Gift guide for your girlfriends

How to give the perfect gift to your female friends, even if you're totally out of ideas
Thank you to everyone who participated in the first ever Open Letters Link-up! The link-up is still open if you'd like to join in. The next one will be the last Thursday in May!

Like I confessed in this post, giving gifts does NOT come naturally to me. To come up with something thoughtful, I have to REALLY think hard about the gift and the person....and even then, sometimes what I come up with is pretty lame. (When we were dating, Devin had to tell me flat out that sweatpants from a thrift store are not a good gift. Oops.) I have really thoughtful friends who have a knack for finding the perfect gift, so I'm taking a page out of their book and I'm sharing a few tips their thoughtfulness in gifting has taught me:

You need categories. Pick a few smaller items from different categories, or if you're feeling REALLY confident you can go big in one category.  

1: Events
Get them the gift of an experience, like concerts, wine tasting, or theater tickets (live or to the movies). 

2: Beauty
This includes lots of things, from their favorite nail polish to a gift card for a massage to jewelry.

3: Specific interests
Does your friend have any specific hobbies? Did she just get a dog? Any favorite authors? 

4: Things that can be used up 
I used to think gifts that could be "used up" (like body products, chocolates, etc.) were lame gifts because they'd eventually run out. But Stephanie, in one of her gift guide posts, pointed out to me that it just means you're giving a really practical gift that they'll actually USE! Hence this category: wine, favorite snacks (pretzels? sour patch kids? Those are my faves!), fancy chocolates, amazing-smelling body scrub, etc. 

5: Homemade edibles
Show your friend you love her with something home-made. Chocolate chip cookies baked over brownie mix is a great addition to a gift that is a few parts. Baked goods make a good add-on gift; obviously, you don't want this gift to stand alone unless you want to send the message, "hey, I care about you, and also i know you eat alot." (Although that's true for me. So I wouldn't be offended.)


Bonus tips: 

 + Start to think in advance so you can listen for her "oow I like that" and "wish I had that" comments. Keep a little list going on your phone of gift ideas as she mentions things or as things come to mind. 
+ Give a themed gift: for example, my expert gift-giving friend Moriah gave someone a cookbook and a gift card to the restaurant where the cookbook author cooks. 
+ You're not limited to what you see in stores! Check Amazon.com or thinkgeek.com 
+ Throw them a party if you have mutual friends/if you're really close. 

what have been some of your favorite gifts? do you have any go-to gifts for your female friends?

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