Gift advice that'll bring you Knope and joy

What do you get the "Girls" (and women) who have everything? An all-star guide for your Hannahs, Leslies and more

By Erin Keane

Chief Content Officer

Published November 23, 2012 4:00PM (EST)

Of course she has a crush on Nate Silver. And during her next campaign, she's going to want to know his secrets. Silver's "The Signal and the Noise" ($24) takes a long hard look at data and what the numbers can (and can't) tell us.

Help her keep her life together with the Tory Burch Robinson Smart Phone Wallet ($155) in brown Italian leather. It keeps her phone separate from her cards, and the wrist strap will ensure she doesn't lose more than her dignity at karaoke.

Because her desk is always two steps away from becoming a scary hoarder nightmare, she'll get a sick kick out of the visual pun that is Catherine Mui's Clipnote Organizer ($12).

She's shouting it from the rooftops, but while the inside of a city council meeting is charted territory, wedding planning is not. The old-fashioned charm of "Etiquette for the Bride" ($12) will help her navigate the brave new world of save-the-dates and showers.

What she'll really love about Anthropologie's Crimson Ponte Dress ($158) is how vice-presidential it'll look under a sensible gray blazer by day, and what Biden-bait she'll be with a quick accessory change for night.


"Just keep moving" is her mantra. The Leki Cressida Antishock Women's Trekking Poles ($135.59 for a pair) are perfect for hikes — they're lightweight, adjustable and can be used as a weapon in a pinch.

She didn't get those arms from eating scavenged possum. The Vitamix Turboblend ($378.95) blends her raw ingredients into meals she can take on the road. Throw in the Green Smoothie Bible ($10.17) for 300 delicious recipes that don't involve roadkill or expired canned goods.

She trains every day for a fight. Everlast's kickboxing Evergel hand wraps ($18) will save her knuckles for a rainy day. And if she's going to be dead lifting all that weight, these knee-high Crossfit compression socks ($9.95) will add a kick to her workout.

That old hoodie of hers has seen some battles. This soft cotton/terry wrap jacket ($59) by Calvin Klein will keep her warm at night without weighing her down (thumb holes in the cuffs are a weapon-wielding bonus).

She's pretty tight-lipped about her past, but you're going to bet your last pack of matches that she was a Girl Scout. This hardcover centennial retrospective, "Girl Scouts: A Celebration of 100 Trailblazing Years" ($19.77), will remind her of simpler times.

A blade's no good against the rain. The Kikkerland Mini Samurai Sword Umbrella ($28) will arm her against bad weather.


Once she dreamed of making films that matter. Emma Straub's novel "Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures" ($26) is a golden-age story for anyone who still — despite all evidence to the contrary — believes in the romance of Hollywood.

She hates heels, feels like a shoed horse in them. These Tieks ruby red patent leather ballet flats ($195) are sleek and stylish, fold up for travel and are always the right answer.

She doesn't always make the best decisions in life and love, and lately she's seemed a bit lost. Cheryl Strayed's "Dear Sugar" advice could save her life. "Tiny Beautiful Things" ($14.95) is a collection of her best columns from the Rumpus.

With the "People I Want to Punch in the Face" blank notebook ($7.99), she can move that mental list onto paper.

You suspect she has a wild side. This calf-hair skinny bangle ($58) works for the office or the last-minute hotel bar hookup.


She loves a good ride in the country. Good Shot Design's women's waterproof tweed shooting vest ($485) is a Garden & Gun exclusive design and a classic. Or maybe just a subscription ($35) to the magazine.

She'd look lovely in a Liberty London Coral Hera Print silk neckerchief ($150). She can wear it on the weekend, once she learns what that is.

It's not always gin o'clock, but a proper bath is always appreciated. The Motley and Spare Room Gin Tonic bath salts ($14) will help her relax and refresh.

She always wins the garden club trophy, you know. This good old-fashioned English brass plant mister ($20) will keep it that way.

Yes, she is suspicious of electricity. But tablet use is on the rise with seniors — the touchscreens are easier on the hands than laptops and keyboards, and resizing type is a breeze. The new iPad Mini (from $329) will fit in her pocketbook. If it makes her feel less revolutionary, this damask hardcover portfolio case by Iris and Lily ($48) makes it look almost like a book.


She's the kind of girl who keeps little treasures. They'll be safe in these Hedgehog measuring cups ($36).

She knows a thing or two about doomed love. This T-shirt features cover art from Emily Bronte's Romantic classic "Wuthering Heights" ($21).

Now that her ears are pierced, let her show them off with handcrafted Penguin Books logo drop earrings ($14.90) or these sweet rose posts ($9.99).

It's a misfit boy and an angry girl on a remote island against the whole world. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Gwenda Bond's "Blackwood" ($9.99) is a weird book for weird girls.

That's island life — unpredictable weather that swings like a mood. This vintage-style Ships of the Trade coat ($109.99) is updated with a modern sweatshirt-like fabric. Pair it with waterproof Chooka bowtie duck skimmers ($56) in red.


W.W. Norton celebrates the original overactive imagination with this lavish 200th anniversary volume of "The Annotated Brothers Grimm" ($35).

Everything's more beautiful — and more tragic — by candlelight. The Twisting Koi candelabra ($598) is an opulent nod to a bygone time.

Wish you were here, too. The blank postcard bundle ($10) from Seattle letterpress Constellation & Co. lets her try her hand at a drawing or a secret message.

Her music is all digital now, but Mozart's Requiem demands a certain classic something. The graceful Gramophone dock ($249) amplifies and comforts.

The woods are her secret place. She can take them with her always with the Spring Fling vintage botanical illustration pendant ($34) from Schmutzerville.


She thinks she might be a voice of a generation. But she could use some help with plausible deniability. "Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story" ($16) lends her the expertise of 20 contemporary fiction masters like Lorrie Moore and Donald Barthelme, who select their favorite stories from the storied journal's pages.

Your friendship's been tested lately. Let this Rabbit Girls wood block art print ($39) by Kevin Lucius remind her of the good times the girls can still have.

For furious texting or scribbling on the subway, Kate Spade's Big Apple Pop Top convertible gloves ($78).

She's on a strict budget, and coffees out aren't an option. The Kate Spade polka dot thermos ($35) will cheer her up when she has to pass on the pricey brew.

She's going to need something nicer than those IKEA tumblers to drink a toast to her first big publication. These cocktail coupes ($68) are romantic and feminine without being fussy.


Fifth anniversary is wood. Did you forget? This delicate River Rocks pendant ($20) is laser-cut in elegant alder.

For those days she doesn't want to be found. Even behind a tissue-weight cashmere/wool wrap ($88) and these oversize ombre Gucci sunglasses ($275), she's amazing.

A good cocktail takes planning, precision and discipline. The spring-loaded Swissmar olive stuffer ($12) works for a whole party or just one.

Lobster is your tradition. A set of organic linen napkins with lobster screenprint ($36) will tide her over until the season starts.

Remember that one time, the thing with the puppets? Well, she thought it was funny. Photographer Matthew Rolston's "Talking Heads: the Vent Haven Portraits" ($75) is a collection of rigorously formal portraits shot in a ventriloquist dummy museum. Beautiful and disturbing, just like her.


Because Pashmina was the hooker who stole her favorite boots. Levi's motorcycle flannel wrap ($78) looks tough, but is soft to the touch.

She does so much for the family, isn't it time you did something for her? This casual Monserate de Lucca tote ($379) is stylish, yet sturdy enough to pack a brick and a .357.

A set of chrome knife magnets ($45) on the fridge should remind everyone who's really in charge.

These Smoky Serenity Stone Drop earrings ($49) lend just the right touch of mystery.

Leather and studs never go out of style. The Gorjana leather wrap bracelet ($55) is chic and edgy, just like her. In gunmetal, of course.

By Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's Chief Content Officer. She is also on faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University and her memoir in essays, "Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me," was named one of NPR's Books We Loved In 2022.

MORE FROM Erin Keane

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Books Gift Guide Gifts Literature Movies Salon's 2012 Gift Guide Shopping Tv