Somehow, each year my holiday gift giving list seems to grow. In addition to my family, I have a large circle of gal pals who mean the world to me. I have walking buddies, horseback riding friends, work teammates, and some lifelong besties. And, I usually pick up small trinkets for all of them.
It’s easy to go overboard on thoughtful gifts for the girls who have stood by me all year long. Listening to my work woes, helping me out of a jam when I have car trouble, and pitching in to cook together for a year’s worth of holiday celebrations, BBQs and bonfires – they all deserve a little treat!
In order to keep my credit card spending under control, I try to keep my gift giving small, simple, and useful. This year, I’ve found five amazing Girlfriend Gift Exchange ideas that are personal, thoughtful and will delight the recipients.
Do feel free to steal these suggestions for your annual Girlfriend Gift Exchange!
For the Gardener, Gifts of Plants and Seeds. From annuals and perennials to houseplants, succulents, ferns, and orchids, a gift of a plant or seeds is a gift that will be appreciated for years to come. I especially adore dressing up a potted plant in holiday finery wrapped in festive cloth and finished with a massive ribbon bow. Seed packets can easily be fashioned into a wreath with real wow factor using a simple wire frame. Or combine a gift of plants and seeds with a related piece, such gardening gloves, a trug, sunhat, or kneeling pad. Years ago, I received a gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply and it quickly became my ultimate source for all things gardening.
For the Coffee Addict, Compass Coffee: When my daughter was at university in Washington, DC, she discovered many fabulous local restaurants and food items, from Sweetgreen to Sprinkles Cupcakes (I sure did love to visit her!). But, none has been quite so beloved by our entire family as Compass Coffee. The unique coffee blends are peak roasted fresh at their local cafes. Each coffee has a wonderful description of its flavors (the seasonal blends are some of my personal faves). 12 oz tins start at just $13.99 and free shipping is available on orders $35 and over. For the coffee enthusiast, Compass Coffee is hard to beat! See the changing collections at Compass Coffee.
For the Inquisitive, Books: Books have always been one of my favorite gifts to give and receive (I am co-founder of a literacy organization, after all!). A great book on architecture, photography, baking… the possibilities are endless. And, a book is a gift that keeps giving. I personally have books that I’ve read many, many times, such as Classic Rooms by Robert Harling, John Bridges, and Leonie Highton, which I received as a gift over 20 years ago. A terrific book can also spark a new passion, or introduce the reader to a new author. Last year for example, I received A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, which I enjoyed so much that it led me to hunt for additional works (I am up to eight at last count!). Barnes and Noble or Amazon, of course, are easy places to pick up just about any book you could want. But, I also enjoy giving new life to a pre-loved books. If your recipient is eco-minded, two used bookstores that have incredible selections are Second & Charles and Powell Books.
For the Holiday Enthusiast, Old World Christmas Ornaments: Although I adore Christopher Radko ornaments, many of them are very pricey. A wonderful alternative? Old World Ornaments. These gorgeous mouth-blown glass, hand painted ornaments are available in a vast number of themes, from animals, to food and drink, sports, collegiate, travel and so much more. You are sure to find exactly the right piece for each recipient on your list. A wee boat for the sailing enthusiast, a steaming mug of tea for the Downton Abbey obsessed, or a kennel full of pups for the new doggie “mom.” With over 1,500 ornaments from which to choose, it would be hard not to find at least one (choosing is the hardest part). Prices range from a mere $4.99 for a petite bauble to about $49.99 for a set of six adorable pieces. Visit Old World Christmas to see the entire line (and be prepared… you’ll want them all!).
For the Fashionista, Earrings from Sitara Collections: This has been my go-to source for sterling silver jewelry for so long, it’s hard to remember where I ever shopped before. Not only does Sitara Collections have the most gorgeous pieces I’ve found, but the fine jewelry – and especially the wide selection of earrings – is incredibly affordable. Stunning sterling and semi-precious gemstone pieces start at about $24. Plus, this is a purchase you can really feel good about because this jewelry is sourced from ethical and sustainable methods, and is handcrafted by highly skilled artisans who are paid fairly for their remarkable designs. Visit Sitara Collections to see the amazing earrings (and while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the other lovely pieces, as well).
Whichever gifts you choose for your group of incredible girlfriends, enjoy the time together. This year, after the long separations due to COVID, I realize how precious these friendships can be!
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Since 2009, Susan Said… WHAT?! has been your guide to living a life filled with style… from must-have fashion and accessories, to beauty essentials, to gorgeous gardens and interiors, plus the latest products and ideas for parties.
Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com.