Thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend (platonic or romantic) can be more challenging than you'd expect, especially if you've already given her a framed photo of you two. But fear not; herewith are some ideas drawn from our editors' wish lists.
Does she have a hobby? Tools and accessories that cater to a lady's pursuit are always appreciated, particularly if they skew towards the hip. For knitters and seamstresses, a book of modern/non-frumpy patterns is always good to have—finding cool, free patterns online isn't always easy.
Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe, $17.15
Sporty types always appreciate new gear, but that's tricky — unless you have specific instructions regarding size and fit, quality athletic clothes are best purchased by the wearer. But the Adidas miCoach system is pretty cool; a digital, personalized training program helps you keep of your progress. And it's the sort of gift that recognizes and supports a lady's goals. Not her speed? If she's into yoga, spinning, kickboxing or any other specialized fitness classes, buy her a series of classes at a studio she'd like. It will feel splurgy to her, but can be quite easy on your wallet.
Adidas miCoach, $139.99
The problem with learning to cook is not one's failure to keep fingers out of the mixing bowl (provided you know no fear of salmonella or somesuch). The challenge is dealing with the never-ending task of buying utensils and supplies, one by one, as you tackle new recipes. You never bought a whisk because you didn't need one 'til now, and now you're running out and buying something crappy or overpriced because you need to use it ASAP. It's a pain in the ass. But a nice utensil set can alleviate much of that problem in one fell swoop.
Speaking of sets, there's usually a little something that a woman can't quite justify needing or even wanting enough to plop down cash — hell, she might not even think to buy that something. Like nice makeup brushes, which are kind of great, especially if you don't totally know what you're doing with, say, eyeshadow — good tools make the process go down a lot easier. Sephora has a few lines of brushes at various price points; the cheapest ones are still pretty damn nice and will last for years.
Sephora Collection Vanity Brush Set, $48
Again with the sets thing: What's her favorite television show? Get it on DVD. Box sets of critically adored shows will give most aficionados a giddy ladyboner.
The Wire: The Complete Series, $100.99
Seeing as the holidays are synonymous with cold-weather season, it's easy to buy warm accessories. But a nice hat or scarf can be a little obvious. Fleece-lined tights, however, are awesome—some women (like myself, until now) don't even know they exist. But once she owns a pair of her own, she very well may weep with gratitude.
Plush Fleece-Lined Tights, $35
Beverages — so simple, so appreciated. Maybe it's a six pack of an unusual beer. Or maybe it's a sturdy travel mug (appreciated by anyone who's had spills during the morning commute). Pair it with some schmancy ground coffee or an interesting tea, and it probably won't get regifted.
Aladdin Recyclable and Reusable Travel Mug,
Kusmi Tea, $16.99
There's a common perception that giving a gift card is an inherently lazy; unless the card is to a specialty retailer much beloved by the recipient, it's a pretty generic present. That said, I highly doubt that there's ever been a Target gift card that wasn't eventually put to good use. And there's something about Sephora that causes blackouts—you wander in to kill some time and suddenly, 90 minutes later, you're blinking back to consciousness and wondering what the hell you've been doing the entire time. You might never buy $25 foundation on your own dime, but if someone else is giving you your pick of the store…