Holiday gifts used to be an easy, one-size-fits-all task. We’d wrap some cute mugs or candles, bake some cookies, sign the cards and cross off our to-do list. Now the gift bar has been raised. Thanks to daily online sales, social apps promotions and higher prices, gifting can easily break your budget … unless you shop with a list. Here are the best bargains, splurges and stocking stuffers from $10 to $80 for every woman on your 2021 list.
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PHOTO BY: Zara; Sephora; Walmart
1. The trend seeker
She’s always first to do and wear anything from shag haircuts to sock booties. That’s because she shops what’s new — just like millennials do — and the phrase “age appropriate” never enters her mind. Retro dazzle will keep her 50-plus influencer vibe going, so give her the Zara Sequin Shirt in Dark Red ($70, zara.com/us/en), a holiday entrance-maker over jeans or black pants; the Time and Tru Women’s Slouchy Shoulder Bag in Trailblazer Brown or Hunter Lodge ($25, walmart.com), a squashy baguette style worthy of the Sex and the City sequel; or a purse-size Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum Travel Spray ($30, sephora.com), a head-turning mix of lavender, orange blossom and vanilla that makes everyone say, “You smell fabulous, what are you wearing?”
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PHOTO BY: L.L.Bean; Target; Ulta Beauty
2. The hip homebody
Whether she works from home or just has a full calendar of book clubs, gardening, yoga and cooking, comfort style is her mantra. Take her everyday basics up a notch or two with the Women's L.L.Bean 1912 Sweatshirt, Sherpa-Lined Cardigan in Oatmeal Heather ($79, llbean.com), a soft shawl collar twist on her usual hoodie; the Dluxe by Dearfoams Women’s Fernie Genuine Shearling Slippers in Black or Gray ($42, target.com), suede moccasins with a rubber tread sole that work for errands, too; or the J.R. Watkins DETOX Bath & Shower Aromatherapy Tablets in Turmeric and Citron ($15, ulta.com) with muscle-soothing oatmeal for tub or shower (just place in a corner of the stall) that also clears the mind and senses with energizing ginger and citrus. It’s great way to rev up in the a.m. or wind down before bed.
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PHOTO BY: Athleta; Target; Madewell
3. The natural
She’s a vegan who likes beauty and fashion with a clean, green, sustainable twist. Follow her altruistic lead with gifts that are Fair Trade Certified, organic or made from recycled materials — like the Athleta Tugga Scarf in Fog Camo Metropolis Grey ($68, athleta.gap.com), a camp print neck warmer made from recycled water bottles; the Madewell Colorblock Quilted Scuff Slippers in Recycled Faux Fur in Light Sand Multi ($40, madewell.com), recycled from post-consumer plastic; or the Beloved Grapefruit Oil & Red Ginger Body Mist ($10, target.com), an energizing, vegan scent that’s cruelty-free and packaged in recycled plastic.
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PHOTO BY: Gap; Ann Taylor; H&M; Neiman Marcus
4. The classic
She wears pants not jeans, loafers not kicks, sweaters not sweatshirts, and lipstick and perfume with everything. Give her a gift that’s sophisticated and polished but updated just enough to make a contemporary difference, such as the Gap Modern Long Sleeve Striped Boatneck T-Shirt in Navy Blue and Green Stripe ($30, gap.com), timeless flattery in new-for-her colors; Ann Taylor Pearlized Chain Hoop Earrings ($40, anntaylor.com), a hybrid that’s fashionable; the Robert Piguet Fracas Luxury Hair Mist ($70, neimanmarcus.com), a fresh way to wear this classy and timeless tuberose-gardenia scent; or the H&M Clear Glass Jewelry Box in Gold-colored ($30, www2.hm.com/en_us/index.html) to keep her bangles or makeup easy to find and on display.
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PHOTO BY: Zara; Anthropologie (2); Old Navy
5. The free spirit
She’s a hippie-at-heart with crystals in her bag, a tattoo on her wrist and clogs on her feet. Keep the boho vibe updated with the Zara Fringed Knit Poncho in Green ($70, zara.com/us) to wear with vintage wash jeans, midis and maxis; the Anthropologie Fringed Pocket Scarf in Grey ($64, anthropologie.com), oversized with useful pockets for keys, airpods or hands; the Old Navy Long-Sleeve Smocked Printed Poet Blouse for Women in Black ($37, oldnavy.gap.com), a go-with-the-flow alternative to tees; or the Bohemian Reves Desert Fleur Botanical Perfume Rollerball ($32, anthropologie.com) with patchouli and vanilla — a scent that’s déjà vu … in a good way.
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PHOTO BY: Gap; Kohl's; Old Navy
6. The daily exerciser
She checks her steps on Fitbit when shopping, rides a “cruiser” bike that looks just like her old Schwinn for spins around the neighborhood, and wears joggers or leggings and a tunic top every day. You’ll never see her in a gym but give her sneakers-with-everything style a lift with the Old Navy Long-Sleeve Vintage Quilted Tunic Sweatshirt for Women in Terrestrial Green or Date Palm ($40, oldnavy.gap.com) with a high-low hem that flatters every body; the Gap 100% Recycled Nylon Relaxed Lightweight Puffer Vest in Olive Green and Black Leopard ($55, gap.com), an essential layering piece for nature lovers; or the Women’s Columbia Winter Blur Pom Pom Beanie in Black ($35, kohls.com), a fleece-lined knit hat with a faux fur accent.
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PHOTO BY: Zara; H&M (2); Nordstrom
7. The luxury lover
She has a yen for labels and logos even if it’s only on a perfume or lipstick, craves cashmere and silk but wears synthetic, and finds low-cost lookalikes to pricey designer duds. Give her the Zara Quilted Chain Strap Shoulder Bag in Chocolate Brown ($50, zara.com/us/en) as a stand-in for another coveted brand; the H&M Knit Dress in Dark Beige ($40, hm.com/en_us), which has a relaxed fit, dropped shoulders and a runway-worthy look to wear with the H&M Waist Belt in Brown ($15, www2.hm.com/en_us/index.html); or a designer lipstick like Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in 472 Experimental or 440 Arthur ($40, nordstrom.com) in a clear modern red.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy; LOFT; H&M
8. The worker bee
She’s back on the job. Whether it is 9 to 5, a part-time gig or working from home, the paycheck, mental stimulation and camaraderie of coworkers are worth it. Keep her Zoom- and meeting-ready with gifts that make 7 a.m. dressing and spontaneous screen time easy — like the Loft Cowl Tunic Sweater in Tango Red or Wild Magenta ($60, loft.com) in face-brightening hues, the H&M 6 Pairs Hoop Earrings in Gold-colored ($15, www2.hm.com/en_us/index.html) to add a chic touch of face-warming radiance, or the Old Navy Oversized Soft-Brushed Overcoat for Women in Sunflower Gold ($80, oldnavy.gap.com) with a chic tailored cut and above-the-knee style that will work with skirts or pants.
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PHOTO BY: Target; LOFT; Mango; Target
9. The glamster
She’s a beauty-and-style junkie who likes a pulled-together and polished effect 24/7. Keep her Evite and holiday ready with gifts that sparkle, shimmer or shine. Make every day a good one with the EcoTools Satin Pillowcase in Cream ($6, target.com), made from recycled shimmery silk to reduce next-morning frizz and bed head and minimize sleep lines; the Loft Jeweled Button Cardigan in Blue Lake ($65, loft.com) with puffed shoulders and glitzy details that’s an instant day-to-night look; the Mango Croc-effect Cosmetic Bag ($20, mango.com/us) — so classy it can could double as a clutch; or the SpaLife Intensive Repair Hand Mask ($5, target.com), a two-pack of gloves enriched with argan oil and shea butter that will smooth and soothe without wrecking a manicure.
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PHOTO BY: L.L.Bean; Target; Old Navy; Sephora
10. The outdoors-enthusiast
She prefers birdwatching to people watching, walks in the rain to runs on the treadmill, and ponytails to perfect blowouts. Encourage her fresh-air style with weatherproof solutions like the Old Navy Water Resistant Frost Free Short Puffer Jacket for Women in Trident Maple or Venetian Blue ($80, oldnavy.gap.com) in a not-the-usual-neutrals color; a pack of Kristin Ess Satin Skinnies ($10, target.com), elevated scrunchies that prevent breakage or creases (great for fine, thin hair); the L.L.Bean Adults’ Sunday Afternoons Nightfall Reflective Beanie in Black ($30, llbean.com) for safe dog walks after dark; or the Skylar Willow Woods Eau de Parfum Rollerball ($29, sephora.com), a clean, earthy and woodsy scent perfect for evenings by the fire.
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PHOTO BY: Macy's; Target; Ulta Beauty
11. The sociable single
She’s divorced, widowed or on her own by choice, but her active social and dating life makes looking good a priority … whatever her age. Give her time-saving gifts that add a sparkling finish to any outfit — like the A New Day Women’s V-Neck Ruffle Pullover Sweater in Black or Gray ($30, target.com), available in women’s and women’s plus sizes; the Revlon One-Step Pink Hair Dryer & Volumizer PLUS ($70, ulta.com), a lighter update that has more settings and slimmed proportions; or the Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau de Parfum Spray ($80, macys.com), a crowd-pleasing floral scent that’s sexy and memorable. (It's so good you’ll want to keep this one for yourself!)
Lois Joy Johnson is a beauty and style editor who focuses on women 50 and older. She was the beauty and style editor at Ladies’ Home Journal and a founding editor of More magazine. She has written three books: The Makeup Wakeup, The Wardrobe Wakeup and The Woman's Wakeup.
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