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16 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Friends for Every Occasion (And Why They Work!)

Sometimes you want a gift to be funny, sarcastic, or over-the-top, something that makes your friend laugh or gasp when they open it. But sometimes you want more tact, more consideration. More sweetness and softness to add to your friendship. Sometimes you need your gift for your friend to say, be, and embody “thoughtful.”

How to Pick Thoughtful Gifts

What makes a gift feel thoughtful to the gift recipient takes 2 things:

1) How well the gift matches the occasion, how the gift speaks into the experience the other person is having. For instance, you wouldn’t buy sparkly wine glasses for a grieving friend, or a nice fountain pen for a friend who is getting a divorce.

But, sparkly wine glasses for a friend who just passed her LSATS might feel totally thoughtful. Or a nice fountain pen could be a great gift for a friend who is going after her dream of being a short-story author.

See? Just the two extra seconds you spend thinking about how the gift could communicate support, well-wishes, and affection will change your gift-giving game. That’s what makes a thoughtful gift–how much thought you put into it!

And 2) The thought you put into the gift should extend beyond the moment that you give the gift. But think, too, about if your friend will be able to use your gift any time soon. If they’ll use it in everyday life. If it’s practical, fitting, and beneficial for their life.

That thought process is what sets you as a gift-giver apart from others that have good intentions, but give gifts that end up in the “to give away” box a year later. These well-intentioned gifts might fit the occasion, but won’t actually be used by the gift recipient. At least not in this lifetime. (For example: No offense, but what high schooler is actually going to read “What Color Is Your Parachute” upon graduation?)

So, now that you’re armed with questions to ask yourself, let’s get into thoughtful gifts for your friend. And the best part is, we did the heavy-lifting on thinking already! So you just get to sit back and pick what occasion you need.

We’re giving you a couple of ideas, too, because sometimes what makes a gift feel thoughtful is how the message from the smaller gifts

We’ll let you get the credit for all the hard thought you put into it, don’t worry. You did your research, after all!

Without further ado:

1. Cute birthday gifts for your best friend

It’s your bestie’s birthday and the world needs to know it. Lavish her with this adorable rose-gold birthday crown that tells her that her special day is special to you, too, because of how much you love her! Take her out to a coffee before work, drinks after dinner, or dare her to wear it to work–making sure she’s treated like a queen all day. (Imagine the memorable photos together with her wearing it!)

Balance this attention-grabbing gift with a more lowkey, sweet one, in this mug that reads “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there…” Tell her you got this mug for her because not only is she that kind of friend to you, but that you are that friend to her. Near or far, you’re always there for her, and want her to be reminded of that every time she drinks her morning coffee or tea.

Filed under: Birthday bff cute ideas. These gifts will make the cutest photo opps and lasting memories.

2. Simple and thoughtful gifts for your friend

Does gifting your friend with a simple, elegant gift appeal to you? I mean, why wouldn’t it! She is beautiful and tasteful, so you want your gift to be elegant and tasteful. Enter this gift set:

Give her this world map necklace to let her know she means the world to you. Celebrate her travels and her impact, and gift her something high quality enough that she can wear every day. This sterling silver necklace is either tarnish-resistant or gold vermeil, meaning it will last a long time! And is so dainty, it goes with everything.

And for an extra thoughtful, smooth move, gift this necklace to her in combination with this elegant ceramic tray. This gorgeous marbled piece is sure to accent her bedroom beautifully, where she can store and display her favorite jewelry pieces.

Or, she can put it on her coffee table to key her remotes accessible in a more attractive way.

Filed under: gifts for best friends jewelry. You can't go wrong with something this elegant and sweet.

3. Best Friend Birthday Gifts

Best friend birthday gifts so nice, we said it twice. Both of these options are killer gifts by themselves, but they’re also cute and affordable enough for you both to have!

Matching with your best friend was fun when you were five, and in our opinion, it never gets old, no matter how old you get!

So start with this half-moon ring. Spoiler: It’s only $8.99. So yeah, you can get one for yourself too. The half moons will always remind you of eachother whenever you wear it, and that you’re better together!

And then use it to accessorize this stunning lace kimono. Pick which color would look best on her, and then do the same for you, just because.

These kimonos are an absolute staff favorite here at Basketful. They’re as versatile as they are beautiful. They move, they layer, they fit everyone. And you can dress it up for date night or dress it down for a pool-cover up—any excuse to wear it, really.

Filed under: Best friend gift ideas. You're never too old to match your bestie.

4. A thoughtful gift for your friend during hard times

Sometimes a gift is to celebrate, sometimes a gift is to say “this sucks, but I’m here.” That’s what we love about gifts in general, how they can enrich relationships no matter the circumstance. And that’s what we love about these gifts specifically: their ability to shed light on dark times.

The “You Are My Sunshine” mug lets your friend know that even in tough times, she still brings joy to your life. She can sip comforting tea out of it while feeling strengthened by your support.

And if she is a mom, these affirmations for parents will come in handy for whatever is throwing her way. They will remind her to have patience with herself and to not feel guilty for making sure that her needs are being met, too.

These gifts are thoughtful enough to show your support, but don’t cross any weird lines. Win-win.

Filed under: Thoughtful gift for friend hard time. You know she'd be there for you, too.

5. Gifts for the Friend Who Is Moving Away

Whether she’s your absolute best friend or not, having a friend move away can be absolutely heartbreaking. You’re happy for her and all, but you know a piece of your heart is moving away, too.

Commemorate her friendship and give her something to remember you by, that she’ll actually end up using every day! This adorable “Keys to My Heart” retro motel tag is something she can hang her new house key on, but still remember the old friends she has back where she came from.

It will say to her “No matter where you are, I love you!”

And if that isn’t the cutest moving away present for a friend, then this will be:

This acacia cheeseboard is just absolutely stunning. The marbling work is mesmerizing, and the wood quality is so smooth. Send her off with style and give her something to warm her new home. Plus, it’s an open invitation to come by for a glass of wine, anytime.

Filed under: Thoughtful gift idea for friend moving. We hope she's just moving down the street, but if not, these gifts will help keep your bond strong!

6. Gift Idea for Your Friend’s Wedding

Given that you want to gift your friend with something that she won’t be able to put on a registry, we’ve got two amazing ideas for you:

The first is a Road Trip journal. This book is a thousand memories waiting to happen. The book has journal prompts and scrapbooking pages so she stays inspired during her next adventure. My favorite part of this keepsake is the pages where hidden gems are shared; the best kind of secrets all over the US, waiting to be discovered.

You’ll send her into her next stage of life with nothing but well wishes and adventures ahead.

And to balance out a taxing road trip, gift her with Sara Happ’s Dream Lip Slip treatment. She can nourish her lips pre- and post- wedding, for a glow that matches this happiest occasion.

Filed under: Thoughtful wedding gift for friend. You'll be a special part in making her big day so memorable.

7. Gift for Your Friend That Is Sick

Being sick is the worst, but you want to make it better for her. Start with this Pursoma Beauty Bottle.

It’s a water bottle that keeps your water intake in front of you, so you can be the healthiest and most beautiful version of yourself. It will not only speed up her recovery by making sure she is getting enough hydration, but will also help her skin, hair, and cells be the healthiest possible in the long run.

Pair it with this comforting candle that has two complementary scents that seriously smell amazing together. Plus, once she’s done with the candle wax, she can use it as a succulent planter. This can be a reminder that better, livelier days are ahead!

Filed under: Gift ideas for friend that is sick. Lift her spirits and show your care through these practical gifts.

8. Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Friend

It’s never a bad time of year to be thinking of Christmas presents for your friends and family. (I always say that I’m going to start Christmas preparations in September, and it never happens, but really should). So no matter what time of year it is, here are two slam dunk gift ideas:

This Aris necklace is like a best friend necklace but for adults. One wing goes to her, one wing goes to you, and you’re able to think of eachother whenever you wear it. It is 18k gold-plated brass which is what gives it that lovely texture, and it features real Swarovski crystal! It is the luxurious and heartfelt gift anyone wants to receive for Christmas.

Our second heartfelt recommendation for your best friend for Christmas is this gorgeous marble tray. It is exactly the kind of thing she would love to have for herself but wouldn't choose to spend money on it, thinking it's too indulgent--which is exactly what makes the best Christmas gifts. This marble tray will complement her living space and brighten up any room. Spoil her this year and make her feel so special!

Filed under: Thoughtful Christmas gift for friend. Give her all the warm fuzzies during this chilly season!

So there you have it, 16 different gift ideas for your friend, for every reason and occasion. We love how gifts are a part of life in so many ways--and these gifts will make both of your lives richer as you celebrate your friendship!

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