30 Gift Ideas For People Who Happen To Be Women

The antidote to generic jewelry, lackluster lingerie, and impersonal perfume.

30 Gift Ideas for People Who Happen to Be Women

I don’t have a problem with gift guides, exactly. I have a problem with crappy gift guides. When it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts. And the enemy of thoughtfulness is generalization.

The problem is that most gift guides don’t give guys enough credit. They assume that you’re completely at a loss as to how the women in your life – your mom, your sister, your friend, your co-worker, your boss, your girlfriend/fiancée/spouse/partner – like to spend their time. So they tell you that most women want perfume, jewelry, makeup, soap, or candles.

Well, yes, sort of. Many of us like *specific* perfume, jewelry, makeup, soap, or candles. Certain brands, certain scents, certain colors, certain styles.

But that’s not ALL we like. One of my friends is an incredible knitter. Another is a serious runner. Another could give Ina Garten a run for her money. It’s these interests that make us unique, and a gift that acknowledges those interests (and helps us pursue them) is going to be far more appreciated (and used) than a Generic Lady Gift.

Now, if there’s a fragrance, necklace, lipstick, etc. that you know one of the women on your list would love, go get her that. But don’t get it just because it’s a Generic Lady Gift. Get it because it speaks to a specific aspect of her preferences and personality.

Below, some original gifts for the people in your life (who just happen to be women).

Be sure to also check out our 150 Gift Ideas for Guys, Coffee Lover's Gift Guide, and 30 White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $30.

The Globetrotter

Image of que Bottle | Designed for Travel and Outdoor. Collapsible Water Bottle - Food-Grade Silicone/BPA Free/Lightweight/Eco-Friendly - 12oz

Que Collapsible Water Bottle

Amazon, $25

When space is at a premium, even a few inches can make all the difference. This lightweight, 100% plastic-free container is considerate of both your giftee’s carry-on and the environment.

Image of Lo&Sons women's overnight bag

OMG or OG Overnight Bag

Lo & Sons, $193 (OMG) or $203 (OG)

I’m team All Carry On, All The Time, and it’s astonishing how much stuff you can cram into even the smaller version of this low-profile, high-performance bag. Plenty of pockets and compartments make it easy to find your stuff, and the sleeve that slips over your suitcase handle makes sprinting for a connecting flight a breeze. If one-shoulder or crossbody bags aren’t your giftee’s style, you can’t go wrong with the Hanover Backpack ($90).

Image of Eagle Creek Travel Gear Luggage, Blue Sea 3 Pack

Packing Cubes

Amazon, $28

It might sound a little (or a lot) dorky, but organizing your suitcase makes living out of your luggage for days or weeks at a time much, much easier. And if your giftee likes doing any shopping while she’s out of town, the chic Paravel Fold-up Bag ($60) that packs down to the size of a tablet is a travel must for the trip home.

Image of Solar Charger RAVPower 10000mAh Outdoor Battery Pack with iSmart 2.0 and Dual Input (Solar and Outlet), Shockproof Solar Power Bank with LED Flashlight for iPhone, Galaxy, Android, and More

Solar Charger

Amazon, $30

Few things are as anxiety inducing as watching your phone’s battery get lower and lower, knowing you’re too far from an outlet to save it from powering down. This device harnesses the power of the sun itself, and also functions as an emergency flashlight.

The Chef

Image of Joseph Joseph 20108 Tri-Peeler 3-in-1 Peeler with Rotating Head, Orange

Tri-peeler

Amazon, $10

Second to a chef’s knife, a peeler can be one of the most useful (or useless) tools in the kitchen. Switching to a Y-peeler was nothing short of life-changing; this one combines three blades in a single device, making it easy to switch between traditional peeling, julienning vegetables, and peeling soft fruits.

mandoline women gift guide

Mandoline

Amazon, $46

The top chefs have knife skills that most of us can only dream of – but they also have an army of sous chefs to do all the dirty work. A mandoline makes slicing, shredding, and grating mountains of ingredients much easier.

Image of Food52 x Rosti Mepal Margrethe Nested Mixing Bowls & Specialty Lids

Margrethe Nested Mixing Bowls & Specialty Lids

Food52, $95 (Small bowl & lids set) or $115 (Large bowl & lids set)

The original Margrethe mixing bowl was dreamed up by Danish industrial designer Jacob Jensen, whose functional touches (handle, pour spout, anti-slip ring on the base) enhance the bowl’s sturdy yet lightweight construction to create the perfect vessel for pretty much everything from egg whites to ganache (it’s also heat-resistant up to 158F). The regular lids are great for storage – no more plastic wrap! – but the special lids for grating and immersion blending truly make prep a breeze.

Image of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking Hardcover – April 25, 2017

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Amazon, $15

The titular “elements of good cooking” are a hit Netflix series and the Winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for Best General Cookbook. Salt Fat Acid Heat is more about techniques than recipes (although it also contains recipes), so anyone who enjoys learning the “why” as well as the “how” will enjoy getting a glimpse of the science of delicious food.

The Fitness Enthusiast

Image of GYM BRO BAG - RED

Gym Bro Bag

Flag Nor Fail, $68

Yes, it says “Bro” in the name, but I have it and love it. This bag is designed for weightlifters, as the belt slots indicate, but it’s also a very good “stuff it all in and go” type of bag. The separate shoe compartment comes in handy, as do the neoprene-lined section, hidden laptop compartment, and multiple pockets for all the small crap one needs.

Image of TRX All In One Suspension Training System: Full Body Workouts for Home, Travel, and Outdoors | Includes Indoor & Outdoor Anchors, Workout Guide and Video Downloads

TRX Suspension Training System

Amazon, $150 ($110 with coupon at checkout)

It’s tough to give recs for exercise lovers, because runners, bikers, lifters, yogis, etc., all tend to have very specific gear preferences. Or already have a lot stuff they like. The TRX rig is one set that is universally liked (or at least grudgingly acknowledged as painfully effective) for all sorts of cross-training. There are moves for every need and skill level, and it makes a good minimalist gym set-up on the go.

Image of Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat Massage Chair Pad Kneading Back Massager for Home Office Seat use SL-256

Shiatsu Massage Chair Pad

Amazon, $90

Aches and knots are an accepted consequence of working out, but that doesn’t make them fun. Myofascial release (a fancy way of saying “applying pressure to sore spots”) hurts, but it hurts so good. The Trigger Point Vibrating Massage Roller ($77) is a great portable option.

Image of Oster BLSTPB-WBL My Blend 250-Watt Blender with Travel Sport Bottle, Light Powder Blue

Travel Sport Bottle Blender

Amazon, $20

This powerful blender makes it easy to hit those #macros or turn fruits and veggies into delicious shakes. Everything gets whirred up in the sport bottle, so there’s one less piece to wash. Nice.

The Activist

Image of Rescue.org women and charity gifts

International Rescue Committee

Rescue.org, varied

International Rescue Committee offers a range of Rescue Gifts that provide people in need with the necessary resources to rebuild their lives. Dedicate a gift to a friend or loved one and make the world a little brighter for them and many others.

Image of Heifer international

Heifer International

Heifer.org, varied

Founded on the “teach a man to fish” proverb, Heifer is working to turn hunger into hope through strengthening local economies, empowering women, and teaching sustainable farming techniques. Families who benefit from Heifer become donors in turn, passing on the help they receive to others in their community.

Image of Banshee + Cinder coffee

Fair Trade Coffee

Banshee + Cinder, $20 per pound

Building a better world is hard work as it is, and attempting that feat uncaffeinated would be unthinkable. Enter Banshee + Cinder, which offers sustainably sourced coffee that’s 100% organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance certified. Each roast is created exclusively for this small, woman-owned business. Choose the blend, roast, and grind, and pair with some upgraded coffee tools and gadgets from our Coffee Lover’s Gift Guide.

Image of Lula garden JEWEL GARDEN

Succulent Jewel Garden

Lula’s Garden, $35

Plants are said to promote serenity and peace of mind; this beautifully designed miniature planter is also designed to improve the lives of those other than the recipient. Each sale helps fund organizations around the world that provide access to safe water.

The Outdoorswoman

Image of CAIRN gift box

Cairn Subscription Box

Get Cairn, $60 (1 standard box) to $1,000 (4 premium boxes)

Help the adventurer in your life discover new gear, apparel, snacks, and more. You can select anywhere from a single month to an entire year’s worth of outdoor-themed surprises; the recipient will fill out a profile to ensure she’s only getting items she’ll like and use.

Image of BOMBAS women's performance socks

Performance Socks 4-pack

Bombas, $91

Socks are usually near the top of the “bad gift” list, but I’ve never understood why – as long as you’re giving GOOD socks. Anyone who’s ever spent a long run or hike with wet feet or developing blisters knows the value of socks that stay up, cushion high-friction areas, and wick away heat and moisture. Like these. Plus, Bombas donates one pair for every pair purchased.

Image of PEET Dryer - Original 2-Shoe Electric Shoe and Boot Dryer, Black

Shoe and Boot Dryer

Amazon, $40

Okay, so there might be a bit of a “wet feet are bad” theme, but…wet feet ARE bad, okay? Unless your recipient has multiple pairs of her favorite hiking boots or sneakers, she’ll appreciate being able to quickly dry out (and deodorize) her footwear. So she can get them all wet and muddy again the next day.

Image of The Original Sand-Free Mat

The Original Sand-free Mat

Amazon, $51 (6’ x 6’) to $130 (12’ x 12’)

This durable ground sheet was originally developed as a heli mat for the military, so it can certainly stand up to whatever camping trips, picnics in the park, and days at the beach can throw at it. Watch the video on Amazon, it’s pretty neat how it works.

The Hibernator

Image of Huggable Sloth Cooling + Heating Pad

Sloth Heating/Cooling Pad

Urban Outfitters, $30

Sometimes you just gotta lean into the desire to surround yourself with warmth and coziness for a few…months. This adorable little sloth can be stuck in the microwave or fridge, so it’s also great for soothing muscle cramps and headaches.

Image of Smoko Toast Hand Warmers, Fingerless Heated Typing Gloves, Plush Indoor No Finger Mittens

Toast Hand Warmers

Amazon, $45

Whether it’s an office or an apartment, being where you aren’t in full control of the thermostat is the stuff of nightmares. These snuggly little fingerless mitts keep chilly hands warm, without restricting her freedom to type, write, knit, play the guitar…anything that’s hard to do with gloves on.

Image of Chanasya Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Amazon, $36

Nothing says “Queen of the Frozen North” like a luxuriously soft faux fur blanket. This will 100% get worn as a cape when you’re not around, and maybe even when you are.

Image of Hot Chocolate on a Stick - 12 Pack Variety Gift Box - Dark, Milk, Vanilla White Chocolate

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Amazon, $38 for 12

Cute packaging. Delicious results. Simply stir into a mug of hot milk. Plus, if you heat the milk, your recipient doesn’t even have to leave the comfort of her couch (and cocoon of blankets) to enjoy an indulgent treat. Fancy marshmallows are a nice add-on.

The Hostess

Image of Deco Stacking Game

Deco Stacking Game

West Elm, $130

Take everyone’s favorite beer garden game, render it in crystal-clear acrylic, and suddenly it’s a fancy design accent? Yes! These grown-up building blocks look great stacked up on an end table or cascading over the living room rug.

Image of alice and the magician THE BOURBON LOVERS GIFT SET

Cocktail Aromatics Bourbon Lover’s Set

Alice and the Magician, $45

Most of what we “taste” is actually what we smell. This set of distinctive “edible scents” – sweet, citrusy, herbaceous, smokey – will add a special dimension of fragrance and flavor to a bourbon lover’s beverage of choice.

Image of Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter, FFP

Electric Bottle Opener

Amazon, $17

Hosting a get-together is difficult enough even without struggling with a stubborn cork in front of dozens of friends and family members. Boasting the ability to open 30 bottles on a single charge, this opener should be more than enough for all but the rowdiest of holiday bacchanals. Include a bottle or two of their favorite vintage for an extra-nice touch.

Image of Üllo Wine Purifier with 4 Selective Sulfite Capture Filters, Restore The Natural Purity of Wine

Üllo Wine Purifier

Amazon, $80

Just pop this simple, sculptural purifier on the top of a wine glass or decanter and pour – it filters out sulfites (a common culprit for wine-induced headaches) and results in a smoother, more delicious tasting experience. Bonus: the built-in aerator means that your recipient doesn’t have worry if they forgot to let their favorite red “breathe” before serving. (Probably a good idea to include a bottle to test this on, too.)

What are some of the most successful gifts you’ve given over the years? Share them with us in the comments!

Ali grew up in New York and currently lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a copywriter. She enjoys cooking, playing the guitar, and powerlifting, and has a brown belt in Krav Maga. You can find her collected articles on health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics at https://alibzagat.contently.com/ Instagram: @alibzagat

  • Ryan N

    Looks like the Toast Hand Warmers have the wrong (yet hilariously appropriate) image! 🙂

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae0deff46a2e2d61206030306a42baffdf73e73b119b26a44a8b0b464b9cf3e6.png

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      hahaha thank you for the heads up! That was a weird backend caching fluke. Should be fixed. 🙂

  • https://www.instagram.com/howhardcouldthatbe/ Scott Ingalls

    Ages ago I sewed a polar fleece leopard suit for my wife, something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N21DGU0/ref=twister_B00N21DGPA?th=1
    She has touted it over and over as the best gift I ever gave her. And, I’ve given her cars, jewelry, and transoceanic vacations… All forgotten… So, the dollar for dollar analysis tips way in favor of the home made cat onesie.
    Mind you, it was all-American craftsmanship with the finest materials that were available (on the day that I went to the fabric store). Without repair or alteration it has endured over a decade of almost daily use in winter. She has worn it on every ski trip, through two pregnancies, during countless bouts of colds and flu, monthly discomfort, and repeated viewings of “Love Actually” and “Bottleshock”.
    It’s not romantic or aspirational, or even something she feels comfortable answering the door in – in fact she refused to be photographed in it – but its there for her when she is at her weakest and most vulnerable, and it makes her feel loved, and when you really think about it, that’s what this whole relationship thing is supposed to be about, right?

  • Ros

    As a woman: thank you (THANK YOU) for the comment about ‘lackluster lingerie’. Frankly: lingerie is a gift for the viewer, not the wearer.

    And as a cook, I fully endorse your entire list of kitchen stuff – that cookbook is on my wishlist this year, and I got that mandolin last year and love it. A+ job.