When it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts. And the enemy of thoughtfulness is generalization.
Most gift guides will tell you what the women in your life want. But here’s the thing. You probably know your mom, your sister, your friend, your co-worker, your boss, your girlfriend/fiancée/spouse/partner/etc. – much better than some random lifestyle editor.
We think those guides don’t give guys enough credit. They assume that you’re some ’50s man, completely unable to pick out something for a holiday present. So they tell you that most women want perfume, jewelry, makeup, soap, or candles: 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, or because it’s her favorite but she hates spending money it.
Think of all the gift guides that are written up for guys–it’s like there’s a competition to round up the most manly (or bro-y) items possible. Beef jerky! Hot sauce that will give your colon second-degree burns! An artisanal hatchet! JUST A VIAL OF TESTOSTERONE WRAPPED IN BACON.
But do you (or your dad, your brother, your best friend since childhood) want those things? You might like a hot sauce that properly balances heat and flavor – If you’re into hot sauce. Your friend Nick lives in a 2BR apartment that definitely doesn’t have a wood-burning fireplace. So…no hatchet.
It’s almost like people are just people with diverse interests and tastes. Gifts that help them pursue those interests and take those tastes into consideration will always, always, always go over better than the random thing that the worldwide secret coalition of gift guide creators has decided everyone on your list needs this year.
If you’re going to get someone a gift, get them something that works well (or at least has lots of good reviews). Something that will last and will delight them and/or make their life easier. It doesn’t even have to be a Completely New Thing–maybe it’s a nicer or upgraded version of something they already have. Ultimately, a great gift is useful and delightful almost every day, not just for the first few moments after unwrapping it.
We took some time, spoke to a bunch of different people, and rounded up quite a few original, thoughtful, non-generic gifts for all the special individuals in your life (who just happen to be women).
Yeti Hopper Sidekick Dry (dry bag)
LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle
Icon Luxe Kit Gym Bag
Theragun Therapy Device
Ginger Float Cream Bubble Bath
Dharma Yoga Wheel
Apple Airpods with Charging Case
Surface Pocket Legging
Masterclass: Alice Waters
Staub Perfect Pan with Glass Lid
Custom Engraved Global Chef’s Knife
Jacques Torres “Wicked” Hot Chocolate
Anker Power Core
Wonderboom Portable Waterproof Speaker
Dagne Dover, $185 (large size)
Edna Adan University Hospital (read the NY Times article)
Rescue.org’s Winter Gift List