Come "Holiday" time (which, in retail-land starts in mid-October) keep an eye out at the fragrance counters and you're bound to see coffrets pop up in almost every brand that makes more than two scents. A coffret (which is pronounced CO-fray, and literally means casket in French!) is basically a boxed assortment of purse-sized fragrances from one particular house. Think of it as a greatest-hits collection of perfumes; they're meant to be collected and given as a set, but I'm actually fond of buying one or two sets and separating the fragrances. In coffret form, one $50 set can yield 5 0r 6 gifts that often cost around $30 each, if purchased separately.
To make separating your coffret easier, make sure you smell each scent in the set using the in-store testers. Spritz some of the fragrance on a blotter card (most counters provide these, just make sure you sniff the card before you spray to make sure it's blank) then mark down the name of the fragrance and let it dry for a minute. Fan the card gently under your nose to get the scent, and see who on your list comes to mind- then mark her name on the card and move to the next scent. Your nose can only distinguish between about 3 scents at a time, after that they'll all start to smell the same, so it's a good idea to situate your fragrance testing around your other shopping so you can take breaks and return with a fresh nose!
My favorite way to gift fragrance minis is simple and easy- pick out a beautiful card and ribbon. After penning your most heart-felt sentiment, seal the envelope. Then, take a small hole punch and punch 2 holes side by side- about a half-inch apart, near the corner of the envelope (you can tap the card to the opposite side so that you don't punch through it, if you wish.) Thread your ribbon up through the holes and tie the mini into place with it.
At around $10 a pop (or less!) this is a great way to remind the ladies in your life that you appreciate them. These make perfect little hostess/teacher/coach/baby-sitter/co-worker gifts that are just enough to let them know you care.