Maybe it’s your wife, your mom or your sister who are impossible to buy gifts for. There’s one in every family.
It’s especially hard to find gifts for the woman who wants nothing.
Whether it’s a birthday or Christmas, they specifically tell you, “Don’t buy me anything. I have everything I need.”
So do you honor their request? That’s hard to know.
Many men think this request is a trap in disguise of frugality (ask my husband).
Here’s the thing:
I’m one of these women, so I want to help you out!
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Choosing gifts for picky women (we know it’s hard)
If you’re looking for the best birthday gift for your wife, or a Christmas gift she’ll love WITHOUT having to spell it out for you, this gift guide is for you.
My aversion to gifts is usually because: I’m budget-conscious; I don’t like to tell my husband what I want, so he has to try and read my mind.
And I don’t like clutter and knickknacks that I have to find a place for, dust, or otherwise re-home if I can’t find a use for them.
If you have a low-maintenance woman in your life, you probably have heard these things before.
And truly, STUFF doesn’t make me happy. Gifts just aren’t my love language.
Accepting gifts (for women who want nothing)
What I’ve learned over 15 years of marriage is that gifts ARE my husband’s love language, and it’s also the case for many of my friends.
So as women, moms and minimalist-leaning ladies, we need to learn to be better at accepting gifts.
I’ve come to realize that my husband, even when he’s “under orders” to buy nothing, hates the feeling of being empty-handed.
So he’s usually going to break the rule anyhow- and it’s not a fair rule to begin with.
He simply delights in giving me gifts, so I need to think of practical, unique gift ideas that I can be happy with – because it makes him happy to be a giver. And he WANTS suggestions.
Christmas gifts for your wife (that she doesn’t know she wants)
Of course, I’ll appreciate anything my husband gives me. Even that cast iron skillet he gave me for our 2nd Christmas which screamed, “Make me cornbread, woman!” (True story.)
And practical gifts, honestly, are a GREAT idea for the woman who isn’t always receptive to gifts.
Because usually, when we say we don’t want anything, what we really mean is, “I don’t want junk.”
But if it’s something we can really USE, we might secretly love it.
Useful Gifts for the Woman Who Wants Nothing
Below is a list of gift ideas for the woman who wants nothing — from a woman who wants nothing either, but would be very happy with these picks. 🙂
You simply can’t go wrong with practical gifts for women.
Coffee/Tea Related Gifts
I knew I was wasting money every time I bought bottled water, so finding a reliable “cold cup” was a win in my book.
They’re not only pretty but super practical! If your gift recipient always hauls water everywhere like me, she might appreciate a nice insulated travel cup.
Besides lemon-lime water (my favorite), I also use my insulated tumbler for iced tea, coffee or water. Although, for hot coffee I prefer the kind with a handle and no straw like these.
Two requirements for me personally are that my mug has an easy to close lid, and that it fits in my car’s cup holder. These check all the boxes!
And as a bonus, I feel just *a little* more hip in the school pick-up lane.
Specialty Coffee or Tea
Many women (dare I say most?) enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea at least once a day. I happen to love both – coffee to wake up and herbal tea to go to sleep.
One of the best brands of coffee I’ve recently tried was at the Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK.
You can find the whole bean variety in her online store. It’s a special blend roasted in Tulsa from Topeca Coffee Roasters and delivered fresh to her shop.
Of course, if you buy a woman whole coffee beans… she’ll need a coffee grinder to go with.
The French Press method is quite popular right now and known for brewing a smooth, coffee-house quality drink without a hint of coffee grounds.
While I love the flavor of freshly ground coffee, I have come to rely on K-cups in this stage of life. My personal favorite is Cameron’s Toasted Southern Pecan.
While not exactly gourmet, it’s worth a mention because I LOVE IT. The unique packaging of these compostable pods seems to give it a smoother taste – like it didn’t come out of a pod at all.
If you prefer ground coffee, though (and saving money), reusable K-cups are the way to go.
Coffee flavors can be a pretty personal preference, so a variety pack is another great option.
I was also given a coffee pod storage drawer like this one a few years ago as a gift, and I’m still using it so I’d call it a winner!
I love that the Keurig sits on top of it so it doesn’t take up any extra space on my counter.
Better yet, bundle some of these coffee items together in a nice basket if you really want to impress.
Gifts for the Home Chef
If your wife, mom or sister loves to cook and doesn’t own a quality dutch oven, she needs one.
This is something I asked for a few Christmases ago (when I first realized I needed to LET my husband buy me something).
I don’t regret it one bit.
I now own a few of these, and the one pictured above is the Tramontina 6.5-quart dutch oven which is a beautiful addition to any kitchen. I chose it because of its ample size and great reviews.
We have 4 kids and I wanted to be able to cook BIG batches of soups, chili and stews especially when we have company.
Dutch oven brands to try
Amazon recently added a line of Amazon Basics dutch ovens at VERY affordable prices, and so far, the reviews look promising. I would take a chance on this one as a nice, budget-friendly option.
The Chicago Cutlery knife block set from my wedding 15 years ago is still going strong and their knives are still a best-seller.
If I had to pick, this would probably be the set I’d choose.
Personally, I’d rather have a good set of knives than any chopper/slicing gadget out there. (Who wants to clean those things?!)
I didn’t know I needed a stand mixer until my hand mixer broke a few years ago and a relative gifted me a stand mixer for my birthday.
What a huge difference it’s made in my baking skills, though!
I actually have 2 sets of these type of melamine mixing bowls and I use them every single day.
From leftovers to baked goods, we just get a ton of use out of these and they’re really easy to clean (the best part!)
This beautiful set is an amazing value, too.
IF you have a frugal wife who would appreciate a nice set of amazing dish towels and probably wouldn’t splurge on them herself, THESE are the ones.
I have a similar bamboo-blend that I couldn’t find online, but bamboo in general is incredibly absorbent and works better at drying dishes than anything else on the planet.
Kitchen towels are one of those things I have a hard time spending money on but would LOVE to receive as a gift.
Self Care Gifts
Honestly, I haven’t quite found the “perfect” pillow for me because I’ve never been willing to spend more than a few bucks on one.
But I’m told if you spend more than $5, you can get a really nice pillow and likely a better night’s sleep.
This set of gel pillows is reasonably priced (especially for a 2-pack) and are very highly-rated (over 100k reviews!) on Amazon.
Another popular pick are the shredded memory foam pillows you might have seen on TV.
We recently upgraded to the Puffy brand memory foam pillows and I don’t think we’ll ever need to buy another pillow again. (*Update: 18 months later, still my favorite pillow and it never goes flat.)
You probably guessed it, but along with our Puffy pillows, we also upgraded to a new Puffy lux Mattress a year ago (a friend had recommended it) – and I honestly have never slept better.
And, dear husbands, keep in mind that a good nights’ sleep is a gift for you as well.
I personally never knew how luxurious a memory foam mattress could be. (P.S., this one is made entirely in the USA!)
I have a very similar one that I splurged on about 3 years ago and it’s simply amazing.
It’s great in summer OR winter because it’s truly a breathable fabric that keeps the chill off without making you sweat. It gets softer every time I wash it.
I personally buy very few health & beauty items in a given year — I have just a few favorites. Otherwise, I tend to use DIY hand soap recipes or just plain coconut oil for hand cream.
But this Yes to Coconut hand lotion is hands-down (pun intended) my favorite. It’s thick but non-greasy, 97% natural, and has a very light scent. Perfect purse-size too.
Most women love chocolate – especially the good kind that they won’t splurge on themselves. The thing to remember is to step outside the Russell Stover box.
If you thought those fuzzy socks were a nice gift – boot socks are waaaay better. Just so you know.
Perfect combination of stretchy, warm and cushy with boots or just lounging around the house.
If you are giving a gift to someone who’s always cold – they will appreciate these.
(And if we’re talking practical gifts for women- it doesn’t get much more practical than comfy socks!) 😉
Sentimental (But Useful) Gifts
It’s likely that few of us actually use regular-sized photo albums anymore thanks to digital albums and photo books.
BUT what do you do with the kids’ 8×10 school pictures after each year passes, or last year’s 11×14 family photo?
If you’re like the majority of people, you just slap the new picture in front of the old one until you have a very heavy frame. 😉
But this is really a better option for preserving those oversized photos that you don’t know what to do with. (And, now you can actually look at them now and then.)
You can skip this idea unless your gift-recipient has actually shown interest in photography. For me personally, learning how to use a DSLR camera was one of the best gifts I could have received.
But I think nearly every mom I know would love to learn how to take better pictures of their kids and capture those fleeting memories.
This Nikon D3500 (above) was rated as the best affordable DSLR camera for beginners.
I love this idea for a keepsake box that I could store on the top of the bookshelf for safekeeping, but still see what’s inside.
I would probably put some special items from the years my husband and I dated and from our wedding; some special family pictures and souvenirs from family trips.
Gifts for the Tidy Homemaker
If this was in my frugal budget, I would already own one for sure. Who wouldn’t want to outsource this chore to a robot?
Moms with multiple kids and/or pets would be grateful.
This particular vacuum has great reviews and is reasonably priced among its competitors. It’s been on my Amazon wish list for a while now!
A fresh new welcome mat that’s stylish and also keeps my carpets cleaner = a win in my book.
This is another one of those things that I hate to spend money on – but would be thrilled to receive as a gift.
Check out this mat as another idea, if your gift-recipient has a large double-door entrance.
Non-toxic cleaning supplies
This all-purpose concentrated cleaner made with essential oils and is fabulous for making countertops shine. I’ve been using it for about 3 years now.
It’s a safer alternative than chemical-based cleaners and one bottle goes a really long way. (Rocky Mountain Oils are my favorite!)
I would bundle it with some glass spray bottles like these, a large bottle of castile soap (it has a million uses including DIY foaming hand soap), premium cleaning cloths , and a set of silicone sponges (also on my wish list currently!).
If you know someone obsessed with being wrinkle-free, a handheld steamer can be a huge time-saver.
It can be used on clothing, table linens, curtains- you name it.
(I personally rely on wrinkle spray when I really need a quick “ironing” but would prefer the clean/scent-free steam any day.)
Whether you’re buying a gift for someone who is practical, frugal or just simply has everything – I hope you’ve found something on this list that makes her feel special.
And if not… Amazon has a great return policy!
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Post originally published 10/30/18 and last updated 7/21/20.