Today, sharing meaningful gifts for the women we love in our lives — the kinds of items I would breathlessly gush about once opened: “OK, I have to tell you about this…” or “You will be obsessed with this…” All are perfect for holiday gift-giving, but lovely for birthdays, or just because occasions, too. Here are the litmus tests I typically use: 1) would I want this for myself?; 2) is this realistically priced? (I personally don’t go above $150 for most gifts; there are some items a bit more expensive, but most are $150 or less); and 3) is this something that I would actually feel comfortable giving? On this latter point, I often feel that gift guides look pretty on the page, with all the objects a lovely constellation of color and pattern, but when it comes down to it, isolating just one item on its own can sometimes feel…boring? Unimpressive? Impersonal?
01. TRACKSMITH HARRIER TEE. For the fellow runner / outdoor athlete in your life. This is the kind of thing I find difficult to splurge on for myself ($84 for a running tee?!), but has turned out to be a total exercise essential. I hope she doesn’t see it, but I’m buying one of these for my sister, who’s gotten into running this year.
02. HAAND DESSERT BOWLS. Mr. Magpie and I love the handmade dishes from this Carolina-based company. This set of dessert bowls would be a sweet treasure for a good friend. Gorgeous even as a display item on a shelf!
03. MARCH HARE WRAP WATCH. I love the styles of these well-priced leather watches. Hermes vibes for a fraction of the price. The “about” story behind this brand is adorable: the founder, Mabel, inherited and promptly lost her mother’s leather watch after leaving for college, and wasn’t able to find anything to replace it that wasn’t exorbitantly expensive. She now runs the business with her sister. UPDATE: March Hare has offered us 10% off with code MAGPIEBYJENSHOOP.
04. SEY COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION. For the coffee perfectionist! We’ve been enjoying our subscription to this Brooklyn-based roaster for most of 2023. These coffees are outrageously delicious.
05. HESTRA ALTA MITTENS. Hestra is family run business that has been around for over a century and is trusted for cold weather accoutrements. Ideal for the sis always complaining about cold fingers, or the one who just relocated to Chicago.
06. CELINE TRIOMPHE KEY RING. For your sister who loves a splash of designer. This is the kind if bibelot she’d probably never buy herself, but will delight in toting with her keys.
07. WHEN THINGS FALL APART. This is currently in my TBR. Advice for navigating and healing from tough times from a Buddhist nun. A thoughtful gift for a girlfriend who’s leaned on your shoulder and appreciates this kind of inspirational writing. (We all have those friends to whom we send / DM meaningful quotes.)
08. LL BEAN BOAT AND TOTE. A classic for a reason — these last forever and are wildly useful for, well, everything. Get it monogrammed with her nickname, or a funny inside joke. I love many of the colors, but especially the natural one, medium size, regular length straps, with “taupe” monogram.
09. APPOINTED NOTEBOOK AND 2024 PLANNER. I’m passionate about paper and gradually I have retired all other brands in favor of the thoughtfully-designed notebooks and planners from D.C.-based Appointed. I love the weight and texture of the paper (slightest bit of gloss, ink does not bleed through to the other side), and the overall design — the gold block font, the minimalist design, the elegant colors — make me feel artful.
10. KAWECO PEN. Bundle the notebooks with this style-conscious pen. I’m sure there are many Reddit subthreads passionately abuzz about this implement.
11. PICAYUNE CELLARS WINE CLUB. This female-founded, Napa-based winery offers a French woman’s take on Cali wines/grapes. We found her wines elegant but fun. Treat your mama to the wine club for a year, or select a couple of bottles to ship. They do not distribute beyond the Napa region, so a wine lover will delight in this new discovery.
12. DORSEY CLEMENCE BRACELET. So spectacular — this will take her breath away and promptly join her arm party. I feel like this style suits so many different “vibes” — classic, edgy, feminine, minimalist.
13. BY MALINA BLOUSE — Unusual, artisanal, elevated. This feels like a party waiting to happen. Your fashion-forward sister will be obsessed.
15. COLLECTOR’S EDITION SCRABBLE — For the sister who always beats you, a game pretty enough to keep out on the coffee table.
16. DANSK KOBENSTYLE SAUCEPAN — Love this pretty-enough-to-display saucepan. The 1 quart size is perfect for heating her favorite soup, warming milk, preparing hot chocolate.
17. RHOBACK Q-ZIP — For your golf or tennis buddy, a performance material pullover for your next match/round.
18. ALWAYS BRACELET — The charm on this sweet bracelet from Hart jewelry (based in Charleston, SC) is stamped with the word “always” for that loved one who is, well, always there, and who you’ll always be there for, too.
19. ACID LEAGUE VINEGARS — For the curious, cultivated cook. We all have that friend who makes the best vinaigrette; she’ll love these.
20. LESET POINTELLE TEE — You didn’t think I’d leave my favorite thing to wear on a daily basis off the list, did you? So soft. Max hygge. She’ll thank you.
21. GOOP GLOW EXFOLIATOR — As you know, I can only speak in exclamation points about this fabulous exfoliator (both a chemical and physical exfoliant). I love this prettily-packed anniversary edition. Your bestie’s skin will thank you. (A full review here.)
22. CADENCE TRAVEL JARS — These modular, magnetic travel containers have generated quite the buzz and would be a fun upgrade for a frequent traveler. One big bonus is that they’re dishwasher-safe (and, of course, leakproof, sleek, compact), so you can easily clean them out between trips (a gripe of mine with my lesser expensive sets).
23. MASON PEARSON BRUSH — A classic, high-function tool she’ll have for the rest of her life. We all need one! This is the kind of thing no one wants to spend money on, but she’ll be so happy she has this in her tool kit. If you’re not familiar with the brand, it’s been around forever and is widely known for distributing hair oil really well for a beautiful, tangle-free, glossy mane of hair.
24. HUNZA G SWIMSUIT — The OSFA swimsuit we all love and adore. Do you have a gal pal who is new to the brand? She’ll be indebted to you when she realizes this is the only thing she reaches for on pool days. Bonus: this also works with bump, so a thoughtful gift for an expecting mama.
25. CLARE VIVIER CROSSBODY STRAP — Fun way to zhush up your friend’s favorite tote.
26. SENNHEISER MOMENTUM 4 NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES — I just bought these for myself after doing quite a bit of research. These turned my head over a few other options because they are ultra lightweight (much lighterweight than Apple Max), come with a case and AUX adapter that make it great for travel, and have a very long battery life (over 2x longer than Apple’s set). These would be a thoughtful gift for a frequent traveler or anyone who has expressed trouble focusing while in a co-working space (or WFH).
27. MATCH SOUTH FRAMED MATCHBOOK — Tons of designs available; pick the one that showcases a prominent shared memory, space, experience, etc. (E.g., “Never forget the night at Chick-Fil-A” or “That time we splurged to share a room at The Plaza.”)
28. MERIT GLOW SET. I want to give ALL Merit products to ALL my loved ones. This set is ideal, though, because you don’t have to make any guesses about what color complexion stick to buy, making it a bit easier to deliver as a gift.
29. UGG TAZZ SLIPPERS. I literally can’t take these off. They are my new personality.
30. MODEL BAKERY ENGLISH MUFFINS. One of the best things I’ve eaten all year. While in Calistoga, CA, we visited this century-old bakery twice in three days. They ship!
31. HANNI X MACHETE HOLIDAY SET — I just received a few Hanni products and will share the full DL soon, but this brand makes self-care/grooming gear “for lazy girls.” (Or, as I’d prefer to put it, “for busy girls.”). This set includes their best-selling water balm (apply in shower and you don’t need to use lotion afterward!) and the hair clip that Gwyneth Paltrow raves about.
32. QUINCE CASHMERE SWEATER — One of my favorite sweaters, and somehow under $100. Ultra-soft. Size up one or even two sizes.
P.S. As we head into the Advent season, I’m thinking of this post from a few years ago, which asked: “What’s in your house?” as a way to set the table for the season.
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