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The Verge’s favorite holiday gifts under $25

Great gifts don’t have to be expensive

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It’s been a hard year financially for many of us. For that reason, it’s good to know that you don’t have to take out a loan to find useful, attractive, or just plain cool gifts for your friends and / or relatives. The Verge’s Budget Holiday Gift Guide for 2020 features a variety of gift ideas that cost under $25 but offer a lot of value.

For tech enthusiasts, there’s a flexible flashlight that looks like a bug, a Game Boy-inspired case for AirPods, a great video recorder app, and a video capture card. Cooks can use the conveniently narrow measuring spoons, a snazzy garlic rocker, and a premium zester grater. And who wouldn’t be happy to find themselves hugging a large stuffed shark or enjoying their morning cereal via the CrunchCup?

There are other fun items, including several fascinating books. Take a look, and see what great stuff you can get for your favorite people without having to stress your savings.


Nite Ize BugLit micro flashlight

It's always a good idea to have a flashlight available. It's an even better idea to have one that will either stand on its own or wrap around your wrist or any convenient surface. And if it looks like a cute little bug, that makes it the perfect gift for a tech friend. Price: ~$15

Ikea Produkt milk frother

It's hard not to love the sound of steam frothing up a jug of milk, and a small battery-powered milk frother does almost as good a job with much less effort. Just remember to heat up your milk first. Otherwise, you could find yourself sipping on a luke-warm latte. Price: ~$3

Elago AW5 AirPods Case for AirPods

It can be a little overwhelming to see the same white AirPods cases lying around and having to wonder which pair is yours. This Game Boy-inspired case by Elago will allow your friend or relative to know which case is theirs. Also, it looks really cool. Price: ~$12

Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel by Martha Wells

How can you dislike a novel whose main character names themself Murderbot? This science fiction adventure, which features a part-human / part-robot protagonist, has plenty of satire and comedy mixed in with interesting thoughts on human (and non-human) behavior and motivation. Price: ~$14

Peloton subscription

If you can't afford a Peloton bike or treadmill — or are just not sure if you want one — you can still take part in Peloton's wide range of fitness classes for only $13 a month. Price: ~$13

Dune by Frank Herbert

The new movie version of Dune won't be around until 2021, but in the meantime, why not read the original novel? This epic tale by Frank Herbert has become a classic in the science fiction canon — because, as we all know, the spice must flow. Price: ~$9

Spudz microfiber cloth screen cleaner

Most phones today are fingerprint and dust magnets. The Spudz microfiber cloth screen cleaners live within their own little pockets. You can hang them on your keyring, belt, or backpack so you always have something available to clean your screen. Price: ~$5

To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life by Hervé Guibert

In this sharp autofictional novel, Hervé Guibert chronicles the mood swings that come with diagnosis as well as the decline and death of his friend Muzil. The twists of hope and despair will feel familiar to readers — as will the capricious nature of the drug industry. Price: ~$17

Tomboyland: Essays by Melissa Faliveno

These are essays about being a Midwesterner, a queer person, purposefully childless, different expressions of love, and so much more. Beautifully written, it flows from one memory to the next. It's as much a series of memoir essays as it is an unfolding of identity about all it means to simply be human. Price: ~$11

Hands to Hearts Wrapsody headbands

If you know somebody who hasn't been to the hair salon in a while, this is the perfect gift. The Wrapsody headbands are lovely batiked rounds of cloth that can be used in folds or opened to work as headbands, scarfs, kerchiefs, and even masks. They'll keep your giftee's hair tamed beautifully. Price: ~$15

Vida protective face mask

Our colleagues over at The Strategiest rave about these masks, and there are plenty of designs and colors to choose from, from plain to print. Some masks feature prints designed by artists around the world, and some are even made with recycled plastic bottles. Price: ~$10

Filmic Pro app

This 4K video recorder app gives your Android or iOS phone a plethora of advanced features that will enable you to shoot and edit your videos like a real pro. Price: ~$15

Sugru Mouldable Glue

Sugru is Play-Doh for grownups. You mold it into whatever you want and then let it harden into things like a headphone holder, a curtain hook, or a cable organizer. I've also used it to repair a faucet handle. It's the fixit solution for those of us who are normally not handy. Price: ~$10

Base Roots vegan leather plant hangers

This minimalist plant hanger has the look and durability of leather without the, well, leather. It's a great alternative to cord or macrame hangers. Price: ~$15

Melitta single-cup pour-over coffee brewer

This is the perfect basic pour-over. It's light, easy to clean, and makes a fine cup of coffee. And unlike most ceramic pour-overs, it has two big holes so you can tell how full your cup is and avoid spillover. It makes a great stocking-stuffer. Price: ~$5

Spring Chef narrow measuring spoons

If you're trying to get the perfect measurement of an herb or spice out of a small jar, you'll find the slightly narrower width of these measuring spoons very helpful. That makes this a nice stocking-stuffer for any cooking enthusiasts on your list. Price: ~$20

Joseph Joseph garlic rocker

If your friend uses garlic in their cooking, don't bother getting them an old-fashioned dicer that just makes a mess. This snazzy rocker will dice garlic buds easily and cleanly, is fun to use, and looks really nice as well. Price: ~$15

Premium Classic Series zester / grater

One of the most useful kitchen tools is a microplane grater. If you incorporate a lot of fresh garlic, ginger, or turmeric into recipes or drinks, it makes short work out of what's otherwise a tedious mincing job on the cutting board. It's also great for grating some cheese over bread. Price: ~$15

BLÅHAJ soft Ikea shark

Everyone needs a good stuffed animal in their life, regardless of age. You, or your giftee, might like to try the Ikea shark for those moments when you need to give something a good hug. It's fluffy and adorable and probably too big for its own good. Price: ~$18

The CrunchCup

If you (or your giftee) work from home and love crunchy cereal, you'll know it's hard to eat your breakfast while trying to avoid spilling anything -- especially milk -- on your expensive tech. In that case, The CrunchCup is the perfect gift. It allows you to get the crunchiness from cereal while keeping your desk clean. It's truly a win-win. Price: ~$20

Modern Witch Tarot Deck by Lisa Sterle

If you want to learn Tarot during the cold weather this year, this is a great beginner's deck. The designs of the cards are colorful and diverse, making it stand out from other Tarot decks, and there's also a booklet, making it unnecessary to constantly look up stuff online.Price: ~$22

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back by various authors

A great gift for any Star Wars fan! This book celebrates the legacy of The Empire Strikes Back with a reimagining of the film featuring new perspectives from 40 well-known authors. Price: ~$23

The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel by Akwaeke Emezi

This book is deeply introspective and thought-provoking. It takes place in Nigeria and focuses on complicated friendships and familial ties surrounding sexual and gender identity that can both define and hide who a person is. It's as emotional as it is meaningful. Price: ~$21

BlueAVS Audio Video Capture Card, HDMI to USB

All this device does is convert HDMI to USB, which is conceptually simple but technically more complex. However, the brand name models have become difficult to find, which is where this weird little knockoff model comes in. It's inexpensive and it works. What more do you need? Price: ~$15

Tamagotchi Hello Kitty

What could be more fun than having your own Tamagotchi Hello Kitty to raise and nurture? Give your favorite Hello Kitty fan this cool gadget to carry around and care for. Price: ~$20

Kyisgos leather Apple Watch strap

Leather bands for the Apple Watch are great, but very expensive. Fortunately, if you want a leather band for your Apple wearable but do not want to spend a ton of money, Kyisgos has a $20 leather watch band that uses the same clasp as the Apple sport bands. Price: ~$20