Gift-giving doesn’t have to eat up all of your time and money — and we’ve rounded up an assortment of inexpensive gifts to prove it.
Time and money. They’re arguably two of the most valuable resources we have, yet both are often at a premium during the holidays. Gift-giving can be expensive, after all, and finding the right present at the right price can take some research and planning. And honestly, who has the time for that?
Well, we do. We at The Verge take deep pleasure in testing, debating, and recommending only the best tech. To help you save both precious money and time, we’ve put this knowledge to good use and rounded up a host of products under $50 that offer plenty of bang for your buck.
Below, we’ve highlighted a smartwatch with a feature set that’s usually reserved for rivals twice the price as well as a newer streaming stick that’ll turn your giftee’s TV into something more akin to a smart display. We’ve also included festive color-changing smart bulbs that pulse to the beat of music along with a few non-tech goodies, like markers that double as Legos and even Prada perfumes.
That’s just a glimpse, though. For more high-quality gifts you can buy for cheap — or just a little inspiration — be sure to check out our full list below.
Who isn’t at least somewhat curious about their future? If your giftee believes in a little divination, a deck of tarot cards is an exciting gift that also can be used as a therapeutic tool for self-examination and personal growth. Illustrator Megan Lynn Kott’s adorable cat-themed tarot cards add a lighthearted touch to readings, thus making the process of trying to understand the future and ourselves all the more fun.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023)
Few streaming sticks can turn your TV into an ad hoc smart display, which is why Amazon’s latest Fire TV Stick 4K Max makes for such a handy gift. Much like Amazon’s newer Fire TV Omni series, its latest streaming device features an Ambient mode that displays widgets and artwork when idle; it’s also a highly capable streaming device with a wide selection of apps, terrific Alexa integration, and support for Wi-Fi 6E.
Chipolo Card Spot
Location trackers like Apple’s AirTags can be helpful if your giftee is prone to losing their keys or backpack, but they’re not ideal for keeping tabs on cash or credit cards. That’s where Chipolo’s Card Spot comes into play. The slim, IPX5-rated item tracker is specifically designed to fit in your wallet and can even tap into Apple’s extensive Find My network, thus allowing for more precise tracking.
Sephora Bestselling Perfume Discovery Set
Think you need to shell out a small fortune to gift a designer perfume? Think again. This set contains five sample-size versions of some of Sephora’s bestselling fragrances, including perfumes from Prada, Carolina Herrera, and Maison Margiela. Best of all, if your giftee really falls in love with a particular perfume, they can use the included Scent Certificate to get a bigger travel-size version.
Lego 10-Pack Marker Set
Legos are great, but Legos that double as usable markers are even better. Each of the 10 markers in this apt-titled set features a colorful, stud-laden plate, so you can snap them onto other markers, accessorize them with your favorite minifig, or even use them with an entirely different Lego set. They’re also, you know, fine-tipped markers, meaning you can use them to write or doodle.
Bialetti Moka Express
Italy is the birthplace of espresso, so it’s no surprise that Bialetti’s attractive Moka Express pot brews up one-of-a-kind espresso-like coffee. The stove-top espresso maker has been used to serve delicious coffee for nearly a century at this point, yet it can still rival many modern machines, rendering it a great gift for both traditional types and the less tech-savvy.
Le Mini Round
You could gift a bouquet of flowers for less than $50, but that’s a lot of money for something that will likely die in less than a week. Venus et Fleur’s vibrant roses are the better investment, one that arrives in a charming hat box-inspired round box and can fill your giftee’s home with beauty for up to a year.
In Small Fry, Steve Job’s daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs offers us a rare, intimate glimpse into the man behind Apple. But she also shares her own artfully constructed, poignant story, ultimately painting a nuanced portrait of a complicated father and a daughter yearning for his love.
Verilux HappyLight Touch Plus therapy lamp
If your giftee is prone to seasonal affective disorder, you can help them try to kick the cold weather blues with this LED therapy lamp. The HappyLight creates bright, adjustable light that can make any work or living space feel more full of life on gray and dreary days, helping boost your energy levels.
Eve Energy Smart Plug
Smart devices allow you to easily perform all sorts of tasks, but it’s hard to decide which is the perfect one to gift. The Thread-enabled Eve Energy Smart Plug puts the choice in your giftee’s hands, allowing them to decide whether they want to add smarts to their coffee maker or Christmas tree lights. They’ll even be able to keep an eye on their energy consumption thanks to its terrific energy-tracking capabilities.
Belkin BoostCharge Pro with MagSafe
Why get any old boring charger when you can get one that also doubles as a kickstand? Belkin’s BoostCharge Pro with MagSafe can quickly supply MagSafe-compatible iPhones with up to 15W of power. Best of all, it can take advantage of iOS 17’s StandBy mode, letting you turn your phone into a desk-friendly calendar, clock, or photo frame.
Quotable “Classic” Coaster Set
Quotable’s “Classic” Coaster Set will help spread the holiday cheer while protecting your coffee table from unwanted water rings and discoloration. Each of the four-inch cork-backed coasters features inspiring words of wisdom from icons like Maya Angelou and Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as everyone’s other favorite transcendentalist.
Amazfit Band 7
The number of premium features the Amazfit Band 7 offers for the price is kind of mind-boggling. For less than $50, you get a quality fitness tracker that nails the essentials while boasting abnormal heart rate notifications, stress tracking, and a nice OLED display. Add in 18 days of battery life and it’s easy to see why it’s such a steal.
Vapur Wide Mouth Anti-Bottle
Everybody knows that drinking water has innumerable health benefits, but lugging around a water bottle when you’re on the go isn’t always convenient. Vapur’s Wide Mouth Anti-Bottle solves that problem by giving you the option to clip it to your backpack or fold it up and slip it back into your bag when not in use.
Nanoleaf Matter A19 E26 Smart Bulb
Nanoleaf’s Matter Smart Bulb can brighten up any holiday party and set the mood with flickering, flashing, or pulsing colors. The 1,100-lumen Bluetooth bulbs are also compatible with Matter and Thread, so you can control them with your voice or create lighting schedules using virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Siri.
Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum
Cleaning is a chore everybody likes putting off. An easy-to-use, no-fuss vacuum like Bissell’s FeatherWeight option will make it easier to get it out of the way, however, namely because it quickly converts into a handheld vacuum you can carry up and down the stairs. It offers decent suction, too, just in case its reliable two-in-one form factor wasn’t enough.
Amazon Echo Pop
With its semicircular shape and vibrant colors, Amazon’s latest smart speaker can make any room pop. The tiny speaker is nearly as capable as other Echo devices, so you can use it to play music and podcasts, control various smart home gadgets, and carry out other Alexa-enabled tasks. It even works as an Eero mesh Wi-Fi extender, just like Amazon’s newest Echo Dot.
Magnetic Poetry Kit (Original Edition)
You don’t necessarily need to be a logophile to enjoy the Magnetic Poetry Kit — just use your imagination! The Original Edition includes more than 300 magnetic word tiles that you can use to conjure up poems, stories, or even song lyrics, making it an entertaining gift for the entire family or whoever happens upon your refrigerator.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (4K UHD, Blu-ray)
The “Power Up” version of The Super Mario Bros. Movie is perfect for fans who just can’t get enough of Nintendo’s iconic plumber. Along with a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc and a digital copy of the movie, it comes with bonus content that explores the making of the movie, interviews with the cast, a “Peaches” lyric video, and leadership lessons from Anya Taylor-Joy… whatever that is.
8BitDo 2.4g Ultimate Controller
The 8BitDo Ultimate Controller is a budget-friendly premium controller with its own charging dock, customizable controls, and a pair of back paddles. The remappable gamepad also comes with a 2.4 GHz wireless adapter, so you can pair it wirelessly with a wide range of platforms, including Windows, Android, and iOS.
JLab Go Air
Splurging on Apple’s latest AirPods Pro may not be worth it if your giftee just needs a set of earbuds to listen to music every now and then. Thankfully, the JLab Go Air will do the job just fine at a very sensible price point. They lack fancy features like active noise cancellation and wireless charging, but you still get IPX4 water resistance, five hours of battery life, and a comfy fit.
Succulents (set of four)
Succulents can spruce up any home or office with minimal effort, making them a good gift for both existing plant lovers and anyone who feels like they lack a green thumb. That’s because they’re (relatively) easy to care for and grow, so your giftee won’t need to babysit them as much as they would, say, an orchid or a fiddle-leaf fig.
Much like JNCO jeans (RIP), the Tamagotchi was all the rage in the mid-’90s. The latest version of the tiny egg-shaped device isn’t all that different from the OG model from ’97 — it still houses an eight-bit virtual pet you must feed, clean, and play with — but it does come in some inspired Lisa Frank-like designs.
Ozeri ZK14-B Pronto kitchen scale
Whether you’re trying to bake cranberry bread or some gingerbread cookies, Ozeri’s ZK14-B Pronto is sure to come in handy this holiday season. The digital, battery-powered kitchen scale is far more precise than your average measuring cup, which can go a long way in making sure all of your holiday treats turn out just right.
If you’re looking for a tech-free way to entertain friends or family while huddling for warmth indoors, board games like Evolution are perfect. The card-based strategy game rewinds time, pitting players against one another and forcing them to adapt to an ever-changing ecosystem in which hungry predators loom and resources are always at a premium.