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Shopping on a budget around the holidays is always tough. Ask anyone who’s done it, and they’ll probably tell you that it’s not just about the money—it’s about the pressure we face around this time of year to buy big, flashy gifts for our loved ones.
From targeted ads to gift guides filled with the latest electronics and other insanely expensive gadgets, we get bombarded with content in the weeks leading up to the holidays that all seem to point toward the same message: spending a small fortune on presents is the only way to show someone you really care. And while that’s definitely not true, the stress of trying to find the perfect present for a friend, partner, or family member can get to you eventually.
The good news? You can stay within budget and still find great gifts under $50. Below is a list of some of our favorite products that we’ve tested this year that are really useful without being insanely expensive. It doesn’t matter who you’re shopping for, either. Whether they’re a movie buff or a beauty lover, there’s something in this list for everyone. These are the best gifts under $50 of 2019, according to Reviewed:
1. For the one who loves to cook: One of our favorite chef’s knives
A reliable chef’s knife is so crucial for anyone who loves to spend all their free time in the kitchen, which is why most cooking experts will tell you that it’s the one kitchen tool worth spending money on. While certain brands like Wüsthof and Miyabi are highly respected and produce amazing chef’s knives, they can also be extremely pricey. But you can actually get one of the best chef’s knives we’ve ever tested, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife, for under $40 on Amazon. Your foodie friend or relative is sure to love it.
2. For the film and TV lover: This affordable streaming device
For someone who regularly uses Netflix, Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, or a similar service to watch movies and TV shows, a streaming device is a must-have. While there are several solid options to choose from, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is one of the best streaming devices we’ve used since it offers full 4K and HDR10 (not Dolby Vision) and runs almost as fast as a full-size, significantly more expensive Roku Ultra despite its smaller size. It’s ideal for streaming 4K and HDR content, and the remote even offers voice search and wireless functionality, as well as total control over a TV’s power and volume.
3. For the restless sleeper: A solidly practical sound machine
Trying to find a present for someone who struggles with insomnia or restless sleep? A sound machine could be a game-changer, and some of the best we’ve ever tried—including the Lectrofan High Fidelity Noise Machine—are under $50 and ridiculously easy to use. Our testers even noted that the “fan setting” sounds just like there’s an actual box fan running in the room.
4. For the beauty lover: The best light-up makeup mirror
Without the proper lighting, even the fanciest beauty products can come out looking messy, which is why it’s important to invest in the best lighted makeup mirror if you don’t have access to good, natural light at home. Our experts really enjoyed using the Deweisn Tri-Fold Lighted Vanity Makeup Mirror since it offers everything one needs from a good mirror: bright lighting, magnification, and multiple panels of mirrors.
5. For the one who works from home: This totally genius mug warmer
This Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer seems like a brilliant idea for just about anyone who drinks coffee, but for someone like me who regularly works remotely, it’s even more amazing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost in a story or editing project, only to find that my once delicious and warm coffee is now cold, and microwaving that cup to make it warm again just seems so… wrong. With more than 7,000 reviews on Amazon, this popular and affordable product has amassed the kind of cult following on the site that commands notice, and I for one can’t wait to try it out personally.
6. For the one who wants to save the whales: The best reusable straws
It’s estimated that the world’s beaches are littered with up to 8.3 billion plastic straws. More than ever, it’s important to look for alternatives, and eco-conscious giftees are sure to love a set of reusable straws this holiday season. Hummingbird Glass Straws are our favorites since they’re sturdy and look beautiful, and they won’t change the flavor of what you’re drinking. They even come with an easy-to-use cleaning brush.
7. For the one who’s always losing their headphones: A cheap set that’s actually good
We all have that one friend or relative who loses headphones like it’s their job. For someone like that, it pays to have a second or third pair around in they case they lose their current set. Our favorite headphones under $50—the Final Audio Design High Resolution Headphones—are a great value and offer really fantastic audio quality for the price. Our reviewer says they deliver “crisp highs and mid-frequency audio sound profile, rich bass, and detailed highs that complement tons of music genres,” making them a terrific option for music lovers.
8. For the smart-home nerd: A smart speaker that’s great for newbies
Anyone who’s obsessed with smart tech has probably heard all about the Echo Dot (3rd Generation), which our testers think is the best entry-level smart speaker that money can buy. This Alexa-enabled device is significantly more affordable than its larger counterparts and still offers solid functionality. From music to podcasts, this smart speaker can be a great way to listen to your favorites while you cook and clean at home.
9. For the one who’s always too busy to read: A gift membership for audiobooks
We’re all guilty of it: saying we’re going to read something only to find that between work, social events, kids, or just plain forgetfulness, life somehow gets in the way. Know someone who absolutely loves to read but never seems to have the time to get through their to-be-read list? Enter Audible. This audiobook service is perfect for bookworms who struggle to actually finish books, since it allows users to take their favorite books with them everywhere—from the gym to the car during long trips to bedtime—and listen along, without having to halt or pause anything going on in their busy lives. You can gift a month or several if you choose, with prices starting at just $15.
10. For the one who wants a new hobby: This easy-to-use kombucha brewing set
Making kombucha isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems thanks to this kit, which our writer Courtney Campbell used to get started with her own batches at home. It comes with everything your giftee will need to make delicious “booch” at home, including an icky-but-necessary scoby. For giftees who are eager to explore a new and healthy hobby at home, this kit is not only is fun but it can involve the whole family, since you can experiment with flavors and get everyone tasting the latest batch.
11. For the cyclist: This top-rated bike light
Commuting via bike can be a great way to save money and stay healthy, especially in urban areas. That said, it’s also important for bikers to be as careful as possible. This rechargeable bike light is one of the most popular on Amazon. Lightweight and water-resistant, it’s USB rechargeable, can run for two hours on high per charge, and works during the daytime. Reviewers also say it attaches easily to the front of bikes and works well for kids’ bikes, too.
12. For the pet lover: A custom mug from our favorite online photo printing service
We love Shutterfly here at Reviewed and think that it’s the best online photo printing service around. But you can get more than just pictures printed off using Shutterfly—you can also get customizable mugs. For the cat or dog lover in your life, what better way to make their hearts melt than with something they can use everyday that has a picture of their favorite furball on it?
13. For the non-binary person in your life: Multipacks from this gender-inclusive clothing line
Focused on delivering underwear and loungewear that feel comfortable on queer, non-binary bodies, TomboyX is a brand that’s been steadily building buzz since they launched in 2013. With an emphasis on size and gender inclusivity, this Seattle-based company makes a variety of undergarments, including trunks and boxer briefs, that are built for everyone, regardless of where they fall on the gender spectrum. Their multi-packs can be an especially great gift option for the non-binary loved one in your life.
14. For the one who loves to be pampered: This highly rated set of bath bombs
I’m firmly of the opinion that fizzy bath bombs have the power to make anyone’s day better, so imagine what a gift set of 12 can do. With more than 5,000 rave reviews on Amazon, this five-star set is one of the absolute most sought-after gifts on the site. Whether you break this set up into stocking stuffers or you gift it as is, these bath bombs are just as good as what you’d find at Lush, according to reviewers.
15. For the one who enjoys baking: The pie dish we love most
The fastest way to a baker’s heart? Give them a really good pie dish (and eat all the delicious desserts they make with it after). Since bakers take their pie dishes very seriously, only the best pie dishes will do. Our favorite, the Emile Henry Pie Dish, is just under $40 on Amazon and it’s as gorgeous as it is practical. This French-made dish looks much more expensive than it actually is and is a wonder when it comes to turning out pie with a crispy, flaky crust.
16. For the plant parent (or the one who really wants to be): A potted plant that’s hard to kill
In theory, plants make great gifts. They’re cute, verdant (naturally), and can make someone’s pad feel like a little indoor garden paradise, which counts for a lot if your giftee is an urban dweller living in a studio the size of a walk-in closet. For plant lovers who have the upkeep on lock-down, leading companies like The Sill or Bloomscape are great places to shop for gifts, since they offer so much variety. For folks who are more like the Grim Reaper when it comes to plant care (cough, cough me), The Sill is a particularly awesome spot since they offer an array of beginner plants, including this Bird’s Nest Fern or this cute ZZ Plant, which our writer Megan Kavanaugh managed to successfully keep alive despite being a self-professed black thumb.
17. For toddlers: This ‘Baby Shark’ doll that sings and dances
Just when you thought you got that song out of your head, here comes the official Baby Shark dancing doll to set you back to square one. Inspired by the insanely catchy hit song, this Baby Shark toy is ultra-plush, ultra-adorable, and guaranteed to make any toddler on your gift list get really excited. Pro tip: if you’re an aunt like me, it’s also an amazing way to get even with your brother or sister, since chances are any kid you gift this to will play it ad nauseam and it’ll slowly drive their parents bonkers.
18. For the kid who’s hard to shop for: The hottest toys of the year
Unsure of what to get for a niece or nephew, or another kid in your life who’s difficult to shop for? Some of the best gifts for kids are surprisingly affordable, like the Owleez Flying Baby Owl Interactive Toy or the Skyrocket Blume doll, which people are suggesting could become a collectible this year—that’s how quickly it’s probably going to sell out. These gender-inclusive dolls from Mattel also make great gifts for kids this season and could be among the most sought-after toys of the year.
19. For the VSCO girl: A monthly bracelet club from an Instagram-famous brand
Forget Hydro Flasks, since most already have one anyway—Pura Vida offers handmade bracelets that are beachy and stylish enough to charm any VSCO girl on your gift list. While you could shop for specific bracelets, a monthly bracelet club membership can be a fun and affordable gift that’ll keep your giftee feeling on-trend each month. Not only that, but Pura Vida also has a huge following on the ‘gram, so your giftee will feel like an influencer when she shows off her new bracelets each month.
20. For the one who always oversleeps: This alarm clock that’ll shake them awake
For those who struggle to wake up in the morning, an alarm clock like this one from Sonic Alert can be life-changing. Countless reviewers swear by it and say that it helps them wake up on time. One of the key differences between this alarm clock and virtually every other one on the market? It actually shakes people awake, and comes with an ultra-powerful adjustable alarm with built-in, pulsating lights. Obnoxious? You bet. Effective? If the more than 7,000 positive reviews on Amazon are to be believed, absolutely.
21. For the one who just needs to relax: An ergonomic pillow massager
Aches and pains can put anyone in a bad mood, and if someone you love struggles daily with upper or lower back pain, you probably know how much it takes away from their everyday life. A massager can make a tremendously positive difference, and one of the highest rated pillow massagers is on Amazon for just under $45. Designed to target the back and neck, this pillow massager from Zyllion delivers a deep-kneading Shiatsu massage that can help loosen tight, overused muscles and relieve discomfort.
22. For the one who loves to get comfy: A blanket sweatshirt from Shark Tank
Half blanket, half sweatshirt, and altogether an amazing way to get cozy after a long day, The Comfy is like a better version of the Snuggie, since the lining itself is thicker, warmer, and more like a full-on comforter than a fleece blanket. Featured on Shark Tank, this insanely popular blanket sweatshirt makes a great gift for virtually anyone on your list.
23. For the sentimental traveler: A custom map to highlight all their travels
Certain areas just have a place in your heart forever. Maybe it’s the place you grew up, or the area where you went to college and met your significant other—these places just have a way of capturing something special and no matter what changes, when you go back to it, it tugs on your heartstrings. If you know your giftee has a special bond to one place in particular, a map poster from Grafomap could be a great gift, since you can customize it to highlight particular milestones or precious moments.
24. For the one who always overcooks things: This top-ranked digital meat thermometer
Shopping for someone who’s a bit challenged in the culinary arts? The best digital meat thermometers can help them cook meat to the perfect temperature and gain more confidence in the kitchen. Unlike fancy multicookers and other expensive kitchen appliances that will likely end up collecting dust, a meat thermometer like the Thermopop can deliver quick, accurate readings and prevent common mishaps like overcooking, which is huge (and the device itself is the opposite, so it’ll fit into any kitchen with ease).
25. For the one who wants to set a mood: Everyone’s favorite candle at Anthropologie
You don’t have to shop at Anthropologie all the time to know that their best product is definitely the Capri Candle. Iconic and intoxicating, the scent will instantly make any room in your giftee’s home smell really good. Or, to get more specific, it’ll make it smell like the inside of an Anthropolgie, which isn’t a bad thing, if you stop and think about it.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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