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When we reach our 60th birthday, it's a milestone of sorts, signaling a new stage of middle age. It's often a case of how you look at it – as the proverbial glass – is it half full or half empty? On the one hand, the 60th birthday makes us realize life is indeed short. On the other hand, we've got a lot of experiences under our belts, as well as many accomplishments. You may have children and grandchildren, with all the joy they bring to your life. You also probably have more time and money for the activities you enjoy. “Senior” discounts often begin at age 55, with shops in your home town, hotels, theater tickets, and organizations such as AARP allowing you to pay less for goods and services you use anyway. So all in all, a 60th birthday is cause for celebration.

Some well-heeled celebrities, like former President Clinton, plan elaborate 60th birthday party bashes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to mark the event. Most of the rest of us don't have the means for such an “A-list” party. In fact, many of us would not even enjoy such a formal and costly 60th birthday party.

If you know someone who's hitting the big six-oh, there are lots of ways to put together a 60th birthday party that won't be soon forgotten. In many ways, planning a successful 60th birthday party is easier than doing one for younger people. By the time a person is sixty, they've zeroed in on the activities and interests they're passionate about and have the time to pursue.

Cooking, gardening, reading, crafts, camping, fishing and hiking are very popular with people in this age group. Your birthday person may well share these interests or perhaps have a single special area of interest, such as the history buff or stained glass devotee. These are interests that can be developed into a theme for a terrific and memorable bash.

The cook will be delighted with a “cookbook-of-the-month” gift, some selected gourmet cooking tools or a party basket stuffed with gourmet cheeses, smoked trout or salmon, fine wines and the like. For party food, organize family and friends to each bring a favorite dish of the guest of honor.

The hiker may well enjoy their 60th birthday spent outdoors at a county park with hiking trails and picnic facilities. Gift ideas include hiking boots, binoculars to get a closer look at a beautiful vista along the way or a camera to capture happy memories.

The history buff is easy to please. Bookstores and online book dealers have thousands of choices for thoughtful additions to their library. For the person who has everything, think outside the box. Perhaps a history of medicine or religion will offer a new dimension pertinent to their passion for history.

So just put on your thinking cap and let your imagination guide you. One thing is for certain: a 60-year old is easy to please.

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