At a certain age, birthday gifts seem to devolve from intimate and personalized trinkets into last-minute bottles of wine or bouquets of flowers. Generally, this is fine, as you can’t buy all 999 of your friends and acquaintances a special gift for their birthday unless you have a personal shopper and/or you have somehow made a profession of shopping. (In either case, we both salute and hate you.) That said, there are some people on your list who deserve gifts with a little thought behind them, and since we don’t think those thoughts have to necessarily be yours, we went to the trouble of hunting down 12 unexpected gifts with which you can surprise the birthday girls who matter most to you this year.
Vogue Colors A to Z: A Fashion Coloring Book -- Adult coloring books are all the rage right now as an outlet for stress release. If your girlfriend works in fashion in any capacity, she likely needs this more than you know.
If you're feeling a bit (okay, much) more spend-y, we suggest gifting your fashion-obsessed friend with professional closet design via a company like California Closets. We can't think of any present we'd be more excited to receive.
Laura Santtini Cook's Candle -- These scents will clear the kitchen so those gathered around the table can focus on the smells presented before them on their plates.
Foodies will also be pretty jazzed about receiving Laura's Umami Pepper as a present.
The Reader (Or Writer)
Building Stories -- This is one of the coolest gifts we've ever been gifted (#nerdalert). Building Stories is a bit hard to describe, but it's basically a deconstructed graphic novel that has to be pieced together using a variety of different materials. Both The New York Times Book Review and Time Magazine named Building Stories to its Top 10 Books of the Year when it was first published.
The Beauty Junkie
French Girl Organics Lumiere Bronzing Oil: This hero product is as beautiful in packaging as it is in practice. It's made from wholesome ingredients like Virgin organic coconut oil, sesame oil, rosehip-seed oil, palm oil, and vitamin E.
For those who don't need a bronzing boost, we like the When Special Sheet Mask Set from Birchbox.
Elizabeth Weinstock Python Boxing Gloves: If she's not yet a boxer, she will definitely take up the sport once incentivized by ownership of these bada*s beauties. For a more budget-friendly version of this gift, try these Everlast Boxing Gloves instead.
You also can't go wrong with anything from Beyoncé's new activewear line, Ivy Park, which hits stores on April 14.
Farm Animal Donation -- If someone donated a llama on behalf of our birthday, we'd be so stoked. You can do just that for your favorite do-gooder or animal lover for $150. If that price tag is going to break your budget, you can also donate rabbits for $50 (don't worry, these cuties aren't for food--their manure is used to fertilize crops) or bees for $30.
The Party Girl
Cocktail Courier Subscription -- For $39.99 a month (minimum 3 months), you can send your bestie a monthly box containing ingredients and recipes for 4-8 mixologist-created cocktails using the spirits she most prefers. For $50, you can send her a gift card instead that allows her to choose from a list of cocktails, so she can order a box of the one she likes best.