Unique birthday gifts for sisters: A cool sibling’s gift-buying guide
We put on our thinking caps (and called our own siblings) to find these birthday gifts for sisters. You’ll find something good on our list, for even the hardest-to-please sis.
Honestly, sisters can be hard to buy for. If you live far apart and don’t talk all that often, you may not know a whole lot of specifics about her daily life, likes, and dislikes, other than you see on Facebook. Or you may love her lots, but be totally mystified by her decor or lifestyle. Whatever the case, we tracked down some birthday gifts for sisters that are sure to put a smile on your treasured sibling’s face—and yours.
- Best gift for sisters who like to cook: Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit
- Best gift for soulful sisters: White Sage Smudge Kit
- Great gift for a creative or crafty sister: Baby Yoda Paint by Numbers Set
- Best gift for sisters who still read on paper: Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light
- Best fun gift for sisters: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera
- Best jewelry gift for sisters: TILO Jewelry 14k Gold Hoops
- Best gift for a sister who has everything: State Cashmere: Reversible Throw Blanket
- Great gift for sisters who do yoga (or want to): Mandelbrot X Cork 8-Piece Yoga Set
- Best cheap tech gift for her: iFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker
- Best splurge tech gift for her: Garmin Vivoactive 4S Smartwatch
- Best sister gift under $20: Essential Oil Diffuser
- Best gifts for sisters who need more sleep: Weighted Eye Mask with Organic Flax and Lavender
Unique gifts for sisters
If your sibling already has everything or is a little picky, check out these unique gifts for sisters.
Gift for sisters who like to cook: Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit
We like this indoor herb garden kit because it combines a bunch of necessary gardening products into a package that is approachable for beginners—and demands very little space of one’s own. It also includes four of the herbs that show up most in recipes these days, from Thai noodles to fajitas and roast chicken. It comes with basic starter items such as burlap grow bags, bamboo plant markers, potting soil discs and, of course, instructions. While this product might not be right for advanced gardeners, it’s a solid starter kit for curious home cooks without established green thumbs.
Gift for soulful sisters: White Sage Smudge Kit
Here’s the deal: Things have been hard—for a while now. And if your sister is anything like the rest of us, she could use a reset. Sage smudging rituals have been performed by some Native American cultures for centuries in order to cleanse spaces and the people within them—and smudging has crossed into the wider zeitgeist. Whether sage itself has power, or the actions are purely symbolic, a good smudge will give your sis an opportunity to boost the positive vibes at her home or office.
Cool gifts for sisters who are just more hip than you
Face it: Your sister is cooler than you. Or at least she thinks she is. Help her maintain that fiction with one of these cool gifts for sisters with flair.
Great gift for a creative or crafty sister: Baby Yoda Paint by Numbers Set
In case you missed it: Paint-by-numbers is cool again. That thing your grandmother did as home decor, and the activity you once did as a child is now a bonafide cool crafting hobby. We particularly like this Baby Yoda set, which comes with a 16 inch by 20-inch canvas and all the acrylic oil paints your sister needs to create her own masterpiece. If paint-by-numbers sounds cool, but your sister is more of a traditionalist, we recommend this old-school boat-on-a-lake option in muted neutral colors.
Best gift for sisters who still read on paper: Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light
If your sister is one of the folks who has rejected e-readers and Kindle apps in favor of the paper book, a reading light is a thoughtful gift. Even if your sis already has one, believe us, she could use an upgrade. While the traditional reading light once predominantly clipped onto a book, this “neck light” version is weirdly popular for a reason. Not only will it not awkwardly bend away from and tip off of a book or magazine, but it also beams light directly onto a book or any other tactile project, such as knitting or cross-stitching, and won’t disturb bedmates. It’s rechargeable and also has six brightness levels, so your sister can adjust for her needs. How thoughtful!
Little sister gifts for your favorite younger sibling
Younger sisters are the worst when they’re still in the tattle-tale and attention-hog stage. But once they grow out of it, they’re the best. Let yours know you love her with a little sister gift like one of these.
Best fun gift for a little sister: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera
With its battery-operated power and relatively petite film, this spunky, instant camera is as analog as it is charming. What’s old is always seemingly new again, and these beloved cameras also benefit from hindsight: its newer edition ensures clear, crisp photos and reliable automatic lighting. It also caters to modern interests: the one-touch selfie mode makes it easy to snap a self-portrait on the fly. The extra white space on the prints is also a fun way to write a note or doodle, and replacement film packages are sold in lots of places. Plus, adults love these cameras just as much as kids, which is why these cams aren’t just popular with tweens and teens, but young-at-heart grown-ups, too.
Best jewelry gift for sister: TILO Jewelry 14k Gold Hoops
Hoop earrings are timeless, look good on everyone, and fit most occasions, from parties to job interviews. Every young woman deserves some real gold in her ear—so why not be the one to buy it for your lil sis? This yellow gold pair is 14k gold, not metal with gold plate like cheaper ones you may find out there. Speaking of gold-plated cheaper options: If you want to give your sister something pretty, but can’t afford a solid-gold pricetag, we actually really like these Amazon Essentials hoops. They’re gold over stainless steel, so they’re good for sensitive ears. (And they come in larger sizes, for a little more swagger.)
Gifts for older sisters
If your elder sibling can take a little ribbing, you could easily put a snarky “over-the-hill” twist on either of these self-care picks (“Go ahead, curl up on the couch like an aged cat, sis!” or “Stretch out that aching back and feel better!”) But if she won’t take kindly to that kind of joke, just tell her that she deserves some “me” time and relaxation—which she no doubt does.
Best gift for a sister who has everything: State Cashmere: Reversible Throw Blanket
State Cashmere is a family-run brand with several generations of the cashmere and wool business under their belts. As such, they work directly with textile producers in Mongolia to source incredible cashmere. If you love the idea of a soft throw like our pick but need cheap gifts for sister-dear, this popular faux-cashmere throw comes in a million colors and feels luxe even though it’s much more affordable than the real thing.
Great gift for sisters who do yoga (or want to): Mandelbrot X Cork 8-Piece Yoga Set
Cork is an incredibly sustainable material, so we were excited to find a beginner’s yoga kit with not only cork blocks, but also a cork mat and cork yoga wheel for stretching out the back. (This one also comes with a yoga strap, which makes stretching easier and safer for even the stiffest hips.) The giftiness of this set is rounded out with a plush yoga towel and carrying bags. If you’re looking to spend a little less, but think your sister would love some sustainable yoga gear, check out these highly reviewed cork blocks.
Great tech gifts for sisters (or any loved one, really)
Everyone loves gadgets. Depending on how much you have to spend, we’ve chosen two tech gifts we think any sister will appreciate.
Best cheap tech gift for her: iFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker
Back in the day, playing analog radio in the shower was a big lifestyle upgrade. With waterproof Bluetooth speakers, this birthday gift for your sister allows her to play whatever album or podcast she wants while washing her hair or shaving her legs. The fun doesn’t have to be confined to the shower, either: at less than seven ounces, this speaker is a solid companion for trips to the pool or beach. It’s rechargeable and can last for up to 10 hours on a single charge. This speaker can also connect to a phone, so your sister can have hands-free conversations and then get right back to her scrubbing.
Best splurge tech gift for her: Garmin Vivoactive 4S Smartwatch
Garmin watches are quickly catching up to Apple watch and Fitbit as one of the most popular wrist-tech items. And with good reason: Not only is this model absolutely charming, but it also has a very robust fitness package that includes animated workouts, and tons of health features—including pulse ox and sleep tracking. It also packs the usual smartwatch features such as texts and calendar capability.
Cheap gifts for sister that she’ll actually like
There’s no need to break the bank for your sister’s birthday if you don’t feel like it (or if she doesn’t deserve it?!). We’ve picked out a few cheap gifts for sisters that will still make her feel special.
Best birthday gift under $20: Essential Oil Diffuser
In four styles, this simple diffuser is a thoughtful—and useful—present. It can run for six hours, dispensing natural fragrance and a pretty glow. It has an auto shut-off switch for protection, and it has two mist modes: continuous and intermittent. During especially dry months such as winter, this device also offers soothing humidity to dry bedroom air.
Best gifts for the sister who needs more sleep: Weighted Eye Mask with Organic Flax and Lavender
If you’re looking for a birthday gift for a sister who’s a frequent traveler, has lots of natural light in her bedroom, or simply wants better rest, take a look at these handmade weighted masks. They’re filled with organic flaxseed for weight and soothing organic lavender flowers for aromatherapy—although you can request that the maker leave the lavender out if your sister is sensitive to scents or allergic.
A last word on buying the best gifts for sisters
A quality birthday gift for your sister can enhance her self-care routine or bring a new hobby into her life. No matter what you end up getting, remember that the best birthday present shows your sister that you see her for who she is and who she’s trying to be.
Popular Science can help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: Romantic Gifts that Are Actually Interesting, Car Gifts for Your Favorite Gearhead, Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers.