Thursday, March 5, 2015

Gift Ideas for Gal Pals

My little sister's birthday was this past weekend... well kind of, as she was born on Leap Year Day, so we just kind of celebrate her birthday through February 28th and March 1st on non-leap years.  The Mister and I got her a Bruegger's Bagels gift card because I have passed down my love of Bruegger's breakfast sandwiches (particularly the Better Bacon Cheddar!) to her, and I know she frequents their location near her dorm often before class.

Although I'm sure she'll put the gift to good use, it got me thinking about how much I give gift cards as presents and how strange the concept of gift cards really is.  When giving a gift card, you kind of say to the recipient, "here is some money for you... but you can only spend it at this one store/restaurant." Wouldn't most people rather just have the money outright so they could spend it on what they wanted?  But I think I'm drawn to gift cards because I can show some degree of thoughtfulness by purchasing the card from a place that I know the recipient likes and frequents often, which makes the gift more personal than just plain cash.

I try to remember my friends on their birthdays with at least a greeting card and usually a gift, and I often find myself leaning toward gift cards because they are so easy to mail; most of my friends don't really live close enough for hand delivery to be an option.  But I would really like to start trying to find something handpicked for each person on her birthday.  Most online stores allow you to bill one address and deliver to another, so my "gift cards are easier" argument doesn't really hold up in that respect.

All of this led me to start brainstorming about items that are more personal and far more lovely than a plastic gift card.  Leading up to Christmas, gift guides are everywhere online, but I feel like there's always a birthday for someone I love on my calendar no matter what time of the year it is.  Not to mention that sometimes little gifts are appropriate for graduations, new jobs, or a little pick-me-up when a girlfriend is going through a tough time.  Even though it's always the things we say and our presence that matters the most to our friends, sometimes a thoughtful, personal gift can truly make someone's day.  So, I thought I'd share some of my ideas for birthday (or anytime!) gifts for gal pals!

Minimalist Jewelery

I'm really digging the minimalism trend right now, especially when it comes to jewelry.  I can't speak for all ladies, but I know I would rather receive simple, everyday pieces of jewelry over big statement pieces.  The ear cuff trend is especially exciting for me because I've had to remove my fun ear piercings due to infections, so I'm thrilled for the chance to wear edgier earrings again.  Most of these photos are from Etsy, but you can also find items on this trend in local boutiques in a variety of price ranges.

Succulent Terrariums and Planters

A planter or terrarium may be the perfect way to liven up a friend's home or work space.  I think the greatest thing about indoor plants is that they breathe life into a room.  You can give your friend something that's bright and alive yet fairly low maintenance, which may be the perfect gift for someone who's going through a tough or busy time.  Even better, if you arrange and plant the planter or terrarium for her, she'll know how much love and thought you put into the gift.

Subscription Services

Subscriptions are a great gift because they keep on giving for as long as you choose!  And when it comes to subscription services these days, there really is something for everyone.  For the makeup and hair fanatic in your life, there's Birchbox, which sends a monthly box of a variety of beauty samples.  Or for the exercise and gym enthusiasts who, like me, seem to always find themselves in yoga pants, Fabletics is a company founded by Kate Hudson that sends the recipient a complete active wear outfit (based on her personal style) each month.  If you have a friend who loves to snack at her desk or who is always looking for healthy treats for her kids, Naturebox will send a box full of wholesome snacks to her doorstep.  And I don't know anyone who wouldn't appreciate a subscription to Blue Apron, a service that delivers all of the pre-portioned ingredients and recipes for meals in a refrigerated box.  Although a subscription can be a "big ticket" gift, there are quite a few options based on how much you want to spend and how many months you want to gift.
(Birchbox is the most affordable I've seen at $30 for three months.)

Comfy Clothes

No matter what we spend our days doing, there is no better feeling than finally arriving home and changing into our favorite lounge wear.  However, comfortable clothes can sometimes mean that faded t-shirt from Latin Club in high school and the most worn out pair of leggings that are no longer acceptable in public.  I think every woman would adore a clothing piece she can wear around the house or out running errands that makes her feel cute and put together.  And it's easy to guess sizes in loose, relaxed clothes, which makes them great for gift giving!

Fresh Flowers


In my opinion, no gift beats fresh flowers.  Although they don't last forever, a bouquet in a pretty vase makes such a beautiful, thoughtful gift.  Online florists make delivery easy and offer something for every person's taste.

A Good Book

It may be the sentimental English major in me, but a book with a handwritten note in the front cover from someone who means a lot is a gift to be treasured.  Next time you can't think of a good gift, keep it simple and buy a new copy of a book you loved that you know the recipient hasn't read.  Some of my recent favorites include Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, and Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne.

Hope this little list comes in handy next time you're in search of something other than a gift card for a good friend!  Talk to you again soon!