Design

Gift Guide #7: Your Best Friend Who Reads Her Horoscope Every Day and Gives the Best Pep Talks.

10 Great Gifts for Women

Bagel best friend necklace. (Or this sweet one.)

10 Great Gifts for Women

Nothing to See Here, a hilarious novel that’s getting rave reviews. Says Taffy Brodesser-Akner in the New York Times Book Review: “I can’t believe how good this book is… It’s wholly original. It’s also perfect.”

10 Great Gifts for Women

A fig-scented candle from amazing candlemakers (or even a monthly candle subscription).

10 Great Gifts for Women

A peanut butter, caramel and pretzel candy bar, which combines all the delicious things, or sea salt caramels, which always hit the spot.

10 Great Gifts for Women

Downton Abbey Clue. Because a valuable object has been stolen, and Carson needs our help!

10 Great Gifts for Women

A plant for her bedside table.

10 Great Gifts for Women

Dior lipstick is a splurgy special treat, and it really is THAT GOOD. A makeup artist kindly gave it to me this year, and it brightens your whole face. The lip plumper is moisturizing and lasts forever, and my favorite color is a soft rose called “Dior Pretty.”

10 Great Gifts for Women

Book tote for making new friends.

10 Great Gifts for Women

Tarot card set, for beginners or experts, to play together.

10 Great Gifts for Women

An experience gift, like a Chelsea art tour with my friend Gisela (they’re incredibly entertaining, and you learn so much!), or going to dinner or taking a long walk or baking brownies together, just the two of you.

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

P.S. Last year’s gift guide for friends, and the 2019 holiday gift guide so far.

  1. Our children are now young adults and they said they have everything they want right now so no gifts this Christmas.

    It warms my heart – we did not spoil them at Christmas time when they were growing up (well maybe just a little).

    They are not materialistic and understand the value of the $, and it is lovely.

    Our youngest (20 years) asked if we could play a game together instead of giving gifts. Time and laughing together – best gift ever!

    Totes Amazing

  2. LM says...

    I’m enjoying these suggestions however finding them a little bit sexist.
    Dad can drive on icy roads and gets a subscription to The Atlantic…. and the friend reads her horoscope every day and gets tarot cards….. really???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      These are based on my family members and friends and what they truly love. My friend has a literary novel on hers too. Hope that helps!

  3. Martini says...

    I’m not a gift giver nor are my friends. My friends and I have grown old together, most of them. Cancer came and took another of my lovely, dear friends a few weeks ago. Just like my other friends, there were no gifts in the world that I could have ever given her that would have meant anywhere near what we felt for each other. We are gifts to each other. We treasure each other, care and love each other beyond measure. We don’t share gifts, never have. No need to. What we do need is each other. I love them and there isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for me. We are more than enough for each other.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      That is fine. Good for you. Everybody expresses love and friendship differently. I am sorry about your losses.

    • t says...

      YES!

  4. Madie says...

    Anyone else think a tote that invites questions or chit-chat from strangers sounds like their worst nightmare? Ha! And I’m not even an introvert – just a weary public transportation commute-soldier, I guess. I want a tote that says “Wear deodorant and give me 18 inches of space, please. And no talking.”

    • Em says...

      Haha, yes! Conversation-starter totes are probably best for those who work from home (like me) and are excited to be out and about :)

    • Charlotte K says...

      I love talking to strangers about stuff like that and I’m hoping someone gives me this tote for Xmas. What I like about subway or queue convos is I know that’s what they are….I don’t have to talk to this person for the rest of our lives (although occasionally it has started friendships)

  5. bb says...

    May I please recommend the Spolia tarot deck? It is collage art and so incredibly beautiful and creative. My absolute favorite deck.

  6. Emily says...

    Has anyone read both Nothing to See Here and the Family Fang, and if so, how did they compare? I read the latter on an airplane a few months ago and found it really bleak and depressing… I was excited about Nothing to See Here until I learned it was the same author! Would love to hear a comparison or thought from anyone who’s read both.

    • Annie says...

      I’ve read nearly everything he’s written, and I’d say go for it. This one is my favorite of his – I liked but wasn’t over the moon for Family Fang – and it’s really big-hearted. And funny!

  7. Nicole B says...

    A truffle!!! What a great idea!
    I really do love your gift guides. So original. A couple years ago I got my now 4 yr old son a red ukulele, per your guide, and he still loves it. This year I will get him the sound machine.
    Thanks for the ideas!

  8. alison says...

    loooove adamjk and all he is / makes /stands for — but it would be great to link right to his shop vs going thru madewell.

  9. Olivia says...

    Another comment for “I don’t want to be that person” – but am I the only person who would never spend $50 on a candle, no matter how much money I make? I would actually love to give it to my cousin because she loves figs and Brooklyn and it’s all around perfect. But then…all I got her was a candle…and she wouldn’t even know it was a 50 friggin dollar candle. Ha

    • Joaquina says...

      Agreed. I’m astonished at how much candles cost (granted most everything here in coastal CA is pricey) in most shops. I just can’t justify spending more than $15 on a candle!

    • Kari says...

      I’m actually starting to open up to the idea of spending money on certain pricey candles (emphasis on certain). There’s one that I’m partial to that goes for about $75 which sounds outrageous. BUT. It has a burn time of 130 hours (compared to the one linked above which is 45hrs). And it comes in a hand-carved stone vessel that I can reuse as a pot or vase. It’s the only candle I need for months and months so it’s justifiable to me. Look for quality ingredients and a high burn time, and it just might be worth it to spend the extra dollars.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      I love candles so would spend that and have spent that. If you do not love candles, nbd. This is a gift guide not a “you are required to buy” guide. Btw, Votivo has a less expensive and good fig candle

  10. Sid says...

    As someone who LOVES reading gift guides and giving gifts, I’d like to thank the entire Cup of Jo team for continuing to produce charming, thoughtful, accessible/affordable, inspirational gift guides year after year.

    For people looking for holiday gifting options that are more “ethical” (though really, under a capitalist system there is no true ethical choice so perhaps we should focus on changing that rather than shaming people for wanting a joyful holiday) – there are many other blogs producing brilliant gift guides this time of year: https://jesswithless.com/under-100-sustainable-gift-guide/; https://readingmytealeaves.com/; https://petraalexandra.ca/2019/11/21/the-affordable-thoughtful-sustainable-gift-guide/; https://www.stylebee.ca/2019/11/18/gifts-i-love-to-give-all-under-100/

  11. Ruth says...

    I love all of these gifts, especially the Dior lipstick! And i also wanted to say i have a friend who is going through a very difficult time, and really thanks to all of your posts about grief and how to help, i was not at a total loss about what to say or do, so thank you very much ❤️

  12. A. N. says...

    That fig candle is exacccctly what I needed to find for my fig-obsessed friend. And I cannot WAIT to read Nothing To See Here! I have two kiddos (4.5 years and almost 1 year old), and made a goal to read a lot in 2019. I am on book #21 for the year, which feels awesome, and am already stacking up my books for 2020. I hadn’t heard of it, but it’s now on the top of my list – so, thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      book 21! i’m impressed!

    • Katie says...

      A.N. – Nothing to See Here is a really fun read! I just read it and was immediately engrossed in the story. In my opinion its a good pick for a tired mom with young kids (I am also a mom of two young ones) or really anyone. It is a clever, original story.

    • Natasha says...

      Impressed! I am making reading books a goal for 2020. Also have kids exactly the same age as yours. :)

    • A.N. says...

      Natasha – awesome! I love this age gap so much. And, yay for reading goals! 6 of my 21 books were read during my maternity leave, which was nice and felt so much better than watching mind-numbing TV.

  13. Now I remember who recommended that book :) YOU! I listened to it on audio and loved it!!

    • Anna says...

      The audiobook was especially fantastic.

  14. Vicki says...

    Love a Best Friend necklace! I got the one you all listed before – maybe last year (the one where each of you have a part of a circle) my bestie lives states away so its our little reminder when we are a part and like a special secret, I get compliments on it all the tome and you’d never know it was a BFF necklace- thanks for all your great ideas!

    • Alyse says...

      Gemma and i are gift twins. I would love all of these! You really do have the BEST best friend

  15. Owl says...

    Oh that pb caramel pretzel chocolate candy looks soooo good!

  16. Kenzie Randall says...

    Nothing to See Here is SOOOO good! Such a unique, fun story!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Can’t wait to read it!

  17. Kari says...

    Ooh I’m intrigued by that lipstick! What a great gift for a girlfriend.

    • Lisa says...

      Same!

  18. Jade says...

    I would like one of each please! That Cluedo set, bagel necklace and pot plant look like perfection.
    Also – have bookmarked the art tour for our New York visit next year.

  19. Cali says...

    I’ve gotten into giving serums or fancy face moisturizer. It feels extra special (especially since we’re all new parents).

    • Dana says...

      Cali, I’ve been using herbivore products and also giving as gifts and they are wonderful. Highly recommend!

    • Joaquina says...

      Dana,
      Herbivore is one of my favorite brands, have you tried OSEA? It’s sourced and produced in Malibu, cruelty-free, and transparent in their ingredients. Huge fan.

  20. kash says...

    I love experience gifts from my best pals!!! It’s always fun to have an extra-special hangout

  21. Yes! Experience gifts are the best for friends, because ideally you do the experience together! I always give a friend a gift of a show we go to together, which is fun for us both.

  22. Joaquina says...

    Here is the thing about totes: There are so many witty-worded,
    cool-designed totes! BUT most of us who are already using them to avoid plastic or paper bags are inundated with them.
    And in a depressing, interesting environmental twist: landfills are now filled with them :(
    May I suggest that we give presents that are eco-friendly or at least
    have minimal packaging? I would say “sorry to be THAT person” for this comment but I refuse to apologize for sticking up for this planet.

    That art tour experience is a fabulous idea and makes me so jealous of my NYC resident friends. I’d LOVE to give or receive something like this. Thank you for such a fun, creative suggestion.

    • Marie says...

      Thanks for bringing up the environmental impact of gift giving. I’ve been thinking lately that when purchasing gifts for people that we are unsure of what they really want or need, that the better choice might ironically be consumable; such as chocolate, caramel sauce, soap, lotion, etc. Everyone uses most of these things, and if they don’t, they can pass it along to someone else that will.

    • Lourdes says...

      OMG!! I feel the same way about totes. I have enough. I don’t need more. But I’m thankful for the thought.

    • Laura says...

      Thank you Joaquina. It’s 2019 – it’s time. You do not need to apologise. I’m done being the quiet one who silently rages at how we are treating this planet. On that note – pretty sure Dior tests their cosmetics on animals – happy to be proven wrong but I’m pretty sure they still do. Are we really willing to see an animal suffer so our LIPS look PRETTY? Really?

      CoJ is a really great blog. I just wish we could see it move towards ethical brands. Please be a leader in this sphere Jo! :-)

    • Anonygirl says...

      Agreed. I only want a tote with a zipper. I feel like a mid-size canvas tote with a zipper is a unicorn. Open to recommendations.

    • edie says...

      lolol. there’s no pleasing you! If she had suggested a plastic bag, you would’ve demanded she suggest a tote next year.

    • Abesha1 says...

      Anonygirl- have a tailor sew a zipper into a bag you like.

    • Sonja says...

      thanks for the thoughtful comment! It means a lot and being thoughtful is something none of us can argue against, whether for the planet or how you treat your neighbor.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      Not everybody has a tote or a lot of them. I don’t. In the big scheme of wastefullness, this seems like a weird thing on which to hang your hat. Additionally, the real issue with our enviroment is from huge corporations and gas companies who want us to argue amongst ourselves and ignore them so they can continue ruining the earth.

    • Anne says...

      Yes, please do make a move towards more ethical brands! x

    • Janina says...

      Elizabeth R – agree that the environmental impact of companies is a huge problem, and if companies could do better, the environment and people would be a lot better off. But individual effort also counts – and if everyone made efforts to become more eco conscious and friendly, starting with using less in the first place, a significant difference would be made.

      I am going to package my holiday treats in more sustainable ways this year than using plastic treat bags.