Thoughtful yet Cheap Gifts Under $20


Every year, I somehow find myself scouring the stores for a thoughtful yet cheap gift for all those last-minute gift munchers–you know, holiday parties, that Secret Santa exchange your friends want to do, the Elephant Gift party you just can’t get yourself out of…There’s always an unexpected someone or some event that demands a gift. In today’s day and age, buying gifts online makes this an easier task than it used to be.

Don’t let your wallet suffer–prepare yourself with these thoughtful yet cheap gift ideas for everyone on your list that will make people wonder if Santa hired you as an elf.

For Your Co-Workers

When coming up with cheap gift ideas, try to stick with a theme. If you are in one of those offices where you have to give gifts to all your co-workers, that can quickly add up. This is when it’s best to buy in bulk and split up the proceeds:

An Ice-Cream Sundae Kit
Make an ice-cream sundae kit (a cute box filled with $5 ice cream vouchers, sugar cones, and lots of ice cream toppings, like sprinkles, nuts, and candy)

A Cupcake Baking Kit
Same as above, but filled with cute cupcake liners, your own recipe for your favorite cake and all the ingredients needed to put it together.

Smores Kit
These are always a hit because who doesn’t like Smores? (You’re killing me, Smalls!) This is probably also the easiest of the make-it-yourself ideas. Slap together some graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars, and the cuteness factor will far outweigh any thoughts of “this probably cost $2 to make…”

For the Secret Santa Party or Party Hostess

Any of the above referenced co-worker gifts would work too, but let’s have a little more fun, shall we?

Martini Kit
Small bottle of vodka, a lemon, some olives, maybe a shaker?

Bottle of wine, in a cute bag
Can’t go wrong with a Trader Jo’s Bottle of wine in a dressed up bag.

Fancy Beer
I’m not talking about Coronas, I’m talking about the fancy section at Whole Foods with beers you rarely see. Because let’s face it, if you’re going to a party, the alcohol is the most important thing.

For Family

This is when thoughtful comes in handy…you may want a cheap gift but the trick is to not make it look cheap and make it thoughtful.

A personalized I-Phone case
These are all the rage right now. Get a picture with all the grandkids (or kids, if it’s for your mom) and slap it on a personalized IPhone Case. Especially for the holidays, you can easily find great deals for $15.

A Personalized Calendar
Your mom will love a personalized calendar filled with pictures of the family that she gets to enjoy year round.

When all else fails…go for cheesy. A cheesy gift is one that has some sort of inside joke behind it, but isn’t extremely useful. For example, if your brother’s nickname is “The Big Cheese” getting him a big ole cheesehead for him to open up on Christmas Day isn’t something he’ll likely cherish, but it will make everyone laugh.

And in the spirit of things, isn’t it more important to be thoughtful rather to hark upon the amount of money you spent?