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Best Gifts for $20 or Less

  • This elegant mini-shaker holds just the right amount for a nightcap. We suggest adding Stirrings's preservative-free mixers and fancy sugar garnishes to your liquor of choice. They're delish, and can make up to ten drinks a bottle. (Crate & Barrel Mini Cocktail Shaker, $10, crateand barrel.com; mixers and garnishes, $10 and $5, Whole Foods stores or stirrings.com)

    "The shaker is perfect for one drink, and it's easy to clean. And the mixers are tasty."
    -- Tonia King, mom of Gaeble, 12 and Greer, 9, Lake Stevens, WA

    Tags: Christmas
  • For Ages: 4+

    EeBoo Write Me a Story lets kids author their own tales with almost 100 beautiful stickers and 50 lined pages. Little authors can have fun creating, and then have something to show off (and a story to tell) when they're done.

    $11.95, eeBoo.com

    Tags: Christmas
  • For ages: 3+

    One side of each double-sided puzzle is a colorful underwater scene, while the other black and white, so your kid can color up a sea-life scene of his own. And at $3.49, perfect for party favors or stocking stuffers.

    ($14.99, Amazon.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • For ages: 4+

    Welcome to Crayon Town, where your kid can color and build his own playset and then populate it with fun pieces, using his crayons to create them. (See in the pic how a crayon is used as a tree trunk) While more expansive kits go for $20, this one (which we think is the cutest) is only $10.

    (from $14.95, Crayon-Town.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Welcome Puglee, Turny, Burny and more than 20 others to the Uglydoll family. They're more ugly-cute than ever, and at $10 each, ugly-cheap too! Also new to the line this year: books, drawing kits, calendars, and t-shirts, so you can really Ugly-ify your life.

    (from $10, UglyDolls.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • For ages: 3+

    Five designer dads created the Sprig line based on how their own kids play -- even better, the toys are friendly in every way; there's recycled pine in the reused plastic that you can actually smell. Best part for parents: the packaging is minimal -- so no struggling to bust this toy open -- and there's less waste to throw away.

    ($14.99, SprigToys.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • For Ages: 3+

    The Idbids kits come with a snuggly plush toy, an organic backpack, a storybook with beautiful photographs (Waverly got his hands on the sink faucet, above) and a field guide full of tips on going greener. There are also programs and rewards at idbids.com, including a partnership with the Nature Conservancy to allow your child to learn about the habitats of animals in the real world.

    ($15, Idbids.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • For ages: 4+

    Board games are hot this year, and big kids, little kids, and with S'match, even Mom and Dad will have fun hitting the spinner and matching cards based on color, category, or number.

    ($15.29, Amazon.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Chime In
    These cute softball-size farm friends ring softly when your baby tosses, rolls, or shakes them. ($13 each; skiphop.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Begreen.com sells Gift of Green cards, which come with a plantable ornament made of seed paper that will yield cilantro, daisies, chili peppers, or forget-me-nots. With each purchase, a tree is planted somewhere in the U.S. You can buy them in bulk -- how cool would that be as a baby announcement?

    $9.95, begreennow.com

    Tags: Christmas
  • You won't be killing any trees with Red Apple paper products. Banana Paper notebooks are made from discarded banana leaves and recycled paper and come in pretty, bold designs. A percentage of each purchase is donated to the Earth University of Costa Rica, which teaches sustainable agriculture practices to people in rainforest regions.

    ($5.99, RedAppleSupply.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Sweet by Nature
    The world's first organic chocolate—so tasty, you won't be able to open a bar without finishing it (we couldn't!). Green & Black's Organic Chocolate bars ($3.50 each; major retailers nationwide)

    Tags: Christmas
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  • Grab Bag

    The perfect place to stash the essentials -- a little cash, your cell, keys, and lipstick. This cute bag is easy to slip into a diaper bag or your coat pocket as you rush out the door to make school pickup. (Jimeale rp 700 cosmetic bag, $19.95; jimeale.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Nightlights (For Moms)

    Tired of doing all your late-night surfing in the dark so you won't wake up the baby (or your husband)? Plug this small LED light into the USB port of your laptop, and it'll give you just enough glow to see the keyboard. (Mr. Brightside, $8.99; biggerandbrighter.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Water Works
    Of course donating toys or clothing is a wonderful way to help those in need this time of year, but some countries are still lacking the basics. Nature's Gate Organic body-wash and body-lotion set supports WaterAid America to make clean water accessible to communities in Asia and Africa—we'll drink to that!

    ($10; available at health and natural food stores nationwide in Lotus Flower, Vanilla Bean and Pineapple, or visit natures-gate.com for more information and store locations.)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Spa-rty!
    Three steps to a relaxing bath: Dissolve a handful or two of these luxurious Spa Sister bath beads under warm running water. Light a fragrant aromatherapy soy candle. Lean back and say aahhh! Spa Sister Caviar Body Soaks and Peace and Tranquility Soy Wax Candles ($10.50 each; Target.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Note to Self
    These stylish note cards and magnetic notepads will make you giggle—especially as you tuck the "Daddy's 'to do' list" pad in your hubby's stocking! The note cards also make great gifts for your girlfriends, with sayings like "Mom's many purse-onalities" and "soles of a mom." A portion of all proceeds go to breast cancer research and education. (Notecards, ten for $15, notepads, $7.50; bonniemarcus.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Sweet Dreams
    If you're just too tired to bother with a nightly face wash, do a quick cleanup with these all-natural and biodegradable wipes, pull a sleep mask over your eyes and call it a night! This faux-fur and satin mask comes adorably packaged (box shown), and if you're nice enough to buy it for another worthy mother, you can make one of 27 wishes for her—we chose "peace" for you. Sleeping Beauty Eye mask and Baby Your Face wipes (30 for $16; rosyglowbeauty.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Chic on the Cheap
    Brighten up a blah day with a colorful scarf. These ones from Old Navy are made of soft knit, and they won't ruin your holiday budget.($5 & up; Old Navy stores or oldnavy.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Warm Up
    So the weather outside is frightful... What better way to unwind on a wintry day than with a mug of hot cocoa? Create a little holiday magic with this unique cocoa powder that turns white when you add warm milk. But if it's a pick-me-up you need, brew a pot of Zabar's gourmet coffee. And just let the mugs speak for themselves! Holiday Cocoa ($4; crateandbarrel.com), Zabar's Coffee Taster Gift Set ($15; zabars.com) and Our Name is Mud Mugs (from $14.65 each; ournameismud.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Valerie Fischel

    Holiday Cheers
    Not sure what type of wine is best with certain foods? Wine That Loves makes pairing easy—whether you're eating steak, pizza or pasta there's one for every meal. Bring along a bottle or two to your next dinner party in Built's insulated tote. And if you can never remember which glass is yours, attach a wine charm to the stem to help you keep it straight. Wine That Loves wines, Built Two Bottle Tote and Colored Wine Charms ($13; crateandbarrel.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Ned Matura

    Soap Silly Bubble Bath Cupcakes look good enough to eat, don't they? But they're made to be tossed in a nice, warm tub for a soothing soak. (from $7.50; soapsilly.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • Any bag's a standout on the airport carousel when it's sporting one of these beauties. ($12 each; flowerslippers.com)

    Tags: Christmas
  • A matching card game with wacky barnyard combinations (half frog, half cow is only one) -- just watch out for the "Tastes Like Chicken" card. (Patch Products, $7; patchproducts.com) 6 & Up

    Tags: Christmas
  • What a deal: A 100-piece, classic, eco-friendly block set for just $10! And it also comes with a cotton bag to store 'em. (Mommy & Me; Walmart stores) 18 Months & Up

    Tags: Christmas
  • It looks like just a tire, but this green plaything does more than roll. You can bounce it, bowl it, kick it, race it, and throw it. There's even a book of tricks inside. (Cadaco, $10; cadaco.com) 6 & Up

    Tags: Christmas
  • This seemingly clairvoyant crustacean stops or changes direction when it senses an object in its path or when it "hears" a loud noise like clapping. ($14.99; hexbug.com)

    Tags: Christmas

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