* Prices may differ from that shown
Seasonal gifts are all over the place so in some cases why I think for the right person a homemade gift is a great idea. I said this in my last review for gift ideas for children is really isn't about who can spend the most money!
Gift ideas for women:
My take on gift giving is always being practical and live within your means. There is absolutely no point in breaking yourself, this will only make your Christmas miserable knowing you're broke until payday.
So always try and be organised I normally purchase my wrapping paper and cards in the January sales. I had some great sets this year from BHS, there packs of bows and paper normally around £6 I had for £1! You can also get some great toiletry sets from the likes of Boots, Superdrug and M & S.
What I normally do if I don't know the person to well is get the play safe gift as I call it. Some large shopping malls do an all round gift voucher where you are not limited to one store. This is a great idea when unsure of what a person likes.
For individuals I know well I think doing something more personal is wonderful. Showing that you have put some effort into there gift. I love to make things, so in the past I have done things like personalised bookmarks, jewellery sets, decorated some retro jars and filled them up with bits and bobs.
Then for the girly girls among us there really is no end of options out there! Purchasing for women really is something stores home in on. You could do a pamper hamper, make up hamper one I have done this year for my teenage niece is a girls night in hamper as I call it. Containing some DVD's, hot chocolate, marshmallows, popcorn, face makes, foot soaks and a few other little fun bits.
Most importantly stick within your budget make yourself an ideas list, write down what you have got for people already in case you forget. My mom is a ticker for that which ends up costing her more money and Christmas time I think you need to be careful of your spending as it sure can run away with you.
So that is my take on what I do, luckily my Christmas shopping is all ready and done. Even wrapped!
Have a great Christmas all
Thank you for reading
Buying Christmas presents for women must be at least 100 times easier than buying them for men. Firstly, women are a lot more subtle and hinting what they like, all men need to do is pick up on this. Secondly, there seems to be far more "things" out there are women-friendly to buy.
Tips on getting it right (or wrong) for guys:
1) Steer clear of clothes unless you are close to the women and very familiar with her dress size. There would be nothing more humiliating than receiving an item of clothing in a size 16 if you were only a 10.
2) For me a nice scarf would always go down well, you can't have too many and they are a good accessory to enhance an outfit. Just stay well away from anything that looks like your grandma might have worn.
3) Candles are a bit run-of-the-mill, but are usually a safe and welcomed gift especially if they are of a nice design and scent.
4) Personally I would say never attempt to buy make-up for a woman, the chances are you will get it wrong.
5) A woman can never have too many handbags, but if buying a handbag you need to make sure it is in the style she would use.
6) Chocolates are good - a nice box from Hotel Chocolat or similar would make me very happy.
7) Don't ever buy your girlfriend/wife a kitchen gadget! Once, when I was a child, my father bought my mother a microwave for Christmas so he didn't have to eat cold dinners if he came home from work late.
8) Experience days are good, especially of you pick something you know she likes, ie. I would like one to the spa.
9) I would be quite please with a cinema voucher to be spent on a film of my choice. In fact vouchers in general are good, however make sure you buy them for a store she uses. John Lewis vouchers would be a safe bet.
10) Bathroom smelliest can be a bit "hit and miss". If I got some for Neal's yard The Body Shop, L'Ocitane then I would be happy, however I wouldn't be so impressed if it were Asda own brand.
11) if you know her well jewellery can be a nice gift. Take note of what style she wears and whether she is into gold or silver, this is very important.
12) If all else fails buy her another bottle of her favourite perfume, however don't use this as a fall back present on too many occasions otherwise she will end up with more than she can use!
I'm sure I could find 101 other things to or not buy, however 12 seems to be an appropriate number for Christmas - 12 days of Christmas!
One other tip guys - don't leave your shopping until Christmas eve!!!!
The golden rule(s) of giving presents to women is that most of us will not appreciate the following from their significant other:
1. A new iron or any other cleaning/household appliance from their partner - even if the household needs a new one. Unless it is asked for but get something personal as well.
2. That DVD game or gadget you really want - they will see through this and know that you bought it for yourself
3. Anything you buy on Christmas Eve after a long drinking session or bought at any other time without putting any thought into it.
4. Underwear that is the wrong size and of questionable taste.
We will however appreciate the following:
5. The gift we really want i.e. the one we have been talking about, have left pictures and catalogues lying around. Not only will you be buying something we really want but it also shows that you are listening.
6. Something thoughtful, that shows that you really care and understand the person you are buying for. My favourite presents in recent years haven't necessarily been the most expensive - one was a key ring the other a cute ornament. Most important to me was that both gifts featured dogs that resembled one of my dogs.
7. If they have written a list, use it and buy something from the list. I do a list every year and unsurprisingly I get what I want from most people. I put gifts ranging from a few pounds upwards, so there is something to suit everyone's pocket.
8. A little bit of luxury never goes amiss. I really appreciate something made out of a beautiful material like silk nightwear or a lovely cashmere scarf. On my list every year is a pair of diamond earrings - I live in hope but if money is no object I think most women would appreciate this gift.
9. Try not to stereotype people. My mother would not appreciate scented drawer liners or a selection of luxury jams for Christmas. She might be 80 but she still appreciates lovely jewellery, makeup and perfume. Whereas my Aunty would love the jam selection and she is 10 years younger.
10. I don't really want alcohol or chocolates as gifts, particularly from close friends and family. Yes I like them but I think they can be a little impersonal so try to be a bit more imaginative.
11. Don't spend more than you can afford. If money is tight then let people know and perhaps suggest a limit. We have done that in the past and it was quite liberating albeit a little challenging finding something appropriate for a fiver.
12. Something that would be appropriate for men and women is some well-chosen photographs, whether it is a single one in a lovely frame, a collection in an album or made into a calendar or card. Many years ago we had our parents wedding photographs that had been damaged professionally restored and I think this was the best gifts we ever gave them.
13. I have an elderly friend who really appreciated going out for afternoon tea. The tea was lovely but I think it was the time we spent together she most enjoyed as she spends a lot of time alone. We made it even more special as we dressed up to the nines, which we both love doing.
14. A handcrafted gift will go down well especially if it is well executed and fits the occasion.
15. If they are beauty /maheup or haircare addicts check what brands they use and buy them something in that range. Or check out what the hot trends, award winners or latest magazines are featuring. Buy top rated ones.
16. I think hobbies or collectables are tricky as unless you know exactly what their taste is, you can get this very wrong. I have a friend who collects small rabbit ornaments and over the years everyone buys her them, however some have been hideous or too big.
17. I would love a gift experience at a spa a facial (especially an Elemis one) or a manicure, as everyone knows I love being pampered, but this may not suit everyone.
18. Candles - regular Dooyooers will know that women of all ages like a nice candle, but if they don't own any don't go there.
19. A weekend away somehwere they love.
20. Don't forget to wrap it nicely
21. Animal lovers - perhaps sponsor or donate to an animal charity or buy dog or cat calenders from the charity
My recommendations for skincare and bath/body products at all price points are Champneys, Sanctuary Decleor Philosophy and This Works. There are lots of offers on at the moment particularly online with some gift sets with 40% and 50% off (so tempted)
Makeup brands that do gifts that would suit all ages are Lancôme Juicy Tubes ( lip gloss) , Benefit do small lip and cheek sets , Bobbi Brown shimmer brick and if you really want to splash out Estee Lauder do amazing make up sets at Christmas.
Hair care - Kerastase products are at the luxury end but are truly amazing also Tigi Bedhead . Moroccan or Argan oil are multi purpose hot products at the moment.
Marks and Spencer do really nice cashmere scarves hats and knitwear, plus silk nightwear. Ted Baker for Debenhams nightwear is gorgeous and The White Company do a great range.
Candles - I like Bahoma, Lily Flame and St Eval, plus Yankee of course.
Radley have a nice range of accessories, purses key rings etc. which are great quality and the added bonus is they have a dog logo.
Diamonds are available on the high street, but note that earrings can't be returned if they are taken out of sealed packaging.
Finally always get gift receipts just in case!
That is my take on buying for women. Hope it has helped.
Ah Christmas gifts! I am just going to dive right in with my suggestions. I am a woman in my twenties, and most of these products are things that I like and believe they would make good presents:
I remember back in my school days, I absolutely hated bath stuff, now in my twenties, I can't get enough of shower gels, bath essence, bath oils...apparently when in your twenties something clicks in your brain making you realise you need to smell good when out and about.
Boots are very good at stocking bath and shower gift sets. The natural collection is one of my favourite brands, as they have different fruity fragrances, and matching body sprays and face masks. Boots various brands can be expensive, so it is worth looking online for a cheaper alternative. Amazon stocks some good stuff, including Bomb cosmetics, they have different gift sets with bath bombs, soaps and oils, the set is gift wrapped, and there are a number of different sets to choose from, prices vary, but most of them seem to be around the £12 mark and free delivery.
Another thing I know that some women look for in these gift sets is the packaging, at times more exciting than the contents. So try looking for something that comes in a handbag or a vanity case. I recently bought my mum a bath set in a gorgeous light purple vanity case, which will give her plenty of room to store her jewellery or her make-up, or, knowing my mum, receipts from hundreds of years ago. This set is called the Grace Cole Lavender Travel Luxuries Gift Set, and can be found on Amazon. Currently it is priced at just under £15.
I recently became interested in collecting mini cacti, which I found at the Wisley Garden Centre for around £3. For plant lovers, this could make a good gift, they're small, cute, and relatively low maintenance.
For those less inclined to go the prickly route, look for miniature figurines either in high street stores or online. I was lucky enough to walk into the charity shop Cats Protection to find a bowl full of mini models of cats, dogs, little people, and even a piggy sunbathing in her bikini, all at 50 pence each. Cats Protection stores are also doing these miniature figures of cats wearing Santa hats at around £2, so if there is Cats Protection near you, pop in.
Eden Crafts Fair:
This is something you might want to research online to see if there is an Eden Crafts Fair coming to your town. They are currently camped up in my town high street. This fair is composed of a number of different stalls selling lots of cute stuff. At one stall I picked up a few beautifully decorated Chinese coin purses, very handy as a stocking filler, for 99 pence each, also being sold were dream catchers, mini Buddha's, mini fairies in a bag, Guatemalan worry people, incense and candle gift sets, al for under £5, and again would make great stocking fillers for women. At another stall I picked up a couple of newspaper print scarves, which were being sold in different colours for £5. If you can't find these at a fair or in a shop, again try searching for these online.
Another good stocking filler, for men, women and kids, are hand warmers, available on Amazon in different shapes, and under £5. These are great for the winter season, and may also be useful for women during those troublesome days every month.
You are never too young for a jigsaw puzzle. Look for a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle with a nice scenic picture, and if you manage to put it all together in this lifetime, then it would make a great picture to frame and put up on the wall. The Bizarre Bookshop is my favourite jigsaw puzzle, especially as I love books. So have a look on Amazon or Ebay for a jigsaw puzzle that is suited to the woman you are buying for.
You can create your own photo book and have it printed. Boots and Jessops are just a couple of the many photo places that will do this. Jessops have a programme that you can download onto your computer and create your own photo book on to see what it looks like, but their prices are quite high, so do look around for cheaper prices.
You can also try making jewellery, you can purchase the raw materials online or in an arts and crafts or bead shop, but online tends to be the cheapest. If making earrings, buy earring stems, fish hook ear wire, spacer beads and some nice beads, then all you should need is a pair of pliers and you are good to go. Similarly with necklaces and bracelets, get some bracelet wire, beads and jewellery clasps.
This was a gift I was lucky enough to receive a while ago. As I love reading, especially when I am travelling, it makes it easier to carry around something light in weight, less weight in hand bag equals less stress on shoulder, which equals one less cranky woman.
Of course there are many e-readers available now, and I think they are a great idea for a gift. You can also buy e-reader accessories from various places, the tiny book light is one gift that is quite popular, and is now available in many different colours.
If all else fails, the trust gift voucher can always come to your rescue, in many cases women may prefer this, as they can pick out their own gift. Recommended gift vouchers would be Amazon or Love2shop vouchers which can be spent in many different high street stores, so you're not limited to just buying in one type of store.
I find Gift ideas for women the most difficult, we women are far more critical when it comes to receiving. Men don't really care and kids forget- I still remember rubbish presents years later!!! I'm not ungrateful just shocked at how little people seem to know me. So what to get? it's easier to just ask- but be clear about your budget. We're all different but I'll tell you what I'm getting the women in my life this year. I'm so mithered getting stuff for other people that I don't think about what I want myself (nothing really) but I can tell you what I wouldn't want.
My daughter is easy as she tells me what she wants, surprises include a teddy, dvds, socks, smellies, perfume- but only because I know what she wears. I wouldn't choose clothes for her because it would be the 'wrong' style.
The mother in law is easy, she's ungrateful and so she gets a tin of crackers and other food items that she can use. Smellies in the past have been given back to me.
My mum always says she doesn't want anything so one year I pretended not to have got her anything- you should have seen her face that taught her! I just get her practical things that she can use (a diary for example) then make a hamper.
Unfortunately no Nana's this year but they used to get smellies- but not bubble bath in their later years more like talc and handcream.
My sister is easier as I know what she likes, every year I add to her collection. Her fav chocs go down well as do socks as she loves them. Things she doesn't like are cheap smellies and things that would clutter up her house. Our dad kept getting her horrible pictures that didn't go with anything, he gives me the money instead coz I get in early and ask for it before I too become a victim of his and the step mothers taste.
My niece has chocs and wine as she lives with her partner, the other is having Body Shop stuff. The baby niece will get a toy.
I don't buy for friends but last year I came across a perfume that a girlfriend used to wear years and years ago so I bought abit of nostalgia for her.
The things I like myself are of a practical nature. This year I've asked my daughter for a mop, I try to think of things that only cost a few quid off the kids (I usually end up paying for it myself).
I hate clutter and waste but what I do appreciate are things I can use or eat.
Smellies are okay but not a perfume chosen for me, clothes the same- I do love pyjamas and slippers though.
Handbags are too personal my sister often gets one off her in laws and it gets her back up.
I appreciate dvds, books or cd's as long as it's something to my taste- again not because I'm ungrateful but because it shows that people don't take enough notice to know what I like and it's the thought that counts.
Jewellery would be okay but only if I chose it!
My favourite gift is money- boring I know.
The thing I would really hate would be a spa day or an 'experience'- anything that involves me actually having to do something would be a no, vouchers for a show would be okay but only if I could choose when, what and where myself. Alot of women would love a spa treat or an experience but not all of us!!
So not much use I'm afraid but the only real suggestion I have is ask if you're not sure and money is always appreciated- by me anyway! To be honest I don't really want anything, Christmas for me is about the kids.
Christmas and Valentines Day apparently break up most relationships, expectation of romance high and so you better get the present right guys! January is the number one month for divorces with 17% of all sited in the first three weeks of the year and snoring, believe it or not, the third highest reason sited to dump their men behind infidelity and money. So if you get the present wrong this December best put a peg on your nose. Whereas Valentines Day is a tacky day to dump him, I believe it's the Christmas present that matters the most to them, the most romantic time of the year. An observant boyfriend or husband will know she has been dropping subtle hints since October and so won't get it wrong. The unobservant is in trouble.
The first rule is NEVER buy women underwear. It may look great on Kelly Brook but it does because she has the best body in Britain and there is more wire in it than an electricians skip! Those tiny stack em high bras's boy's love where it all spills out like a standard family jelly in an egg cup are itchy and scratchy for your loved ones and she will be as uncomfortable as a shop assistant when Jimmy Savile's walks into Mothercare with one of his eye popping manic grins on - with a voucher. Women want comfortable bra's and boys don't know anything about those. Its embarrassing buying it anyway so why bother. When you should start worrying is when she buys that sexy kit herself to go with those new kitten heels as the show isn't for you mate! They love you when they do a quick flick of the hair in the hubcap and wear flat shoes to the pub. It would be lovely to think girls look the best and perky on a night out for you but they usually don't. The upgrade is always in the back of their mind, and I'm not talking about her phone. If they want Christmas stockings it will be the ones with presents in.
Buying sex toys is more practical in the naughty department and as much as we think we please our women we probably don't. But do you really want her to unwrap a 14 inch with removable heads in front of your gran at the family Christmas party? It's amazing how many dogs can dig these things up from your cubby holes and top draws and think they are bones to nibble at during public gatherings, chasing around the house in delirium for the meal to come. If it isn't working in the bed guys just talk dirty and flip her over and try the breakfast bar. If she gets used to the size of those thing's you're done for so if you do buy one make it a small one and don't wrap it for the tree.
So if we can discount under garments then what next? You should know by December from those hints and elbows to the ribs in Curry's and Argos what is expected. One Dutch bird I lived with and liked enjoyed European tecno and so I had to buy her a mixing desk for the box room of her house. Needless to say it went down hill soon after. She clearly preferred twiddling with those knobs on her own. Others like classic stuff and if you have one of those retro stores in town then maybe something there. Girls secretly love the innocent 1940s and 50s fashion and time period style in my opinion. Hey, you could dress up as an American bomber pilot and play hunt the knicker elastic under the Christmas tree!
Flowers are for surprises so forget that, as are weekends in Paris.
Most of all I would do you homework and find out what she wants through skillful pillow talk and gentle window shopping. Women are mysteries wrapped in mysteries and you're not supposed to understand them, hints or not, why they are worth unwrapping like those presents. Even women know they are essentially bonkers and can never be pleased. If you don't live together and she is behind with the utility bills paying them off could mean more than chocolate and flowers and what you think she wants. Ok, not chocolate, but most other things.
Never buy them 'fitness related products'. You're simply saying 'you could lose a bit luv'. Research says that women are most comfortable with their relationship when they are slightly overweight and their man to be slightly bigger (only slightly bigger) than her so she doesn't feel fat, even though they both probably are. Don't buy her Nintendo Wii Fit either or you will get the silent treatment until mid January. Again, when boys DO want to start worrying is when she does start to lose weight in the relationship as she is probably looking for a new bloke (especially in January), ironically telling her she needs to lose a bit the best way to initiate that action. I would also recommend not buying her a stripper pole for the house, not an uncommon in places like South London and Essex, but usually for Eastern European women who have come to work here. My mate bought one and now it's holding up the roof and little else and the bird long gone.
Dust mop slippers are perhaps not a good idea for a novelty gift (slippers with a fluffy bottom that dust and clean when she moves around) or, indeed, anything related to housekeeping. As much as women say they hate doing the housework they secretly do as it's a good way of keeping control of their man and the best way to keep him. If you praise her for keeping the house clean it's extremely patronizing. Your misses becomes your mum in the end. Men will do the housework if you don't and that means what else is there to do? Nine out of ten domestic murders happen in the kitchen where the knives are.
Music is the food of love so anything that plays her favorite songs that remind her of you is always a good idea. It's a present that's practical and they can use how they want, the sort of free emancipation girls love. I would avoid the Apple range though as any and every new kit that comes out from those guys you have to buy new adapters and add-ons and the whole thing becomes an expensive rip off. A nice new digital music player is always welcome. At least that way you won't have to listen to Adele groaning on all day in the flat about being fat and lonely. If she chased a few more pavements in her jogging shoes and pants she might just get a man! Adele that is.
Women love intimacy, be it with their man or the things around them. Ornaments are not really the things you should buy them though as women will buy those sort of things when they are bored in town anyway, 70% of all purchases on the planet made by women. If women didn't buy crap capitalism just wouldn't work. Am I right guys? Why do you think they buy all those bloody Yankee candles! They like to have and buy things, great therapy for all sorts of things. Women also have hobbies and so feeding those is always a good idea. The gorgeous dooyoo girl CarolineR-D is into mystical things and so my dream catcher on the way! What most of the boys here would like to buy the gorgeous Daiseylee3 would no doubt earn a punch from her very lucky husband.lol.
Christmas gifts for mum are a bloody nightmare. Whatever you buy them they won't like. When my brother was doing well at work he paid for mums new bathroom where as I had bought a throw from BHS! The older they get the colder they get and so things that keep them warm ideal. As with girlfriends and wives, fashion and clothing is also one to steer clear off with women as they can be insecure at the best of times and so want to present themselves to the world in a certain way to cover up certain deficiencies. Older men, of course, are pretty shameless when it comes to that and a two button shirt is enough to cover up a beer gut. Whatever you buy your loved ones guys for gawd sake research it or its down to Wilko's for those pegs.
Buying gifts for men is traditionally considered to be the most difficult, but I find that buying for women can be just as difficult. I think that women in general are better at being polite when opening presents, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are happy with your choice. Here are a couple of hints that will hopefully help you to make the right choice this year.
===Don't Stereotype by Age===
I think it can be too easy to assume that what one woman wants is what all women of that age would like. Take my Nan and my mother-in-law for instance. They are both exactly the same age and I'd probably buy my mother-in-law (amongst other things of course) things like scented drawer liners and slippers. My Nan on the other hand would be devastated at that and would much prefer a bottle of gin or some designer make-up.
Women can be very sensitive about their age and if you buy something not appropriate to their age it will probably offend them. This goes for all ages of women - if you buy a teenager something that is too childish you'll upset them.
===Be Thoughtful and Practical===
I find that one of the best gifts is hampers. They can be adapted to any woman and they can be as cheap or expensive as you want them to be. I love getting lots of little things and so do all of the women that I generally buy gifts for.
For my mother-in-law, who has spent her life watching every penny, I made a hamper last year of all the things that she likes to buy in her weekly shop - biscuits, drinking chocolate, jams and chutneys -and I put the whole lot in a washing up bowl. It might sound naff, but she absolutely loved it because she'd been after a washing bowl for ages. For my mum, my sister got loads of potions and lotions as well as sample size make up items like mascara and lipstick which she adored.
You can buy ready-made hampers from all kinds of places, like BHS and Marks and Spencer. If you really want to splash out, you can try one of the exotic hampers from Selfridges or a local farm shop.
===Look For The Hints===
A woman will almost always give you hints in the run up to Christmas, whether direct or quite subtle, and the challenge is for you to look out for them. It might sound like a lot of hard work, but believe me, the end result will be worth it because you'll get extra brownie points for a) getting what she wants and b) showing that you actually listen!
Like I said, the hints won't necessarily be direct and they might not even be conscious - just watch what she is looking at in shops, look at what she is paying special attention to. When she is looking through a magazine and she points something out to you, make a mental note.
===My Favourite Christmas Presents===
*Shoes are always much appreciated by me. I have had a couple of pairs from the Irregular Choice range at Schuh which are slightly bizarre, funky shoes but that I adore. They are slightly different from your run of the mill shoes and are great for any shoe fan, with prices generally from £50 to £150.
*I love books and audiobooks are great for listening to on my commute to work. Audiobooks tend to be slightly more expensive than the paper version but you can get a massive choice on sites like amazon and play.com.
*I am a massive fan of Salvadore Dali and my husband bought me a framed print of his a couple of years ago. As far as I know it wasn't that expensive, but I absolutely loved it, not least because it showed that he had put a lot of thought into it.
*Chocolates always go down well and don't always have to be a cop-out as long as you get the ones that a person really likes. My favourites are Black magic and Ferrero Rocher and always like getting them at Christmas because it's a treat that I don't tend to buy myself at any other time.
===Top Tips To Avoid Disaster===
*If you are buying clothes, for goodness sake, make sure you get the right size. Have a quick look in the wardrobe, it'll save making the ultimate mistake and embarrassing all concerned on the big day. This goes for jewellery like rings and so on too.
*Be thoughtful rather than flamboyant. You don't have to spend a lot to impress a woman in general, much better is to put a bit of thought into the gift. I'd much rather have a cheap present that means something special than an expensive gift that I didn't really want. To me with the latter, I wouldn't be able to look further than the waste of money.
*Don't try and guess with fragrances. Women are very particular about the smells they like. One of the most popular scents in the world is Chanel No5, but I personally can't abide it. Don't buy cheap alternatives either because a) it makes you look tight and b) the smell of them doesn't last at all. This goes for potions and lotions as well - my mum can't stand the smell of vanilla in things and would actually throw anything that smells of it away. Plus she wouldn't thank you for not knowing that about her!
*Don't buy joke presents because they can fall flat and make present opening very uncomfortable for all concerned. It is very likely that you will offend the recipient and, unless you are absolutely sure that you won't, it's best to steer clear!
If you have managed to avoid all these pit falls, then sit back and bask in the glory that will doubtlessly be bestowed upon you and have a very merry Christmas!
Buying Christmas presents for women should be easy, right? After all, I'm a woman, so I should know what women like, right? Wrong.
I find buying gifts for women much harder than buying them for men, and even, to an extent, children. I think this is because women's tastes vary so widely. I buy Christmas gifts for my mam, two close friends and my brother's girlfriend, and they all like completely different things. So what to do?
First of all, DON'T fall into the trap of buying something YOU like in the assumption that they will also like it. I have very different tastes to all these women and I know that this would not work. I love Lush products, for example, but only one of the women I buy for would be similarly thrilled to receive a Lush gift (or indeed any toiletries at all!).
DO ask them or someone close to them what they would like. One of my friends always tells me what she would like, and I tell her what I would like, so we are guaranteed to be pleased with our gifts. I often ask my mam what she wants, too. I ask my brother what he thinks his girlfriend would like, but he doesn't always know himself!
DON'T buy personal items like makeup or perfume unless you know the person very well. These can be very tricky to get right as everyone has their own preferences.
DO listen out throughout the year to work out what the person might like. I've chosen my mam's present this year based on a remark she made back in April about the item in question (I won't say what it is in case she reads this review!).
Having said all that, here are some ideas which should hopefully impress most women:
A Travalo - I have reviewed this in the past: it is a perfume atomiser which you fill from the bottom to ensure no mess. They are available in various different colours from Amazon, Boots and other stores. I'm not giving one as a gift this year, simply because I've already given it to several people as a birthday gift! I honestly can't think of anyone who wouldn't be impressed with this. Who wouldn't want to be able to carry their perfume around wherever they went?
A Cash Stash - these are tiny containers which fit on your keyring and can hold a note: either £5 or £10. They are available in silver, black or pink and can be found on Amazon, Play and Prezzybox. These are suitable for men too but I feel they are especially ideal for women, as they offer the security of always having money with you if your purse gets stolen or you run out. Perfect for younger women especially who enjoy nights out on the town.
A hot water bottle or microwaveable warmer ('hottie') - unless the woman concerned lives in the tropics I don't see how you can go wrong with one of these. Perfect for the colder weather or that time of the month. New Look have an especially adorable owl hottie.
I hope this is of some help to those of you looking to buy gifts for the women in your life!
The things that I want for Christmas this year, being female myself, are on the following list. I'm not particularly a 'girly girl' though. Even when I was little, I never really asked for 'girly' things; instead I would ask for things like toy cars. I actually had a collection of over 100 toy cars at one point. This year, I'm not asking for more toy cars, but I still wouldn't say my list is full of typical 'girly' things.
1. College supplies. I'm doing an art course at college and, as a typical student, I don't have a lot of money. What money I do have typically goes on the course. Therefore, anything I can get will help me to get through the course more easily.
2. A new duvet cover. My old bed broke earlier this year (although admittedly it was about 12 years old, so it lasted well really) and I've ended up getting a larger one than my old one, so I had to get a bigger duvet. I've only got one cover for it at the minute, so I'd like another one really.
3. A vegan cookbook. I'm not actually vegan (not that I eat much meat anyway) but I have a dairy allergy. Obviously vegans don't use dairy products either, so it's just a really useful sort of book to have when I can't think of anything new to cook, and as it stands, I don't actually have a vegan cookbook anyway.
4. A mobile top up. Like I said, I'm a student and all my money goes on college stuff, so it would be useful to actually have credit for a change. I only use my mobile for emergencies anyway really (and for playing a word search game I downloaded ages ago as well, but that was free anyway!)
5. Headphones. My cat decided my old pair were fun to chew through. In four places. It would be nice to actually have headphones again.
That's pretty much my list. I hope you can get some use out of it somehow!
When it comes to the Christmas gift shopping each year I personally find women much easier to buy for than men. From my mum, gran, female friends or the dreaded office secret Santa I always find purchasing gifts for women much more of an enjoyable experience than I do for men. So here are my top ten gift ideas for women:
1. Toiletries - I know this may seem a little dull but toiletries are a lot more exciting now with designer products and shops like lush on the high street offering a huge variety of different lotions and potions. This is often a gift choice for some of my friends, many of whom have children and do not always have as much money to spend on nice toiletries as they would like.
2. Cinema Vouchers - Most people enjoy a night out at the cinema, my local Cineworld offers gift cards and at Christmas a gift box containing 2 film tickets as well as vouchers for popcorn and drinks for £20.00. This makes an excellent present for the female friends giving them a good opportunity to drag a friend or partner for a night at the flicks!
3. Homemade Chocolates / Cakes - I have recently begun making and selling my own homemade truffles which I will certainly be handing out to many of my female friends this year. Not only do they taste great but I think something homemade has a extra special feel. I have also previously made my own Christmas cakes as presents too which you can have great fun making and decorating.
4. Hampers - Each year for my gran and husband's gran's I make my own hampers normally containing marks and spencer's food. You are able to purchase far more items for your money than you would get in a premade hamper. I add items such as biscuits, jams, chutneys and normally a Christmas cake as the central item. To wrap the hamper you can either place the items in a wicker basket (although these can be a little expensive), alternatively you can wrap a empty box in some nice gift paper, add some shredded paper in the box, place the items inside and wrap in clear cellophane with a pretty bow for decoration. Making your own hampers also means that you can make them personal to the individual adding all their favourite items.
5. Yankee Candles - I have a bit of an obsession with Yankee wax tarts, they smell divine and are so much better than a standard scented candle. Already this year I have purchased my mother in law and my husband's gran a tart burner and tarts which they have loved so a few more ladies I know will be receiving these this Christmas and with so many different tarts to try the wax tarts can continue to be purchased year after year.
6. Photo's - Photographs make a great gift, if I have taken a nice photo of anyone or a group of people over the year at Christmas it always make a nice present to put the photograph into a nice frame. You can also make so many photo gifts from calendars, mugs, mouse mats etc.
7. Clothing - Some people may find this a little bit of a difficult gift to buy as people have such different tastes when it comes to clothes but I think if you know someone well enough then you can often spot items that you just know they will love. I often purchase my mum items of clothing as I know her style well and my gran who is not able to get out to her favourite shops anymore.
8. Vouchers - I personally love gift vouchers and so do many of the ladies I know as it means you can have a shopping trip of your own and treat yourself to something special which you actually want. Also now vouchers can have a more personal twist with sites such as Groupon offering vouchers for pamper days, restaurants, cake making courses etc for bargain prices.
9. Currency - If I know any of my relatives or friends have booked holidays for the following year I will often find out the destination and purchase a gift of the correct currency for them to save towards their holiday.
10. Event Tickets - I love groups and shows that my husband does not so if I spot something I want to see in a concert venue or theatre then I will often purchase my mum or a friend a ticket for Christmas to take with me.
What can I say gents, the big two secrets are to do a bit of research and the best way to do this is to listen to what we are saying and also don't leave it to the last minute and try and do everything in a rush or on the cheap because if you do not spend big you could find yourself in trouble.
If in doubt play it safe is my advice, perfume is always a reasonably safe bet, my advice is don't scrimp as a cheap brand will smell just the same, cheap. Another tip is don't just follow the herd and buy the latest pop star or film star endorsed product, even worse if it is a reality TV stars fragrance, instead go for the classics from Chanel, Galtier or one of the other top designers and brands as these are often the best.
The rule about spending big certainly applies to lingerie, remember you are buying for the woman you love not some porn star who is going to fulfil your most lurid fantasy, it you splash the cash and some quality lingerie then you may get to tick off the odd fantasy or three is your loved one is really grateful. Buy some cheap itchy rubbish that would not even make the Bunny Ranch let alone the Bunny Mansion and it will never see the light of day.
For me the best present has to be either one of jewellery, preferably something either vintage or very unique is what I love the most and while diamonds are said to be a girls best friend I'm more interested in the design rather than how much bling is on show and understaed peices are often the best in my opinion. Or as a great second option I love to travel so a weekend or preferably a fortnight booked away somewhere new and exciting is a great option and is also a present that gets to be shared with the whole family.
I admit there is nothing revolutionary about my ideas but then sometimes the old favourites are still the best.
When you're thinking about what gift to get for a woman, whether she is your friend, mother, sister, girlfriend or wife, the first thing to consider is something really specific to her, something she really wants. Maybe there is a book you saw her flicking through in a shop, a favourite film you could get a special edition DVD/Blu-Ray of, a special handbag you know she's had her eye on..
But if you can't think of something specific, then you need to come up with something a bit more general and safe, but also thoughtful. Here are a few suggestions:
Yes, I know, toiletries are boring. But they're fairly safe - everyone uses them, and the gift sets you can buy at Christmastime are a bit more interesting than the products we buy for ourselves during the year. The first thing to think of is does she have any allergies? If so, toiletries and any cosmetic products are best avoided. If not, think about her personal tastes, and consider whether you want to buy toiletries or make up. Me for example, I don't wear make up, something everyone who buys me gifts knows. I always think that gift sets from ranges such as Boots Extracts or the Body Shop are a good bet - pick a fragrance which you either know she'll like or one which is widely popular, and you should be fine. If you want to spend a bit more, go for a range which she's unlikely to buy for herself, maybe a spa range such as Decleor.
You may think that the category of "gadgets" sounds a bit impersonal, but let's be honest, we're all addicted to our gadgets these days. Two of the best gifts my partner has bought me have been gadgets - my Nintendo DS and my Kindle. He knew I would love them and use them extensively, so they were thoughtful and personal gifts. For women who love reading, maybe they'd like a Kindle - yes I know lots of people like to claim they love real books and say that to make it sound like those of us with Kindles aren't proper book-lovers, but the chances are that anyone who loves reading, will love a Kindle. They are practical and easy to use. They are especially good for women - a Kindle is so much lighter and more compact in your handbag than a book (especially if, like me, you have a habit of carting around great big hardbacks).
This could be just about anything, but whenever I think about buying someone "something pretty" as a gift, there is only one shop I think of - Accessorize. They have beautiful handbags, purses, jewellery and other accessories, at sensible prices and in a range of styles - cute, pretty, glam, casual...I'm always happy if I'm given something pretty from Accessorize.
Vouchers of any form can be very welcome gifts - better vouchers to choose something you love, than a gift you don't like - but spa vouchers may make a slightly more special gift than high street vouchers. Almost all women, regardless of how low-maintenance their beauty regime is, love the treat of a visit to a spa. For a lot of us, it is a treat and not something we'd buy for ourselves. A visit to a spa will be a pleasant experience and something to remember. Make sure you check out the spa price list and buy a value of vouchers which are enough to cover the cost of one of a choice of a treatments, not just the lowest price one, so she can pick what she would like.
It's getting closer! Less than a month I believe. I must admit the spirit hasn't quite hit me yet but it is time for me to start making my prezzie lists. I just cant do without them otherwise I wander aimlessly around the shops never buying anything!
So I've come up with a somewhat alternative list perfectly suited for the ladies in your life and all around the world with no bath salts in sight!
We all know someone whose always on a diet, the perfect gift would be the brand new fat free 'Chocolate', a fabulous gift for only £19.00. Admittedly it is in Guatemala and Belize where Oxfam will provide people with seeds, tools and training to grow cocoa plants and support their families.
My sister is an unashamed sun worshipper so I thought maybe I'd get her a 'Sun and Water pump' at £78. She can top up her tan knowing that people in Kenya have clean water courtesy of Practical Presents.
Maybe you are one of those parents who get out of bed, only to find your daughter has used up all the hot water, forgoing buying her a condensing boiler you could go for 'More than a chance to freshen up'. UK's Centrepoint will provide a hot shower, bag of toiletries and a towel to a homeless young person, not bad for £15.
Is your Gran always losing her glasses? How about a 'Cataract Operation'. Not for her though, but Age UK via their website cowsnthings.org will give an elderly person in an impoverished area an operation to repair their sight for £14.
Perhaps give mum a break in the kitchen by donating a 'Kitchen Set' for a displaced family. Present aid will make sure a mum in a disaster area can cook a meal for her family with food and cooking equipment.
But of course it wouldn't be Christmas without someone running around like a headless chicken, which is of course usually the ladies. Thankfully 'Funky Chickens' come with heads and will support families in Zimbabwe for £16 from Practical Presents.
Is getting gifts for the girls at the office still a done thing? What to get the gossip who 'butts' into every conversation. Why a goat of course! The £25 may be a little expensive but Oxfam will send one to Malawi where it will provide food and manure for an impoverished family who certainly wont mind it 'butting in'
We all know Yummy Mummys, those super healthy mums who drop the kids off to school and head down to the gym, following it up with a nice carrot juice. They'll also enjoy giving a child in a place like India healthcare for a year, to ensure they are just as healthy. For £31 the child will get a trained health worker, their vaccines and other treatment.
The girl who cant sleep the night before Christmas (which again is my sister) can help someone in Uganda actually have a good and safe nights sleep in Uganda. £7 will get some mosquito nights from Oxfam.
I don't know about anyone else but I have a female friend who is a complete neat clean freak. She's going to love the 'Emergency hygiene kit' for Present aid, giving someone else the chance to be as clean as her by providing a flannel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc after being involved in a national disaster.
Mum, sister, aunt, niece, gran, female friends and more. At least one of these has to adore clothes and have wardrobes bulging with clothes they will never wear. Well you can buy them even more without adding to that bulge! Weather in Tibet and Mongolia plummeted to less than -40 last winter. For less than the price of a pair of shoes Save the Children will send a set of clothes for a child for £10. Closer to home Barnardos will give an impoverished child a warm winter coat at £30
I hope you've enjoyed my little alternative Crimbo list and that its given you some food for thought. Perhaps think of swapping at least one gift or requesting one for yourself. Instead of buying gifts for each other at the office club together and buy a group gift, I work in an all female team and instead of separate presents we adopted a polar bear, and the year before that I bought some ducks and chickens to send to Zimbabwe.
This was of course specifically for the girls and the chaps and kids don't get to escape, look out for their reviews!
Please look at the links below and hopefully get some inspiration.
presentaid.org - Christian Aid
cowsnthings.co.uk - Age UK
I think women are much easier to buy for than men, as there seems to be so much more choice. This isn't a comprehensive list, but it will maybe give a few ideas!
1. CANDLES AND CANDLE ACCESSORIES
I don't know anyone who doesn't like scented candles. They may be an unimaginative present but I certainly always like receiving them! Nicest ones, in my opinion, are Yankee Candles, Kringle Candles and Lily Flame candles, which all offer a range of scents. You can also buy accessories such as oil burners, tart burners, holders for jar candles, and candle lamps.
2. CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES
Of course everyone is different shapes and sizes, but if you know someone's size and general tastes, it can be fairly easy to find something like a top or jumper that they will like. At Christmas there are plenty of cosy jumpers or cardigans in the shops that would appeal to a range of tastes, and suit many sizes.
If you aren't confident enough to buy someone clothes, you can buy accessories such as scarves, gloves, hats, pashminas etc.
Again this depends on personal taste but I find you can't really go wrong with costume jewellery such as bracelets. For more expensive jewellery, knowing whether the person likes gold or silver jewellery will be helpful as then you can buy, for example, a necklace or pendant as you don't need to worry about finger/wrist sizes for these.
Toiletries can be quite an unimaginative gift but it can be a nice present if you go beyond the usual mass-produced gift sets that you can get in Boots. Try higher end companies such as Neal's Yard, Crabtree and Evelyn, Space NK, and Molton Brown. For a cheaper budget, Lush do some lovely gift sets, or you can make one up yourself.
Homewares could include items like vases, photo frames, candle sticks, plants etc. I think Next is great for items such as this.
If you want to go beyond the usual box of chocolates from Thorntons, there is the likes of Hotel Chocolat which sells a large range of products and several different flavours of chocolate. You could also make up a hamper of foods such as preserves, mini bottles of champagne, biscotti, etc.
Obviously you would need to know what kind of scent the person likes as it's a subjective thing. You can also innocently ask what perfume they are wearing, and go and buy a gift set for it accordingly, for example scented body lotion. You could also buy a mini range of perfumes or a perfume diffuser.
PS. I am not sure how to rate this, so an average 3 stars it is!
Men are slow to learn, when I say they slow to learn, the chances are the gift that men get their wives or girlfriends often is (1) in the wrong colour, (2) from the wrong shop, (3) or for their own enjoyment. Naturally, I've done wrong with all three rather spectacularly. Once, I thought it was a lovely idea to purchase a heart shaped locket and put a mug-shot of me in it. It went down like a lead balloon. Another attempt of wanting to please was purchasing a 'Wonderbra' to emphasize a 'B Cup'. What a palaver! I never saw the result, put it that way - the bra was 'very uncomfortable' apparently - the 'Wonderbra' and I were promptly dismissed. Do not pass 'Go' or collect 200.00 pounds. And then there was an ornate ring that I'd purchased. A lovely piece of design but sadly had the girth for elephantiasis fingers, naturally she took offence and within a month I was sent packing - ironically, she put the pounds on thereafter so hopefully she got some use out of the ill regarded gift. 'Swings, and roundabouts'. I evidently didn't do my homework nor did I listen when my dearest at the time exclaims with delight that she'd love a silk scarf or a 'Friends' box-set - because she loves Le Blanc. My mind would've been elsewhere; such as wondering; 'why I fancied the 'Bungle in the jungle' Kerry McFadden?' 'I bet she'd be absolutely chuffed with a chocolate éclair and a Domino pizza'. Instead of the 'Le Blanc', she got a photo of me - well she could have kept the frame. Over the years the penny dropped, I had to resign that shopping for La femme I was firing 'le' blanks. My perfect gift antenna was faulty and beyond help; I promptly state to women now that I'm no Richard Gere who systematically knew what gift to get Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Women' on a daily basis - One of the problems of not having a 'Golden Credit Card' with no limitation to offer your lady prior to shopping paid by Walt Disney Studios. Come on, Edward Lewis is an aging bachelor, and a workaholic. Get the 'Pretty Woman DVD' for your lady, so you can point out the discrepancies and the reasons why Edward Lewis will never marry. Dissolve the fantasy most women have got in regards to meeting a rich handsome man - be the 'king of wishful thinking!' Generations of males to come will thank you for it.
Coz she's Worth It!
One rule I do obey is never buy treats like chocolates, even if they're the best brand, stay clear of any bulge enhancements, they think you're trying to make them obese and therefore not run-off with the nearest youthful offering. Keep clear of flimsy see through materials of any kind, even if she'd like them - because I can guarantee the style or colour will not complement her complexion, or skin tones - (including any Avon Pearl balls she may, or may not have). Dressing gowns are the safest bet in regards to night-ware - but make sure they're really fluffy and soft, however, refrain from purchasing anything too churlish. Hair appliances obviously depends on whether she has long hair or not - in my experience most of my spouses have spent many hours pouting their lips and styling their locks - and usually ask me for assistance whether they should have their hair up or down after twenty minutes can't deciding. I usually respond by: "Ring your hairdresser up?" It saves time in the long run, and then she can't blame you for her indecisiveness. Calvin Klein's 'Obsession' fragrance is a must have; they love 'Obsession' - Women love saying 'Obsession'. The brand brings out their theatrical side, the letter 'O' gets accentuated: "Oh its Obsession. Are you 'Obsessed?' I am!" Worth mentioning is the spray on 'Dry Shampoo'by Tresemme, it is a top class stocking filler, a thoughtful practical product for the busy lady on the go, or hates 'H2O'. Hear Muff headphones - these fluffy wonders heats up the ears while you listen to your favourite beats. Available in pink if that is your preference and only the ladies can get away with it, without looking decidedly foolish, all ladies look cute wearing 'Hear Muffs headphones'; especially when peeling the sprouts and humming Uncle Cliff's Crimbo classic, 'Mistletoe and Wine'.
Mission Impossible Season: not exactly a cruise, nor can afford one.
In 2006, I did the impossible and made a young lady cry with joy (no- not like that, silly). I created a six foot by six foot Picasso replica of his dove drawing, representing 'peace' - It was to live above the stairs, protecting her from the evil of stumbling up or down the stairs while under the influence of a 'Merlot' or two. She wasn't the most agile in high heels to put it bluntly, albeit, the shiny laminate floor didn't help matters. Personalising a gift does make it that little bit special, however, do some probing and find out what she may prefer before jumping headlong into doing something too kitsch. Surprise her with a hamper with all her favourite things - expense needn't be the essence of the gift. By just knowing her favourite author or making a note what is on her Amazon wish-list can make the whole hamper concept a viable option. Voucher Cards from a particular vendor or retail outlet is also a winner. Most women love to browse - seek out a bargain even if they're bank account resembles Jimmy Carr's offshore account balance. Refrain from purchasing the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD until the sales kicks in - firstly, a new batch of Texas Instruments Android devices has irritating glitches, two months after the launch the installation glitches are ironed out and the price is lowered - a win, win scenario. Opt for the Original Kindle Fire (launched 09/11) if patience is not on the agenda and you're desperate for a 'Kindle'. Of course my suggestions are not guaranteed to please every female in the western world, however, use it as a guide for a happy Christmas.