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The Verge’s favorite holiday gifts under $50

Great gifts don’t always command a high price tag. If you’re looking to limit your spending this holiday season, we’ve mustered a selection of affordable picks suited for everyone on your list.

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Photography by Joel Goldberg for The Verge

With the rising cost of living and ongoing inflation, it’s understandable that you may be feeling stressed about the upcoming holiday season. When you’re just trying to get by, it can be hard to figure out how to budget for gifts and other extra expenses without hurting your wallet.

Luckily, there are tons of presents out there you can buy that won’t break the bank. With the help of the rest of The Verge staff, we’ve rounded up a number of useful, fun, and unique gifts that cost under $50 that cater to a wide range of personalities and passions.

There are personalized gifts, like those that illustrate what the cosmos looked like the moment you married your partner or your friend was born, as well as more universal and entertaining ideas, like a streaming subscription that provides access to a host of popular movies, TV shows, and sporting events. And, of course, we have gadgets — lots of them — including a smart speaker that can read the news and a nifty Bluetooth tracker that’ll help your loved one find their lost set of keys.

Check out the gifts below and see for yourself just how far a little bit of cash can go if you know how (and where) to spend it.

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Sengled Smart LED Bulb (two-pack)

When temps plummet and it's too cold to leave the bed, your giftee will thank you for buying them Sengled’s smart LED light bulbs. You can control the inexpensive bulbs using either your voice or an app available for Android and iOS, and because they work over Wi-Fi, there's no need for a dedicated hub. They even work with a variety of platforms, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can gift it to people embedded in both ecosystems.
Price: $16.99-$23.99

Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

The Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is our favorite streaming device, one that supports 4K content, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and Google Assistant. What separates it from the Rokus and Amazon Fire TVs of the world, however, is its unique ability to curate recommendations from a wealth of services while supplying other useful tidbits of information (like Rotten Tomatoes ratings).
Price: $39.99

Bullet Journal Edition 2

Why gift a plain old planner or notebook when you can gift a bullet journal that combines the best of both? The dot-grid notebook can be used however your giftee wants, though bullet journalists often use them to organize to-do lists, schedules, meal plans, goals, journal entries, and a host of other things. The Edition 2 comes with page numbers, an index, and a future log set up already, too, so all they need to do is add to the index as they journal along.
Price: $27.95

OnePlus Buds Z earbuds

Wireless earbuds don't have to cost a fortune. If you're on a budget but want to gift the music lover in your life something they'll use all the time, check out the OnePlus Buds Z. The solid earbuds sound good for the price and even offer features like auto-pause when an earbud is removed. Fitness fans appreciate this gift, too, thanks to their IP55 rating for sweat and water resistance. Just don't expect them to drown out the inevitable sound of grunting at the gym — you'll need proper ANC for that.
Price: $49.99

Blink Video Doorbell

With Blink’s budget-friendly video doorbell, your giftee can truly relax while on the couch or lounging on the beach in some far-off locale. The 1080p video doorbell comes with all the basics — including night vision, motion-activated recording and alerts, and two-way audio — and skips the fees associated with other premium offerings, rendering it an affordable way to keep tabs on who's at your door with your smartphone.
Price: $49.99

Apple AirTag

Waiting for luggage when jet-lagged isn't exactly the best way to start a vacation. Thankfully, gifting a loved one Apple's AirTags means they can quickly find their baggage and begin enjoying their holiday. The ultra wideband-ready Bluetooth trackers come in handy in other scenarios as well, like when your giftee loses their keys, but keep in mind that you'll need a compatible lanyard to attach the tracker to your keys, backpack, and other items.
Price: $27.98-$29

myQ Chamberlain Smart Garage Control

Everybody knows somebody who's constantly ordering stuff online. If you've got a loved one who regularly receives deliveries from Amazon or Walmart, they might find Chamberlain’s smart garage door controller useful. Not only does the convenient device allow them to open and close their garage door remotely with their smartphone but also it's compatible with Amazon Key and Walmart's InHome program. This means drivers can drop off packages in their garage if they want, helping secure their deliveries.
Price: $24.98-$29.98

SpaceTime Coordinates Personalized Art Print

New gadgets make for great gifts, but most of them aren't exactly personal. For giftees on the sentimental side, a SpaceTime Coordinates art print is a thoughtful present they'll feel touched to receive. The company uses NASA data to create a print depicting the orientation of the planets at the exact moment you got married, your giftee was born, or any other special occasion you’d like to memorialize. While the art prints start at $49, you can also pay extra to buy them as necklaces, posters, shirts, home decor, and more.
Price: $39

Movie Genius Playing Cards

Got a movie buff in your life who knows every line to Alien and obscure Elisabeth Moss flicks from the mid-aughts? Yeah, us too. Thankfully, even pseudo-cinephiles will enjoy playing cards with this deck, which features movie stars and directors ranging from Alfred Hitchcock and Wes Anderson to Meryl Streep and Samuel L. Jackson. Instead of suits, however, the set is split up into four movie genres: sci-fi, crime, drama, and romance.
Price: $10.99

Smile Cult sticker bundle

Affirmations are powerful things that can help people improve their overall well-being. That's exactly what these unique, meaningful stickers are — subtle ways to remind your loved ones of their worth and the value of self-care. They're particularly great gifts for fans of journaling and scrapbooking, but they also make for good stocking stuffers since you can throw them on your fridge, mirror, or laptop. Smile Cult also sells these affirmations as shirts, tote bags, sweaters, and art prints if you think your loved one would prefer something other than stickers.
Price: $20

Razer Kishi

What do you gift the gamer on the go without a handheld like the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck? A Razer Kishi, of course. Your loved one can attach the controller to their iPhone or Android device and play games Switch-style. The mobile accessory should accommodate most smartphones and is compatible with cloud streaming services like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, too, allowing you to tackle everything from Destiny 2 to Sea of Thieves without sitting in front of your TV.
Price: $44.99-$54.99

The Disney Bundle subscription

It doesn't matter if your giftee is a fan of college football or just likes to keep up with the latest hits from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a subscription to the Disney Bundle is a gift that caters to a variety of interests. Gifting it will give your loved one access to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus, so they can stream sports, watch shows like Andor and The Handmaid’s Tale, and enjoy recent releases like the scattershot fairy tale that is Thor: Love and Thunder.
Price: $19.99

High Tea candle

Candles make for nice gifts, but they're also kind of cliché — well, except when you place them in something a bit less conventional. The High Tea candle is a six-ounce wooden wick candle housed within a glass tea cup, one that brings together hints of lavender, jasmine, mandarin, and other relaxing scents. It makes for a creative gift that's as easy on the eyes as the nose, especially when placed in the kitchen or on the living room coffee table.
Price: $16

Amazon Echo Dot (fifth-gen)

Amazon's new Echo Dot might look exactly like the one that came before it, but don't get the two mixed up. The fifth-gen smart speaker features improved sound quality, a built-in temperature sensor, and the ability to add up to 1,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage if you connect it to your Eero network. So much for dead zones, huh?
Price: $49.99

Mini Henna Wood Letter ornaments

For a gift with a bit of culture, check out this ornament, which features stunning henna designs that are hand-painted onto a wood letter or number. You can choose whichever letter or number you’d like — whether that’s the first letter of your giftee’s name or their initials — and can customize the ornament with your giftee's favorite colors and a splash of glitter or rhinestones. You can even include quotes, dates, or other text for an additional charge.
Price: $25

Hoto Precision Screwdriver Set

If you have a friend who always seems to be breaking things, Hoto's well-built Precision Screwdriver Set could certainly come in handy. The 24-bit kit includes everything they need to perform small repairs on a pair of glasses or a bracelet as well as phones, tablets, and other small electronics. The best part? All the steel bits are conveniently housed within the handle, meaning you don't have to go scrounging around your garage every time you need a tri-wing.
Price: $21.69-$39.99

Tribit StormBox Micro

If music is the universal language, why not gift something that should appeal to just about everyone on your list? Tribit’s StormBox Micro is a pint-size, portable Bluetooth speaker your giftee can take with them just about anywhere, one that features an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance as well as a built-in strap for securing the speaker to bicycle handles and backpacks. It even sounds good despite its small stature — a boon for a speaker that costs less than a Grant.
Price: $49.99

Azul

If you're looking to tear a friend or family member away from TikTok challenges and the endless cycle of scrolling, board games present an old-school solution. Azul, a four-player puzzle game that challenges you to tile mosaics in a palace, is one of the best. It's a game of ornate patterns and quick problem-solving, and though the basics are relatively easy to learn, there's a subtle depth to the game that makes it one worth replaying again and again.
Price: $31.99-$39.99

Proctor Silex Rice Cooker

If your friend loves to cook but never has the time to do so, this electric eight-cup cooker makes it easy to quickly whip up a fresh batch of rice or quinoa without boiling water or even setting a timer. It’s a good gift that also comes with a nonstick cooking pot, a steam basket, a measuring cup, and a rice paddle.
Price: $26.99

Eucalyptus Spearmint Mini Gift Set

Traveling during the holidays is stressful, even if the pandemic is (somewhat) in the rearview mirror. Fortunately, this cute little gift set from Bath & Body Works contains eucalyptus-scented body wash, bath foam, lotion, and hand sanitizer, all wrapped in a festive package. Hopefully, it will help your giftee feel just a little calmer and more relaxed before they head out to visit family (or after they return). After all, we all know family can be just as stressful as traveling.
Price: $15

Gallery Calendar Mouse Pad

There isn't much to the Gallery Calendar Mouse Pad other than what's in the name. Nonetheless, the simple gift is a great way to personalize a rectangular mouse pad with photos that might be meaningful to your friend or family member. These could be pictures of you and your loved one together, their pet, or whatever else might bring a smile to their face as they fiddle away on spreadsheets, Slack, or whatever else consumes their waking hours.
Price: $9

Anker 321 USB-A to Lightning Cable

A charging cable isn't a particularly exciting gift no matter how you spin it, but Anker’s 321 USB-A to Lightning Cable isn’t your average cable. That’s because it offers a Micro USB, a USB-C, and a Lightning connector instead of a single offering. That means your giftee can charge an older Kindle, Apple's latest iPad Pro, a Samsung Galaxy device, and a much wider range of gadgets overall. Price: $21.99

Pantone Wide Tea Cup

Graphic designers — or anybody from more creative industries, really — will love this porcelain mug, which features different Pantone colors alongside their hue name and number. The simple 16-ounce vessel is great for warming up with a cup of tea or soup, especially since the extra-wide opening helps all of your favorites go down smoothly. Price: $22

8BitDo Media Remote for Xbox (Short Edition)

What do you gift an Xbox gamer that's not going to break the bank and isn't just another RPG they're never going to finish? Easy: 8BitDo’s Media Remote. The neat little infrared device features dedicated buttons for navigating various apps and menus as well as a Home button that allows you to quickly turn on your Xbox. The Long Edition is also just as sleek as its shorter brethren but comes outfitted with a number pad for $5 more.
Price: $19.99

Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard

Despite what Apple's insistent marketing might tell you, the Magic Keyboard isn't the only option out there. Logitech's inexpensive macOS-specific Bluetooth keyboard is also compatible with iOS and iPadOS, allowing your giftee to type on their MacBook, iPad, or even iPhone. It's a comfortable option for those embedded in Apple’s ecosystem, with multiple color options and the ability to pair up to three devices simultaneously.
Price: $29.99-$39.99

Spotify Premium (three-month subscription)

Whether your giftee is the kind of music lover who wants to churn through the latest hits from Drake or dig into The Beatle's seemingly bottomless well of archival tracks, a Spotify Premium membership is a gift that caters to a range of interests. A three-month subscription grants you access to millions of on-demand songs along with podcasts like The Daily and, ahem, The Vergecast.
Price: $30

ChomChom Pet Hair Remover

Pets are cute, but they're also sweet little messy creatures with hair that gets just about everywhere. Luckily, the ChomChom Pet Hair Remover is a practical gift that’ll save your loved one from having to vacuum or lint roll every surface in their house. They can use the clever tool on a wide range of things pets love to sit and shed on, too, including sofas, car seats, blankets, comforters, clothes, and pretty much anything else their fur baby has touched. Price: $24.95

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

Audience scores be damned, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is good TV. And while The Silmarillion doesn't rehash the events of Amazon's recent show, the precursor takes readers back to the very beginning of creation, revealing the historical origins of Middle-earth and setting up some of the events that later unfold in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It might read a little like a straight-up history book, sure, but it's also a great gift for somebody who just can’t get enough of Middle-earth and Tolkien's work.
Price: $11.49

Classic Crocs

All right, hear us out. Crocs may have once been considered "uncool," but few pairs of shoes offer as much customization for the price. They now come in an expansive range of colors and designs, all of which you can personalize with Jibbitz, which essentially function as plastic decorations you can attach for a bit of added style. They're also incredibly lightweight and comfortable, rendering them a practical gift as well as a personal one.
Price: $49.99

Nite Ize Wraptor

Have you ever fallen off a treadmill because you were trying to rotate your smartphone while running? It's not fun, which is why I wish somebody told me about the Nite Ize Wraptor a bit earlier. Once strapped to a handle, you can use it to quickly check your phone regardless of its orientation. The versatile mount can attach to most handles, too, meaning your giftee can secure it to a stroller, a bike, or even a grocery cart if they want to safely surf Instagram while in line. Price: $17.99