Les Cadeaux: "Just A Little Something" - une femme d'un certain âge

Les Cadeaux: “Just A Little Something”

Retro Christmas

I don’t know about you, but every year there are at least a few people on our gift list that we may not know extremely well. You might have some of these too: kids’ teachers or tutors, your mother’s neighbor who checks in on her daily, the friend-of-a-friend who organizes the monthly book club, a co-worker whose name you drew in the office Secret Santa exchange….the list goes on. Something very personal or extravagant isn’t appropriate, you don’t really know terribly much about their likes and interests, but want to go a step beyond a generic box of candy. You’re looking for something to acknowledge them and perhaps express appreciation, without making them uncomfortable. I find these can be the toughest gifts to select.

Again, I’m attempting to present items that people will actually use, but nowhere is it written that useful items can’t be visually pleasing too…

USB Charger

Who doesn’t carry a cell phone or portable electronics these days? Well, perhaps some holdouts, but anyone who’s ever been out running errands and discovered their cell phone battery is dead would appreciate this portable charger from J.Crew.

USB Charger

For iPhones, iPads and digital cameras, there’s this Triple C ‘iBoost’ Portable charger.

Do you live in region with cold winters? What about some texting gloves? (More options: Hommes // Femmes)

Minimergency Kit

Another item from J.Crew that tickled my fancy is this “Minimergency Kit” which includes items like adhesive bandages, safety pins, earring backs, dental floss and pain reliever, all in a tiny purse-sized pouch. This would be great for someone like a teacher, or a woman who is on the road frequently for business, or that SAHM who’s always shuttling kids between school and soccer practice and music lessons, and is anything BUT “Stay At Home…”

Shea butter Lotions

Diptyque Lavender Candle

Most women I know would appreciate some nice purse-sized lotions, perhaps in a gift basket with a scented candle?

Dip Dye Plaid Scarf

And don’t forget scarves! In the past, gifts of scarves have been well received, and you can find some beautiful inexpensive scarves in all shapes, colors and sizes.

Is there anyone on your gift list who has you flummoxed? Or have you found any tried-and-true “little something” gifts that seem to always please?


(If you need additional inspiration, I’ve updated my Things I Love page to include gift suggestions for the next few weeks.)



J.Crew – 30% off with code MONDAY


Neiman Marcus – gift card up to $500 with $200+ purchase, code GC4YOU


Kohl’s – extra 20% off with code CYBERSAVE

Petit Bateau – 20% off with code CYBER20

Macy’s – various discounts & free shipping over $75 with code CYBER

Lands’ End – 30% off everything with code WONDERLAND

Saks Fifth Avenue – 40% off Designer

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  1. RoseAG
    December 2, 2013 / 3:46 am

    Great ideas!

  2. December 2, 2013 / 4:41 am

    Since I am a teacher, I am going to chime in….please do not give Christmas coffee mugs, or ornaments which say TO MY FAVORITE TEACHER, or apple decorations. Teachers do work very hard and one of these lovely gifts here would bless anyone…a scarf, oh yes!! A Spode dish which says Merry Christmas Teacher…Oh no! Also, for those of us struggling to lose weight…please don’t give candy and food! Hope this helps all of you!

  3. Kerrie in France
    December 2, 2013 / 5:20 am

    Your comments on simple gifts reminds me of the best of these I’ve ever been given for christmas. It was from a co-worker who just wanted to give something but without any great value. It was one of those carry bags that folds up into nothing and goes everywhere in my handbag. I use it constantly and whenever I do I remember her and the thoughtfulness of the gift. You can buy these in any price range and some, like mine, are in pretty fabrics.If you want to encourage those you know not to pollute the planet with plastic shopping bags, it’s a great idea. Joyeux noël de France !

    • Vonse
      December 2, 2013 / 9:08 am

      I love this idea! Do you have any links?

      • December 2, 2013 / 11:15 am

        The foldup bags are easy to find – often museums sell them, as do travel shops. I’ve been carrying my own bags for decades, but then, I’m an old hippie. 😉

      • Ellen
        December 3, 2013 / 5:20 pm

        The Container Store, Sur La Table both have these year round

  4. December 2, 2013 / 5:28 am

    As a teacher, I agree with Pam. The thought is wonderful, but after you get 40 coffee mugs, you end up just donating them. My most appreciated gifts were gift cards, which I know is kind of a party pooper, but come dreary March, that Starbucks card is a major mood lifter! As a mom, I’d LOVE a gift card to a car wash that does the full vacuum/wipe down. That would make my Christmas. 😉

    I do have one food gift that is always appreciated; Cowboy Caviar, which is a bean/corn/peppers/onions chip dip. A quart jar with a bag of Scoops is always liked because it’s an instant appetizer when guests are coming, everyone loves it (really, everyone I’ve ever served it to has), it keeps for weeks in the fridge and it’s actually not horribly bad for you. I can make a big batch in a half hour and give to friends and neighbors easily. Here’s a link to the recipe (as requested by many so I put it on our church blog): http://cookingwithtlc.blogspot.com/2011/10/cowboy-caviar-bean-dip.html
    I make it differently almost every time, but people love it. I put in fresh jalapenos this time, and my husband went crazy for it. I put it out before Thanksgiving at a friend’s house this year, and the quart was decimated before the table was even set. One year, my MIL gave it to her softball friends circle with a red bandana tied around the jar and in a cute brown paper bag. They loved it. 🙂

    Also, though it’s not a “thing”, I have donated to charity in the name of recipients. Some of my favorites are the local food bank, Children’s hospital, conservation groups, and the Jazz Foundation of America (they provide health care to Jazz musicians, literally keeping the music alive.)

  5. T.
    December 2, 2013 / 6:43 am

    I plan to make coconut-sugar scrubs this year. Two parts of granulated sugar to one part of coconut oil (the solid version, not liquid). Mix it together and put into pretty little jars (4 oz canning jars are perfect!). Someone gave me this last year and I loved it. It’s also a very economical gift!

  6. Hostess
    December 2, 2013 / 8:17 am

    I have given those L’Occitane hand lotions and you know when you get a call asking where they are sold that they want another one for their purse oe car that they are well received!
    Those chargers are such a great idea, I’d appreciate one myself.
    I make scented bath salts, chocolate dipped dried fruit and marmalade.
    Linen tea towels and beeswax candles are another gift staple for hostess gifts.
    Thinking about the person you are giving the gift to helps me decide what to give.

  7. Mette
    December 2, 2013 / 8:52 am

    The red kit is cute. Actually one could buy a kit and supply it as one wishes.
    Liking the cremes too, visually perfect ; )!

  8. December 2, 2013 / 11:29 am

    Mine is NOT for someone you don’t know well. They have to love bérets. A friend and I will be ordering large, authentic Basque bérets (from the Spanish side of the border, though Basques say “the Southern side”) from this guy in Seattle: http://basqueberet.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/new-beret-size-has-arrived/ but here I’m indicating that he now has a new, SMALLER size, for people with small heads – as hard to find as for those of us with large ones and/or scads of hair.

  9. December 3, 2013 / 1:59 am

    All great ideas, I particularly like the idea of palm sized lotions, useful to all.

  10. December 3, 2013 / 7:11 am

    If it is not a skirt, a belt or a dress I am very difficult to give presents too, so I make sure to buy my own. The girls usually make things rather than buying, like when they were little, and we give them money and love, lol

  11. Gauss
    December 4, 2013 / 3:48 pm

    Lovely ideas! Another teacher chiming in here – I appreciate any and all gifts, and even just a pretty card is a nice token of thanks. I especially love the hand creams, always useful!

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