Showing people you care about them does not have to cost a lot. In fact, you can find thoughtful and much-appreciated gifts for as little as $20. There are even more options if you have $50 or $100 to spend.
Here are some memorable and fun ideas that won’t break the bank:
- Personalized items. Anything with your friend or family member’s name or initials emblazoned on it will make a gift more special. Think inexpensive cozy scarf with a big initial at the end or a set of glassware with an etched monogram. Your local embroidery shop can do the stitching, or buy a DIY etching kit for glass.
- Photo coasters. Just as monogramming kicks any gift up a notch, so do photos. Buy a set of inexpensive photo coasters and then take a few minutes to place personal photos into the coasters before wrapping your gift. Perceived value? Way more than $20.
- Stylish apothecary jars. Give them empty and they can be used as a decoration, or fill one with plants and give as a fancy terrarium. Glass apothecary jars make a statement and jazz up any space in which they are placed. Check out places such as Pier 1 Imports or Crate and Barrel for some really unique apothecary jars.
- Candle set. You can never have too many candles and if you shop at a discounter like Big Lots, you can gather several large ones for under $20 and impress whoever is lucky enough to receive your gift. If faced with the choice, opt for one huge candle rather than several tapers—it just looks more pricey.
- Magazine subscription. Pick up the latest issue of a magazine you know your cousin or co-worker would love and wrap it up with a note explaining that you have purchased a year’s subscription of the publication for them. It will be a gift they’ll appreciate all year long.
If you can afford to spend up to $50 on a gift, here are some other options to consider:
- Holiday décor. What is more inviting than an eye-catching wreath to hang on a front door? You can find a variety for under $50, but the pinecone wreath at Crate and Barrel is particularly pretty and the Martha Stewart ornament wreath from Home Depot captures the joy of the season.
- Camera. Sure, most of us own a camera, but not many own a fish-eye lens camera—one of Nate Berkus’ favorite things this year. Whoever you give this to will love the new, often artsy, perspective the camera offers on common items and scenery.
- Rabbit wine opener. Wine lovers will surely appreciate the Rabbit brand of wine opener, which makes getting at virtually any kind of shiraz or chardonnay a breeze.
- Glass paperweight. A colorful glass paperweight from the Corning Museum of Glass (cmog.org) is sure to help clean up and beautify a messy desk.
Close family members, clients, or dear friends warranting closer to a $100 gift should be well served by any of these upscale presents.
- Cashmere anything. The softness of cashmere is what makes it so desirable, whether you’re considering a sweater, socks, or throw. In fact, J. Crew and Macy’s both have several sweater styles to choose from in cashmere.
- Stationery. Personalized stationery, or “writing papers” as they call them at Felix Doolittle, is both a practical and very personal gift. Combine a name with an image near-and-dear to your gift recipient’s heart and you’ve got a winning gift.
- A one-of-a-kind book. Present a bound book from featuring a photo collage or a combination of words and images that the recipient is sure to treasure.
- Tiffany key ring. Really, anything from Tiffany is bound to catch someone’s attention, and the round tag key ring marked “Return to Tiffany” on the reverse is pretty noteworthy. Appropriate for people at home or at work, this silver gift arrives in the elegant blue Tiffany box.
- Fire pit. For gift givers in warmer climates, an outdoor, standalone metal fire pit will be well-used as the nights get chillier. Such a practical and thoughtful gift may earn you an invitation back to sample its warmth some evening.
The best way to start your hunt for the perfect present is by making a list of everyone you need to buy for and assigning a maximum amount you are willing to spend. Not only will this keep you on budget and out of trouble come January, but it will help you zero in on just the right gift for those important to you this holiday season.