like the real People magazine and had photos and articles about me and my life and photo shopped my head onto several other people so it looked like I was in the company of famous people and in well-known advertisements. At the end friends and family wrote about their memories of me and she included photos with the writings. This would also be a great idea for anniversaries, graduations, retirements or any other occasion when the objective is to bring a person to tears of joy.
Why not try a Their Special Day Celebration by making this a day of no chores or responsibilities. Let them pick the food they would like and serve it up as if they are royalty. Make them King or Queen for the day. Depending on the age of the birthday person you could really go nuts with this idea and have them wear a crown, wait on them hand and foot, giving them the respect and attention due them on their special day.
A thoughtful idea for the bibliophile in your life is to buy or give a gently used book to a school or library in the name of the birthday person. I work in a school where this has been a long standing tradition of the library. Grown up kids often return to see if their donated birthday book is still on the shelf with the bookplate acknowleging the gift in the name of the child.
Nothing could be simpler than recalling the accomplishments and good deeds of the birthday person over the last year. This could be in the form of a book which would include photos or a less time consuming way would be to merely write them in a card which includes this information.
My son turned 28 this year and requested something very practical from the family. I acquiesced reluctantly because it seemed so "not special". A book I was reading revealed the number 28 to be the second perfect number (the first is 6) the next perfect number is 496. So as 28 was so special I did a little online research and found many interesting facts about the number 28, printed them out and enclosed it in a lovely card. He enjoyed the card and I was thrilled that I could add a bit of creatvity to an otherwise dull gift. Actually he loved the gift, it was me who thought it was boring. Essentially I made myself happy and that's okay too!