16 Best Friend Gifts for the BFF (Mine) Who Has Had a Big Year
Fancy hair claws and glamorous aperitif glasses.
Updated Nov 15, 2022 11:45 AM
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Your best friend might be back in your hometown. Or they might reside in another country entirely. Perhaps they’re even a furry friend who never leaves your side. Wherever they are on the map, literally or figuratively, you’re likely on the lookout for an excellent holiday gift to surprise them with.
My best friend, fortunately, lives only a 10-minute bike ride away from me—aka the kind of distance that affords in-person giggles and Pen15 marathons—but that wasn’t always the case. This year, she made moves: got a new job; packed up to head to the city she’s always dreamed of living in; started dating again; reconnected with her heritage. Suffice to say, it’s been a really good year for her, and I want to shower her with really good gifts.
If I were working with an unlimited budget for best friend gifts, here’s everything I would buy.
Adapted from designer Yinka Ilori’s chair series, Types of Happiness, this centerpiece would be a bright spot on her brand-new dining table, nestled in with vases of flowers. Happiness in candle form.
We both have subscriptions to Ghia, but we prefer different flavor combinations from the chic nonalcoholic aperitif brand. I’d send her a pair of Totem glasses, designed in collaboration with the very busy Sophie Lou Jacobsen, with some of her favorite ginger soda styles in tow.
This actually cute body pillow, covered in Tencel fabric and filled with fluffy recycled plastic, would be a good addition to her nighttime routine—for snuggles and support. If I wanted to cozy it up more, I’d nab a sherpa cover to go along with it.
This seven-piece modular lockbox keeps odors at bay and has sections for tubes, carts, batteries, a slim lighter, and any other accessories related to herb. It’s pretty enough for her to leave out, and no one would be the wiser to what’s inside.
During the pandemic, we would often cook dinner over Zoom together while chatting. Me, chopping onions and propping the phone up on my coffee maker; her, blitzing sauces in a personal blender. Now our ritual is in person, so I’d gift her a very good apron from La DoubleJ to wear while she teaches me how to properly pinch dumpling skins.
Rental bathrooms notoriously have little personality. This organic cotton check beauty, an exclusive for Ssense from one of our fave towel brands, Baina, will add a green patterned punch to her white-tiled walls.
She loves candles from Boy Smells, so its new Petalia lotion—all bright florals and woody undertones—would be just the right thing to add to her vanity. (Plus the container alone is gift-worthy.)
The Good Side has the best pastel colors when it comes to silk pillowcases. The Essentials Set might even encourage my best friend to fall asleep a little earlier. (Psst: If you want to snag just pillowcases, a scrunchie, or an eye mask, they’re all sold separately.)
I always get good lip product recommendations from her, and with this one from Byredo, I can return the favor. The transparent, semi-matte-finish balm comes in three different flavors and metallic containers, but I’m inclined to hand her a tube of Thé à la Menthe d’Agadir, which has the minty flavor of Moroccan tea.
This travel-size brush from Acca Kappa is designed for all types of hair and is easy to tuck away in a carry-on or duffel for work trips and weekend getaways. She’ll love the size, since she jets off regularly, and the fact that it has a heat-resistant paddle and fancy wood handle.
The type of gift I know my best friend would appreciate—beautiful, useful, fun. The stylish shell of this claw is made from Italian acetate and gets compliment after compliment for being high quality and durable.
I’m trying to get her into tinned fish, but it’s slow going. She does, however, like a dad hat and the beach. Here’s hoping this indigo cap, made in Atlanta by a small woman-owned business, is adorable enough to bring her around to the conservas side.
Snacks for our regularly scheduled movie nights. She loves Milk Bar anything, and this reusable tin is packed with its signature Compost Cookies, Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies, Chocolate Confetti Cookies, and Confetti Cookies. Cookie sundaes all around.
Horse-girl vibes but better. This bag—made of recycled, heavyweight nylon (a Baggu staple)—would be perfect for her to bring along on bike rides and errand runs. And while there are plenty of playful patterns and colors to choose from, we’re highlighting the latest addition: a Jessica Williams design.
She likes to stay hydrated and reminds me to do the same (and doesn’t even get annoyed when I roll my eyes at her). This funky, flashy Collina Strada insulated water bottle is covered in crystals, comes in an array of flashy patterns, and would make that daily ritual feel just a little bit stylish.
This memoir by New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, which has been called quietly wrenching, might not jump out as a no-brainer for a best friend gift. But when your conversations often explore so many of the same themes—grief, coming of age, and outsider versus mainstreamer, among others—it’s heartfelt and thoughtful.