My name is Shay and I'm a millennial. I've hand-picked 19 Christmas gifts that are sure to please the gals of my generation.
What Women Want
Hi, my name is Shay and I'm a millennial. I've handpicked 19 Christmas gifts that are sure to please other girls, ladies, and women. I'm not sure what we prefer to be called, you see, so I'm going to go with "ladies" for the rest of this guide. Hm, that doesn't sit right. Would you prefer "young woman"? Ugh, it's so formal. Tell me your preference by voting in the poll at the end of this article!
Since not all ladies will like the same gifts, I've divided this guide up into sections based on interest. From cosmetics to practical items to book suggestions, there's a little something for everyone. For most categories, I've included my recommendations for favorite brands and products as well.
Gifts Ideas for Millennial Women
- Nail Polish
Here's a hint: Almost every young woman I know enjoys nail polish to some extent. Some are downright obsessed with it. It's hard to mess this up.
Recommended Nail Polish Brands:
- My Favorites: Essie, OPI, Sally Hansen, Elf. All four brands are sold at Target (Elf is exclusive and super cheap). Sally Hansen can be found at any drugstore.
- High-End: Deborah Lippmann and Butter London (find them ay Nordstrom, Sephora, or online).
- Other Good Brands: Orly, Zoya (a toxin-free brand), China Glaze, Revlon, and L'Oreal (all 5 brands are sold at Ulta, but Revlon and L'Oreal can be found at any drugstore).
Eyeshadow Palette or Makeup Set
I'm a makeup addict myself. I'm always happy to receive makeup kits, palettes, and sets as gifts. Target and drugstores tend to stock up on cute sets around the holidays, but Sephora, Ulta, and department stores sell awesome sets year-round.
My Favorite Brands:
- NYX (super cheap)
- Elf (an affordable Target brand)
- Urban Decay
NARS, MAC, Stila, and Tarte make some good sets and palettes as well.
Red Lipstick Set
You might be hesitant to get someone red lipstick since, well, it's red. Rest assured, red lipstick has made a huge comeback recently (I'm a big-time convert). NYX is a fantastic "bargain" makeup brand that a lot of beauty gurus recommend. There is an NYX round lipstick set that comes with 6 reds. These lipsticks would serve as a good introduction to red lipstick, and a fantastic addition to a makeup addict's collection. NYX also makes a "matte" lipstick line which is divine.
Makeup Brushes are a good choice if you're looking for a makeup gift that's a little easier to nail. MAC Cosmetics makes some fantastic brushes, but Eco Tools (which you can find in drugstores) make some great bargain-priced sets. If you're looking for a variety, Sephora and Ulta also have a nice selection.
Skincare Gift Sets
Ladies love skincare. One of the best things about gifting skincare sets is not only does it give you the chance to try out a bunch of new products (which is one of my favorite things in the world to do), it also gives you the chance to discover a new product that might help to improve your skin. It's practical and luxurious all at the same time.
My Favorite Brands:
- Paula's Choice
- Burts Bees
Create Your Own Gift Set
Put together a "natural beauty" gift set with "home remedies" for skincare. Some options: Jojoba oil, Aztec Healing Clay, raw apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, manuka honey, pure aloe gel (be sure to get one without alcohol in it).
The key to getting this right is to choose something that is unique and practical. A light-up dancing USB hamburger* might seem like a good idea at the time, but she's probably never going to use it. (On second thought, a dancing hamburger would be pretty awesome. If you find one, you should probably buy it.)
The GorillaPod is a small camera tripod that can go places a normal tripod can't; you can wrap it around a tree branch, affix it to a fence, and prop it up on uneven terrain. In addition to fitting a normal point-and-shoot camera, this particular model comes with a smart phone adaptor that fits just about any brand. I have one and it fits my iPhone like a champ. I use my GorillaPod for taking photos and for shooting videos to put on Youtube. It's a great little invention.
I had never even heard of these things until last summer, but now that I know they exist, I'm intrigued. The Fitbit Zip is basically a super high-tech pedometer. Unlike a pedometer, however, it syncs to your smartphone automatically to help you stay on track with fitness goals. It's a good choice for the health-conscious, the runners, and the workout fiends on your list. It comes in 4 colors.
Once again, by keeping the gift practical, you'll be more likely to hit your mark. Useful beats "almost right" any day of the week.
Swiss Army Knife
I have the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife in green on my keychain, and I've given them away as gifts to other ladies as well. It's a nice compact size (meaning it doesn't feel like I'm carrying an albatross on my keyring), but it still includes the basics: a small blade, scissors, a flat head screwdriver (with file), a toothpick, and tweezers. I use mine all the time.
Reusable Shopping Bags
These shopping bags are adorable and such an easy choice for all kinds of women. They are very inexpensive and make good stocking stuffers, small gifts, or gift add-ons for friends, sisters, daughters, cousins, or co-workers. They come in a ton of prints, including stripes, cats, flamingos, foxes, elephants, and donuts (what!?). They fold flat into an easy-to-fit-in-a-purse size and can carry up to 50 pounds. I gave a set to my sister-in-law and she loved them.
Unless you really know the person you're buying it for, I don't recommend buying clothes as gifts. Not only is it hard to target style, it can be difficult to get the sizing right. Heck, it's hard for me to get the sizing right when I'm buying for myself.
Jewelry is a tough buy for ladies as well, especially if you aren't familiar with their style. When in doubt, it's always best to go simple and classic. Don't be afraid of proper yellow gold either—it's made a major comeback amongst the younger set in recent years.
These stores all sell cheap jewelry aimed at the younger set:
- Forever 21
- Francesca's (if you have one)
- Nordstrom's BP (ie their "Junior" department)
If you are looking for something fancier, go for simple and classic. Vintage, secondhand, and consignment shops also sell stunning, original pieces.
The Umbra Zoola Bunny Ring Holder is such a cute little ring holder. The rings fit on the bunny's ears! It's a great gift idea because it's small and inexpensive. Also, since it's not something that is to be worn, you'll avoid the pitfalls of missing her style completely.
If you're set on buying clothing and/or accessories, know that the following items will never go out of style.
Hunter Rain Boots
Hunters are the classic rain boot brand that most young women would appreciate. They look equally adorable with jeans as they do with skirts and dresses. I myself own a pair of Hunter Wellies (in the "aubergine" color shown here) and I'm pretty much obsessed with them. Too bad it only rains twice a year 'round these parts!
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
It seems that every generation rediscovers these classic sunglasses. Ray-Bans come in so many colors these days, but you really can't beat black or tortoise. The "New Wayfarer" style has a slightly smaller frame than the originals, and look good on just about anyone. I'm partial to the Original Wayfarers myself.
Wool or Cashmere Sweaters
J.Crew makes some lovely sweaters. If you shop in their sale section, you can get them for a steal.
Converse Chuck Taylor Sneakers
Chucks aren't for everyone, but if you know the young woman on your list wears them, it's a pretty easy gift. They come in low top and hi top, as well as a range of styles and colors. Black, navy, and white are the classic colors, but grey, off-white, and monochrome black are safe choices as well. As for size, they tend to run a hald size large, but your best bet is to find out what size the gift recipient wears in Converse, as most Chuck wearers have a preference.
Culture and Entertainment
If you're looking for something a little different, consider choosing a comic book. Some great titles include:
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
- Bitch Planet
Check for age levels, of course. There are also a lot of great webcomics in book form, including works by Allie Brosh, Lisa Hanawalt, and Kate Beaton. For young women, I also heartily recommend Mindy Kaling's book.
Movies can be tough to nail, but going with a classic (or two!) is a pretty safe bet. I recommend a double feature of the fan favorites Mean Girls and Clueless.
A Homemade Gift
Take a note from Pinterest—jars serve as a nice jumping-off point. Homemade preserves, a jar of cookies, a jar of ornaments, a sewing kit, a cupcake kit... the sky's the limit!
If anyone would appreciate a homemade gift, it's a fellow crafter or baker. If not, classic wine glasses or unique drink-ware is an easy choice.
Gift Cards: The No-Fail Gift
It goes without saying that everyone loves gift cards. For a young woman, iTunes, Amazon, and Target gift cards are safe bets. If she loves makeup, go for a Sephora or Ulta gift card. If she loves clothes, get her a Macy's or Nordstrom gift card. If she loves to bake/cook/decorate, get her a Crate and Barrel or Bed Bath and Beyond gift card. If you're super confused now, go for a prepaid Visa gift card. She'll be able to use it like cash, but it seems more personal than cash, somehow.
© 2013 Shay Marie
katrinasui on October 19, 2018:
Very nice collection of Christmas gift ideas for young women.
LauraMcCallister from Portage on October 18, 2017:
Great gift ideas. I think women will always love personalized gifts.
YoungRadiantSkin on November 21, 2013:
I plan on buying clothes for my girlfriend, but fear the reaction if I buy the wrong size. Too big: do you think I am fat?
Too small: do you think I should lose weight?
He he, it's a minefield:)