Remember the TV show where contestants ran through a supermarket and frantically piled carts with groceries before the buzzer? That's what online Christmas shopping feels like now. In our rush to grab discounts, markdowns, sales codes and free shipping, our credit cards can easily go into a coma. Is there a way to keep gifts personal, yet find the balance between caring and cheap, thoughtful and thrifty, loving and low-priced? My $50-or-less buyer's guide for beauty-and-style gifts does it. If the recipients are:
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PHOTO BY: Zara, Target, Zara, Target, H&M, Target
1. Ringleaders. They check Amazon, Google and Netflix daily and always have what's new — from the iPhone 11 to sock sneakers. Give her: an insider fragrance like Queen Bee by Good Chemistry Eau de Parfum ($25, target.com); a snakeskin bodysuit like the H&M Draped Wrapover Bodysuit ($18, hm.com); or a metallic day bag like Zara Quilted Maxi Crossbody Bag ($50, zara.com). Give him: a hot-notes fragrance like Cremo Leather & Oud Men's Solid Cologne ($13, target.com); a body pack like the Zara Green Khaki Premium Cordura Body Pack ($50, zara.com); or an updated polo like the Zara Polo Sweater with Zipper ($50, zara.com) in eggplant.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy, H&M, Target, Walgreens, Zara, CVS
2. Classics. They love ancestry.com, print newspapers and old movies, and prefer real books to e-readers and telephone calls to texts. Give her: a forever floral like Embrace Periwinkle & Iris Eau de Toilette by Vera Wang ($30, cvs.com); twist-on pearls like the Zara Cable Knit Scarf with Pearls ($40, zara.com); or a pretty update like the Old Navy Frost-Free Puffer Jacket for Women ($44, oldnavy.com) in Miner's Gold. Give him: a refreshing subtle scent like Davidoff Cool Water Eau de Toilette for Men ($26, walgreens.com); a dark blue button-down like the Goodfellow & Co Men's Plaid Standard Fit Non-Iron Dress Shirt ($30, target.com); or a polished pullover like H&M Merino Wool Sweater in dark green ($25, hm.com/us).
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PHOTO BY: Zara, H&M, Zara, H&M, Ulta, Sephora
3. Hipsters. They're so cool in statement items from Warby Parker glasses to Apple watches — the edgier the better. Give her: a vetiver hair freshener like Clean Reserve Rain Hair Mist ($38, sephora.com); black leather hand warmers like H&M Leather Mittens ($25, hm.com/us); or a night-out purse like the Zara Gold Mini Bucket Bag ($30, zara.com). Give him: a high-energy fragrance like Yves Saint Laurent L’ Homme Sport Eau de Toilette ($38, ulta.com); a stylish sweatshirt like the Zara Sweatshirt with Vertical Stripes ($40, zara.com); or all-black accessories like H&M 3-Piece Set ($13, hm.com/us) of beanie, scarf and gloves.
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PHOTO BY: Target, Amazon, Ulta, Modcloth, Sephora, Target
4. Grandparents. They're obsessed with the grands and are OK with adding car seats to the Jeep and strollers and snacks to park outings. Rain or shine, they show up with cuddles and cupcakes. Cozy, colorful and kid-resistant ideas top the list. Give her: a coconut scent like KKW Fragrance Hot Pink Lips Eau de Parfum ($40, ulta.com); a slouchy beanie to keep her blowout fresh — like C.C. Trendy Cable Knit Beanie ($20 for two, amazon.com); or festive puddle jumpers like the Glitz Raining, Glitz Pouring Rain Boot in Black Glitter ($39, modcloth.com). Give him: a face soother like Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel ($20, sephora.com); entertaining socks like Men's Star Wars 15 Days of Socks in a Box ($15, target.com); or a faux fur trapper like Goodfellow & Co Men's Faux Fur Hat ($20, target.com) to keep ears warm while building snowmen.
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PHOTO BY: Loft, CVS, Target, Old Navy, Mac Cosmetics, CVS
5. Throwbacks. They love posting when-we-were 20/30/40 photos on Facebook, Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift, coffee ice cream and Fro Yo salted caramel. Give her: a never-fail fragrance like Guerlain Paris Shalimar Eau de Toilette Spray ($38, cvs.com); a nostalgic red lipstick like MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo ($19, maccosmetics.com); or retro hoops with multicolor stones like Loft Crystal Hoop Earrings ($30, loft.com). Give him: a classic like Calvin Klein One All Over Body Spray ($16, cvs.com); a fresh knit hat like the Old Navy Wide-Rib Roll-Cuff Beanie for Men in rust ($15, oldnavy.com); or an everything-old-is-new-again sweater like the Goodfellow & Co Men's Jacquard Standard Fit Fairisle Holiday Sweater ($35, target.com).
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PHOTO BY: H&M, Loft, H&M, Target, CVS (2)
6. Wits. They love comedies on Netflix, late-night talk show monologues and Oprah's book recommendations. They turn any friends-brunch into a good-natured roast. Give her: a peppy fragrance like I Love Love by Moschino Eau de Toilette Mini ($20, cvs.com); a leopard top like the A New Day Women's Leopard Print Long Sleeve Crewneck Pullover Sweater ($20, target.com); or sparkly earrings like the Loft Tassel Earrings ($35, loft.com) in Fresh Merlot. Give him: a perky cologne like Calvin Klein Euphoria for Men Pocket Spray ($16, cvs.com); wild socks with burgers, sushi and fries patterns like H&M Patterned Socks ($4, hm.com/us); or a quirky matching bow tie and hanky like H&M Bow Tie and Handkerchief ($15, hm.com/us).
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy, Gap, Target (2), Gap (2)
7. Hippies-at-Heart. They do yoga, meditate and rescue shelter dogs, with a mantra of “Peace, Love & Social Security.” They crave anything vegan and cruelty-free, as well as that which is a little out of the ordinary. Give her: Himalayan Patchouli Berry by Pacifica Shimmer Solid Perfume ($10, target.com); a wind blocker like the Sherpa Trapper Hat ($40, gap.com) in cerise orange; or a tie-dyed scarf like the Gap Tie-Dye Brushed Scarf ($50, gap.com). Give him: an earthy scent like the Goodfellow & Co No. 2 Juniper & Sandalwood Men's Solid Cologne ($15, target.com); a jeans-worthy winter T-shirt like the Old Navy Soft-Washed Crew-Neck Long-Sleeve for Men ($13, oldnavy.com); or TV-ready Gap Flannel Pajama Joggers ($40, gap.com).
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PHOTO BY: Zara, Target, CVS, Target (2)
8. Foodies. They're game for anything from kale pretzels to chocolate pizza, and love ethnic restaurants and The Great British Baking Show. They can't say no to carbs or dark chocolate and body-friendly clothes. Give her: a gourmand scent like Island Vanilla by Pacifica Spray Perfume ($16, target.com); or delish bath bombs like Raw Sugar Raw Coconut and Mango Bath Fizzers ($13, target.com). Give him: a scent hinting of chocolate and blood orange like Adidas Sport UNLSH ($20, cvs.com); a card and key chain like the Zara Tri-Color Card Holder and Keychain Set ($20, zara.com); or a stretch fleece top like the Men's Chamonix Trevoux Fleece ($35, target.com).
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PHOTO BY: H&M, Sephora, Old Navy, Target (3)
9. Happy Homebodies. They're handy with a toolkit and paint brush, and are never without their iPods and e-readers. Biking and weeding the garden plus brisk strolls through Home Depot keep them fit. Give her: a threesome of scents with notes of grapefruit, like Clinique A Little Happiness ($20, sephora.com); foot-loving slippers like the Old Navy Faux-Suede Sherpa-Lined Moccasin Slippers for Women ($21, oldnavy.com); or a 24/7 tunic like the Universal Thread Women's Cowl-Neck Tunic Sweater ($30, target.com). Give him: a stroll-in-the-woods-scent like Duke Cannon Sawtooth Woodsy & Aromatic Men's Proper Cologne ($20, target.com); sherpa scuffs like H&M Pile-lined Slippers ($18, hm.com/us); or warm PJs like the Men's Wondershop Plaid Holiday Buffalo Check Flannel Pajama Set ($25, target.com).
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PHOTO BY: Zara, Old Navy, Sephora (2), Old Navy, H&M
10. Social Butterflies. They're single, divorced, widowed or married but always on social media — connecting daily with chums old and new. They never miss a birthday, anniversary or holiday card. Give her: a crowd-pleasing fruity floral like Versace Bright Crystal Absolu Ovetto ($32, sephora.com); mobile-loving gloves like the Old Navy Text-Friendly Sweater-Knit Gloves for Women ($10, oldnavy.com) in Beetroot; or black lace tights that dress up any outfit — like the Zara Limited Edition Lace Tights ($20, zara.com). Give him: a gutsy spicy scent like Tom Ford Ombre Leather All Over Body Spray ($49, sephora.com); a standout-in-the party hoodie like Old Navy Sherpa-Lined Thermal Knit Pullover Hoodie for Men in Empire Apple ($45, oldnavy.com); or a no-tie-needed blazer companion like the H&M Wool-Blend Turtleneck Sweater ($35, hm.com/us).
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy, Target (2), CVS, Zara (2)
11. Workaholics. They plan to never retire, but 9 to 5 is now 9 to 9 with work-from-home options. Keeping up tech skills, multitasking and de-stressing are a priority. Give her: an elevator-friendly citrus scent like Brainiac by Good Chemistry Eau de Parfum for Women ($25, target.com); relaxing bath soothers like We Live Like This: Spa Therapy Bath Salts ($7, cvs.com); or a rich-looking gold bracelet like the Zara Limited Edition Square Chain Bracelet ($26, zara.com). Give him: a nonbulky dress scarf like Zara Striped Jacquard Scarf ($36, zara.com); mobile-friendly gloves like Goodfellow & Co Men's Thinsulate Lined Tech Touch Gloves ($20, target.com); or a dressy fleece like the Old Navy Shawl-Collar Button-Front Sweater-Fleece Cardigan for Men ($45, oldnavy.com).
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PHOTO BY: Gap, Target (2), Old Navy, Ulta, Old Navy
12. Travelers. They never stay put. They are either being snowbirds in Florida for the winter, hopping on a plane to Morocco or taking a road trip to New Orleans. They live out of suitcases and love it. Give her: a happy portable scent like the Women's Solinotes Fig Blossom Rollerball Perfume ($10, target.com); a stash of one-shot facial masks for nonstop glow like Freeman 12 Days of Masking Palette ($10, target.com); or a foldaway jacket like the Old Navy Packable Puffer Jacket for Women ($55, oldnavy.com). Give him: a mood-boosting warm scent like Coach For Men Eau de Toilette Travel Spray ($32, ulta.com); a neon beanie for airport spotting like the Gap Double-Knit Beanie ($20, gap.com); or an easy-layer sweater like the Old Navy Everyday V-Neck Sweater for Men ($30, oldnavy.com).
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50-plus, check out The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age by Lois Joy Johnson and Sandy Linter.