30 Cheap Gifts That Look Way More Expensive Than They Are
Nothing takes the joy out of holiday shopping quite like looking at your credit card bill at the end of the month. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut off gifting cold turkey this year—that would be no fun. Instead, might we suggest getting a little more strategic with your purchases? Like these 30 gifts under $20 that look way more expensive than they are. You’ll get through your whole list, without sacrificing your reputation as the most thoughtful gift giver.
1. Jacobsen Salt Co. Chili Lime Salt
Every culinary expert would agree that a good salt is a necessity, not a luxury. This one is infused with Chile de árbol, cayenne, lime and paprika for a contrast of savory and tart flavors that dress up even the simplest dishes. We think it would work especially well as bloody Mary rim (just sayin’).
2. Madewell Chunky Small Hoop Earrings
In a world where most of our meetings and happy hours take place via Zoom, these silver-plated brass hoops add a bit of polish to a regular old tee (just sweep your hair into a messy bun to show them off).
3. Relaxus Bamboo Loofah Bath Brush
Made with an organic bamboo handle, this natural cleansing brush is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional loofahs. Plus, it makes any bath routine feel like a trip to a chic spa.
5. Proraso Shave Brush
Teach the guy on your list the art of self-care with this indulgent shave brush. It’s enough to make any morning feel a little more special (even if he still won’t give up his disposable BIC razors).
6. Capri Blue Burnished Candle
You know those candles that look so pretty but you can’t smell them—even while standing right next to them? This Capri Blue candle not one of those. Notes of freesia, incense, peony and cashmere add a fresh-yet-cozy vibe to any space, while the rose gold and marble vessel is pretty enough to stand on its own as a décor piece.
7. maude Coconut Milk Bath
We love a good bath salt, but there’s something even more indulgent about this coconut milk bath soak. It’s made with dead sea salt for detoxification benefits, but the addition of dehydrated coconut milk adds a skin-softening element that smells downright dreamy.
8. CHAMPS Genuine Leather Duo-Fold Card Holder
Men make minimalism look easy. Take this genuine leather card holder for instance—it fits a reasonable six credit cards in its super slim profile and goes nearly undetected in his back pocket. He still might ask you to keep it in your purse, though.
9. Givenchy Le Rouge Couture Spikes Lipstick Case
A lipstick case is fancy on its own, but embossed with the Givenchy name, and suddenly even a drugstore red feels super luxe.
10. Bp. 52mm Small Wire Oval Sunglasses
These sunglasses are neither too big nor too small—as Goldilocks would say, they’re just right. The oval shape is universally flattering on all face shapes and the gradient lenses add a cool-girl finish that your niece will immediately post on TikTok.
11. Madewell Gemline Stud Earrings
This crystal stud trio creates the same effect as having three separate piercings, without the extra holes. They’re fun yet sophisticated and perfect for your daughter who hates needles but can’t stop talking about getting more piercings.
12. NÉCESSAIRE THE HAND CREAM
Along with hand sanitizer, hand cream is still an everyday essential. Nécessaire’s looks chic next to your ring dish, but it’s the fast-absorbing, clean formula (loaded with vitamins, omega fatty acids, squalane, and an age-defying peptides) that convinced us toss every other hand cream we own.
13. Bistro Tile Salt & Pepper Shakers
When you can’t actually go to Paris, bring Paris to your favorite Francophile. This tiled set of salt and pepper shakers looks like it was plucked off the table of a sidewalk bistro café in Montmartre. Just pair it with a basket of savory croissants.
14. Anthropologie Baker Cookie Container
The best part about the holidays? The cookies. Fill this matte black tin with a fresh batch of your famous oatmeal chocolate chip recipe—and you’ll become the most-loved neighbor on your cul-de-sac.
15. Baxter of California Beard Comb
So, your brother has fully embraced the quarantine beard (even though your grandma begs him to shave it every time she’s on FaceTime). But that doesn’t mean it has to look sloppy. This handy tortoiseshell beard comb, which can also be used for his hair, will make him look and feel so sophisticated. Even nana will approve.
16. TRUFF Hot Sauce
Hot sauce isn’t just a condiment; it’s a way of life. This brand infuses theirs with black truffles from Italy, agave from Mexico and organic cumin for a savory, sweet, smoky finish that works on any dish. P.S. The cap is inspired by a truffle—could it be any more Instagrammable?
17. Slant Collections Champagne Please Bell
Kitschy in all the right ways, this bell will go over extremely well with your bestie who unwinds best with a glass of bubbly in hand. Show her just how well you know her by gifting her a fancy bottle of champagne alongside it.
18. Elago Leather AirPods Case
If you’ve ever misplaced your AirPods, you know the sinking feeling of throwing $200 down the drain. But that’s less likely to happen when this case is involved. It’s made with genuine leather and a brass carabiner that easily attaches to anything: keys, belt loop, bag strap, you name it.
19. Amazon Essentials Men's 2-Pack Knit Beanie Hat
Slouched or cuffed. Grey or white. This two-pack of beanies has more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon, many of which praise both the quality and variety of colors. Gift them both to one beanie-loving person or split them up and check two people off your list.
20. RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream
Behold: The most luxurious new addition to any self-care routine. Slather this raw coconut cream all over dry skin, use it to remove makeup or drop a dollop into the bath for even more skin-softening benefits. This multi-use product is even sustainable, vegan and made consciously, so even your most eco-friendly cousin will approve.
21. Umbra Prisma Jewelry Tray
Jewelry is too beautiful not to put on display at all times. And this geometric tray is the ideal way to artfully showcase everything from necklaces and earrings to delicate bracelets, while adding style to any bedroom (or walk-in closet).
22. Urban Outfitters Multi Instant Picture Frame
Instant cameras are a Gen-Z rite of passage (funny how trends always come back around). Gift your niece with this minimal black frame, meant to hold three of her favorite Polaroids. It will look so much more legit on her wall than just sticking the photos on with tape.
23. Gentlemen's Hardware Survival Kit
Send him off on his next camping trip with this do-it-all survival kit. Inside, he’ll be delighted to discover a compass, fire starter, 6-in-1 penknife, tweezers, 210cm rope, wire saw and 10 safety pins. It’s small enough to fit in his pocket, or to stash in his car console, which means he’ll never be without it.
24. Shopbop @Home Vintage Matchboxes 500 Piece Puzzle
This 500-piece puzzle features matchbox designs from all around the world. It’s like traveling the globe…without leaving your living room floor.
25. Rosy Rings Wildflower Woods Scented Bundle
If your sister loves crystals, these scented bundles will be right up her alley. Combined with dried florals and natural wooden sticks and tied with a chic velvet bow, they look pretty and bring in good energy wherever they’re laid. Oh, and they emanate a fresh, woodsy scent when lit.
26. Fabelab Organic Cotton Soft Rattle
Spun with 100 percent organic cotton, this sweet plush bear has a soothing rattle inside to calm (and preoccupy) fussy babies. Bonus: It’s actually nice to look at, so it won’t totally take away from the Scandinavian-chic nursery.
27. Serefina Aurelia Cuff Bracelet
Sleek, simple and ideal for the minimalist in your life, this cuff bracelet is finished with 14-karat gold plated brass for a metallic finish. Stick to one or gift a few for an eclectic layered look.
28. ‘The Mini Bar: 100 Essential Cocktail Recipes’ By PUNCH
These eight miniature cocktail recipe books are organized by base ingredient: whisky, rum, gin, vodka, tequila, champagne, sherry and amaro. Thanks to the sturdy slipcase and colorful spines, this gift is sure to be a welcome addition to any bar cart.
29. ELITAPRO Milk Frother, Modern Design Electric Milk Frother
There’s just something so much more indulgent about your average cup of Joe if it’s layered in fluffy clouds of foam. This electric milk frother creates both warm or cold foam, depending on whichever your latte-loving roommate prefers. And lucky for everyone, it isn’t a total eyesore sitting on the counter.
30. West Elm Textured White Marble Frame
Hand-cut and shaped in India of solid marble, this petite frame may be small, but it’s exceptionally sturdy and beautiful. The white marble finish works with virtually any décor style—just add a vintage photo of your grandparents and gift it to them on Christmas. Fair warning: There will be tears.