My Gift To You 2008 – 100 Gift Ideas for Less Than $25 Dollars

…And here we go.

1.  My Etsy Store


Ok,  so sue me, but I have to pimp my own stuff, right? Anyway, if you know anyone who’s about to have or has just had a baby, trust me when I say that the blankets in my store are the greatest receiving blankets. and they come with swaddling instructions and I will even wrap them up all Christmassy for you if you want! And at $25 each they are the perfect gift to kick off the list – but I do have bibs and onesies and all kinds of less expensive things for sale too.

2.  An Etsy print


Etsy is a treasure trove of bargain priced art of all kinds.  Just type “Print” in the handmade search box and see for yourself.  If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume, here are a few of my very favorites, or you can narrow things down yourself with other search terms – tree print, bird print, whatever.  Buy a nice frame with a mat (I like the ones from Target), frame it up, and you’re good to go.

3.  A favorite present idea of mine (I stole this from the cover of Gourmet a few years back) is to buy a cheapish box of those bright glass ball ornaments.  Open the box, and take out half the ornaments.  Fill the empty spaces with fun stuff – home made cookies, candy, mandarin oranges, chocolate covered pretzels, a cool rock, whatever you have lying around the house.  Pop the lid back on the box, wrap up with fun striped twine or ribbon, put the other six ornaments you have left over on your tree, and voila! Cute and handmade and fun.

4.  Buy some taper candles from anywhere, and repackage them with a fancy satin ribbon and attach one of those small boxes of matchbooks (also from the grocery store) that you have recovered with fancy paper.

5. Books


Books are a fabulous present. Here are two of my favorites and giving the two books at once makes it a “bigger” seeming present.

I’ve never had anyone not like these books.

6.  A swiss army knife.


This makes a great gift – it’s well made and eminently useful, and is a great guy present.

7.  Napkin rings.


Great because a lot of people won’t have them already, but they make a table look gorgeous and they are a nice permanent “they’ll always use these” type of gift. I love these from Crate and Barrel because you can buy as many or as few as you want and they are classic, and very reasonably priced.  Tie them up together in a group with some red satin ribbon.

8.  I love these napkins (scroll all the way down to the end, after the tablecloths).


The white goes with everything, they’re reusable so they’re environmentally friendly, they are fabulous quality, and they make every meal feel special. If you’re feeling flush, napkins and napkin rings together would make a very nice gift.

9.  I usually give my sister a DVD, popcorn, candy, and a face mask, and a note saying we’ll have a girls night together.   She loves it, and it’s something fun we get to do together after the Christmas insanity is over.

10.  Make up little package with some real maple syrup in a flat ceramic or glass dish, tied up with a fancy bow and the instructions to make maple syrup on snow.  Maybe even throw in a copy of Little House in the Big Woods with the page marked where they make maple sugar on snow.  Or you could add a jar of pickles! True Vermonters like to the cut the overwhelming sweet with sour.

11.  I hear nothing but good things about these Rancho Gordo beans.


You can give a sampler for $24.75 or choose a few varieties on your own.  These are a perfect present for the chef in your life.

12. This soap


is gorgeous, pink, heart shaped, and smells good.  What more could you ask for?  If you’re not a Crabtree and Evelyn fan, you can buy fancy soap almost anywhere, including Etsy.  Wrap up four bars with a fancy bow and a scrubber thingee and put it in a pretty box.

13. I love anything and everything Alba, but especially the lotion and the Hawaaiian stuff.


And it’s phtalate free, so that’s a plus too.

14. The new kids clothes at American Eagle are adorable preppy, and they’re not dippy or covered with weird embroidered animals.  This sweater


is too cute, and just expensive enough that it makes a nice gift because who wants to spend $24.95 on one article of clothing for their own kid?  (Hint: Not Me).

15. I love Heath Ceramics.  They don’t have a lot of stuff for less than $25, but this bud vase (which I own in green) is delightful.


And the limited edition color is perfect for Christmas.  It’s a nice classic piece that someone can have forever and Heath has a great story.

16. Not everyone wants to get or give vintage, but for the right person, it can be perfect.  I find lots of great vintage stuff on Etsy, just choose vintage from the drop down menu, and then search away.  I think of random words like “yellow wire” or “aqua dish” or “french tin” and see what comes up.  And you can’t go wrong filling a fun tin or dish with hand made caramels or paperwhites, whether it’s vintage or new.

17. Buy a pound of fancy coffee (I like Peet’s) and some really nice full size chocolate bars, and wrap them together with a big fancy bow.  You can always include a couple cute mugs


if you have extra money, but even alone, this is a great gift.

18. Follow instructions online for making a silhouette, cut out a few, and then frame them in vintage or thrift store frames spray painted a high gloss black.


19. Give someone your favorite book and make a ribbon bookmark to tuck inside.


20.  Know someone who loves to sew?  $25 worth of thread (in all the colors of the rainbow) makes a great gift for a crafty person in your life.  If you have a few extra dollars, or a 40% off coupon for Joanne’s or Michael’s, you can add…

21. a pair of really good sewing scissors.


Get the Gingher ones. I have a pair (they were a gift) and they changed my life.  Really good scissors are one of the great joys in life.

22. Normally I’ve got a big list of cute hats or scarves or mittens that I’m craving, but J Crew really let me down with their sales this year, and I’m not going to recommend a $47 dollar hat.  But keep your eye on their sales.  Aha! Here’s one.


A cute hat is always a good gift.

23. I’ve been craving these flower votives for a super long time.


There are many versions of this out there, but this is the nicest one.  Lovely.   Surround it with a nest of tissue paper and include some candles, and this makes a fabulous present for the person in your life who most loves girly things.

24. I think lots of packets of seeds and a spade makes a darn fun present.  Especially for someone in a wintry climate, because then you can write a fun card about how spring will be here before you know it.  You get the idea, right?  Also, I can’t believe I just used the words darn fun. I’ve clearly been working on this for too long. Anyway, If you’ve got extra cash, you can add a nice…

25  Watering can.


Another thing I always wish I had but never want to buy myself, because I’m too cheap and I always forget about it when I’m at the uh, watering can store.  Which makes it a great present.

26.  Buy one of those crates of mandarin oranges, take out some of the oranges, and add whatever fun stuff you can get for the rest of your $25 bucks…some Toblerone, jam, a loaf of nice bread, tea, hot chocolate, candy canes, dried cherries, candles…you get the idea.  Tie it up with a fancy bow, and  it’s an instant present, and one you can get in the grocery store at the last minute if you have to. Plus you get to eat the extra oranges.

27.  You can find gorgeous address labels at Tiny Prints, or Etsy.


Add a few books of stamps, some fun pens, maybe stationery if you can afford it.  Include a note or a card with a quote about the lost art of writing letters.

28.  Christmas isn’t complete without a pair of new flannel pajama pants.


These are cute, comfy looking, and red, which makes them just about perfect.  Technically they’re $29.50, but just google for a coupon code – I never pay full price at American Eagle. And here’s some nice ones for the men in your life.

29. A gift certificate for a manicure at a spa closest to your gift recipient is fun, especially if you can go together after Christmas some time.

30.  I love Nikki McClure, I am so excited that you can buy her prints individually here.


Add a white frame with a mat from Target or IKEA and this makes a fabulous gift.

31.  This mercury glass bird from Wisteria is a favorite of mine.


I think it might need a little bow tied around it’s neck, but otherwise it’s perfect.

32.  I’ve had my eye on this wall bird thingee for awhile.


It’s perfect for the bird lover or the Anthropologie fan in your life.  They have three other colors if pink isn’t for you.

33.  I have no idea why, but I am obsessed with this Bingo game.


It just seems like such a fun present – cool to display and something that could be fun at parties.  I am obviously a parrrteeee ANIMAL.

34. Martha Stewart white ware.


I think this is mostly available only at in the store at Macy’s, not online, but the prices are great for nice classic pieces.  You can’t go wrong with Martha Stewart or with white dishware as a gift.  Eminently useful.

35.  I know I am about to mark myself as a huge nerd, but I really really love fancy pencils.




Some above average pencilsa pencil sharpener, and a moleskine would make such a great gift.

36.  This eco chic desk calendar is totally kick ass.


I love the colors and the block of wood.  Love it.  And who can’t use a calendar?

37.  Do you know any NBA fans?  We just went to the Kings/Blazers game, and tickets were only ten dollars! Yes, they were the cheap seats, but it was still fun, and in a small stadium, it doesn’t much matter anyway.  Anyway, tickets of any kind are always a fun present, even if they’re just movie tickets.  Extra fun is when tickets come with an offer of an evening of free baby sitting for mom and dad.

38.  I have ogled many an Etsy listing for Japanese fabric, but never bought any for myself, because it’s just so darn expensive I can’t bring myself to do it.  Which is why this is such a perfect present for the fabric hound or the seamstress in your life.


Even a half yard is quite a treasure, and you get to choose from many yards to pick out what you think is the cutest stuff.  (Choose “supplies” from the etsy drop down menu and search for “japanese fabric”).  Tie it up with a bright bow and toss it in a gift bag.

39.  Succulents are easy to grow, cheap, and hard to kill.  Pick out a few of your favorites at Home Depot or your local nursery and plant them in succulent potting soil, tie a bow around the pot, and you’re all set.  Here’s a nice modern looking pot if you can’t find one you like at the store.


There are also a ton of vintage planters on Etsy.

40.  A mixing bowl and wooden spoons makes a great gift.


Tie a bow on the spoons and add a bag of fancy chocolate chips and your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe.

41.  I really love this Etsy store, I can’t wait to order a custom printed tile for my front hallway.


This would make a lovely gift for a baby’s first christmas as well.  The tiny bowls are also really appealing.

42.  Two cereal bowls, from somewhere as easy at Target, together with some fancy granola (or make it yourself).


43.  Search Etsy for old fisher price toys – if you are a child of the eighties, as I am, you will instantly recognize all of these great old toys.

fisher-price-barn fisher-price-cash-reg

Eli is getting a few of these this year – I’m hoping he’s going to love them as much I did when I was a kid.

44.  Search “linocut print” on Etsy.

linocut-1 linocut-2 linocut-3

choose your favorite, and frame in a frame with a mat from somewhere like Target.

45.  Search Ebay or Etsy for letterpress letters – you can also spell out a favorite word or someone’s name.


Tie up in a cute white box with a fancy bow, or frame in a shadow box.

46.  The litte kid t shirts on Etsy are cuter than anything I see in the store, ever.

dino-kid-shirt grasshoppertee

47.  I’ve been a fan of these cardboard suitcases since the moment I first laid eyes on them.


I think I own four, and I am always looking for more!  One of these filled with something fun (candy, handmade caramels, cookies, socks) is a really fun present.

48.  Anyone crafty is going to go nuts for $25 worth of Martha Stewart craft stuff you’ve picked out at Michaels.


Trust me, it doesn’t even matter what exact items you pick out from the collection, they’re going to love it.

49.  These automoblox cars slightly exceed the $25 limit, but they claim to have 9 cent shipping, so I figure it evens out in the end.


I have heard nothing but rave reviews for these cars, and were Eli not already drowning in toy cars, I would definitely get him these.  I am pretty sure any parent would be thrilled to have you gift these to their kid, since this is the exact kind of fancy toys we all ogle in the museum shops and then don’t buy because of the price.

50.  This diary suitcase kit is so adorable I kind of want it for myself.


They also have other colors if pink is not your thing.

51.  Um, these pencils are scented. Need I say more?


Add some Mr. Sketch smelly markers (I so want a set of these for myself) and a nice artists sketchbook or notepad and some little kid is going to be very happy sniffing and coloring.

52.  There is something about this hedgehog puppet I find very appealing.


And I happen to know that puppets are always popular, especially when your dad makes them talk in a funny voice.

53.  These trumpette socks are the best baby socks ever, hands down.


They were the only ones that would stay on Eli’s feet when he was a baby and they are so freaking cute, he would get compliments and cooed over constantly whenever he wore these socks.   Again, they make a great gift, because what new parent wants to pay $24 for socks?  And yet, they are adorable and they will be VERY appreciated.

54.  I’ve wanted this Cavallini calendar for years now,


but I can never bring myself to pay $24.95 for a calendar, and then by the time I decide to buy it, it’s sold out.  Anyway, it’s gorgeous and the prints are so nice, I am sure they could be framed and used again after the year is over.  And I just talked myself into buying it for myself this year.  It really is gorgeous.

55.  I know there’s fancier chocolate out there – all that chile pepper crusted pistachio garbanzo bean chocolate – but when it comes right down to it everyone loves Godiva Chocolate.


Pick out as much as you can afford and send it off and hope your Mother In Laws dog doesn’t eat it.  Whoops, did I say that out loud?

56.  My two current favorite CD’s

:alison-krauss-cd2 m-ward-cd-cover

This Allison Krauss/Robert Plant collaboration, which is uneven, but has some truly great songs on it, and a CD that didn’t come out this year, but which Mr. E recently introduced me to, Post War by M. Ward.  It makes me feel happy and relaxed at the same time, and not like an a hole with bad taste in music, so that’s a bonus.

57.  This JC Penney throw is an insanely great price:


It’s made of bamboo, which is cool, and everyone can always use another throw around the house.

58.  These monkey slippers


Maybe they aren’t the most practical, but Eli has a pair he got from Granny, and I can personally attest that they are ridiculously cute on a just walking toddler.

59.  This Martha recipe box


Totally affordable, a gorgeous color of blue, and bonus – you can add a bunch of your favorite recipes and some cookies or something else you’re including the recipe for.

60.  Maybe it’s all that Days of Our Lives I’ve watched as a twelve year old, but I’ve always wanted a carafe on my bedside table.


This even comes with a glass that you can invert as a lid.

61.  Platters are a great gift because you can give them filled with cookies. I love this one from Crate & Barrel.


62.  Envirosax.


Cute, cheap, convenient, and good for the environment. Everybody wins.

63. Every year the Gap sucks me in with their adorable holiday ad spread, and this hat is my favorite thing in it this year.


64.  Porn for Women


Every time I leaf through this book at the bookstore I giggle and feel an odd sense of satisfaction.  I’d maybe tie it up with a chocolate bar and a mix cd of really girly songs – think Sarah Maclachlan and the Indigo Girls. And Tori Amos.

65.  A search on Etsy for dish towels will yield tons of cute ones.


I own two from here and they are truly fabulous, and they’re a great and cheap way to liven up a kitchen.  A really good gift for new home owners or someone who you know who likes kitchen stuff or decorating.  You can even add a few wooden spoons and tie the whole thing up with a fancy bow.

67. I personally believe that a person cannot own too many rubber spatulas, and the ones from Williams Sonoma are my favorite.


Add a few wooden spoons or hot pads, maybe some measuring spoons (they have great cheap ones at Target).  Add a favorite recipe and some handmade cookies.  Done!

67. I absolutely hate my kitchen timer, even though I do have one on my oven. I’d much rather use this adorable Crate and Barrel timer


You can pair it with some silicone bakeware,


which I have never used but I hear rave reviews for.  It’s really nice to give stuff like this – people don’t like to buy it for themselves, but they love to get it.

68.  I think these plastic placemats are fabulous – bright and fun and even educational, and they rinse clean.

plastic-placemat-1 placemat

A few of these, some rubber tipped spoons, and a new bib make a great gift for a baby you know who is about to start eating solid food (about six months old).

69.  I love giving a lot of little gifts.


The colors of these prep bowls are so nice, and you get six for only $7.99 , which means you can throw in some other stuff with it, like sprinkles!.


70.  One of these choppers…


…if you don’t have a dishwasher, you don’t want one, but if you have a dishwasher, it rules.  And the color! Love it.

71.  These are super cute.


Anthropologie mod measuring set


Get them together with these measuring cups, if you can afford a few more dollars.

72. If you know anyone without a pepper grinder who likes to cook, you owe it to the universe at large to buy them a pepper grinder.


Throw in some peppercorns in a cute little package with a bow.

73.  I love this juicer


It would be fun to wrap it in a box with some oranges or lemons. We have a lemon tree so that’s what I’d do – but oranges or limes could be cute too.  Or even some juice glasses if you have the extra cash.  Or even this butter dish


which I am CRAZY about.

74.  We got eight of these ramekins as a wedding gift and I am not exaggerating when I say that we use them every single day.


Probably the only kitchen thing we use more is our knives.  These make a fabulous gift because they are lovely and practical and classic and cheap as heck.  I might have to buy some more at this price.

75. I get ridiculously excited about office supplies.  These Pottery Barn desk accessories


really melt my butter.

76.  Nice vases never go  out of style – you can even give this


with some inexpensive flowers in it – or filled with something else fun. Werther’s Originals, maybe?

77.  Take a picture you love and if you don’t have it already, download Picasa, which lets you easily turn any picture black and white and up the white balance – play around with your photograph in the editing screen until it has a dramatic black and white look.  Frame it in this pretty Pottery Barn grosgrain mat frame


or a white frame with a mat from Target.

78. Do you know someone who eats lunch at work every day?  An aluminum water bottle


and or a

fabric reusable lunch box


is a perfect gift for anyone who’s been dragging tupperware to work in an old grocery bag.

79. I love the jewelry from Sundance, and they have some great deals in their outlet.  These earrings are gorgeous.

sundance-earrings sundance-pearl-earrings

80. This hurricane is a great deal – from Sundance.


For this price you could almost get two and add some pillar candles.  Or include a pack of paperwhites and some rocks in small paper bags and your gift recipient can use these to force bulbs this winter.

81. A ceramic or glass pitcher is another good gift. I like the Pottery Barn Studio or Solano pitcher.

pottery-barn-pitcher solano-pitcher

82. Serving ware is always nice, very versatile.  This bowl from Crate and Barrel is really pretty.


83. This is such a great invention! The 24 Cupcake carrier from Crate and Barrel.


84. I  must have cupcakes on the brain.  Regardless, how cute is this?


And so many fabulous colors! The perfect thing to fill with caramels or chocolate. I’m a big fan.

85. Do you know any inveterate list makers?  This menu planner and ingredient list is very cool looking and super helpful.

menu-planner alloutof

I enjoy them, anyway.

86. I have no idea how it is that I just discovered these latte bowls, but I’m crazy about them.


Think of all the things you could do with these! And so many good colors. I would choose green, but I have a green bowl collection, so that’s just me.

87. You can fill these fancy Pottery Barn Emmett boxes with whatever fun stuff you want – root beer barrels anyone?


88.  This Sarah Pinto planner is my favorite thing on this list – first because I’m having the hardest time keeping track of all of Eli’s various doctors appointments, and secondly because I think this just has to be MY lucky year.


89.  I also think this 8 Days a Week planner is really cute – how fun would this be with some nice colored pencils or pens tied onto it?


90. A few years ago I gave Mr. E a stainless thermos as a last minute impulse buy, and he still uses it every morning.  Add a coffee shop gift card if you want.


91. A very pretty birch bark wreath from Wisteria.


92.  This Crate and Barrel bamboo tea box


combines cuteness and organization – two of my favorite things.  Add a bunch of your favorite tea and this is a GREAT present.

93.  I love cleaning supplies. LOVE THEM.  This Williams and Sonoma cleaning caddy has a nice fancy feeling and is also getting on the green clean train. Win win.


94. I love the Crate and Barrel holiday food – but I never buy it for myself.  Which makes it a perfect present. Yummers!


95. Do you know anyone who loves to decorate for Christmas?  This hurricane is lovely in person – lacy and delicate.


Add a red ribbon and a nice pillar candle if you want.

96.  Mr. E could not be more obsessed with slippers, and he usually goes through a pair every year.  These men’s mocs from REI are perfect for the slipper loving man in your life.


97.  I personally am not a fan of the wool sock (too itchy), but for those of you who are, these are the socks to get.


And they’re on sale at REI.  Trust me, the wool sock afficianados in your life will be thrilled with these.

98. There are about six trillion gorgeous letterpress or gocco desk calendars for sale on Etsy.  Here are a few of my favorites.

letterpress-cal-1 letterpress-cal-2 letterpress-cal-3 letter-press-cal-4

99.  Candlesticks always make a nice gift.


100.  You can never go wrong with a nice bottle of whiskey or champagne or something like that.  Especially for yourself after all this shopping.


37 Responses

  1. For my birthday last summer, my boyfriend gave me a bean sampler from Rancho Gordo and two necklaces from an Etsy site that I discovered when you recommended it (in your list of summer favorites, maybe?). It was a quirky wonderful gift, and I’ve been meaning to thank you for the previous rec – your mention of Rancho Gordo in the new list reminded me.

  2. THANK YOU!!! I have some very difficult people (in that they are picky and/or already have everything) on my list and this post is going to really help me out!

  3. Quite possibly the best shopping guide ever. Thank you!

  4. Oh, my God, thank you. I managed to cross my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law and her husband, and my assistant off my list with this.


  5. you absolutely, totally, completely rule.

    I will NOT buy anything for myself off this list.

  6. Oh, thank you. You have no idea. I will be perusing this list in greater detail as soon as I have more than five minutes to myself. You rock.

  7. This list is like a Christmas tradition now! Thanks for all your effort. I love your taste and your obsession of organization. I think I love #84 and #92 the best.

  8. This list is like a Christmas tradition now! Thanks for all your effort. I love your taste and your obsession with organization. I think I love #84 and #92 the best.

  9. oh god. please erase 3 of these 4 comments!

  10. is it wrong that i want approximately 98% of the things on this list for myself?? i really have very few gifts to buy for people this year – so it totally makes sense to me that i should buy things for myself. please tell me i’m not the only one!!

  11. zomg, I have totally been waiting for this list this year. I totally shopped off of your list last year.

    I’m so stoked to finish off my Christmas Shopping List!! Thank you SO much for putting this together; you have helped this way-too-pregnant lady immensely!

  12. what an awesome list – thanks!

  13. Yay! I’ve been WAITING for this list. Because you’re excellent at creating it but also because I’m kind of a loser who has a hard time thinking for herself.

    THAT SAID, we play with my old Fisher Price cash register every day. Eli will LOVE HIS. I remember the farm… I don’t think I had it, but maybe my cousins did…

  14. I love this! I want all of it! You did a fantastic job. Thanks.

  15. I love my WeekDate calendar and would recommend it for anyone. Slightly over the $25 mark at $34.95, but well worth the extra. You can write your entire weekly and monthly schedule once, and always see it. I got mine from and plan to give 3 away as gifts this year. The new wall calendar is cool for my fridge.

  16. Oh my God! Oh my God! The cash register! The cash register! Eeeeee!!!!!

  17. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! I haven’t even looked at it yet (must save blog reading for nap time) but YAY I AM SO EXCITED.

  18. I seriously want a whole bunch of this stuff for myself!

    Fabulous job as usual!!

  19. ohmygosh THANK YOU. I’m only halfway through the list and while I went into it having absolutely no idea what to get my future mother in law, I now have more than enough ideas.

    Seriously….a lifesaver.

  20. Oh my goodness! Great stfuff!

  21. This must have taken you MONTHS to compile!

    I Stumbled it, as you are far more awesome than I.

  22. This post is unbelievable! So many great ideas! I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken to put this together.

  23. i got here via raven… and oh my lord. i think i love you. THANK YOU for putting this together!

  24. You really have beautiful taste! I’m done with my Christmas shopping, but will definitely bookmark this post for upcoming birthdays!

  25. Yipee!! we made the list at #27!!!

    Thank you so much for including Tiny Prints in your exhaustive list, an incredible gathering of great ideas.

    Happy Holidays from everyone at Tiny Prints

  26. This is fantastic. I can’t believe it’s December. I’m so not ready and was just about to panic until I read this post.

  27. What a great list! Thank you!

  28. I am personally obsessed with kitchen utensils and spatulas. I have a radar for the things!

    I would also recommend looking for them at TJMaxx and other outlet/bargain stores. They look GREAT in a personalized or funky flower pot with a bow.

    Thanks for the fantastic list, doll!

  29. This is a great list! You gave me a ton of ideas for hard to shop for people on my list, thank you!

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  31. в итоге: бесподобно.

  32. hi there this is a very up to date and informative can i put a link on one of my blogs -regards Angela

  33. […] My Gift To You 2008 â 100 Gift Ideas for Less Than $25 Dollars … […]

  34. […] My Gift To You 2008 â 100 Gift Ideas for Less Than $25 Dollars … […]

  35. Great article, thank you for sharing! I�m looking forward to reading the next one!

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