Get Your Gift On

Christmas is right around the corner and  that generally means deflated pocketbooks trying to scramble to get your kids the latest thingamajig.  I won't launch into the abject ridiculousness that is Christmas shopping, but I'm here to help calm your nerves.

This year, our family decided to keep prices low and creativity high with a family basket exchange in the $40-$50 range.  Parents, students, and practically everyone else is already cash strapped at the holidays, so why make things more burdensome by having to spend a ton on cousins and friends?

Check out my Fifteen for $15 guide for great gifts that will cost you $15 or less with nary a gift card in sight. Got cash to burn? These make cute stocking stuffers too.  Full links after the slideshow.

  1. Headphones - Headphones break.  People are really partial to their Beats, but having an extra pair of $5 headphones for the gym/travel/etc. that you aren't afraid to lose or bust up makes sense.  Five Below has several different kinds to chose from.  It's not concert hall sound quality, but it'll save you from screaming toddler in seat 22.
  2. Pocket Phone Charge Packs - By now, everyone has one of these, but it's always a welcome stocking stuffer.  Everyone dreads then 10% battery indicator on their mobile.  Make someone's day with the gift of power.  These credit card sized power packs are super easy to store and are cheap enough to buy in bulk so you will always have a great gift on hand.  Five below has dozens of styles to choose from, as does Amazon.
  3. TSA compliant bottles and quart bag - This one is for your frequent flier friend, especially the one who can't figure out her luggage-to-person ratio.  Save her from the doomed fate of busted zipper baggies and $100 overweight checked luggage fees by miniaturizing her liquids game.  
  4. Bluetooth speaker - In this day and age, it's hard to believe that mobile phone internal speakers are so wimpy.  Always have stellar sound for that impromptu party, beach picnic, or your bike commute with a portable bluetooth speaker.  Amazon has dozens of choices and you can score a decent one at Five Below, but this one comes highly rated at the cost of a lunch downtown.  
  5. Oversized wine glass or das beer boot - I know you have a crazy uncle (or auntie) who loves to entertain and is always the first to crack a rude joke.  This is a functional gag gift for him.  The beer boot holds two liters of brew and is perfect for serving a pitcher of frosty lager.  The wine glass holds a whole fifth of fluid - perfect to use as a decanter.
  6. Chic desk accessories  - binder clips, frenchy scissors,  and sassy file folders.  - Most of us working stiffs spend 101,136 minutes every year tethered to a desk.  That's too much time to not at least have things look good.  Spruce it up, and toss a mini cactus in for some desk feng shui.  
  7. Furball keychain - What does the fox say? Fendi made these fur pompoms all the rage this year.  Instead of foolishly shelling out $500 for a keychain, you can gift these cute faux fur and rhinestone numbers for a fiver a piece.
  8. Tassel phone cord- Like your bling to be functional?  Always looking for your cell phone cord?  Keep one handy at all times with this tassel cord.
  9. Adult coloring books and colored pencils - When the air is blue from all the ^@$#! coming from your lips, pick up the blue crayon instead and simmer down with this hilarious take on adult coloring.  
  10. Homemade cookies - You laugh, but most people can't resist a batch of homemade cookies.  Take the time to bake them from scratch, but if you're a disaster in the kitchen, then there's always Cheryl's.  If nothing else, there's always Cheryl's (and I even gave you a coupon).
  11. Grow your own herb kitsOne way of getting on the road to healthier eating is to have delicious fresh foods at hand.  Cultivate (ha-ha) delicious dishes with this herb garden from Plant Theatre.
  12. Assorted teas and a teacup - Know someone who is trying to give up soda?  Or just an avid tea drinker?  This delicate tea service for one and an assortment of Zhena's teas are just the perfect gift. 
  13.  Yoga mat with strap - A comfortable, stylish mat will coax the most reluctant yogi out of child's pose and into downward-facing dog.   The strap makes this all the easier to transport.  Pair the mat up with a special yoga playlist or mix and you've got a thoughtful gift.  
  14.  Travel candle and scented bath salts - Cozy up even the most basic of hotel rooms with a travel candle and a hot bath with epsom salts.  This is also a great way to start off a romantic night in.  Champagne optional...
  15. Filtered water bottle and zippered wristband - Support someone's New Year's Resolutions to get fit by encouraging water consumption and giving them a way to carry around a key, ID, and a credit card.  Even if they ditch running by February, they can at least combat dry skin by staying properly hydrated.
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Stay tuned for more gift guides throughout the holiday season!