Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Thankfully for those of us on a budget, the best gifts aren’t always the most expensive. What makes people really smile when they rip open that wrapping paper is a thoughtful item that shows you took their hobbies, habits, or personal style into careful consideration. And if you didn't think you could do that for $20 or less, well think again!
If your bestie loves to celebrate with Prosecco, an affordable flute is the answer. If your brother loves to play host, you can surprise him with a personalized charcuterie board. And if mom’s hands are perpetually dry? Well a floral hand care set will come just in handy. No matter who you're shopping for, we've come up with a list of affordable items.
Here, a handful of gifts everyone on your list will actually want at a price that you can actually afford.
Areaware Soft Pretzel Little Puzzle Thing
Who would have thought that 2020 would turn out to be the year of the puzzle? Whether you and your friends previously enjoyed jigsaws or you're new to the party, it turns out they're tons of fun. If you're searching for the perfect something for the homebody or foodie in your life, check out Areaware's Soft Pretzel Little Puzzle Thing.
The 70-piece pretzel-shaped puzzle takes just 20 minutes to assemble and it's so small that it won't take over any dining room tables. Once complete, it just begs to be shown off so you can even through in an inexpensive frame for a two-part under-$20 gift.
H&M Stoneware Vase
If you're stumped on what to get your favorite interior design junkie, this is the gift. Muted neutrals are having a moment and—wouldn't you know it—so are sculptural vases. H&M's on-trend Stoneware Vase marries a speckled beige finish with two attention-grabbing handles.
While the vase makes a statement on its own, we think this gift would really be taken over the top with a bouquet of fresh flowers or some dried palm leaves or pampas which won't ever need to be swapped.
Compartés Cereal Chocolate Bar
Candy and chocolate are gifts that will pretty much never let you down—especially when they’re this fancy. Compartés whips up their candy bars in Los Angeles with premium chocolate and totally unique ingredients, resulting in deliciously exciting bars that are also almost too pretty to eat.
Compartés' unusual offerings include peanut butter and jelly, churro, and birthday cake blends, but we have to shout out their Cereal Chocolate Bar in particular. Blended into the creamy white chocolate is bits of crunchy cereal and colorful marshmallows. It makes for a nostalgic and totally sweet treat.
Peace & Riot Concrete Jungle Candle
Candles make a great gift no matter the occasion. That said, if you choose to go the candle route, you better pick a good one! We like finding one-of-a-kind scents that are layered with different notes—like the ones featured in this Concrete Jungle Candle.
First of all, we love the name—it’s the perfect present for urbanites or those who consider themselves city slickers at heart. But the best feature of this 100 percent natural soy candle is definitely its gorgeous floral scent. Infused with essential oils, you'll pick up on notes of lily, rose petal, musk, and sandalwood.
Smith's Rosebud Tube Gift Set
Dry lips don’t discriminate, which makes this lip balm set a useful gift for pretty much anyone on your list—especially as fall and winter begin to creep up on us. The three-flavor medley, which comes in a travel-friendly tin, includes strawberry, original rose, and mocha rose flavors.
The cult-favorite salves are made with a hydrating mix of cotton seed oil, aromol, essential oils, and petroleum. Best of all, the balms are versatile in that they can also be used to smooth cuticles, tame flyaway hairs, and soothe wind-chapped cheeks or noses.
West Elm Marble & Copper Dip Bowl
These petite bowls are light on the wallet but heavy on style. Available in three hues—white, black, and a salmon-y pink—each one is crafted with hand-carved marble and features a copper-colored metal base. They also boast both durability and versatility.
They can be used to hold spices and seasoning for cooking or be set right on the table and filled with dips, sauces, and snacks. If your recipient doesn’t play host or hostess too often, they can also use them as a catchall dish; keep it near the door for keys, or on a dresser for rings and other jewelry. Who doesn’t love having options?
One Question a Day: A Five-Year Journal By Aimee Chase
Journals and notebooks are certainly useful gifts but they often aren't the most exciting. That's where Aimee Chase's One Question a Day: A Five-Year Journal diverges from the pack, though. The journal is something of a personal time capsule with prompts—like "What did you have for lunch today?" and "Can people really change?"—that encourage the writer to journal every day.
If they can spare just a few minutes a day, the writer will have answered more than a thousand questions at the close of the journal, resulting in a small snapshot of half a decade of their life.
CB2 3-Piece White Loom Planter Set
If you’re searching for a gift for a plant parent, CB2 has you covered. This set comes with three gorgeous planters—and for just $15. Each planter in the set features a different pattern—there's diamonds, chevron, and an abstract basket weave—on a matte stoneware base.
Since every piece is delightfully fresh and modern, they can seamlessly fit into a wide variety of home decors. If you have a little extra cash to spare, you may even want to consider purchasing a new plant or two to go along with the stunning pots.
World Market 2-Piece A&G Floral Hand Care Set
Don’t you just love products that are already perfectly packaged for gift giving? This pampering set includes a pair of skin-enriching hand products and since it's already wrapped up with a jute bow, there's no gift bag necessary.
Inside the ready-to-go wrapping you’ll find both a bar soap and hand cream whose formula features moisturizing shea butter to help rehydrate dry skin. There are four stunning scents available, including Blackberry Vanilla, White Jasmine, Gardenia, and Grapefruit Tangerine, and each iteration is printed with a pretty floral design. At such an affordable price, you might as well stock up on all four so you can whip one out whenever you need a gift.
Anthropologie Tiled Margot Monogram Mug
You can never go wrong with a personalized gift, but it’s sometimes tough to find one at a reasonable price. Fortunately for you, this chic, initialed mug clocks in at a cool $12 bucks.
The bistro-inspired tile design is beyond adorable; simply choose the recipient’s initial, and you’ve got yourself an easy gift they’re sure to love. If you want to take your gift-giving game to the next level though, we suggest including some tea or coffee as well. Tie everything together with a bow and the combo would make for a beautiful, thoughtful gift!
The Sleepy Cottage Wink Eye House Slippers
We don’t know about you, but our slippers have become our most-worn shoes over the past few months. Why not give your friend’s pair an upgrade? We’re obsessed with these fun, flirty house slippers that are sure to catch your bestie’s (winking) eye.
With terry cloth and cotton construction, they’re super soft and comfy and will definitely come in clutch as the weather starts to cool. Not to mention, with a screen-printed wink, they’re also crazy cute. Plus, since they lie flat, they’re great for future travels and can easily be slipped into a carry-on (they even come with a nifty little travel bag!).
Corkcicle Stemless Champagne Flute
Give your friend a cool way to sip on that birthday or housewarming champagne. With stainless steel construction, this flute is virtually shatterproof and is fitted with vacuum-sealed triple insulation to keep beverages cold for up to nine hours, making it perfect for outdoor celebrations. If they want to use the cup for hot drinks, that works too! It can hold heat for up to an impressive three hours.
The design is complete with easy-grip sides and a slip-resistant silicone bottom, and it’s available in four colors. We’re particularly smitten with the holographic unicorn hue!
Copper Fox Company Personalized Charcuterie Board
Looking for an affordable housewarming or engagement gift? This personalized charcuterie board looks way more expensive than its more-than-reasonable price tag and it's sure to get plenty of use at future get-togethers and dinner parties.
Made from bamboo wood and conditioned with mineral oil to increase its durability, the charcuterie board can be engraved with the recipient's first or last name, initial, or even an important date at no extra cost. It also comes in a wide range of sizes, with the most petite—5 x 11 inches—clocking in at just $17.
Par Avion Tea Birthday Celebration Tea
For an under-$20 birthday gift, this celebration tea is appropriately festive. The Birthday Cake flavor is a black tea that’s blended with calendula, sunflower, and safflower, plus rainbow-hued sprinkles that’ll turn teatime into a true celebration.
The second blend, Piñata, is a fruit tea bursting with flavors like apple, mango, and elderberry, and with an added birthday surprise: candy bits that burst on the tongue! Both dessert teas are basically a party in a cup and they pair perfectly with a slice of Funfetti cake.
Uncommon Goods Drink More Water Bottle
An under-$20 item that they’re pretty much guaranteed to use every single day? If you didn’t think one such gift existed, allow us to introduce you to this clever water bottle from Uncommon Goods.
With encouraging messages such as "Keep Going!” and “Getting Close,” the glass bottle will keep your recipient motivated and hydrated. Most importantly, they’ll be able to crush their daily H2O goals, but as an added benefit, they'll also think of you with every refill!