4 Warm and Charming Gift Ideas for May Birthdays

Photo by Joel Holland on Unsplash

May’s got a lot going on–Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, National Chocolate Parfait Day… It’s easy for someone with a birthday in May to feel a little bit like an afterthought. Make sure they’re front and center by celebrating them full-throatedly this year. 

The symbols of May birthdays are lily of the valley and hawthorn for flowers and emerald and agate for stones. If you’re looking for something on the nose (which is often framed as a bad thing, but sometimes straightforward is the way to go), choose a piece of jewelry featuring one of those. 

But sometimes we want to be a little more subtle in our gifting. If so, take a look at the ideas below.


Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Summer is the time for vacation–family and otherwise. Prep your… Maydite? (hmm, Imma think on that one) for their summer ‘ventures with some travel supplies or even a little birthday trip!

There’s no better time than May to visit the, uh, northern Southern US states. Think of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The weather there is warm enough to ensure plenty of outdoor time without getting into the oppressive heat of July and August. To make the most of your trip, take advantage of the East Coast Amtrak network. Without having to drive, you can enjoy every minute of the countryside. 

If you’re not ready to drop the bucks on a full summer vacay, you can make whatever trips your friend takes this summer just that little bit better. 

A day pack will keep them organized and light on their feet. It’s always good to encourage the balance between over packing and under preparation. I like this one from United By Blue and this one from Bellroy. If you’re gifting to a dedicated photographer, check out Wandrd’s exceptional selection of packs so they can safely carry their high quality gear with them. 

For those who like to stay a little closer to home, and perhaps have a wee bit of whimsy about them, a picnic basket might just hit the spot. I know I’m always saying that I want to spend more time enjoying the outdoors each summer, and a basket like this one by Picnic at Ascot or this one by Twine. Of course, sitting on sand or wet grass for hours is few people’s idea of a good time, so maybe throw in a Pendleton picnic blanket to complete the bundle.


Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

For those who enjoy and consume alcohol, warmer weather means lighter booze–gin, vodka, and tequila for hard alcohols; IPAs, blond ales, sauvignon blancs and pinot grigios for, er, soft alcohols.

For those who do not consume alcohol, the lighter and brighter for the weather idea stands, but instead of booze think of vinegars. I love a good citrus champagne vinegar, and have been falling in love with the Giusti line of vinegars from Modena, Italy.

You could also look at candies like these fruit gummies from Sugarfina. Chocolate has a nasty tendency of melting in the warm weather, but gummy candy (though not impervious to heat) is a bit more stable. 

If you’re gifting to someone who’s watching their diet, candies aren’t always a kindness. But if they’re comfortable with treating themselves occasionally, make sure it’s an exceptional experience with these gummy bears by way of Paris

The key is thinking about what they’ll be delighted to consume over the next few weeks, not something (however delicious) that requires waiting for months to enjoy–though hey, if they’ve been known to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in July, more power to ‘em. Lean into that!


Photo by Kai Oberhäuser on Unsplash

As the weather becomes more favorable, the desire to join nature in its creativity becomes stronger. 

Take advantage of the momentum with some tools to be creative in nature. Plein air painting is outside by definition, and even those who are not traditionally “artsy” may find they enjoy trying out a new hobby. 

If they haven’t tried out art-ing before, don’t drop too much money here. An introductory travel easel like this one from Blick Art Supplies and maybe a small paintbrush kit or drawing pencil set (I like how this one includes a kneading eraser and a sanding board) will let your giftee explore a new side of themselves whether they’re turning 9 or 99.

If they already have a deep love of the visual arts, you can take this gift a step further. I’m a complete sucker for everything Peg and Awl makes and have been following them for over a decade. Their gorgeous Scout plein air box will screw into a standard camera tripod making a petite on-the-go easel that is both rustic and elegant. 

I love my Sendak artist roll for holding all of my drawing supplies–it has all the sleeves and pouches I need to keep items separate and secure and wraps up tightly to take on long walks. 

If you’re gifting to a watercolor enthusiast, the Petra painter’s palette is a must. The six wells for colors combined with the mixing well mean that any color your artist is looking for is only a few moments of mixing away.


Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Sometimes we can get caught up in warm weather’s call to do something after months of sitting around on our couch. Use this opportunity encourage your May baby to take care of themselves.

Encourage them to enjoy the longer light of spring and summer with gifts for any outdoor space they might have. Citronella candles will help fend off any unwelcome flying guests to avoid panic attacks right before bed. (I’m looking at you, horse flies.)

Cafe lights have an unparalleled magical effect on any space they’re strung up in, no matter how small. They’ve even got kits now that are solar powered.

Stop by World Market and check out their outdoor pillow selection. An often overlooked, but hard to overestimate part of ensuring a comfortable and cozy outdoor space.

And of course, there’s the firepit. If you’re gifting to someone in a small apartment space, take a look at mini firepits like FLIKR offers. Or, if you wanna really lean into the cute factor, pick up a portable fire pit from City Bonfires. Perfect for relaxing on a pint-sized balcony with an Ikea bistro dining set, drinking that perfect bottle of pinot grigio you dropped by with. 

Don’t let your May-der (nope, no better) get lost amidst the other events in May. Take a little extra time and show them you’ve been thinking about them. And if all that thinking doesn’t get you any closer to a good gift, let us know–we’d love to help you out!

[This post includes products from… Amtrak, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bellroy, Blick Art Supplies, City Bonfires, Drizly, Food52, Home Depot, Huckberry, Ikea, O Olive Oil, Peg and Awl, Pendleton, Sugarfina, United By Blue, Vosges Chocolate, Wandrd, Wayfair, Wine.com, World Market, Yankee Candle.]

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