50 Fabulous Gifts $50 & Under

You told us in a More.com survey that you've got the biggies covered (husband, kids, parents). It's the rest of your list that stumps you. Here, the thoughtful, affordable presents you don't have time to search for—but your neighbor, assistant or party host will love

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Meat Cute

The perfect gift for apartment dwellers (or anyone learning to cook): Bodum refines the typically unwieldy picnic grill into a sleek—and small—machine. A mini charcoal grill with silicone handles, the Fyrkat has an easy-to-clean, removable cooking rack and a grease catcher. bodum.com; $50

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Arm Candy

Had your fill of green and red? This gold-plated bangle with clear glass stones feels festive but not too fa-la-la. Wear it alone or sandwich it between a wristful of gold bangles. cwonder.com; $38

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Spread ’Em!

Whether it’s for a lover of Dagwood sandwiches or a gourmet who hunts truffles, Empire Mayonnaise’s white-truffle mayo is a slathered-on game changer. Our favorite combo: white-truffle mayo on a falafel and pickle-filled pita. empiremayo.com; $8

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Breakfast in New Orleans

Waking up is more fun with Southern Culture’s made-from-scratch pancake mixes in six artisanal flavors: banana pudding, sweet potato, oatmeal raisin, strawberry shortcake, vanilla and bourbon salted pecan. Bonus: The last two are vegan friendly. ahalife.com; $48 for a set of six assorted flavors

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Lip Service

Fresh Sugar Bare Lip Treatment Set softens chapped skin and lends cold-weather protection, along with a subtle nude or pinky-brown sheen. sephora.com; $36

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Chill Seeker

When the fire’s stoked, keep the wine cold with a VinOice Wine Chiller. The contraption’s steel rod cools wine to perfect drinking temperature while the rubber and steel pourer on top prevents spills. corkpops.com; $28

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Sweet Deal

Sugarfina’s Happy Holidays 3-Piece Set of sweets replaces ho-hum seasonal flavors with confections like chocolate-covered berries, peppermint malt balls and pumpkin pie caramels. sugar​fina.com; $20

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Herbs for Urbs

Your giftee doesn’t need a yard to reap the rewards of this organic seed kit by Fire Escape Farms. The prettily packaged basil, chives, dill, cilantro and chervil seeds all thrive in windowsill pots. fireescapefarms.com; $10

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Light Elephant

This ceramic Catherine Elephant Lamp from Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler for JCPenney is suitable for kids’ bedrooms or as a cheery hallway guide for overnight guests. jcpenney.com; $50

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Alcohol-free Frizz

Jonathan Adler’s Champagne Pop Candle makes the perfect New Year’s Eve hostess gift—one that won’t be guzzled by the time the clock strikes midnight. It’s scented with pink grapefruit, raspberry, cassis, violet, mint and (of course) Champagne. jonathanadler​.com; $42

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Clean Up Your Act

Lather’s moisturizing bars, 6 Soaps-a-Sudsing, are all olive oil based and naturally scented with essential oils, flowers and herbs. lather.com; $38 for six 

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Zing Bearer

After you’ve consumed your umpteenth frosted sugar cookie, a little spice may be a welcome change of pace on the holiday cocktail party circuit. The Spice Lab Chili Head Salt collection contains jalapeño, habanero, smoked serrano and Asian Szechuan-flavored salts. Bring on the heat! thespicelab.com; $30 for a set of four

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Aussie company Origrami transforms your most-liked Instagram shots into framable prints, from 4-by-5-inch Polaroid-style photos to true-to-form 4-by-4-inch squares. origrami.com; 36 prints from $18 

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Kiddie Classics

It’s never too early to introduce the classics. Alison Oliver’s BabyLit series transforms stories from beloved authors like Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Lewis Carroll into colorful counting primers. blueribbongeneral store.com; $10

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Gilty Pleasure

To fit in with the season of glitter and glitz, macarons from Dana’s Bakery in Manhattan are Champagne-flavored and golden hued. danasbakery.com; $33 for 12

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O Hole-Y Knits

These witty, recycled cashmere iron-on patches, available in a range of hues and styles, resuscitate hole-riddled wool and cashmere knits. No needle needed. blueribbongeneralstore.com; $14 per pair

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All Lacquered Up

OPI’s Take Ten Mini Lacquer Set touts a spectrum of seasonal polishes, from the demure Alpine Snow to the vampy Lincoln Park After Dark. ulta.com; $25

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Cream of the Crop

This nongreasy Hand Cream from Kai, the cult fragrance line, softens dehydrated winter skin with a combination of shea butter, sunflower oil and aloe vera. barneys.com; $19

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Sauvignon Sippy Cups

Feel free to get tipsy with these insulated plastic wine tumblers, Vino2Go. They’re spill proof and party perfect. theproductfarm.com; $13

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Heaven Scents

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean your recipient wants to smell like a gingerbread cookie. This no-wrap-required Jo Malone London Christmas Cracker contains miniature body wash, cream and fragrance in some of the line’s best-selling scents. jomalone.com; $40 

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Adept adapter

The 4-in-1 Adapter can travel a long way—all the way to Australia, in fact. The four color-coded segments fit into plug configurations in more than 150 countries, meaning no one need suffer a bad hair day on holiday. flight001.com; $25

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Your giftee can listen to music, movies or NPR in tandem with a friend, thanks to this packable Rockin’ Splitter, which enables two people to plug into one device at the same time. cb2.com; $10

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Look Good, Do Good

Add a splash of color to your recipient’s wardrobe with a stack of Figue African rubber bracelets. Each purchase contributes to the care of children in Senegal through the Made with Love Project, a nonprofit that aids women and children in need. figue.com; $15 for 10

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Your friends don’t have to sacrifice a nightcap to rock a slinky party dress. Treat them to a little carousing with Miami Cocktail Company’s sugar-, gluten-, sodium- and carb-free—but surprisingly flavorful—mixed cocktails. crownwineand spirits.com; $15 

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Best Vest

Don’t let the lightness fool you: Though Uniqlo’s nylon vest can be scrunched into a fist-size pouch, the down filling keeps you cozy on the slopes or the bleachers. uniqlo.com; $50

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Give the Hostess a Hand (Cream)

Caudalie’s Small Harvest Hand and Nail Cream Trio, inspired by the company’s own vineyard in Bordeaux, makes a great gift for a party host already inundated with bottles of bubbly. caudalie.com; $25

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Nouveau Noodles

Small-batch pasta maker Sfoglini offers inventive flavors like Porcini Mushroom Trumpets and Everything Bagel Fusilli, using organic semolina flour and seasonal ingredients from New York farms. sfoglini.com; $8

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High (End) Tea

Thrill a tea lover with Davids ​​Tea Forever Nuts Tea, a zesty mix that turns vivid pink as it brews. To help your friend truly appreciate the drink’s quirky color, include the DavidsTea Perfect Glass Mug; it provides full-viewing pleasure as well as a stainless steel infuser so you can steep in and sip from the same vessel. davidstea.com; tea, $7; mug, $20

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Nora, We Adore-Ya

The Most of Nora Ephron bundles an impressive selection of the writer’s work into one hardcover. The assorted bonbons include her When Harry Met Sally screenplay and Lucky Guy, her final stage play. amazon.com; $35

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Musical Notes

Leonard Bernstein was famous as a conductor and composer (West Side Story), but The Leonard -Bernstein Letters, edited by Nigel Simeone, highlights what happened offstage via never-before-published letters to famous friends such as Jackie O. amazon​.com; $38

Bridget is Baaack!

Great Britain’s favorite snogging, smoking, shagging anti-heroine returns in Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. amazon​.com; $27

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Malala Speaks

Malala Yousafzai was shot by Taliban extremists, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and made a speech at the United Nations—all by age 16. The Pakistani child-activist’s memoir, I Am Malala, is an eye-opener in the fight for girls’ education equality. amazon.com; $26

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Itty-Bitty Amplifier

Place your smartphone atop this compact Interactive Speaker to amplify the volume, no wires required. Perfect for impromptu sing-alongs. momastore.org; $35

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We'll Need to See Your ID

Drape these cheeky gold tags from Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler for JCPenney around the neck of a bottle of bubby—or a wine decanter like this one, also from Happy Chic—to up the festive factor at a holiday gathering. jcpenney.com; $24 for four tags

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Long-lashing results

Call it a come-hither kit: Sephora Favorites LashStash contains 10 of the store’s best-selling mascaras, including fringe fatteners from Clinique, Benefit and Lancôme. (Bonus: a set of falsies.) sephora.com; $45

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Party Cracker

Give guests a parting memento with Jouer’s Sparkle & Shine mini gift boxes. Each one includes trinkets such as a party horn, lip gloss, a bookmark, a hair tie or jewelry. jouercosmetics.com; $16 each or $58 for a set of four

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Luxe Au Lait

Serve after-dinner coffee in style with the eight-cup Eileen French press. The glass is swathed in festive red, white, green, chrome or gold stainless steel. bodum.com; $40

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Soap Stars

Tree bark. Moss. Wood. Juniper Ridge Wildcrafter Trail Crew Soaps—made from field-foraged oils and backcountry plant extracts—are perfect for anyone who adores the great outdoors. juniperridge.com; $35

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Sweet Creams

You don’t buy Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for classic chocolate and vanilla. The unconventional flavors—such as Goat Cheese with Red Cherries (it’s delicious—really!), Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows, and Whiskey and Pecans—are worth the price. jenis.com; $12 per pint

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Night-out Nails

Help a pal primp for a party with Nars’s latest nail-lacquer set (inspired by fashion photographer Guy Bourdin). It contains such compliment-fetching shades as Shameless Red, Dance Dance Dance (electric purple) and Manosque (smoky lavender). narscosmetics.com; $35

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Bitsy Bling

Tilly Doro’s teensy 18k gold–plated bumblebee or anchor earrings add subtle sparkle to any holiday-party ensemble. brika.com; $18 each

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Let Them Eat Cake!

Kids’ party cake gets a highbrow makeover with Momofuku Milk Bar’s bite-size b’day cake truffles. Rainbow-sprinkle-infused vanilla cake is dipped in white chocolate and rolled in a rainbow-sprinkle crumble. They’re ridiculously delicious. milkbarstore.com; $16 for 12

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Bike MacGyver

Make on-the-go tune-ups a little less aggravating with this 3.5-ounce Victorinox Swiss Army Bike Tool. The impact-proof case contains a stainless steel adapter, eight screw bits, an L-wrench and a tire lever for roadside fixes. momastore.org; $48

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Best Oil Change

Freshen your EVOO approach with Stöger Oil’s award-winning cold-pressed oils made from tomatoes and cherries—tangy toppers for salads, cheese or bread. stogeroil.com; $25 each

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Hip to Be Square

These Kate Spade Saturday party-ready necklaces, with rectangle charms, are statement making but not serious. saturday.com; $40

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Bootie Call

Ward off that tile-floor chill with these Loft faux-fur slipper-booties—the ideal present for the chronically cold-blooded. loft.com; $40

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Hey, Girl, I Got You a Gift

Ryan Gosling—the man, the meme—gets the black-and-white treatment in this tongue-in-cheek coloring book, Colour Me Good, by illustrator Mel Simone Elliott. blueribbon​general​store.com; $13

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Juice Box for Grownups

Sip wine at a park or an out-door concert without schlepping a corkscrew. The portable Stack Wines tower, available in four varieties, holds the equivalent of a full bottle and is already split among four sealed cups. drinkstack.com; $13

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Power Bar

Keep a friend from being stranded with a dead phone by gifting her with the Power Mate Plus iPhone Backup Battery: it stores enough juice to boost the battery up to 42 percent. birchbox.com; $29

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Party Pundit

These Literary Quote Cocktail Plates are printed with wry quips from Dorothy Parker. Our favorite: “If you wear a short enough skirt, the party will come to you.” rh.com; $49 for four plates 

Next: Gifts for Foodies, Cooks and Hosts

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Gisel Florez
First published in the December 2013/January 2014 issue

Share Your Thoughts!


Mike Tyerson03.25.2014

i get great perfumes and colognes for under $50 here: http://www.sweetamenity.com/main_page.html

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