Each holiday season brings with it an opportunity to shower our loved ones with gifts. This celebration of the most meaningful relationships in our lives can be a beautiful thing, but it can also be an incredibly expensive thing. This enduring dilemma’s solution is simple: Stock up on truly delightful products that look more expensive than they are. Because really, who says budget-friendly gifts have to look budget?
Coming up with enough under-$25 gift ideas to get you through the holiday season is a challenge in and of itself. Combine that with the filter of “gifts that look more expensive than they are,” and you’ve got a tough road ahead. Thankfully, many of our favorite brands have loaded up on products that are special and interesting and elevated all at once.
Fascinating ceramics abound. So do elegant frames, and gift kits that feel more than worthy of $25. Miniature, special-occasion kitchen appliances are nearly always a good idea, and coffee table books tend to be no-fail options. Each of these items is fun, exciting, and just a little bit fancy—the ideal balance to strike with any gift, especially one you scored for less than $25.
These kitschy ceramic vases feel more artisan than Anthropologie, and they’re sure to serve as statement-makers in any home. Take things to the next level and plant a succulent inside, or let your loved one decide exactly how they’d like to use the vase. Either way, these crafty cats are sure to delight.
The Five-Minute Journal will make an aesthetic addition to your most productive friend’s life. Designed for the person who always aspires to journal but never finds the time to, this little book will demand a mere five minutes from your loved one’s day—and will look absolutely beautiful sitting on their nightstand to boot.
An adventure in a glass, blooming tea is as experiential as it is aesthetic. Simply pop one of the tea balls into hot water, and watch as it blooms into a mess of flowers and leaves. Photogenic, fun, and undeniably exciting, this Lovewild Blooming Tea will make an excellent gift for anyone on your list.
People rarely invest in high-quality one-off products on their own, making these elegant items perfect for gift-giving. Buy a loved one this stunning wooden mug, and rest assured knowing it’ll make their morning coffee feel a little more romantic.
It’s hard to go wrong with a vase crafted in a fun silhouette and covered in a bold pattern—especially when it’s rendered in a neutral palette. These eye-catching items would add a touch of fun to any minimalist home, and they’d surely hold their own against an array of maximalist decor, too.
Salt and pepper shakers are among the last kitchen necessities to grace our wishlists, but when done right, they can be incredibly special pieces. Gift your loved one these adorable leopards, which are sure to dress up any dinner table.
Though few would indulge in a full-sized waffle maker, many would delight in owning this space-efficient Mini Waffle Maker. Buy this for your favorite breakfast-obsessed loved one, and watch as they craft everything from classic stacks of waffles to ice cream sundaes housed in waffle bowls.
Your green-thumbed, garden-less loved one would surely appreciate this miniature garden kit, which is designed with the indoors in mind. So long as they open the kit and follow its directions, they’ll be sprouting blooms in no time—all from the comfort of their own apartment.
These Anthropologie picture frames look incredibly luxe, and they’re available in an array of metallic shades—silver, gold, and rose gold. Score the medium size for a mere $22, or go slightly above budget to snag the largest one for $28. Take advantage of the frame’s freeform nature and slide a collage of photos and memories inside, or leave the creative work to your loved one. Either way, this frame is sure to make a stunning addition to their home.
When most of us think of winter candles, we imagine stumps of fragrant wax housed in glass jars. But these pillar candles offer a unique, almost sophisticated way to fill your home with cozy warmth. And, since these pillar candles come unscented, you won’t have to worry about which fragrances your loved one actually likes.
This cocktail-on-the-go kit offers indulgence and experience in equal measure. The flight-friendly kit comes with enough ingredients to get your loved one through two full cocktails (so long as they score the liquor on the airplane).
Candle holders rarely seem worth it, especially as candles have gotten increasingly pretty—and increasingly able to stand alone. But these iron votives feel special. Candles are inherently cozy and romantic. But a candle that projects the night sky every time it’s lit? How could you possibly top it?
Travel-friendly bottles are an absolute necessity, but many of us forget to stock up on them until it’s too late to do so. Give the frequent traveler in your life this incredibly photogenic set of necessities, and rest assured knowing they might actually look forward to packing for their next vacation.
Come tea time, your loved one will be more than happy to reach for this sweet little tea press, which is as luxe as it is pretty.
Everyone loves plants. But in our quests to stock up on succulents, we often neglect the planters we need to hold them. Do your loved one’s plant collection justice by gifting them planters that are as pretty as the cacti they’ll eventually house.
The perfect gift for the loved one who always hosts wine-and-cheese night? Cheese knives. This out-of-the-box necessity is sure to elevate any party they host. And when the utensils are this cute, they’ll surely be looking for excuses to use them.
Candles that smell like cocktails? We’ll take 10—of each. Gift your loved one a candle that nods to their drink of choice, and they’ll surely be delighted. Plus, with labels this cute, it almost doesn’t matter what the thing smells like.
Coffee table books are endlessly chic, endlessly elegant, and endlessly sophisticated. And a photo-heavy coffee table guide to Paris? That’s almost off-the-charts stylish.
French presses are an indulgent addition to any kitchen, no matter what they look like. But this fun-colored option is particularly lovely, and it’s sure to put a smile on your coffee-obsessed loved one’s face.
During the holidays, many of us amass trinkets. What we don’t amass, though, are places to put them. Do your loved one a favor by gifting them a stunning box in which they can store all their favorite baubles. And really, this one’s so pretty that it’ll be a worthwhile buy even if they put nothing in it.
Not only are these tongue-in-cheek mugs incredibly fun, but they also look veritably artisan (and therefore veritably expensive). Buy one, stock up on a few, or mix and match them with their lower-body counterparts.
Snacks are always delightful, but they’re even more delightful when served on a hyper-elegant platter—like this round marble serving tray. These beautiful pieces are proof that serveware doesn’t have to be huge to make a statement (or to serve a purpose).
Our collective obsession with crystals has yet to wane, so crystal-based gifts abound. Get your loved one this starter crystal gift pack, which offers a few dazzling rocks all at once.
Hosts are almost always in need of barware—especially cute, sleek barware that fits their signature aesthetic. Maximalists and minimalists alike will surely appreciated this metallic set—which comes complete with six pieces.
The loveliest thing about these catch-all trays isn’t that they’re all affordable (though that’s undeniably appealing)—it’s that they come in a range of styles and sizes, so you’re sure to find an option your loved one will adore. Go big or small, bold or subtle. With options this pretty, it’s basically impossible to go wrong.