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Best Gifts for $20 or Less
No need to break the bank this holiday season. $20 or less will get you any one of the these 29 creative gifts—and there's something for everyone on your list.
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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
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
These cute softball-size farm friends ring softly when your baby tosses, rolls, or shakes them. ($13 each; skiphop.com)
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?
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.
- Valerie Fischel
Best Stocking Stuffer for Moms with a Sweet Tooth: Green & Black's Organic Chocolate Bars
What would the holidays be without a little (or a lot) of chocolate? Moms deserve the most delicious cocoa treats in the world now and all year round. Green & Black's Organic Chocolate bars are guaranteed to hit her sweet spot. ($17/pack of 6; amazon.com)
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)
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)
Best Stocking Stuffer for Working Moms: Drunk Elephant ‘Out of Office’ Skincare SetDrunk Elephant Skincare's motto is a "Vacation Face even if you’re not on vacation…" and, let's face it, the holidays aren't always the vacation mom deserves. So, gift her this special beauty kit that delivers the just-got-back-from-somewhere glow, plus a little sunshine in a bottle for an extra boost of peacefulness during this busy time of year. She'll think you splurged on this celeb favorite line, when really you saved. ($25; sephora.com)
Best Stocking Stuffer for Moms Who Meditate: VOLUSPA Mini Candle Trio - French Cade, Goji & Lychee
Here are four swift steps to a relaxing evening for mom: Place a VOLUSPA candle on the coffee table, counter or window sill. Light a match and hold it to the wick. Deeply breathe in the tranquil scents of French Cade, Goji or Lychee ... and, finally, exhale. Ahhh. ($24; sephora.com)
- Uncommon Goods
Best Stocking Stuffer for Southern Moms: Bourbon Infused Coffee
After all the shopping and entertaining of the pre-Christmas holiday season, moms everywhere will more than appreciate this heavenly combo of bourbon and a warm cup o' brew. These 100% Arabica beans are infused in small batches with a smidge of Kentucky's signature spirit, roasted in Tennessee and shipped from coast to coast. The lively aroma and delicious flavor will be a quick pick-me-up for moms on the go. This coffee is caffeinated, but (sorry!) doesn't contain alcohol. ($20; uncommongoods.com)
- Uncommon Goods
Best Stocking Stuffer for Merlot Moms: Geode Stemless Wine Glass
She'll always know exactly which wine is hers when you gift her a brilliant, Brazilian geode glass designed by Uncommon Goods featured maker Karla Walz. Red, white, rosè or bubbly all taste and look great when sipped from such a unique stemless glass. Just one is a beauty on its own, or splurge on all four glittering glasses. ($24; uncommongoods.com)
Best Stocking Stuffer for Freezing Moms: Fleece-Lined Cable Booties
She'll love warming up her tootsies on a brrrrr day with these irresistibly soft and cozy knit booties from Ralph Lauren. They're fleece-lined, making them perfect for chilly winter nights. She can even keep them under her desk at work! ($22; nordstrom.com)
Best Stocking Stuffer for Well-Caffeinated Moms: Petal Palette Monogram Mug
"Well, the weather outside is frightful" ... what better way to unwind on a wintry day than with this fashionably floral monogrammed mug of tea, coffee or hot cocoa? Create a little holiday magic for mom (or yourself!) with this unique ceramic cup courtesy of Anthropolgie Home. ($8 each; nordstrom.com)
Best Stocking Stuffer for Moms Who Love the ‘80s: Sequin Scrunchies
They just wanna, they just wanna, moms just wanna have fu-un! Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Whitney, Janet — the '80s are back in a big way, and while the hair isn't quite as huge these days, the hair accessories are popular all over again. Especially scrunchies. We think these sparkly sequin ones are, like, a totally awesome gift. ($12; nordstrom.com)
Fringed Monogram Hooks
Know a mama who’s always misplacing her keys? (Aren’t we all?) These pretty letter hooks are great gifts—especially if you’re looking for the best gifts for new moms, who are known to be a little more scatterbrained than usual! ($22; anthropologie.com)
Any bag's a standout on the airport carousel when it's sporting one of these beauties. ($12 each; flowerslippers.com)
A new twist on the paper airplane: This foam contraption can fly as far as 100 feet. (Play Visions, $10.50; rei.com) 5 & Up
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
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
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
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)