The answer to the perennial question, “what do women want?” is easy – everything! Or at least, lots of things. Shoes, chocolates, holidays, jewelry, books, cosmetics, dresses. The list could go on and it comes with an infinity of subsections, cautions and qualifications. To help you out we’ve thought carefully about the endless possibilities, and have selected what we feel are the ideal gifts for you to purchase. We hope this will enable you please the Irish woman in your life, whether she’s your beloved or your friend.

1. Spa holiday in Ireland

We’re talking total luxury here, because if you’re going for a spa holiday you really shouldn’t scrimp. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Powerscourt is perfect. Wicklow is the Garden of Ireland and Powerscourt the jewel of Wicklow, making the hotel’s spa a wonderful place for a tired Irishwoman to relax.

You could always fly your beloved to Istanbul, well known for its Turkish baths.

Click here for special winter offers at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt

2. Riverdance’s show in Albany

Any Irishwoman would relish a chance to see the show that’s been running for over 15 years. Now it’s running another world tour and it hits New York in January. What a perfect excuse for a vacation in upstate New York. Tickets range from $59.50, to $34.50, and they’ll go quick.

Click here for tickets for Riverdance’s January show

3. Handcrafted jewelry

A gift of jewellery is the quickest way to a woman’s heart – but it all depends on the jewellery. The ShamrockGift store stocks beautiful pieces, hand made by Irish craftsmen. And if you’re worried you might splash out on the wrong item you can always buy one of their gorgeous scarves instead.

Click here for the ShamrockGift store

4. Chocolates

Chocolates feed the soul as well as the stomach. You can’t go wrong if you give heart-shaped, coffee-flavored, creamy sweets as a gift. Or bring your friend ice-skating, and then for a special hot chocolate date. Lily O’Briens Café NYC opened on West 40th street this year, an Irish chocolaterie round the corner from Bryant Park’s ice-skating rink.

Click here for Lily O’Briens chocolate café

5. Cosmetics

Christmas is a time when a woman has (or should have) time to focus on herself. She gets enough beauty sleep, has time for pampering, and  has a ton of parties to attend. She needs to look her best, and you will help her greatly if you give her some beauty gifts. Dublin’s famous department store, Brown Thomas, provides an excellent shopping experience, and if you make the trip there you’ll have a chance to you rub shoulders with the elite of the city (a smaller group than in mid-Celtic Tiger boom). The beauty section of BT (as it’s called) stocks everything from nail polish to mascara. It’s almost as good as Macys, or Bloomingdales in New York.

Click here for Brown Thomas’ shop

6. Dinner

The dinner date is a good old standby as a gift. Whether it’s for a romantic occasion or just a friendly chat, all women like to be taken out for a meal. It does help if that meal is in an exclusive venue. Make sure you choose a restaurant that’s intimate and not overcrowded. Atmosphere is everything.

Click here for an exclusive eatery in Dublin

7. A good book

Irish women are great readers and like nothing more than retreating from the family hubbub to a quiet corner, with a book. Do your female friend a favor and buy her something good to peruse over the break. We suggest Marian Keyes’ latest, “The Brightest Star in the Sky,” for a light-hearted read, or Colum McCann’s “Let the Great World Spin” for the more serious reader.

Click here for Colum McCann

8. Lingerie

This is a tough one. Irishwomen love lingerie, and if you know the Irishwoman well, this gift will definitely be a hit. But you have to be familiar not just with her tastes and preferences – color, style, texture – but also her size. It’s tricky. Of course, most department stores have a decent array of undergarments, so they’re a fairly safe bet. If you want something more unusual, you can always pay a visit to Agent Provocateur, which has shops in Dublin and the U.S. (some dept. stores stock its goods too).

Click here for Agent Provocateur

9. A bag

A bag is an excellent Christmas gift. Many women will be making New Year’s resolutions about organizing their lives, getting rid of excess baggage, etc. And that’s where you come in – you buy her a bag, a small, dainty one that holds just keys and a purse. Your friend will never again have to root around for her keys in a large cumbersome hold-all. Most department stores will stock them in abundance.

Click here for a bag

10. Christmas music

On Christmas Eve, St. Patrick’s (Anglican) Cathedral in Dublin has a wonderful choral celebration calls The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, at which its boys’ choir sings. It’s really beautiful, and this would be the prince of all gifts – cheap, if you live in Ireland but a tad pricier if you’ve to fly from the States. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea you could opt instead to bring your friend to Ireland’s National Concert Hall, where Our Lady’s Choral Society sings Handel’s Messiah every year, or for a post-Christmas concert.

Click here for Ireland’s National Concert Hall