Last Minute Girlfriends Gift Guide—Everything Under $50

Honestly, how would we make it through life without our girlfriends? Here’s a round up of fun, feminine, useful, pampering, petite gifts that are sure to delight any woman in your life. And they’re all under $50.

If you’re an expert gift giver like my friend Ellen Davis, you won’t need my list. Ellen has an actual gift closet full of thoughtful presents for specific friends and family members that she collects throughout the year. “I feel uncomfortable if I don’t have gifts on hand,” she says. “If I have to shop for the occasion, I have to settle. I’d rather not give a gift if it’s meaningless.” Her favorite gifts are books about the area her friend is from, hand crafted cheese boards and entertaining accessories, and unique food gifts. If Ellen doesn’t have a fitting gift on hand, her back up is a flower arrangement in a vase.

Alas, I’m more of a scramble for a good idea at the last minute kind of gal. So to help you (and me!) out this season, I’ve put together a list of thoughtful gifts you can turn to in a pinch. My main criteria are items that aren’t not too big or too expensive, or can be consumed/used up.

Here are my picks:

Lip Balm or Hand Creme. Winter is so dry, a little nurturing moisturizer is always treat. My friend Karen David loves Glossier Lip Balm Dot Com so much, I just ordered up this set. $30 for three.

Small earrings. Everyone needs a casual everyday hoop earring, to wear on their own or layer with other piercings. I love these from Gorjana Lou Hugggies, $45

Live orchid or paper white bulb kit. It’s so nice to have something living in your house in the winter. An orchid plant is always beautiful and blooms for weeks, but it’s also fun to force some spring bulbs. This paperwhite bulb kit is just $26 at Home Depot.

Candles. Candlelight makes the long dark winter nights feel special. I love the jarred scented candles from Anthropologie and Nest, but I never know what to do with the glass or tin containers once the candle is burned up. A colored Hurricane with replaceable candles is a greener option. Speaking of green, I love this CB2 Coco Forest Green Hurricane (candle extra) $27.95 large, $15.95 small.

Cocktail napkins. Cocktails and appetizers are key to holiday entertaining and I can never have too many festive napkins. Put together an assortment of different patterns like these from Caspari (they have oodles). Be creative and choose designs that reflect your friend’s decor and interests. $5.95 each.

Packing Cubes. I know I talk about my newfound discovery all the time, but they are sooo useful. I bought this Veken set for under $30 on Amazon, but if you have time you can order them monogrammed, here.

Fun Readers or Sunglasses. Reading glasses are the newest accessory for the over 50 crowd. If you know your friend’s prescription, order her a chic pair from Peepers, $29. You know I love collecting sunglasses and these Goodr shades are just too good. They’re polarized, comfortable and come so many patterns and hues. Perfect to express the colorful personality of your favorite gal pal. Starting at $25.

Canvas Tote Bag. These bags are endlessly handy and Society 6 has such an amazing selection you can personalize the gift with ease. Choose a bag with your friend’s zodiac sign or favorite animal, artist or quote. You can even use it as the wrapping for another gift inside. Around $25 each.

Insulated water bottle. This pink swirly flask makes staying hydrated on the go more fun. And if you’ve got a cocktail chilling in there instead of water, no one will ever know. S’well 17oz bottle, $35.

Half bottle of champagne Speaking of libations, go for the bubbles. A full bottle of champagne is a commitment, but a half bottle is a splurge your friend can feel good about popping open anytime. Laurent Perrier Brut La Cuvee Nv 375ml $34.99 at Whole Foods

Journal or Planner. In my opinion you can never have too many places to jot your dreams, plans and life events. A fresh journal or monthly calendar (maybe with some coffee dates penciled in) is a nice way to start the new year. Make it sassy or sappy, to suit your friend. This one, from Barnes and Noble, is on sale for just $10.

Funny book. I’m finding it harder to concentrate on reading actual books these days, but I’m trying to do better. A humorous book is easy and engaging and is a nice way to acknowledge a witty friend. I’m putting How to be Perfect—The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question by Michael Schur, creator of tv shows Parks and Recreation and The Good Place, on the list this year. $20 on Amazon.

Hat Clip. My friend Tricia just gave me this handy little accessory and I had to include it here. The Klipsta is a magnetized clip you hang over your bag strap to carry your hat. Now that I’ve traveling again I’ll take it with me everywhere. $25

I hope this guide has helped you discover some great gifts or inspired you to come up with better ideas of your own. Remember, the real present is the friendship, so don’t worry about the gifts too much! Happy holidays!

Note: These picks are entirely my own. I’m not compensated in any way by the brands I mention here.

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