Design

Gift Guide #7: Your Adoring Wife Who Watches Jeopardy Reruns and Lights Candles Like It’s Her Job.

young frankk chain bracelet

One of the beautiful chain bracelets she’s been seeing around, $92. (This smaller one is pretty, too.)

urem milk candle

Milk candle, $36, which doubles as a sculpture for her bookcase.

Ovenly cookies

The softest, most scrumptious cookies in New York City. $42 for a dozen.

A year-long print subscription to New York Magazine for its fantastic articles and photography. $35.

Checked house slippers, $95, for padding around all winter. (Or $40 cuties.)

Mittens, $60, to provide cozy hand-holding on winter walks. (These cashmere texting gloves are great, too.)

We’re Not Really Strangers, $30, a game that asks fascinating questions to deepen your relationship.

Stackable wine glasses, $36 for six, made in Italy.

A weighted blanket, $259, to put gentle pressure on her body and make her feel safe, comforted and relaxed. Because 2020.

A donation in her name to SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, since some of her favorite people have stutters (including Joe Biden!).

A love note and a kiss. $5.

P.S. The 2018 gift guide for wives, the 2019 gift guide for wives, and the full 2020 gift guide so far.

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.

  1. Kate says...

    I have never commented before, though I have been a reader of your blog for years. Please don’t stress over nit-picky criticism. As others have said as well, there are many readers (frequent comments, or those, like me, who just come to soak it all up) who adore your blog! I’m a teacher, a working mom of two little kids, and my husband works in non-profit. We don’t have a lot of disposable income, but Christmas is the one time of the year that I love to splurge a little more on the people I love. This year I received some of the sweetest notes of gratitude from my students, as well as a good number of Amazon and Visa gift cards….and I’ll be treating myself to some of the lovely items in your gifts guides as well. If there were ever a year to show our people and ourselves a little love, however we choose to do that, this is it. Blessings to you this holiday season!

  2. Chloe says...

    We as a family don’t celebrate christmas but I really appreciate your gift guide. We still buy each other presents!
    You seem to receive so, so, much critique & although it might be an occupational hazard, you handle it with such grace.
    Whenever I need some light relief distraction CoJ is my go-to. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you.

  3. MJ says...

    Any tips on what to write in holiday cards this year? Would love some suggestions.

  4. Lisa says...

    I can’t help but wonder if I hadn’t left BK ten years ago, would I have thought it’s normal to spend 42 bucks for 12 cookies. I’d like to think no, but I guess I’ll never know…

    • lexi says...

      where’d ya move to?

  5. mollcoll says...

    Thank you, Joanna, for your thoughtful gift guides. I have purchased meaningful things/donations/subscriptions for family and friends over the years. I know I can come to Cup of Jo for inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  6. Kristian Olson says...

    These gift guides are always SO helpful and I really apperciate you getting them out earlier than you might normally, what with more people needing to shop online and expecting things to take longer to arrive. I also very much appreciate the variety of price points here (especially since you said this was your list, specifically. VEry nice for readers and anyone shopping for you.) And Lastly, thank you for your inclusion of smaller businesses. Shopping small businesses is something I am trying to do more.

  7. Susannah says...

    I’m in the GHA and also looked up that’s it at Urban outfitters. No UO here in Hamilton and Toronto feels so far away these days ha! Good luck!

  8. Liz C. says...

    Whoa, I totally could have written this list Jo! Right down to the donation to SAY.org! One of my favorite non-profits, they have a wonderful summer camp for kids like my middle son Connor who stutters loud and proud, they have done wonders for so many kids. (And Connor’s latest idol: Biden)XOXO

  9. Hannah says...

    Love the New York magazine suggestion! I actually just bought myself a digital subscription because I read so many of their articles! Their website and its offshoots are fantastic: super smart cultural criticism, politics talk, a little fashion, a little gossip.

    Actually, the same great mix of stuff I find here! :)

  10. Melina says...

    I love this guide! Where is the weighted blanket from? I need to give someone a little hint?

  11. ML says...

    Joanna – I am gobsmacked at how much critique you get on your posts, & also in awe of how kind & gracious you are. Thank you for being you! (And for all you do for those we are giving gifts to each year. My kids & loved ones – and me! Ha – have loved little things you’ve highlighted for years! ❤️) You are a gift.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, ML, that means so much to me. Thank you. Want to frame this for a rainy day. xo

    • Michelle says...

      ML is 100 percent right! You are the queen of grace.

    • Sara says...

      Seriously could not have said it better.

    • Anu says...

      100% agree. Please don’t take the criticism you get as representative of most readers. Most of are reading, appreciating and moving on, so I’m taking a moment to leave a comment this time. I am constantly amazed at how well you take criticism, but this is consistently one of the best-managed little corners of the internet; you are genuine in your inclusivity and it really shows.

    • Kate says...

      Absolutely agree. I am appreciative of reader input to an extent, but man, it feels like it’s gone from useful to nit-picky. I appreciate how graceful you are in the face of criticism and try to follow your lead myself.

    • Sarah says...

      I completely agree, always so appreciative of each post and the thoughtfulness in your content. The true queen of grace, coming from a 12 year long reader!

    • Robin says...

      YES. This comment section has long been one of my favourite places on the internet and that is a testament to your grace. Thank you. Keep doing you. It’s beautiful. <3

  12. blg says...

    I just wanted to say Happy Holidays and a big THANX to all of you at Cup of Jo for the excellent content you create every day of the year. And what a year it has been! Go to sleep now 2020. Big blessings to you in 2021.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, BLG!!

  13. Lauren E. says...

    My husband asked what I wanted for Christmas this year and I just sent him a link to the whole COJ gift guide! He could pick nearly ANYTHING off any one of your lists (including the kids one!) and I’d be happy as a clam. Thank you for such thoughtful lists.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha I love that, Lauren!!!

  14. cate says...

    I love Cup of Jo, but I have to say I find the emphasis on shopping, to the apparent exclusion of all other topics, debilitating at this time of year. This is usually such a whole life site, and I miss the variety and topicality of the normal posts.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you for the feedback, Cate! I appreciate it. I have to say, it’s a tough balance because SO many people request gift guides early, so we do a bunch of them at a time. But we try to feature other posts too, like interviewing your parents and an upcoming post on autism (it will be up in 30 mins!:)

  15. Emily Bray says...

    Oh my gosh this is the most beautiful list. I want everything. Especially that beautiful chain bracelet.

    Has anybody in the GTA, Canada seen the We’re Not Really Strangers Game in stores? Would love to buy for my brother and his girlfriend.

    • Michelle says...

      The only place I’ve seen it here is online (amazon and urban outfitters), so it could be in person at amazon outfitters??? Or maybe Indigo? Please update if you do find it :)

  16. Mary says...

    I honestly think the writers here are living in a world so far from the majority of readers. $95 dollars for thin slippers? $42 dollars for 12 cookies?

    I love most of the content here but I think I’ll just start skipping any shopping recommendations because these lists just make my eyes bug out.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I hear you, Mary — this is definitely the splurgiest list of them all because it’s for a spouse. we include some higher priced items from independent makers and small businesses because people have requested them, but I also included a range of price options including $40 slippers and other smaller gifts. hope that helps! the other guides are less expensive — especially the upcoming “hard to shop for” guide. xo

    • R says...

      @joanna: I don’t mind the prices in these guides (I think there is enough variety and love that you support small businesses!), however your comment about this one being more special bc it’s for spouses was such a blow to this perpetually-single woman. The holidays are a really hard time to be single (at least for me) and this felt like yet another reminder that single people do not deserve the nice things that couples get (see: wedding registries, anniversary gifts, valentines). It sucks being alone in a world built for couples. Please be more considerate in your responses. Not everyone has a spouse or partner to gift them lovely things.

    • Jean says...

      I hear you. The holiday season really exposes our capitalist addictions at their worst and although I appreciate the focus on POC and women owned businesses, it feels mostly like a bandaid and a way for us to feel more virtuous in our extravagant overspending. I am a loyal reader of this blog and enjoy the eye candy but choose not to partake in the buying frenzy :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, I’m so sorry, R. That makes a lot of sense. I apologize. xo

    • R says...

      Ugh, Jo really can’t with with these comments, sometimes! She clearly tries to cater to her vast and diverse readership with these lists by including items for those with small budgets, large ones, those who want to shop local, from POC, etc. etc. etc . She’s constantly taking in feedback and making changes.

      Some of ya’ll need to appreciate the effort she’s making, AND realize that not everything on the internet will work for you 100% of the time!

      If this list seems a bit pricy, look somewhere else (or take note of the $5 recommendations Jo so thoughtfully includes). If you don’t want to see “capitalist gift guides,” click away or wait for the amazing article Jo will inevitably post in an hour. No need to comment as if this site is 100% gift guides 100% of the time.

      And if you’re single and feel like Jo’s comment — or that this particular list for SPOUSES — prioritizes those in relationships, take a step back and try to see the bigger picture. To the person above, it’s clear Jo wasn’t implying that single people don’t deserve nice gifts, and I’m saying that as a single person. She’s posted other gift guides for sisters, friends, coworkers etc. that include equally lovely things.

      Sheesh!

    • Ange says...

      FYI… Slippers are half off today! A total steal!

    • Eliza says...

      Honestly, I never buy anything linked from these specific guided lists but they give me wonderful ideas. I can certainly find less expensive slippers and make cookies (or find them cheaper at a bakery in my own city). I also rarely focus on who the list is described to be for (although I do love the adorable and thoughtful descriptors of the people in your life, Joanna!) and just focus on the content – again, for the ideas for *everyone* on my list and sometimes just for myself.

  17. Lindsay says...

    Does anyone else automatically think of the Jessica Darling books when they see “You, Yes You” written anywhere??? My favorite book series (read it if you haven’t! It’s marketed as a teen book but is so well written it defies categorization) I read Perfect Fifths or watch Friday Night Lights any time I need a pick me up.

    • Elizabeth R. says...

      Oh my goodness! I LOVE that series and read it as an adult too. Soo underrated!

    • Julie says...

      Thank you for this recommendation! Sounds like exactly what I need this season.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      can’t wait to check it out!

  18. Catherine says...

    SLP here, just had to say thank you for shouting out SAY! <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I LOVE them! My old friend Leigh is married to the founder. They’re an incredible couple!

  19. Yael says...

    I have a stutter and feel a little more seen. Thank you 💗

  20. Elizabeth says...

    These are all excellent ideas. Thanks everyone!

  21. Charli says...

    Thank you for doing a “for your wife” gift guide! As a gay woman, feeling included and seen is so important!

  22. Rachel Adrianna says...

    Haha, did Alex write this description about you? Xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, haha!

  23. Kate says...

    Hi CoJ,
    What do you think about using more gender inclusive language in your posts? I am positive you have readers who identify as a ‘wife’ and do not use she/her/hers pronouns. Using “they” could be an alternative that would make all feel welcome. Thanks!

    • Sage says...

      I’ve tried to be thoughtfully gender-neutral in my own writing + around my son (WHY is it so hard not to default to “he” when talking about a stuffed animal?!), and love this idea. I understand this community is geared towards women (whatever that means in practice), but I support this bit of easy inclusivity.

    • Vero says...

      Yes! I have a lot of patients who use they/them pronouns and having gender-neutral language is a very simple way to have them feel considered and included.

    • SL says...

      But that wouldn’t be “inclusive” either. These days, “they” refers to people who don’t identify as either male or female. Therefore, if you use “they” here, it refers to a non-binary spouse, and not *spouses of all genders.* If you made it a plural sentence––your adoring spouses who… light candles like its their job––then it would. Otherwise, it would only refer to non-binary spouses. Which, again, is not “inclusive.” It’s just referring to a different, distinct group of people.

      Plus, this gift guide is clearly modeled on Joanna’s family.

    • Sage says...

      SL, “they” has always been a gender-neutral term that can encompass he or she pronouns. We’ve all used it before as a gender-neutral singular term when we don’t know the gender of the person to whom we’re referring (“Did one of your friends leave their jacket here?”), and it does not imply that the person is non-binary.

      I think perhaps with people consciously choosing to take they/them as their own pronouns, that might be a common misconception, but one can still respectfully use it to refer to cis-gendered folks, and it does not have to be plural.

  24. Meg says...

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for adding a donation to SAY as part of your guide. As a parent of kids who stutter, you have know idea how much this means to me and my family.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for sharing, Caroline!

  25. Elizabeth R. says...

    Oh, a nice vase filled with dried lavender or a realistic looking fake plant, a record player and some records from their youth, a coffee table book that is relevant to their interests, some nice and safe house slippers, a monthly delivery of flowers or fruit, a food basket from Harry and David, etc.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      This was meant as a response to the person asking what to get older people.

  26. Katie says...

    All his candles are beautiful! I have the rose and love it. And it burns down so you can fit a tea light inside when you reach the bottom and keep using it! So good! Here is the site with the full collection

    https://www.aucollection.com/shop-1

  27. Nicole says...

    These are so good! Is it greedy to add them all to my list? Especially loving that bracelet.

  28. nadine says...

    Aww, love the description: ” and lights candles like it’s her job”!
    So many great ideas.. Personally I would be very happy with any of those!

    I am looking for a gift for my sil in Europe and maybe someone else had the same quest. I would like to find a game board that would be possible to play together at a distance. As we have our board here in Canada and she has her own but we could play together on zoom. I know there are some games in the internet but it would be fun to have something physical. Does anyone have any suggestion?

    • Rosalie says...

      Maybe Ticket to Ride? It’s a fun game for 2-5 players and I think you could play using Zoom. You would both have to put trains on the board for your own turn and the other person’s turn but I think it could work. I have the Europe edition (I’m Dutch myself) and played it a lot during quarantine.

    • Naomi says...

      How about Codenames?

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      We have codenames duet and sometimes play it on zoom ! (Only we have the physical bits, we set up 2 laptops at ours pointing one camera at the cards and one at us!)
      I think Scattegories would work for that too.

    • Jenn says...

      Yahtzee! Minimal equipment is needed, the game board doesn’t need to be shared, and so fun to play together on Zoom.

    • Caroline says...

      This is such a sweet idea! Just a thought – but instead of trying to find a physical game (which as fun as they are in person, can be hard over zoom!) – maybe you could plan a virtual game night instead – filled with lots of other treats to make it special! Instead of buying a game – you could choose a fun online game to play (recently my friends and I played this one! https://skribbl.io/ it’s a little wonky looking at first but SO fun over zoom!) and then send her a great bottle of wine to enjoy while you play, a cozy blanket to cuddle up with, or maybe a gift certificate to a restaurant local to her! Just a thought <3 (but also I could not recommend more the game included in this guide – great to play even with people who are definitely not strangers!)

    • Nadine says...

      Thank you everyone!!! <3 <3

  29. Elizabeth says...

    Would you consider doing a gift guide for elderly people? My great aunt is 98 years old with almost no mobility and I’d love to get her something other than a shawl!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Ooh good idea! Our hard to shop for guide is coming up! Xo

    • b says...

      Oh good! My family is in need of gifts for my turning 93 grandmother. She’s local to us, but if we have to order something online, we need to get on that business.

    • Katie says...

      I’m obsessed with kiehl’s hand cream. I’m gifting my Grandma that this Christmas. Order tonight, it’s 50% off right now!!

      Along with tipping extra, I usually gift my cleaning lady, my hair stylist and my Pilates instructor the kiehl’s hand cream too.

    • Elizabeth R. says...

      Maybe help with books on tape and an Audible subscription and a few books already loaded or some large print books? A diffuser (the ones from Ebb&Flow last about a year), a fancy hand soap, one of those frames where people can send pictures so they can have constantly updated set of pictures of their family, a post COVID vaccine visit and a nice meal out, a video of their loved ones talking about their memories of them, a box of See’s or Louis Sherry chocolates, a framed drawing done by a little one of the family, a fancy soft blanket, maybe some retouched photos from their youth so they are brighter and more updated?

    • Caro says...

      Elizabeth – Cozy easy to slip on on slippers, lipstick, or something edible might work. My grandmother always loved nice hand cream. xoxo

    • Kristin says...

      Yes! I second a gift guide for the elderly. Great idea!

    • Betsy says...

      I’m gifting my elderly grandpa who likes to write letters a book of postage stamps. There are great designs online.

    • Bonnie says...

      One gift I gave my Nana one year was so welcomed and loved … getting the mail was a highlight of her day, so I bought a book of pretty postcards that she’d appreciate, and wrote and mailed one to her every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas, asking about stories from her childhood, favorite holiday songs and why, sharing memories I had, etc. She wrote to me often, so this gave her jumping off points to share memories as well. And nearly every walk to her mailbox scored a piece of personal mail. I still filled and mailed her a Christmas stocking, which she loved and would at times just pull out one gift a day to stretch it out until New Year’s … paperback books, a word search, page-a-day calendar, some chocolates and mints, hand cream, etc. Everything didn’t fit inside, but that just made it seem more overflowing as her life was not one of abundance.

    • Elizabethkatt says...

      I used to work at an all-women’s nursing home, and here are some top gifts: Hulu/Netflix subscriptions (and assistance setting them up), bird feeders to put outside the window and lightweight binoculars to watch them, large print books, food gifts to share with friends and staff, donations to their favorite charities, pretty notecards/stamps, books or music on tape or CD, hard copy photo albums of people they love, adult coloring books or scratch art, nice lotions, playing cards or puzzles, manicures or nail polish, favorite snacks in individual packages so they don’t go stale, pretty “saddle bags” for wheelchairs or walkers and CASH. The knitters loved yarn or gift cards to Michael’s or JoAnn’s. And residents who were no longer able to communicate still liked soft blankets or stuffed animals, family photos, music, and books with beautiful illustrations.