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Picking the perfect present is rarely easy, but gifting your girlfriend can be uniquely stressful. You want to get her something nice, something she’ll appreciate and actually use. But nailing that down can be difficult. Maybe your girlfriend is the kind to drop a bunch of hints, or maybe she’s keeping things mysterious. Or maybe she’s like my fiancée, née girlfriend, who can’t exactly pinpoint what she does like but is very clear about what she doesn’t. Given that we’ve been together for almost nine years, I’ve had a lot of practice. There have been birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, Valentine’s gifts, and just-because ones, too.
The key here is to understand her interests and go from there. With that said, there’s a lot of different things she could be into. No two girlfriends are the same, so we made sure to include ideas for every type of girlfriend we could think of. Ranging from cookware to beauty products to books to outdoor gear, the mix includes Strategist favorites curated from our archives as well as gifts we’d like to receive for ourselves — some practical and others wonderfully luxe.
To make your search even easier, all the gifts on this list are available on Amazon (though we’ve included links to other retailers when a gift is available elsewhere, for those who like to shop around). And finally, we’ve organized everything by price, so you can find a great gift that won’t bust your budget.
Gifts under $25
For the girlfriend who already owns a Lodge pan in every size
This chain-mail scrubber, which is designed specifically for cleaning cast-iron skillets, is a favorite of WNYC host John Schaefer. “You rub it on the skillet on all the burnt-on bits. It loosens everything up so you can wipe it clean and maybe give it a good oiling afterward.”
For the girlfriend who doesn’t believe in unscented candles
This slow-burning lemon and vanilla candle with high-end packaging is made from ecofriendly soy wax in the USA.
For the girlfriend who misses Big Sur
Re-create the experience with this incense, which Rachel Bloom says “really just freshens everything up and makes it smell like you’re in front of a campfire in Joshua Tree.”
For the girlfriend who washes her hands 15 times a day
A soothing, scented antibacterial hand cream is a nice break from Purell.
For the girlfriend who’s a chess player
Here’s a captivating history of checkers, backgammon, chess, Go, poker, Scrabble, and bridge.
For the girlfriend who read Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You twice this year
This debut novel from Coco Mellors chronicles the marriage of Cleo, 24, and Frank, who is 20 years her senior. Their relationship sets off a chain of events among the people around him. Cleopatra and Frankenstein has the same compulsive readability as her favorite Rooney novel.
For the girlfriend getting into hiking
Every avid hiker’s favorite socks brand, made from cozy (and odor-defying) merino wool in Vermont.
For the girlfriend who constantly loses her earrings
These look expensive but if she misplaces one of them, it won’t ruin her day.
For the sustainable girlfriend
Stasher bags aren’t cheap, so she might not buy them for herself. But they are long-lasting and dishwasher safe, making them a gift she’ll actually use over and over again.
Gifts under $50
For the girlfriend who wears sneakers with every outfit
These are a favorite of both models and Strategist staffers, with senior writer Liza Corsillo saying, “They feel like slippers you can wear outside.”
For the girlfriend who likes to be hands free
A stylish faux-croc crossbody from AAPI-owned brand JW Pei.
For the girlfriend who makes to-do lists
This design-forward notebook is a favorite of stationery enthusiasts and has blank, unlined pages she can design however she wishes.
For the outdoorsy girlfriend
This isn’t a regular water bottle — it’s a cool water bottle equipped with the same filtering technology as our favorite personal water filter. It comes recommended by writer Jeremy Rellosa, who says it’s even better than the brand’s best-selling straw because you can collect water rather than just sipping from the source. “It’s one of the most efficient ways to filter drinkable water in the backcountry,” he says.
For the girlfriend with a bare coffee table
Featuring previously unseen personal photographs and ephemera from the collection of legendary rock star and visual artist Kim Gordon, this hardcover art book from Rizzoli is beautiful to look at as well as read. It features an introductory essay by Carrie Brownstein.
For the girlfriend who drinks iced coffee in winter
MochaBox Coffee co-owners Harlin Thomas and Floyd Sartin put us on to this “affordable, easy to use” cold-brew maker that can also make iced tea in a pinch. Constructed from glass and steel, it makes for an elegant kitchen-counter piece.
For the girlfriend who goes for an alcohol-free buzz
This (expert-approved) alcohol-free spirit contains adaptogens and nootropics that will supposedly have positive effects on her body and mood.
For the girlfriend who gets caught in the rain
Save her from bodega umbrellas once and for all with this Strategist pick for inclement weather. Light, wind-resistant, and durable, the LifeTek New Yorker is described by former Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson as “exactly what an umbrella should be.”
For the girlfriend whose bodega stopped using plastic bags
Baggu’s packable ripstop nylon totes are an ecofriendly classic, and there are endless colors and patterns to choose from.
For the girlfriend whose high-school ringtone was “Purple Haze”
This coffee-table book was featured in our roundup of the best recently released coffee-table books. Co-written by Hendrix’s sister, Janie Hendrix, it contains music, memorabilia, and even some previously unreleased photographs of the late musician.
For the girlfriend with a minimal beauty routine
A Rio-recommended color-adjusting blush that she describes as “extremely natural looking.” It goes on clear before adapting to the pH in your skin and giving you a custom pink tinge. It takes the guesswork out of picking a shade and is the closest thing Rio has found to her natural flush.
For the girlfriend who likes it hot
Jon Gray, a co-founder of Ghetto Gastro, says this all-natural, non-GMO chile-crisp condiment “transforms the vibe” of anything you put it on. (Two of his favorite things to top with it are leftover pizza and ice cream.) “You get garlic, you get black beans, you get peppercorn. It gives you a little numbing, tingling sensation,” Gray says.
For the girlfriend who leaves the house with 10 percent battery
Anker is the brand to beat when it comes to portable chargers.
Gifts under $100
For the girlfriend who lives in the moment
Former Strategist tech writer Jordan Bowman says this comically tiny camera “rekindled his love” for analog photography. Small enough to take anywhere, the Polaroid Go takes surprisingly great pictures. And yes, there’s a timer for taking selfies.
For the girlfriend leaning into her kinks
For the girlfriend who’s an adult fan of LEGO
When we asked cool person Youngna Park about non-hideous LEGO-storage options, she recommended this box shaped like a giant LEGO, which will bring a hypebeast-meets-kindercore vibe to her space and hold a ton of bricks.
For the girlfriend who’s working her way through The Joy of Cooking
Lodge makes some of our favorite cast-iron skillets because they retain heat incredibly well and can easily move from the stove to the oven. It’s also affordable: This four piece set will only run you $100.
For the girlfriend who has everything
You can’t go wrong with a nice pair of sheets. This sateen-cotton set from Brooklinen is particularly nice and has a study, luxurious feel. “It is really hard to beat the quality of these sheets for the price,” says interior designer Molly Schoneveld.
For the girlfriend who’s always tired
This silk eye mask that designer Karen Walker (and many other people) can’t live without will help her stay asleep while you scroll through Twitter.
For the girlfriend who’s always worried about split ends
To round out her sleep routine, a luxurious and protective silk bonnet that also happens to be a favorite of actress Regina King.
For the girlfriend stretching out her kinks
Whether she’s an occasional YouTube yogi or daily devotee, she’ll love this durable floor-gripping yoga mat that comes with a lifetime guarantee.
For the girlfriend who’s always on the aux
A number of Strategist writers (three, to be exact) own this nifty portable Bluetooth speaker, which they say outperforms and outplays other popular options. It has significant playtime too — a single charge will last 13 hours, meaning it’ll handle full days at the beach, park, or WFH with ease.
Gifts under $200
For the girlfriend who burns the midnight oil
This lamp is apparently the inspiration for the iconic Pixar logo, and according to architecture critic Alexandra Lange’s husband (who’s an architect), it’s the “black T-shirt of architect desk lamps.”
For the girlfriend who’s also a dog mom
A dog crate so stylish that a CEO left it out even after his dogs stopped visiting the office. Another bonus: It doubles as an end table and will give her a bit of extra storage.
For the girlfriend who’s been wearing the same slippers since you met
These UGG slippers are a longtime Strat favorite and will keep her feet toasty. Their thick rubber sole provides a good amount of foot support, and they’re even sturdy enough to wear outside the house.
For the long-distance girlfriend
Our favorite app-compatible rabbit vibrator can be controlled by a partner from anywhere and has lots of fun features, such as music syncing, and various speeds and rotation options.
For the girlfriend who spends half the year in LGA
If she’s constantly racking up frequent-flyer miles, a suitcase could make a fitting gift. We’re fans of this budget-friendly carry-on from Amazon, which writer Robin Reetz says is “perfect for a weekend or four-to-five-day trip.”
For the girlfriend who says everything sounds better on vinyl
If she’s getting into vinyl, this beginner-friendly turntable is our expert-approved, best-in-class pick for its sleek looks and crystal-clear sound quality.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, bed sheets, coffee makers, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.