The Best Christmas Gifts for Young Women (by a Millennial)
What Women Want
Hi, my name is Shay and I'm a millennial. I hand picked 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. How about "young woman"... Would you prefer young woman? Ugh, it's so formal!
I've divided this guide up into sections based on interest: Nail Polish, Makeup, Skincare, Tech, Practical, Fashion, Books/Movies, and Home.
There's a little something for everyone.
How would you refer to a female aged 18-30?
The No Fail Gift
#1 GIFT CARDS
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 Macys or Nordstrom gift card. If she loves to bake/cook/decorate, get 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.
The Nail Polish Fiend
#2 - 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.
Favorite Brands: 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.
Favorite High End Brands: Deborah Lippmann and Butter London (Find them a 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).
Ladies Love Essie. It's one of my go-to nail polish brands. I love these mini sets because, honestly, I've NEVER gone through and entire bottle of normal sized nail polish. Plus, with a few color options, the gal you're gifting this to is bound to have a favorite color.
Both OPI and Essie have new mini sets every season and/or holiday so keep an eye out.
The Makeup Addict
#3 - An Eyeshadow Palate or Makeup Set/Kit
I'm a makeup addict myself. I'm always happy to receive makeup kits, palates, 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.
Favorite Brands: NYX (super cheap), Elf (a cheap Target brand), Urban Decay, and Benefit. Nars, Mac, Stila, and Tarte make some good sets and palates as well.
#4 - A Red Lipstick Set
#5 - Makeup Brushes
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.
NYX is a fantastic "bargain" makeup brand that a lot of beauty gurus recommend. This set comes with 6 reds. You might be concerned since, well, it's RED. Rest assured, red lipstick has made a huge comeback recently (I'm a big time convert). These lipsticks would serve as the good introduction to red lipstick, and a fantastic addition to a makeup addict's collection.
PS: NYX also makes a "Matte" Lipstick line which is divine.
The Skincare Obsessed
#6 - 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.
Favorite Brands: Devita, Dermalogica, Paula's Choice, and Burts Bees
Create Your Own Gift Set: Put together a "natural beauty" gift set with "home remedies" for skin care. 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)
Dermalogica is a great skincare brand that is a step above the usual drugstore fare. A kit like this is a is a nice bit of luxury with a low price tag. Their popular Special Cleansing Gel is in this kit - I used it for many years myself.
PS: Dermalogica also sells a number of other kits for different skin concerns. I chose the normal/oily kit since a lot of young women have to deal with problem skin. (I know I do!)
The Tech Minded Chick
#7 - Gadgets
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.
*Nah, a dancing hamburger would be pretty awesome. If you find one, you should probably buy it.
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.
The Practical Gal
#8 - No Brainer Essentials
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.
I have this same 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 (ie 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.
The Fashion Plate
#9 - Simple Jewelry
Where to buy: H&M, Forever 21, Francesca's (if you have one) and Nordstrom's BP (ie their "Junior" department) all sell cheap jewelry aimed at the younger set. If you are looking for something fancier, go for simple and classic. Vintage, second hand, and consignment shops also sell stunning, original pieces.
#10 - Jewelry Organizers
This is such a cute little ring holder. The rings fit on the bunny's ears (tee hee!). It's a great gift idea because it's small and inexpensive, but because it's not something that is to be worn, you'll avoid the pitfalls of missing her style completely.
#11 - Reusable Shopping Bags
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 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.
If you're set on buying clothing and/or accessories, know that these items will never go out of style:
#12 - Hunter Rain Boots
Hunters are the classic rainboot 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!
#13 - Rayban 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.
#14 - Wool or Cashmere Sweaters
JCrew makes some lovely sweaters. If you shop in their sale section, you can get them for a steal.
#15 - 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/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 1/2 size large, but your best bet is to find out what size they wear in Converse, as most Chuck wearers have a preference.
#16 - Books
If you're looking for something a little different, consider choosing a comic book. Some great titles include: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Nimona, Lumberjanes, Sandman, Blankets, and 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 (see below).
PS: I also heartily recommend Mindy Kaling's book for young women.
If you haven't heard of her yet, allow me introduce you to Kate Beaton. Ms. Beaton is a fantastically funny young woman that draws intelligent comics, most of which are based off of classic literary or historical figures. It's sharp and witty, and I love her. "Hark A Vagrant" is a collection of some of her most popular comics and illustrations. It got (and continues to get) rave reviews from all over the publishing world.
#17 - Movies
Movies can be tough to nail, but going with a classic (or two!) is a pretty safe bet.
These are the definitive teen girl movies. I would wager that about 90% of young woman in the 18-30 year old age group loves Mean Girls or Clueless or both. If they had included "16 Candles" in this set, I'd be in heaven.
#18 - 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!
#19 - Drink Paraphernalia
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.
© 2013 Shay Marie