RSS Feed

Experimental Wifery’s Guide to Gifts for the Women on Your List

Buying something for everyone on your list is easy. But buying something truly thoughtful, something the women on your list will cherish and use?–that’s tricky. Experimental Wifery brings you a list of gift ideas for the women in your lives who are trying to be better women and wives.


For Education and Entertainment

Less than $10

  • A Dinner-and-a-Movie Coupon or Basket. Tell her she can set the date and you’ll bring the DVD and the popcorn. If you’re a good cook, of her favorite take-out place is nearby, you can bring dinner along to share. For friends in a long-term relationship, consider packing an easy-to-make canned dinner, a DVD, and movie snacks into a decorative basket.
  • A film from our list of 100 Films Every Woman Should See. With comedies, romances, dramas, and action films, our list has a little something for everyone. Many are available through Netflix or Amazon Prime for an inexpensive addition to a dinner-and-a-movie night. Or look for copies at your local library.
  • A Book from Experimental Wifery’s Guide to the 100 Books Every Woman Should Read. Our list is handpicked from the best books ever written by and about women, guaranteed to help her become a better woman and wife. Most titles cost less than $10–an out-of-copyright title sent to her ereader is a thoughtful gift that costs next to nothing.
  • Don’ts for Wives by Blanche Ebbut. At less than $5, this tiny volume is a bargain–and a perfect stocking stuffer. Give her more than your money’s worth of vintage marriage advice that will actually improve her marriage. Read samples of advice from the book.
  • How to Be a Good Wife. This is another palm-sized book full of delightfully old-fashioned, insightful marriage advice. How to Be a Good Wife is an excellent present for engaged or newly-wed women, helping them learn to communicate with their husbands and understand a little of what’s going on in their husband’s minds during conflict. If you’re friends with both partners, consider the companion guide, How to Be a Good Husband.

Less Than $25

Less than $50

In the Kitchen

Less than $10

  • Cooking Lessons. Perhaps you can make a perfect piecrust or make famous peach preserves every summer. Volunteer to train her to prepare your signature recipes. You can even consider throwing in necessary supplies like a pie pan or a box of canning jars. Teach a woman to make bread and she will have bread for a lifetime.
  • A jar of local honey. Aside from the good economic decision to shop local, when you buy and gift honey from local hives, you may be helping her overcome seasonal allergies.
  • Kitchen towels that coordinate with her décor. I have never met a woman who cooks who couldn’t use more kitchen towels. Change this often-overlooked gift into something she’ll love by choosing towels that coordinate with the things she already has in the kitchen.
  • A book of your favorite family recipes. One of my most treasured gifts from my mother is a purple notebook from my mother full of our family’s most popular recipes–everything from my great-grandmother’s sweet potato crunch to my Aunt’s chicken roll-ups. If you aren’t artistic, consider using a binder and notebook paper or make a recipe card box. This gift is one instance where thought most definitely counts more than execution.

Less than $25

  • Frozen, pre-made crockpot meals. Provide an alternative meal for her family for those days she just isn’t up to cooking. Toss the raw ingredients of your favorite crockpot recipe into a plastic bag, freeze it, and share it. Be sure to give it to her at the beginning of parties or get-togethers to prevent thawing and refreezing. (Read more about crockpot recipes that freeze well.)
  • Cloth napkins. Fancy napkins for a beautiful dinner table are a nice option to consider, but women with families may find laundering them impractical. One of my favorite Etsy vendors sells reusable “paper napkins” that diners can feel guilt-free and getting dirty.
  • How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. For single women, newly-weds, and empty-nesters this thick volume provides thousands of new recipes to try and enjoy. And even though moms may not have the time to prepare some of Bittman’s more elaborate dishes, the comprehensive index means no woman will ever be stuck in the kitchen trying to figure out how to make a pie crust or cook an artichoke. For a personal touch, annotate your edition with alternatives or mark your favorites.

Less than $50

  • A set of glasses for her favorite cocktail. For women who love to entertain, having martini glasses for her after-work martinis or separate red and white wine glasses can give a special kind of pleasure. This gift is one to consider carefully: buy only what she will use, has space for, and isn’t a step down in quality from the glassware she normally uses.
  • A crockpot. For any woman who doesn’t have a crockpot, the time-saving device can be a life-changer. I love our nesting crockpot that has grown as our family has grown, allowing me to cook smaller and larger portions as needed.
  • A rice cooker. Like a crockpot, a rice cooker can be a huge time saver in the kitchen. She can throw a few vegetables into the steamer basket over the cooking rice and have all her side dishes prepared without any further worry or time.

In the Closet

Less than $10

  • A hand-knit or hand-sewn item. Even a small handmade item like a scarf or necklace makes for a meaningful gift. Allow yourself enough time to make homemade presents and be realistic about what you can get done before the holidays.

Less than $25

  • A teething bracelet. Because small babies can be so destructive, it is almost impossible for most new moms to accessorize. Teething bracelets are beautiful and practical additions to any mother’s wardrobe. Or, if you’ve got a slightly bigger budget, consider a teething necklace.

Less than $50

  • A pashmina. Pashminas are a beautiful and versatile accessory. Choose a comfortable fabric like soft wool or silk.
  • A hat. Just because a woman looks terrible in a baseball cap–and many of us do–doesn’t mean she isn’t a “hat person.” In fact, the right hat not only helps the wearer feel beautiful, but it also seems to bring smiles to other people’s faces. Only buy a hat if you’re confident you know her head-size and wardrobe style. Otherwise, offer to take her hat shopping and pick up the tab.
  • A petticoat. The Case for the Petticoat is one of Experimental Wifery’s most popular posts, and with good reason. The old-fashioned undergarment makes fashion more fun! Pick one up from two of my favorite Etsy vendors, KMK Designs and Cherry Pie Vintage.
  • A garter belt and stockings. These days, we associate garter belts with a tacky wedding custom. But wearing stockings instead of panty hose can help a woman feel more feminine and protect her gynecological health. Read more about buying garter belts and stockings.
  • Lingerie. For the right audience (i.e. for a close friend, sister, or partner) pretty and comfortable underthings can be a wonderful gift. As with hats, unless you are sure of sizes, a shopping trip might be a better gift than the actual garment. Look for a store that advertises as a “European bra-fitting salon” or something similar to help her find something truly perfect.

Around the House

Less than $10

  • Framed pictures of you together. Framed pictures are a touching, personal gift–especially from a gifter with a limited budget. Choose stand-alone frames over Christmas ornament frames and avoid any frame she won’t want to put up in her home. You can also grab inexpensive picture frames from Goodwill to decorate with paint or decoupage.

Less than $25

  • Something she needs for an art or craft she enjoys. If she’s a knitter, crocheter, musician, or artist she’ll find the gift or yarn, sheet music, or art supplies both thoughtful and useful. Invite her over to share a “crafternoon” together.
  • Supplies and lessons for a new craft. Maybe she’s not a knitter, crocheter, musician, or artist–but you are. Give her a ball of yarn and some needles or a sketch book and some pastels. Then teach her to love your favorite craft as much as you do.

Less than $50

  • Art. Okay–not all art is under $50. But you can pick up beautiful and unique prints from local holiday markets or Etsy. Be ready to explain to her why you chose the piece so she knows you’ve picked something special, just for her.

Around Town

Less than $10

  • Free babysitting. Babysitting is a small expense that really adds up. Once a woman becomes a mother, a $30 date night meal with her husband suddenly costs $60. Let the mom in your life take a night off while you hold down the fort.

Less than $25

  • A gift certificate to a Yelp-approved restaurant. Half the fun of this gift is finding just the right restaurant for your friend. Take the time to research location, ambience, food, and any special dietary requirements. Before you buy, make sure she can enjoy at least one main course with the money on the gift card.

Less than $50

  • A gift certificate for a fun experience. Theater tickets, paintball, ice skating… the possibilities are endless. Give her the gift of an exciting, new activity. Or wrap up a coupon for a girls’ day out.
  • A gift certificate for a relaxing experience. Again, be creative. Manicures or pedicures are inexpensive, and many spas offer short services at reasonable prices. For a real bargain, look for Yelp deals or call a nearby business hotel for a weekend appointment.

For Her Whole Family

Less than $10

  • An activity idea jar. Save her the headache of grasping for something to do with her kids on a weekend afternoon. Buy a box of wooden popsicle sticks and save a lovely jar from your recycling bin. (A can also works if you have a can opener that doesn’t leave sharp edges.) Write a fun family activity on each stick. Find ideas on-line, in local parenting magazines, on the library community board, or by asking around. Try to include a variety of time commitments, travel distances, and costs–and don’t forget to include at least a few activities for rainy days. Our activity ideas jar inclues the library and the mall, some local museums, and a few nearby hiking trails.

Less than $25

  • A family-friendly board game. After kids are about four, they can start to join in  on the fun of board games. Classic games are fine, but if your gift is mostly for mom, look for games her kids will be able to play that she will enjoy playing with them. Thomas isn’t old enough for board games, but we look forward to sharing a few of our favorites with him:

Less than $50

  • An annual pass membership. Even though they are great places to spend time with kids, destinations like the zoo or the aquarium can get expensive after a few visits. Make mothering easier by providing her with a free way to get out of the house. Zoos and aquariums are on the expensive side of annual passes, so, if you’re on a tight budget, look at local botanical gardens, museums, and other attractions as well.

Many of the links to products on this page are Amazon Affiliate links. Please remember that, even if you don’t like our recommendations, anything you purchase after you’ve clicked on our links to Amazon.com helps support Experimental Wifery so we can bring you more of the content you love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: