If you’re like us, and we have a feeling you are [points to dumplings in the freezer], you want to give the people in your life the best holiday presents without taking out a loan from the tiny Monopoly guy again. The good news is, there are still some juicy Black Friday and Cyber Monday treats dangling ever so low on the Savings Tree for the shrewd and discerning shopper to pluck, but for the rest of us with bad eyes, worse credit, and the impending need for reading glasses, now is also the time to wrangle in our gift shopping with a “best gifts under $20 for everyone” mentality. Otherwise, we might just finally blow all our coins on that swanky clam-shaped sauna.
The best gifts under $20 don’t have to be things you pick up in the checkout aisle of the supermarket while you panic because you forgot your reusable bags, and now you’re going to have to buy a new reusable bag which defeats the purpose of reusable shopping bags in the first place and you already have so many of them crumpled into a different reusable bag at home and—you know what, nevermind. The point is, gifts under $20 can be great, thoughtful presents that won’t break the bank, but will put a huge smile on the face of whomever you gift them to this holiday season.
Grateful Dead ornaments
Your favorite Deadhead deserves a few dancing bears to make merry this holiday season, although by the looks of the special mistletoe greens in their abode, that should be nooo problemo.
Not feeling particularly Grateful, but looking to deck out the tree? Pick up a turkey with shades on, a deviled egg, or a box of “Cheese-Its” instead—all of which are timeless classics.
They can become a plant parent
Who doesn’t want a little photosynthesizing friend around while they WFH? The only thing better than letting this little guy hang out with your buds is if you plop it into this extremely cute sloth planter.
For your bros in the crypto frat
Yeah, we also barely understand what NFTs are, even though we own four. But more important than actually comprehending the value of NFTs is wearing socks showing that you're thinking about them.
Small, attractive tongs
Until recently, we didn't even realize this was an option. Use for pasta, flippin' filets, or picking the perfect olive out of the jar.
Put the frog back in your bog
As you may know if you're a regular reader, we are here for the frog merch. Bring it on, and let this little hopper be your new morning coffee buddy.
Some drip for their doggo
Nothing like crackin’ open a cold one beside our dog, who deserves their very own PBR plushy (effigy??) for munching, and the kind of fleecy red ‘fit that will make them the undisputed mascot of your neighborhood dive bar.
Show them you’re not disposable
Digital cameras are cool, sure, but there’s nothing quite like snapping some late-night pics with a great disposable camera. The pros: You don’t have to know how to shoot film to shoot film, it’s small and lightweight, and it brings an air of retro coolness to your whole vibe. The cons: none.
Nature is calling
…And your giftee would pick up, if only they had reception. For your hiking, camping, canoeing, and trail-blazing pals, pick them up a low-impact gift that says, “I love you, but don’t wake me up at 5 AM on a Saturday to climb a mountain.” This sleeping bag glasses case is a) cozy, and b) ca-yoot!
Or, maybe they’ve been looking a bit parched after their early-morning trail runs lately. In that case, this 32-ounce graphic water bottle will do the trick.
Birdwatching is great, but when your buddy is on the trail, they should keep an eye out (literally) for other wildlife and hazards. Enter: the pocket monocular.
This Awake baseball cap is over 60% off
Since its founding in 2012, Awake has risen to be the cream of the NYC streetwear crop thanks to creations like this SS21 baseball cap, which looks like a motivational office poster come to life, for one night only, on your forehead.
Candy nipple tassles
Grab these so you and your beloved can star in your very own self-directed art house film. Ella Paradis is offering up to 70% off for the holidays with the code CHEER at checkout, and there are so many tasty, horny, slippery treats to be had on-sale, from caramel-flavored lube to luxury clitoral vibrators and more.
When life gives you lemons...
… You swallow them whole, in front of everyone at the farm-to-table restaurant, just so they know who holds the power in this family. Then, you buy this lemon-shaped candle to commemorate the event. We’ve been watching too much Succession.
Mellow (CBD) bud, like Dad used to smoke
Dad Grass will make you feel like you’ve smoked your way back to 1978 with a mellow buzz, because these THC-free, canniflower rollies were fine-tuned to create a smoking sesh that doesn’t give you the scaries. Adam Rothbarth gave them an honest test-run for VICE, and was not disappointed—there he is now, skating on the rings of Jupiter.
A flannel shirt koozie for your lumbersexual beverage
You’ve just been letting your beers brave the brisk fall air in the nude? Rude.
Baby on board (you’re baby)
We’re such suckers for a good license plate personality, and these feel like something our Midwestern Aunt Mary would own, in the best way possible.
For the person who always asks for extra olives
Does this recipient’s eyes widen as they grip the forearm of their waiter or bartender, begging, imploring them to make the FILTHIEST martini humanly possible? Let ‘em make it as dirty as they could possibly wish by gifting them with this dirty martini kit, complete with brine, picks, and olives—just add vodka or gin.
To ground your favorite Deadhead
Now that it’s chilly outside, they’ll need some socks to pair with their Tevas on the road to Terrapin Station.
A proper vax card holder
Still throwing around that very important little piece of cardstock in your bag, where it’s rapidly accumulating lint, smears, and bloodstains? A proper holder is a gamechanger; give it to anyone who needs a little reminder to protect their card through boosters and beyond, and make them a lot less likely to lose it.
Now you can finally pick what to eat for dinner
What, you expect us to like, do our own research? [Opens Reddit while sitting on the toilet.] We’d rather leave the important things up to God and the coriolis effect. Perfect for the friend who can never choose between getting Thai takeout or pizza.
Analog rules all
We all love the look of Polaroids, but the film’s expensive and kind of finicky. Better just celebrate them in keychain form; press the shutter on this one, and a tiny “photo” pops out. Glue a tiny pic of your boo on it for extra points.
They’re at Art Basel right now
You don’t need a lot of Manet to find cufflinks that will Van Gogh with every outfit. This enameled set is modelled after Claude Manet’s iconic Bouquet of Sunflowers (1881) painting, which was in turn inspired by the blooms that grew along the steps of his garden at Vétheuil. Caaaasual.
Ina Garten x Wolverine
Nahhh. But wouldn’t that be the best collab? Meat shredding claws are an absolute must-have for anyone that loves smokin’ or grillin’ meats.
Keep your cast iron skillet in-shape
In case you are wondering, yes, cast iron skillets are worth the existential crisis—the brunt of which can be lessened, once you’re the proud parent of a Lodge skillet or Dutch oven, if you know how to keep it cleaned and seasoned. A chain mail scrubber is not only very Motörhead of you, but the most badass way to keep your cast iron clean.
Running errands is better with golden bags
Imagine the subtle flex of bagging your organic, local honey and 36 mini Flaming Hot Cheeto bags into one golden, metallic sack. Are you Gwyneth Paltrow? David Bowie’s ghost? Who knows...
ASMR, Homer Simpson-style
Are you shopping for someone who’s all about fidget objects, clicks, taps, squishes, and crunches? Are they also a child of the 90s? Peep the crossover content energy of this Simpson’s doughnut scented slime, a superb ASMR gift which is actually also a kit that lets you build your own pink frosted doughnut to then fold into your goo in the most satisfying way possible.
A snack bag for sneaking into the movies
Sometimes you don’t want popcorn or Raisinettes; you want string cheese, weed gummies, and a Taco Bell bean burrito. Stuff them in this reusable silicone bag when you go see Licorice Pizza, bring it home, wash it, and repeat when you dress up in your cyberpunk best and hit the theaters to see The Matrix Resurrections.
Tea for lucid dreaming
Weary of being trapped in the horrors of your own subconscious? This tea allegedly helps summon pleasant dreams—and ideally, the ability to navigate them with free will, via a calming combo of herbs and botanicals including ashwagandha, passionflower, skullcap, and kava kava. Not making any medical (or metaphysical) claims on this one, but the description says: “This formula exalts deep alpha and beta waves, creating a profound lucid dream atmosphere. It has been studied that the more the Brain enters the Alpha/Beta state, it enters into the most self-regenerative realm.” Okie dokie! (Worth noting: Anima Mundi, which makes the tea, uses sustainable sourcing “directly from native people within Central and South America” and other small farmers around the world.)
Pringles that taste like a rotisserie chicken
Why does this feel like some Old Testament buffoonery? Who cares? On the 8th day, God crossbred your Pringles with some rotisserie chicken, and one of the most deliciously cursed chips was born. They’re not for everyone, but if you are
Armie Hammer enjoy Marmite and licking bones clean, you’ll get a kick out of these.
A living aromatherapy factory
A living plant means that your home will always smell like artisanal soap, and if you’re ever feeling stressed, you can just rub the stalks, stick your face in it, and breathe deep. Plus, pretty flowers.
So useful, where do we even start?
Reaching things on a high shelf? Grabbing the remote? Picking a condom out of the nightstand drawer without stopping… what you’re doing? The Nifty Nabber does it all.
A more sophisticated version of those little tree-shaped air fresheners
OK, hear us out: Matches are great, candles are great, but you know what’s kind of greater? Not having to lift a damn finger to have the perpetual, subtle aroma of pomelo, cassis, pomegranate, apple, rhubarb, rose, and jasmine wafting around your home or car. Dangle this from your rear view and you'll feel like you're a paid member of the MoMA.
A biodegradable vibrator
Yep, it’s 2021, and we now make sex toys out of biodegradable starch-based plastics—and best of all, they’re only $14, and they’ll still get you off.
Ice that will make you homesick (in a sweet, nostalgic way)
Hopefully you already know why big cubes are the move for drinking on the rocks, but an ice cube with an outline of your giftee’s home state? C’mon.
Very impressive salt
One of the easiest ways to impress guests: bring out a little bowl of these glorious flakes instead of some crappy shaker.
Stocking stuffer idea: cheeky mesh underwear that are already super-hot, printed with on-vine tomatoes that make us feel like your booty cheek would smell like fresh basil (and we’re into it).
Matches that double as incense
Matches hoarded from the local dive bar: not yet tired. But, Japanese cypress incense matches that will make your make your bathroom feel like an expensive hotel lounge every time you burn one of these little guys to hide any undesirable smells: very wired. Each match burns for about 10 minutes, and leaves behind a luxurious scent for roughly half an hour.
An old-ass Playboy
They’ll read it for the articles! Plus, analog NSFW material? It’s like a time capsule. You’re basically gifting them history.
Now go put a pile of these under a tree (or in a weed leaf HUF sock nailed to a mantle). Happy gifting, folks.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.