11 Go to Gift Ideas for Friends

I’m not a natural gift giver. Gifts are DEFINITELY not my love language, but I aspire to be a good gift giver and I want to be the friend who stops by with a little birthday gift.

I remember shortly after I moved to Arizona, Becky, a new friend from the book club I’d just joined, showed up on my porch with a copy of her favorite book (Gift from the Sea) and a bar of fancy dark chocolate. I’ve never forgotten it – it was the nicest thing!

(After she left, Ella said to me, “Do adults mainly like dark chocolate so they don’t have to share it with their kids?”).

I aspire to be a friend like that!

I want a gift that’s not terribly expensive (usually around $20 or less), that is useful and a little bit fun.

Here are a few gift ideas for friends that make the cut for me:

(P.S. With the holidays approaching, these would also all make great gifts for a favorite things party!).

gift ideas for friends

11 Go to Gift Ideas for Friends

  1. Stoneware Platter. You know those products that look WAY more expensive than they really are? This platter is one of them. It’s massive and perfect for doing s’mores or fondue or chips and dip or a fruit platter. I have two of them and use them constantly. It looks like a $50 item but it’s only $20!
  2. Neck Booklight. I was SO dubious about this book light when I tried a million different book lights last year, but after everyone raved about them, I gave them a go and they’re clearly superior to every other book light. I tested them on my kids, my husband, and some friends and everyone agreed – way better than any book light that clips to your book. And perfect for doing puzzles, embroidery and any other close up work.
  3. Hero Cosmetics Sunscreen. I am OBSESSED with this facial sunscreen. It’s a fraction of the cost of the Supergoop ones, is a mineral sunscreen instead of a chemical one, rubs in super easily, and has a slight green tint to combat redness. You can buy it on Amazon or from Target, but if you buy it on their website, you can use my code EVERYDAYREADING for 15% off which makes it the cheapest place to buy it.
  4. Mini box cutters. This is one of my standard gifts and it’s just SO GOOD. I know it seems totally dumb (why would you even need box cutters?) but I promise, once you have a few of them, you’ll never go back. They’re so handy and the perfect little inexpensive gift when you don’t want something flashy or over the top, but that will 100% get used.
  5. Stance Socks. My sister-in-law gives Stance no-show socks as her standard birthday gift to all the sister-in-laws and I love them so much I wrote an entire post about them. They’re that good. And I’ve also fallen in love with the Stance tabbed athletic socks – they’re the kind of sock that once you get them, you don’t wear any other socks in your drawer because they’re just so much better.
  6. Book Journal. If you have a friend who loves to read and it’s too tricky to figure out what book to give them, this book journal is the perfect solution!
  7. Mini Lash Serum. This is the BEST eyelash growth serum and the mini is the perfect size for a little gift. Use my code JANSSEN for 20% off!
  8. Nail Polish Organizer. My Olive & June nail polish collection has gotten embarrassingly large, so I ordered this nail polish organizer to keep them all in one spot and easy to see. I LOVE it so much. By the way, when I mentioned it on Instagram, someone told me that it’s also terrific for keeping LEGO mini figs in one place – brilliant!
  9. Geometry Towels. I have seen these kitchen towels alllllll over Instagram for the past couple of years and I finally ordered some. They live up to the hype! They’re the only towels I want to use now in the kitchen and they have such fun patterns that they make me happy every time I see them. You can use the code JANSSEN15 for 15% off.
  10. Necklace Holder. In our last house, all my jewelry was in a dresser drawer and the necklaces especially were a complete disaster. I actually had to throw away about a dozen of them because they were SO TANGLED that there was no hope for ever getting them undone. When we moved into this house, I bought this necklace hanger and I absolutely love it. It’s so clean looking, nothing gets tangled and the base is perfect for holding my rings and bigger bracelets. It comes in white, black and brass.
  11. Frother.  Bart bought me this for Christmas and it gets used pretty much every day, whether for Bart’s morning Peachy Greens, a mug of hot chocolate for the girls after school or an evening glass of Perk Chill for me. It’s super powerful, easy to clean and works like a charm. (Bart bought me the pink one which makes me happy every time I see it – I love a fun color!).

Do you have any go to gifts ideas for friends? I’d love more suggestions!

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  1. Great list for grownups! Do you also have recommendations for birthdays for your kids’ friends? I know my children well but always have a hard time figuring out what other kids might want!

  2. Great list! I think I need that platter for myself! 🙂 Last year I gave every one of my sisters/friends/nieces/etc (as well as my husband and nephew) an Owala freesip water bottle for their birthdays. They have all raved about how much they love them and told me that they’ve now bought them for their kids/spouses/friends/etc. I joke that Owala needs to put me on commission. 😁 The 24 oz size is closer to $25 normally, but they do go on sale at target or on Amazon sometimes, or Sams Club has 2 packs for a great deal. Another gift I’ve liked giving over the years is a ceramic berry bowl with real berries or a treat inside.

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