When it comes to
gift-giving, the $50 price tag marks a significant threshold. Plunking down something close to this number says a lot of things to your recipient, like: “This gift is the equivalent of three Sweetgreen salads,” or “I forewent the ol' spa manicure upsell so that you could have something nice this year.” Depending on your budget, the $50-gift could be the splashiest present on your list, or it could be what you’re doling out in multiples to your five closest co-workers. (Lucky you, lucky them!) No matter where the $50-and-under gift falls on the hierarchy of your holiday shopping list, we’re here to make sure you have the coolest, most thoughtful, and most wow-inducing gewgaw out there, so we scoured the World Wide Web to find just that. From kooky, vintage-inspired home accents made by a heritage glassmaker to a Bluetooth speaker the size of a playing-card deck to an unexpected solution for deodorizing small spaces, these gifts will ensure that you get the Santa award this season. (We just made that up — there is no Santa award.) Click through to see the 31 best gifts we could rustle up for under $50. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Why do mugs make such good gifts? (I ask myself this question every year as I purchase them in multiples for myself and my family members.) As vehicles for hot beverages — coffee, tea, hot toddies — they’re synonymous with comfort. They also make the perfect canvas for any design, and these serene and stackable Anthropologie examples will enhance any kitchen.
Anais Mug, $, available at
We know you’re making a beeline for your nearest Aesop this holiday season no matter what — at no other time of year does a
$38 investment in hand wash
make more sense. However, why not go for the more economical, wink-wink option? The ultra-luxe skincare line’s straightforwardly named and inarguably useful “Post-Poo Drops” will last longer and bring better vibes than that ephemeral hand soap — reviewers attest to the multi-month longevity of the stuff.
Post-Poo Drops, $, available at
Straight from our Creative Director
— herself no slouch in the field of positivity — comes a card deck of affirmations authored by happiness psychologist Dr. Deepika Chopra. We can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit from the deck’s exercises: deep, intentional breathing, or making an “ta-da” list instead of a to-do list.
Dr. Deepika Chopra
Optimism On Deck, $, available at
A classic, nautically-inspired gold pendant dangles from an unusually long opera-length chain, making for an unexpected but still very wearable gift.
Brook & York
Parker Knot Pendant, $, available at
Brook & York More
We’re certain that we’re not the first to declare that this shit — a magnesium-heavy fruit-infused cream moisturizer from clean beauty brand Glow Recipe — is bananas; nor will we be the last. Regardless of whether or not this gets
Gwen’s 2009 hit
stuck in your head for
(sorry, not sorry!), this brand-new drop is the perfect gift for your skincare-obsessive bestie — we bet she’ll go B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream, $, available at
Sure; the refillable, reusable water bottle is a seriously useful and necessary gift, so why not blow your recipient’s mind with one of the most beautifully designed iterations of this millennial must-have we’ve ever seen? Not only is this BPA- and phthlalate-free
the most elevated addition to any desk, tabletop, or backpack that we could envision; it’s also insulated; keeping beverages cold for 24 hours or hot for 12.
Water Bottle, $, available at
Urban Outfitters More
Sure, the picture frame is a bit of a dusty present, but when the vetted and approved snapshot is positioned in a cool, kinda Memphis-y marble frame, you know that captured memory will stay front and center forever.
Textured Marble Frames, $, available at
West Elm More
Wow. Once you’ve finished watching this mesmerizing gif on repeat for a few moments, click over to Food52 to nab one of the most elegant and useful kitchen accessories we’ve seen this year. No more destroying bread with a hard, cold pat of butter — simply glide this sieve-like knife over a stick and shave off curls for even distribution.
Japanese Butter Knife, $, available at
De-stress oil?! You have our undivided attention. Using lavender and lemon balm, clean beauty brand Susanne Kaufmann has created an elixir whose scent promotes sleep. At $41, file this under “Something that your overworked sister would
buy for herself, but will
appreciate receiving from you.”
De-Stress Oil, $, available at
The florid, romantic designs of artist William Morris are emblematic of the early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement, but 100 years later, they haven’t lost their visual appeal. The Met Store has customized the designer’s signature “Pink and Rose” print onto one of those unsung-but-seriously-useful travel accessories: the jewelry roll. Your magpie mom or bauble-obsessed bestie will really appreciate this addition to their luggage.
The MET Store
William Morris Pink and Rose Jewelry Roll, $, available at
The Met Store More
Nicholas Cage version of this sequined throw pillow
took the internet by storm last holiday season, innovative gag-gift retailer Firebox had the genius idea to offer a customizable version of this “peekaboo” hidden-image home accent. Simple swipe the sequins in one direction to hide or reveal the visage of your choosing. Important! You must order this questionable personalized gift by December 1 to guarantee its delivery for Christmas.
Peekaboo Sequin Custom Face Cushion, $, available at
Militantly cruelty-free and clean beauty brand Herbivore Botanicals has a plethora of earth-friendly options in its prismatic, naturally-derived collection, but we like this body-care kit for its hyper moisturizing properties (it comes with a top-rated skin oil in addition to two exfoliants) and its connotations of self-care — an absolute necessity during the hectic holiday season.
Self Love Body Ritual Kit, $, available at
The alpaca is certainly having a moment, but there’s more to this magical animal than their long necks and inquisitive faces. Their hair is hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking, and highly insulating, making it the perfect material for winter-friendly accessories like these hand-knit gloves.
Alpaca Fingerless Gloves, $, available at
Come holiday season, we talk a lot about the elusive “gift that keeps on giving” — every single trinket seems to be vying for this illustrious title. We’d like to make the argument that Olivia Mack McCool’s is worthy of this designation. Help your loved ones save $12 to $18 dollars a day (and many, many, many plastic containers) with this weekday meal-prep cookbook — the recipes are valid for all eternity.
Lunch!: Flavorful, Colorful, Powerful Lunch Bowls to Reclaim Your Midday Meal, $, available at
Life stinks sometimes. Literally. But charcoal can help — it’s a low-impact natural deodorizer that draws impurities and moisture out of the air. However, given that it’s essentially burnt wood, it better look like a million bucks if you’re going to give it as a holiday gift (even if it costs a budget-friendly $27). These elegant charcoal bits (of Japanese origin,
) come beautifully packaged and will lend an air of wabi-sabi cool to any home when strategically placed in the kitchen, bathrooms, and basements.
Binchotan Activated Charcoal Bits, $, available at
Putting on my personal-opinion plant-lady hat here to inform you all that there is no better gift than a plant. It will purify the air in your home and bring a much-needed dose of life into a dim, winterized interior. While there are many among us that claim to have difficulty keeping green things alive, websites like
have made it easier than ever to find the right flora and fauna for even the most light-challenged of homes.
Philodendron Heartleaf, $, available at
The people in your life that already espouse the previously-described #plantocracynow lifestyle have their own set of problems: storage and display. You’ll find the homes of true plants freaks overflowing with verdant vines, with multiple specimens vying for the spot with the most life-giving light. Give this person what they really need: a neat, modern, handmade plant stand, so that they can make room for more plants.
Hold On To Your Plants
Modern Wood Plant Stand, $, available at
The Grommet More
There’s nothing like a cozy something come holiday time, whether you’re giving, receiving, or just plain layering up to stay warm in front of the refrigerator. The options are kind of overwhelmingly endless, but Everlane’s fleece-y crewneck sweatshirt is made from 100% recycled polyester, which puts it at the top of our lists this season.
The ReNew Fleece Raglan Sweatshirt, $, available at
Yes, we know our editors have featured this nifty, color-coded global charger in basically every travel accessories story we’ve published in 2019. So why haven’t you bought one yet?! Have you seen the other yucky, confusing travel adapters out there? Charge in convenience and style from anywhere in the world with this compact, easy-on-the-eyes set. It's a must for your buds on the go.
5-in-1 Universal Adapter, $, available at
When in gift-giving doubt, soap is your friend. Everyone uses it, and it’s available in every conceivable shape and size. We love the aesthetics of these mutable, geode-inspired soap “rocks”, which are so pretty that they might be the kind of gift that will stay unopened for a while — and for once, that’s not a bad thing.
Soap Rocks, $, available at
Do you have a “serious cook” in your life? You know that, among many other tendencies, these types abuse the hell out of dishtowels! They’ll stalk around the kitchen with those things flung across their shoulders like superhero capes, and at the end of the night, it’s been tainted by every foodstuff under the sun. This person deserves new, luxurious linens with handy-dandy loop tabs to help them double as ad-hoc aprons.
Chef's Towel Set, $, available at
No matter your skin type, you probably need to remove makeup or at least wipe down your face at the end of the day. That’s why we love a universally-used staple like toner as a beauty gift — especially a clean and gentle one like
One Ocean Beauty
’s formula. A marine microorganism brings down inflammation, and micellar technology removes residue without totally stripping your skin. Bonus: the product is sustainably produced with recyclable packaging. A luxury gift if we ever saw one.
One Ocean Beauty
Purifying Ocean Mist Cleanser, $, available at
The Japanese word
“santoku” means “three virtues”
— an indicator of its revered status as a knife-collection staple. The high-carbon steel construction and ergonomic design of this BergHOFF version make it a kitchen must-have, whether the recipient is a veteran home chef or a total chopping newbie.
7" Santoku Knife, $, available at
Nordstrom Rack More
The coffee nerd in your life may already be in possession of one of these, but if they’re not, it’s certainly high on their lists. It has all the low-fi properties of a French press, and doubles as a chic carafe that will look Insta-ready on the countertop. We’re opting for the cork accent for maximum influencer-effect, but its available with black or red rubber grips for those with more technical taste.
Pour-Over Coffee Maker, $, available at
MoMA Design Store More
Perhaps your beloved coffee nerd is already hopelessly overloaded with beakers, brewers, and overall gear. Well, there’s one thing that they’ll never have too much of — fresh blood. Or, um, new coffee to try. We’re huge fans of Grounds and Hounds’ signature brews — 20% of all proceeds from their fair trade, organic blends go to canine rescue efforts. And yes, we checked,
their Amazon storefront
is verified and open for business.
Grounds and Hounds
Three Blend Starter Kit, $, available at
The turtleneck is the winter wardrobe workhorse, and no one does it better than J.Crew. They’ve revitalized their best-selling classic in colors that will stand alone or layer beautifully with your sweaters and button-downs. If this look-at-me citron isn’t your bestie’s best shade, worry not — there are a total of 14 colors to choose from. “I just purchased nine of them for the season to add to the others I have,” said reviewer Polly. (Sure, that sounds like a lot — but not when
discount code “BRRR” knocks 30% off
the full retail price for a limited time.)
Tissue turtleneck, $, available at
We would have suggested these itty-bitty Bluetooth speakers based on Lilliputian looks alone, but it turns out the sound quality is at direct odds with the device’s size — ie, it’s pretty top-notch, according to the nearly 40 reviews on Soundcore’s site. “Size defying sound is absolutely correct,” said reviewer Nik. “Crisp, clear highs to low-thumping bass with little to no distortion even at high volume. The sound and build quality is every bit on par with other brands that cost double and more.” Did we mention that the little dude is waterproof? Party on!
Icon Mini, $, available at
Economical, compact, and crowd-pleasing, packable nylon bags are a highly giftable item. May we suggest a chic, upmarket iteration made from recycled nylon that will surely get airtime both at home and abroad? Paravel’s “mini” version, for example, repurposes ten plastic bottles.
Mini Fold-Up Backpack, $, available at
Paravel More LA-based online shop Cara Cara
is officially our best-kept holiday-season secret. The newly-launched online boutique carries all of our favorite giftable brands at off-price prices — like this three-pack of Boy Smells votives at almost 50% off. Divvy them up as stocking stuffers or gift the whole set to a lucky someone — they’ll never guess that you paid less than $30 for the whole shebang.
Set of 3 Candles, $, available at
Cara Cara More
For those mathematicians perusing this story, yes, we cheated — this one is $50 on the nose. But we swear, it's special! Make Saturday mornings truly joyful for your loved ones with this hand-stitched robe, featuring upcycled remnants from discarded saris, sewn by hand in the textile-producing hub of Rajasthan, India. No two are exactly alike.
Upcycled Cotton Sari Robe, $, available at
Uncommon Goods More
This portable jewelry case is almost too sweet to keep stuffed away in a suitcase — we bet the recipient will keep it out on display on the daily, because we’d do the same with something so cute.
kate spade new york
Travel Jewelry Organizer, $, available at
These retro milk-glass dishes can be used for almost anything, from pills to peanuts to loose coins to jewelry. No matter what you stash in them, they’ll bring their charming old-school style to anyone’s home all year round.
Bathing Lady Dish, $, available at
Coming Soon More
Digital detoxes are already on everyone’s mind, and we predict that they are going to take 2020 by absolute storm. An analog alarm clock negates the need to keep your phone next to your head for wake-up purposes — and we bet your sister, bestie, or work wife would appreciate the device respite brought by this old-school time-telling contraption. (Try not to dwell on the fact that we’re living in an era where a clock represents some twisted form of self-care.)
Wideboy Clock, $, available at
While the jury may still be out on the effectiveness of dry brushing, we bet the would-be recipient of this gift is as curious about the process as you are. Why not help the process along? Even if the receiver only dry-brushes once, unwrapping this utilitarian-but-simultaneously-luxurious
will be a delightful process.
Revive Polishing Body Brush, $, available at
If you’re like me, your bathroom is piled high with ratty, bleach-stained towels abandoned by former roommates, purchased at dollar stores, and lifted from your childhood home. Your friends might also find themselves in this position, so help to break this cycle of crapulence by gifting them with one of Parachute Home’s luxe, tonal long-staple cotton towels.
Two Tone Towels, $, available at
Parachute Home More
You love jewelry and you love buying it for other people, but finding that one piece that will satisfy the eclectic tastes and styles of every woman in your life is HARD. Found: a totally customizable disc hoop earring available in the diameter of your choosing, rendered not only in brass, but also copper, sterling silver, or for those feeling feisty, solid gold.
Large Circle Stud Earrings, $, available at
This wear-everyday winter beanie that looks like it was either a.) expertly and lovingly handmade in great taste or b.) part of a spot-on vintage haul can be had for a mere $42 at Madewell. (Actually, I take that back — it’s currently
thanks to the temporary
25% off coupon “STARTEARLY”
Chunky Pom-Pom Beanie, $, available at
hop over to
Amazon and buy these delightfully bizarre reflexology slides
for less than $20; but we’ll save that tip for our stocking-stuffer story. We suggest ponying up $35 for the Opening Ceremony-sold iteration of this stimulating footwear. It comes with a satin logo-ed gift bag and the pedigree of a gift purchased at
a cool New York boutique. Amazon, or an independent business? YOU decide.
Massage Sandal, $, available at
Opening Ceremony More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Candy Gifts For The Sweetest People On Your List 21 Gifts For Every Member In Your Squad Surprising Secret Santa Gifts We Found Under $15