(Gift Guide)

What To Gift New Friends You Know Well, But Not *That* Well

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gifts for new friends
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As time continues to move at an unbelievable speed, each year brings a whole new set of milestones, experiences, memories, and of course, friendships. No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s never too late to forge new connections — and despite the length of your relationships, some of those growing bonds are inexplicably special. So when the holiday season of giving rolls in, it’s only natural to expand your list of recipients. But having gift ideas for a new friend you’ve known for less than a year can be just as tough as (if not tougher than) selecting a present for someone you’ve known for a lifetime.

“When it comes to shopping for those you don’t know, I suggest keeping it simple and not overthink your gift,” shopping expert Sara Skirboll advises TZR via email. As a former fashion and beauty publicist of over a decade (she now works at a talent-scouting company), she knows more than a few things about maintaining relationships with people somewhere in the gray area between acquaintance and close confidante. “When in doubt, go basic,” she says.

A good place to start is with simple luxuries that most people would never splurge on for themselves, but would be thrilled to receive. From there, you can easily tailor your pick to your pal’s sensibilities. For example: Is your new friend constantly directing you toward inspiring new artists or fashion designers to follow? Consider a richly illustrated coffee table book, like a Louis Vuitton tome dedicated to Virgil Abloh or Ganni’s vibrant compilation of Scandi-style inspiration, Gimme More. Do they prefer hanging out at home over spending the night out? Perhaps a silky pair of pajamas are in order.

Another easy (but always welcome) gift is a candle, but just be sure to put thought into the scent. Featuring notes of green pant, fir balsam, and cedarwood, Harlem Candle Company’s “Holiday” candle is ideal for anyone who relishes December festivities... or is a history buff who will appreciate its ties to Billie Holiday (the notes are inspired by her favorite perfume). Or Boy Smells’ spicy Redhead option — a heady mix of frankincense, amber, saffron, and poppy — is ideal for those who prefer warm and cozy scents. (It’s also a great tongue-in-cheek gift for any gingers in your life.)

Keep scrolling to see and shop more fashion gifts that any friend, new or old, would love to receive this season.

Fashion Coffee Table Books

About 99% of people will never buy a coffee table book for themselves, but everyone enjoys getting lost in their beautiful imagery. Pick a volume that speaks to a designer, brand, or aesthetic that fits your friend’s personal style.


The key to picking a thoughtful candle is, well, being thoughtful about the fragrance (i.e., no panic-buying something generic from your local RiteAid). A chic vessel they can reuse as a bathroom catch-all is a bonus.

Cozy Sweaters

Soft, snuggly knitwear is a guaranteed hit, so long as you have a sense of the recipient’s general wardrobe tastes. If you aren’t sure of their size, opt for a silhouette that’s meant to be slouchy, so it looks great both fitted and loose.

Luxe Pajamas

‘Tis the season for hanging around the house nonstop, so bestow them with something chic to wear while they hang. Should they lean toward classic and minimalist outfits, go for a classic, slightly preppy sleep set from Lake; for maximalists, consider Sleeper’s glamorous feather-trimmed separates.

Extra-Special Socks

Have you ever met someone who wasn’t ecstatic to receive uber-soft socks? Me neither. If you’re still feeling out their tastes, neutrals they’ll wear with anything are your safest bet. But if you know they’re a maximalist, try a fun color or print they might not otherwise consider for themselves.

A Cute Hair Accessory

For the person whose blowout turns into a bun most every day, a statement scrunchie or claw clip is always welcome. Or, should their wardrobe lean in a more polished, feminine direction, try a sweet velvet hair bow instead.

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