Even though many of us are better off in some ways than we were in 2020, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. And for a good number of people, that means this holiday season will, like last year, be about celebrating on a budget.
Thankfully, there are plenty of great gifts you can purchase if you have a little spending cash in your wallet. Our budget-conscious gift guide features a variety of ideas that cost under $50, all of which are either thoughtful, entertaining, or incredibly useful.
Below, you’ll find personalized art prints illustrating what the Solar System looked like the day your loved one was born — or the minute you met your partner. Other recs, like Rocketbook’s reusable smart notebook, can help a friend or family member declutter their life and remain environmentally conscious while doing so. We even have a few home tech and literary staples on the list, as well as a Bluetooth tracker that allows Apple users to keep better tabs on their belongings. Holiday travel is still a thing, after all.
Under $20 $20 to $50
Music Genius Playing Cards
Music lovers will love this classic set of playing cards, with musicians like Freddie Mercury, Beyonce, Prince, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Bjork, and more. The set even splits up genres into four suits: pop; rock; folk and country; and soul, blues, and R&B.
Google Nest Mini (second-gen)
Google’s latest Nest Mini sounds far better than its predecessor, the Google Home Mini, and can even be mounted to the wall. The fabric-covered puck offers all the basic smart speaker functionality you've come to expect, as well as a range of attractive colors, including chalk, charcoal, coral, and sky blue.
SpaceTime Coordinates art print
Using NASA data, SpaceTime Coordinates creates a picture of what space looked like the moment you were born, got married, or during any other signficant event you should choose. The pictures can be delivered as digital files starting at $29 but also as posters, shirts, hoodies, necklaces, home decor, and other products at various price points.
Rocketbook reusable smart notebook
The Rocketbook is an erasable notebook that allows you to quickly store your notes in popular cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote. The reusable pad is a particularly useful gift for writers or the more environmentally conscious people in your life, and it comes in several colors ranging from infinity black to beacon orange.
Lush Relax gift set
Lush is famous for its bath bombs and other self-care goodies. This gift set is filled with some of its most relaxing lavender treats, such as a body lotion, bath bomb, shower gel, and a bubble bar designed to help you unwind and relax.
Amazon Echo Dot (fourth-gen)
Amazon’s latest entry-level smart speaker is an excellent device for the price. It offers great sound quality and can do all of the things Alexa does with other Echo models. The orb-like design is not as discrete as earlier Echo Dot models, but it is available in a host of muted colors that should blend in nicely regardless of your home decor.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K gives your loved ones access to more than a million movies and TV episodes from major streaming services in 4K Ultra HD. It also offers support for Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10 Plus, as well as the ability to search and launch content with your voice, thanks to its Alexa-powered voice remote.
If your loved one can't wait to find out what happens next after watching the first part of director Denis Villeneuve‘s recent film adaptation of Dune, gift them a copy of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel to satiate their curiosity.
AirTag Leather Loop
Apple’s AirTags lack a lanyard hole, meaning your loved ones will need a loop accessory to attach the Bluetooth tracker to anything. While there are cheaper options available, this stylish one from Apple is made from tanned leather and comes in a variety of colors, including saddle brown, baltic blue, forest green, California poppy, and red.
NErDy Periodic Table Pin
Science lovers will appreciate this creative pin made from handmade glass and pewter that spells out “nerdy” using elements found in the periodic table.
Logitech K380 Bluetooth keyboard for Mac
Mac users embedded in the Apple ecosystem might find this compact keyboard from Logitech to be useful, which is identical to the standard K380 but sports a macOS-specific layout. It's also compatible with iOS and iPadOS, comes in two colors (off-white and rose), and features circular keys that are a joy to type on.
Pokémon Home Accents Throw Pillow Covers
Pokémon fans will enjoy relaxing at home with this four-pack of pillow covers, which feature abstract, Pokémon-style designs of various shapes and colors.
Inspiring Quotes Journal
If you've got a friend who likes to journal, buy one for them that will stand out. Your loved ones will chuckle receiving this 160-page notebook with a cover that takes a subtle jab at the kind of inspirational quotes you might find on a Hallmark card.
These true wireless earbuds might not look like much, but they come with five silicone tips and support both Alexa and Google Assistant. What's more, they feature IPX5 water resistance and an adjustable EQ — two things you often don't see on earbuds under $50.
Unresolved Issues Canvas Pouch
If you're looking for a wittier gift, this canvas pouch with "unresolved issues" emblazoned on the front will likely make your friends laugh as they reach for their toiletries, makeup, pen, or anything else they might want to store in the floral container.
Amazon Fire 7 tablet
Amazon’s Fire 7 tablet isn't able to match an iPad in terms of performance, but it can still handle the basics. The last-gen device supports a host of popular apps and games — Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, etc. — while giving you a cheap means for reading books or video chatting with friends and family. It also comes with parental control options, rendering it a suitable slate for kids.
This illustrated Marvel Encyclopedia comes with an introduction by Stan Lee and provides the historical background and facts for more than 1,000 Marvel characters and teams. These range from the Avengers to the lesser-known Amadeus Cho, as well as various events like Civil War II and Infinity Countdown.
Rifle Paper Co. Garden Party Monogram Mug
With floral blooms and a gilded monogram letter, this gorgeous mug will add a splash of color to your desk and keep your favorite beverages warm during those cold winter months. Just make sure to hand wash it, and it's not microwave safe.
Composite Agate Coaster
These stunning, handmade coasters are made from shards of natural agate, a rock formation that boasts a variety of colors, including pink, blue, white, and brown. They’ll make a beautiful addition to your giftee's table for when they dine with loved ones during the festive season.
Those with an iPhone will appreciate receiving AirTags as a gift, particularly if they intend to travel this holiday season. If you have a compatible lanyard, you can clip the sleek Bluetooth tracker to your suitcase, backpack, keys, and other accessories, and easily keep track of their location via your smartphone. If you don't have a lanyard, however, rest assured you can still toss them in your bag.
Rose Bud Earrings
This pair of earrings from Uncommon Goods features sustainably grown South American rosebuds and petals cast in a glassy eco-resin. The half-moon earrings are handmade, too, meaning each pair is unique.
The Bullet Journal Method Collector's Set
Based on product designer and author Ryder Carroll’s list-based method for time management, the Bullet Journal Method has become a popular gift over the years. This limited-run collector’s set includes both Carroll’s bestselling book, which introduces readers to the idea and explains how to set one up, as well as a black Bullet Journal with lead pages, end pages, and a back pocket.
Joy in a Jar
Joy in a Jar is a great pick if you’re looking more a more creative, meaningful gift. Inside of the 16-ounce mason jar are dried flowers and 24 affirmation cards you can ask to personalize. You can pull these out whenever you need a bit of encouragement or support, or clip them to the supplied board using the twine and clothespin that come with the jar.
Proctor Silex rice cooker
This electric, eight-cup rice cooker offers good value for the price, allowing you to quickly cook rice, quinoa, or barley without needing to boil water or use a timer. It even comes with a nonstick cooking pot, as well as a steam basket, measuring cup, and rice paddle.