Best Christmas gifts for friends - 29 thoughtful ideas for every type of friend

Our guide to the best Christmas gifts for friends features 29 thoughtful and unique ideas

A composite image with three of the best Christmas gifts for friends.
(Image credit: Future)

Whether they’re your childhood best friend or a recent colleague-turned-pal, gifting your friend something thoughtful, personal and well-needed this Christmas can be a difficult task. Maybe they already have everything, or they’re notoriously picky regarding gifts.

The first step is to think carefully about what they’ll really be grateful for: have they hinted a couple of times about a new pair of earrings they’re eyeing up? Do you know that there’s a skincare product they’re running low on or a book you’ve recently read yourself that you know they’ll just love? The best Christmas gifts for her  are unique, thoughtful and personal to the recipient.

Browse our gift guide below for the best presents to get your friends this Christmas, from perfumes to candle-making sets, flower subscriptions and more. If you're buying for a coworker, you can also find more inspiration in our guide to the best Christmas gifts for coworkers.

Where to find the best Christmas gifts for friends in the US

Our pick of the best Christmas gifts for friends in the US


1. School of Life 'Know Yourself' Cards: View at Amazon

RRP: $26.44 | Delivery: 2-6 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

These introspective, existential cards are great for playing with a partner to get to know them better. Or, get the rest of your friends together with some homemade cocktails and ask each other these unique and unexpected questions for an evening of secret-spilling and bonding. No phones allowed.


2. Prism Crystal Hoops in Gold: View at Astrid & Miyu

RRP: $89 | Delivery: 3-6 days | Refundable: Earrings are non-returnable due to hygiene reasons 

You really can’t go wrong with chunky gold hoops: they’re classy, smart, and they go with any outfit. Your friend will thank you for this simple but sleek accessory that will compliment their capsule wardrobe. These chic earrings are also a great Christmas gift idea for moms.


3. Geometric Mirrored Vanity Tray: View at Target

RRP: $14.99 | Delivery: From 2 days | Refundable: Within 9 days of purchase

If your friend is always losing their jewelry, an aesthetically-pleasing vanity tray will encourage them to tidy away their trinkets at the end of each day. 


4. Ana Leovy Red Moon Dance Art Print: View at Society6

RRP: From $28.05 | Delivery: 3-4 days | Refundable: Within 6 days of delivery

Ana Leovy’s gorgeous prints showcase female friendship and positivity. They come in various sizes and look great either in a frame or without.


5. The Cocktail Bible: View at Amazon

RRP: $14.99 | Delivery: 2-4 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

They may be partial to a Bloody Mary at brunch, but it’s always tricky recreating favorite cocktails at home. Get them this pocket-sized guide/recipe book to ensure perfect Old Fashioneds and Cosmos on repeat. A great Christmas gift idea for neighbors, especially if you socialize together regularly.


6. Vincenzi Gin di Fiori with Grapefruit: View at Total Wine

RRP: $23.99 | Delivery: Next-day if ordered before 3pm | Refundable: Yes

Of course, your friend may be more of a gin-and-tonic lover than a cocktail whizz. If that's the case, gift them one of the best gin presents - a fancy-looking gin bottle that they may not think of treating themselves to. 


Waterfall Coupe Glasses: View at Anthropologie

RRP: $64 | Delivery: 4-8 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

Pair a bottle of gin with an aesthetically-pleasing Anthropologie glass. These popular 20s-style ‘coupe’ glasses are well-suited for cocktails, wine, and even champagne. Gift this set of four in anticipation of a boozy girls’ night.


8. Untamed by Glennon Doyle: View at Amazon

RRP: $15.50 | Delivery: 2-6 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

One of our favorite feminist books, Doyle’s memoir charts her journey from avid people pleasing to self-empowerment, arming readers with strategies to do the same.


9. Leuchtturm1917 A5 Notebook: View at Amazon 

RRP: $21.95 | Delivery: 2-6 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of receipt

This German brand is revered for its beautifully-made, adaptable leather notebooks. Choose from dotted (great for bullet journaling), squared, ruled or blank pages, for the friend who writes their to-do lists on a scrap of paper and/or can’t stop doodling on receipts.


10. YSL Libre Eau de Parfum 50ml: View at Harrods

RRP: $81 | Delivery: 3-5 days | Refundable: Within 14 days of delivery 

Gift your friend a sophisticated new perfume if you know they’re running out of their current favorite or are looking to try a new scent. YSL Libre comes in a truly beautiful-looking bottle, and features notes of cedarwood, lavender oil, orange, and vanilla extract. If you're not sold on those notes, head to our ultimate guide on the best perfumes for more inspiration.


11. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: View at Amazon

RRP: $10 | Delivery: 2-6 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

Taylor Jenkins Reid books are universally loved, and it’s not hard to work out why. Her richly-told stories are woven with glamorous celebrities, lavish parties, and heartbreaking twists and turns. Malibu Rising evokes the carefree vibe of a sandy Californian beach at all times, the definition of a beach read. However, the backstories of the four siblings at the heart of the narrative are unexpected, shocking, and sensitively told. If you know your friend has a winter-sun holiday coming up, make sure she packs this in her suitcase.


12. Denby Greenwhich Teapot: View at Denby

RRP: $124 | Delivery: 3-5 days | Refundable: Yes

A great gift for a tea-obsessive who loves to host, this teapot can brew 28 oz (about four cups), is dishwasher-safe, and won’t crack or break easily, meaning it's also a great Christmas gift for parents.


13. Tea Gift Set for Book Lovers: View at Not on the High Street

RRP: $12.51 | Delivery: 5-10 days | Refundable: Within 28 days of delivery

This set of bookish-themed tea would be a perfect gift for your book-loving friend, but it would also pair well with the teapot. Each set contains four different teas, each with a literary twist.


14. Good Day Wooden Mobile: View at Nordstrom

RRP: $30 | Delivery: 6-8 days | Refundable: Yes

For the art-loving friend, this striking modern art piece doubles as a mobile and can be hung above the crib of a child with particularly chic parents.

Where to find the best Christmas gifts for friends in the UK

Our pick of the best Christmas gifts for friends in the UK


1. Spacemasks Self-Heating Eye Masks: View at Cult Beauty

RRP: £16.50 | Delivery: 2-3 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

Your friend may already have an eye mask they use each night, but these ‘interstellar relaxation’ single-use masks are self-heating, so they can be used not only over the eyes, but also on foreheads for migraines, or on abdomens during period cramps. The self-heating is simply activated by air, so as soon as your friend takes the mask out of its packet, it will begin warming up and releasing a relaxing jasmine scent. Each box contains five masks.


2. Sanctuary Spa Special Occasion Hamper Gift: View at Feel Unique

RRP: £25 | Delivery: 2-3 days | Refundable: Within 28 days of purchase

Sanctuary Spa products are comforting, hydrating and smell beautiful - even better, they look super-expensive but are actually very affordable. This hamper gift set includes six products, from hand cream to heel balm, all with a combination of their signature, relaxing scents. Reviews state that the hamper arrives well-presented and packaged, eliminating the need to gift wrap. There's something for everyone in this set so it's also a great Christmas gift idea for mother-in-laws - even if they are notoriously picky.


3. Goodnight Pillow Mist: View at Neals Yard

RRP: £16.50 | Delivery: 3-5 days | Refundable: Yes

If your friend has kids, a challenging job, or if they’re just struggling to get a good night’s sleep, this award-winning pillow mist could be the sleep aid that they need. It’s full of lavender essential oil, which is proven to help with drifting off, as well as generally encouraging relaxation at the end of the day. A reviewer with insomnia states that the mist is a staple for them since it helps so much with falling into a deep sleep.


4. Sage Green Essential Oil Aroma Diffuser: View at Oliver Bonas

RRP: £45 | Delivery: 2-3 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase or delivery 

This understated, sage-green ceramic diffuser is electric, meaning settings can be changed in order for essential oils to only be released for a certain amount of time; perfect for an on-the-go friend who’s wont to forget things. There are also six different color light settings, to match the ambiance of whichever fragrance they choose to release with the diffuser. The great thing about this diffuser is not just that it’s easy to use - no fiddling with tealights and open flames required - but it also looks so sleek that it could easily pass as simply a living room accessory.


5. Energise and Relax Fragrance Oils: View at Oliver Bonas

RRP: £13.50 | Delivery: 2-3 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase or delivery 

Ensure your friend can use their new diffuser immediately by gifting some essential oils at the same time. The ‘energise’ oil is infused with zesty bergamot and mandarin, whereas the ‘relax’ oil, featuring jasmine and cedarwood, is calming but not soporific.


6. Shelf Love by Ottolenghi: View at Amazon

RRP: £12.53 | Delivery: Within 7 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

Provided your friend isn’t a talented chef, they've probably experienced the feeling of looking at a fridge full of food, but not knowing how on earth to make a meal from it all. The new Ottolenghi cookbook was written for this very purpose, with recipes that encourage using up the ingredients you already have, reducing waste in the process. Pair it with a gift voucher to one of Ottolenghi’s restaurants for a great sustainable Christmas gift, and your foodie friend will be forever grateful.


7. Winter Pine Candle Making Kit: View at Cosy Owl

RRP: £20.28 | Delivery: 2-5 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

Gifting a candle isn’t particularly ground-breaking anymore. Why not choose a more creative gift and encourage your friend to start making their own? It’s surprisingly uncomplicated - boil the soy wax flakes into a liquid, add the fragrance, place the wick into the glass candle holder and pour in the mixture. This Christmassy candle-making set features a pine-tree scent to really get into the festive mood, but there’s nothing to say the candles can’t be burned all year round.


8. Habitat Caliban Light: View at Habitat

RRP: £20 | Delivery: Same-day available | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

The Caliban globe lamp from Habitat isn’t too large so as to be intrusive, but enough of a statement living-room piece to attract lots of attention at dinner parties. If vibrant orange won’t work with your friend’s interior feng-shui, a more simple, white option is also available.


9. Get Your Sh*t Together Journal: View at Amazon

RRP: £10.94 | Delivery: One-day with Amazon Prime | Refundable: Within 30 days of receipt

You may have to preface this gift with a disclaimer: you’re not actually aggressively telling your friend to sort their lives out. The incendiary titles of Sarah Knight’s sort-of-self-help books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and You Do You, act as wake-up calls that encourage readers to empower themselves, stop people-pleasing, and become the best version of themselves. If your friend is floundering in her career, facing some big life decisions or just struggling with day-to-day organization, Knight’s no-holds-barred approach to getting what you want may be the perfect gift.


10. Gold Mood Ring: View at Ana Luisa

RRP: £58.40 | Delivery: 5-7 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase

If you and your friend still remember the days of cheap mood rings that made your fingers go green when you were kids - or those little fish that curled up in your hand to supposedly tell you if you were happy or sad - this ring is a sweet nod to these carefree memories while also being a charming accessory. 


11. Photo Book: View at MILK

RRP: From £58 | Delivery: Small and medium photo books take 7-14 days to be made and 6-15 days to arrive | Refundable: No, but reprinting is available at 50% of the price if a mistake was made

Document your friendship and show your friend how much they mean to you with this sleek, professional-looking photo book. Curate your own selection of photos, choose your desired design, and the rest is done for you. High-quality photos and a thick, bound book make for a thoughtful gift. This is also a great wedding gift.


12. Succulent Selection Box: View at Not on the High Street

RRP: £35 | Delivery: 5-7 days from dispatch | Refundable: Within 28 days of purchase

For the friend who may not be green-fingered yet (or maybe they just can’t keep a houseplant alive for the life of them), gift them this personalized selection box of succulents, a famously easy plant for the uninitiated. The succulents come with a mister, which will literally have your friend’s name on it, so there’s no excuse for them not to proudly tend to these plants.


13. Bloom & Wild Subscription: View at Bloom & Wild

RRP: From £70 for 3 months | Delivery: Next-day if ordered before 10pm | Refundable: Pause or cancel the subscription any time

If they’re more fond of low-maintenance flowers, a Bloom & Wild subscription is perfect. Options include ‘seasonal blooms’, meaning your friend’s bouquets will reflect the flora of the season, and the packages will always fit in their letterbox. You can pay for three, six or twelve months’ of flowers at a time, and can even add a new gift card message to every box they receive. This is also a sweet Christmas gift idea for grandparents if they're fond of fresh flowers.


14. Extra Large Gluggle Jug: View at Oliver Bonas

RRP: £36 | Delivery: 2-3 days | Refundable: Within 30 days of purchase or delivery

Why not gift a ‘gluggle jug’ at the same time as the subscription? They’re large enough to showcase an impressive bouquet, and can also be used for holding kitchen utensils, or pouring drinks (just make sure they wash it out first after it’s held flowers). 


15. Japanese Zen Garden: View at Amazon

RRP: £27 | Delivery: One-day with Amazon Prime | Refundable: Within 30 days of receipt

For the friend who works from home, this Japanese Zen Garden is a soothing and peaceful desk accessory. The idea is that the zen garden provides a welcome distraction when we’re over-stressed. Focusing on one thing, and looking away from screens, can allow the mind to relax and increase productivity when we go back to our tasks. The garden kit comes with accessories that your friend can change the placements of as they please, tending to the garden with the accompanying bamboo tools, such as raking the sand. Not just lovely to look at, this thoughtful gift is well-made and even features helpful instructions.

Hannah Holway
Shopping writer

Hannah is the UK Shopping Writer for woman&home. As a shopping writer, Hannah has written on everything from period pants to wine subscriptions, and is especially interested in sustainable alternatives to well-known products, as well as books and homeware accessories. 

Before she joined the team at woman&home Hannah headed up the social media accounts for Wonderland in 2019, where she was also a Contributing Editor for the magazine’s sister titles. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hannah also explored evolving shopping trends at New York Magazine’s The Strategist UK, researching everything from face masks to status candles and even pens.