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13 Great Gifts to Give Your Friends

Having trouble brainstorming gift ideas for your friends on their Birthdays, Christmas, (besides those fall-back presents of perfume, gloves, or the much-loved yet overrated coupon book)? Well, here are 13 creative gifts that will let your friend know how much you appreciate her.

1. One of your favorite books. Write in the front why you liked this book, what it meant in your life, and why you think she'll enjoy it.

2. Museum passes. She can play tourist in her own town.

3. Hand-stirred, fragrant soap.

4. Board games. Be sure to set a date when you can challenge her to a rousing game of Pictionary—preferably after the holidays!

5. Take her out for coffee—your treat—and just listen. No interrupting, no planned responses to her statements, no advice! Simply listen.

6. A photo tree. With its base and arms to hold photos, you can display shared snapshots of you and your friend, other happy times, or even Christmas cards. Plus she can constantly change them—every woman's prerogative!

7. Have a cow, man! Or a yak, or a water buffalo, or a goat—your pick. You can help people around the world by purchasing in your friend's name practical items such as animals, wheelchairs, food, or medical supplies.

8. "Splurging" gift certificates. Not the fast-food restaurant kind—the Crabtree & Evelyn or Starbucks kind. The she'd-never-purchase-this-for-herself-but-her-friend-would kind!

9. A day-spa certificate for her choice of pampering. This is, of course, something you'd need to do with her! There's nothing like a manicure or pedicure to help your friend forget the toys strewn throughout her family room.

10. Your cleaning services. Is your friend hosting a party and panicking because she has too much to do? Show up on her doorstep with scrubbing bubbles and rags for you, plus a bottle of aspirin and a giant-sized chocolate bar for her. She'll name her next child after you!

11. A Friendship Ball.
12. Solitude. Take her kids for a day so she can relax, sleep late, have uninterrupted devotions, shop peacefully, or have alone bathroom time. What overworked, harried wife and mother wouldn't rise up and call you blessed for this priceless gift?

13. Laughter. This is just about the best gift. Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you." You could even put these "funnies" into a scrapbook for her to enjoy.
Whether the gift you give is tangible or intangible, make sure to include a handwritten note to let her know how much she means to you. That'll blow her away—plus you'll be "encouraging one another and building each other up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). After all, that's what friends are for!

—Ginger McFarland