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The Best Gifts for Under $50

Thoughtful gifts don't have to cost an arm and a leg, whether they're for home cooks, plant dads, streetwear buffs, or bougie babes.
December 9, 2021, 6:00pm
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Composite by VICE Staf

It would be great if we could shower all of our loved ones in gold coins, Armani suits, and high-powered sex machines, but let’s face it: We don’t have that kind of cash right now. (All of our money is currently invested in Grateful Dead aprons and Shrek butt plugs.) While we’ll definitely be dropping some coin on a few lucky peeps in our lives, most of the presents we’ll be gifting our friends and extended family will either be homemade trinkets (see: macaroni necklace; coupon for one hug), or—more likely—they’ll be stuff that won’t break the bank. 

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You don’t have to shell out last week’s paycheck to get someone a great, thoughtful gift—there are plenty of sick-and-tight, unique presents that cost less than 50 bucks. Perhaps your special someone (well, medium-special someone) is interested in a laptop sleeve that’s cozy enough to sleep in, a shroomy beanie, or a top-notch paella pan? We’ve got options for whatever they’re into—so read on and check out our short list of the best gifts under $50.

Food and Cookware Gifts Under $50

A great grinder

Your bud’s still shaking iodized salt or pre-ground pepper out of a cardboard box? No way, man—life’s better when you’re showering your food the fresh-ground stuff, whether that’s Himalayan salt or pink peppercorns. We swoon for these artsy grinders from Dusen Dusen, known for its lively multicolored prints and patterns.

Dusen Dusen

Everybody Grinders

Recycled, stemless flutes

Because our big, meaty ogre fingers can’t be bothered to juggle wine glass stems. This set of clinkers is hand-blown in Morocco, and will be able to handle any and every careless/clumsy/cheers-happy party guest. 

Uncommon Goods

Recycled Stemless Flutes (Set 6)

A paella pan

Mastering paella is a great anytime project, but it’s especially fun to tackle while you’re cooped up in your henhouse during the cold winter months. It’s a surprisingly straightforward dish, so long as you have the right paella pan. This one from Sur la Table will a) help you make the perfect paella, and b) impress the shit out of your friends.  

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A sunny tagine

This earthenware pot, otherwise known as a tagine, keeps your spiced veggies, couscous, and meats sauna-level moist, and makes for a really cool centerpiece. 

Sur La Table

Glazed Terra Cotta Tagine

A set of aesthetic baking sheets

If your giftee doesn’t have tons of kitchen space, Great Jones makes a set of smaller baking sheets in Yves Klein Blue that will look good poking out from above their fridge. 

Great Jones

Little Sheet (Set of 2)

Literally the best gift you can get someone

From a shameless homebrewing evangelist: The gift of beer is second to none, and giving someone a lifelong hobby is precious.

UncommonGoods

West Coast-Style IPA Beer Brewing Kit

A tea-based coffee alternative

Whether you’re looking to (finally) get rid of your coffee addiction dependence, or you just want to mix up your morning routine, this Better Than Coffee tonic by Five Seasons is the move. It still has a healthy kick of caffeine from premium green tea, but this tonic bag—which features ingredients including American ginseng, aged tangerine peel, mint, goji berry, and Eucommia ulmoides—will help you get your work done without the jitters.

Five Seasons

Better Than Coffee Culinary TCM Tonic Bag

Seriously good seasoning in a flash

Founded in May 2020, Omsom is the creation of sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham, who named their spice company after “a Vietnamese phrase meaning noisy, rambunctious, riotous. Most often used by parents (hint: ours).” Gift your food-loving loved one some accessible, beautiful flavor starter packs like the Best Seller Set for some of their favorite meals and sauces (all available on their site) from various regions of Asia.

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Omsom

The Best Seller Set

A pan that poaches eggs to perfection

For your friend or fraternal twin who’s addicted to Benedicts, this solid five-star egg poaching pan will come in big-time handy for achieving the yolk money shot.

Demeyere

Stainless Egg Poaching Pan, 4 Cup

Home Decor and Outdoor Gifts Under $50

The giant calendar to rule them all

At a whopping 3’ by 4’, the Stendig calendar is as much an iconic piece of wall decor as it is a super-present way of remembering what’s coming up this month.

Stendig Calendars

Stendig Calendar 2022

A groovy, gooey candle

Looking to fill your home with soothing blobs? (You’re not the only one.) These Goober candles from Talbot and Yoon are sweet and spunky, with a friendly little vibe that’s like a visual interpretation of the funky Seinfeld basslines.

Talbot and Yoon

Goober Candle

A knee pad for gardening parents

One of our writers gave a knee pad to her dad, and he says he loves it for completing chores around the house and gardening. A powerful cushion for gentle knees. 

Nature Spring

The Kneeling Garden Foam Mat

A fire pit 

Because if you tell your story around a fire pit, it gains 60% more intrigue. 

Red Barrel Studio

Potvin Iron Wood Burning Fire Pit

They often lose their keys

Got a roommate who’s always sending you 2 AM texts saying they’re locked out? Take a cue from that old adage about teaching a man to fish, and teach a friend to pick locks so that they leave you to your beauty rest and find their own way in using an old hairpin from the bottom of their backpack.

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Cool Material

Lock Pick Training Kit

They’re instantly a plant god

Wanna make someone’s home instantly more oxygenated, verdant, and generally aesthetically pleasing? Treat them to The Sill’s Plant Parent Set, which comes with five plants for just 36 bucks—an amazing deal. 

The Sill

Plant Parent Set (5 Plants)

Clothing and Accessories Gifts Under $50

A button-down worthy of Tony Soprano

Abercrombie & Fitch is kind of… cool again? The 00s brand of our youth has been re-zhuzhed of late, and now it’s giving us buttery, faux leather dusters, vintage-feeling sweaters, and button-up knit polos worthy of Uncle Tony himself. 

Abercrombie & Fitch

Relaxed Cotton Button-Up Knit Polo

Sk8r status socks

Being decked out in head-to-toe logos: tired. A flash of streetwear when you life your pant leg: wired AF. These Supreme x Hanes socks keep it subtle.

Supreme

Supreme x Hanes Crew Socks (4-Pack)

It’s beanie season

Some of our favorite things in one beanie: bright colors and a Carhartt logo. Keep your ears warm and your DMs fire.

A retro gold watch

There's just something about Casio's digital watches that make them timelessly cool for anyone and everyone, plus it's a good look to glance at your wrist to check the time instead of having to pull out your phone like a goofus. 

Casio

Casio F91WM-9A Digital Watch

A statement scarf

This unisex rose scarf feels a little punk rock, a little modern streetwear, and a lot cozy-sexy. 

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Luxurious undies

Is that a little bit of Versace we see, popping out of your chinos? Classy ass.

VERSACE

Underwear Black Medusa Briefs

The perfect sweats

Champion are doin' it and doin' it and doin' it right when it comes to athletic sweats, and the nearly 16,000 killer reviews on this perfect pair of throwback joggers says it all. 

Champion

Men's Powerblend Sweats Retro Jogger Pants

Tech Gifts Under $50

Tiny, super-affordable earbuds with crazy-good reviews

Thousands of happy buyers are super-impressed. with the performance of these budget-friendly, colorful Skullcandy earbuds, which can hang out on your keychain for when you need to take a call, hit the gym, or zone out on public transpo.

skullcandy

Skullcandy Dime True Wireless Earbuds

The speaker that joins you at the beach, the picnic, or the seance

Small but powerful, the JBL Clip 3 is ready for any adventure that comes your way in 2022 and beyond, whether it’s a bike ride that needs a “Dragonaut” soundtrack or a midnight cemetery romp where you need to blast “Monster Mash.” Several of the colorful shades have sold out, but there are still a few left to snag for you or a friend.

The alarm clock that rides shotgun

Planning trips in 2022? Stop relying on your cell to make the early flight and instead, take this battery-powered LCD alarm clock in your carry-on. It makes a perfect travel gift stocking stuffer for the friend who’s always out of office.

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Lexon Design

Flip+ Travel Reversible LCD Alarm Clock

A laptop sleeve we’d like to sleep in

Please? This puffer sleeve is hella lightweight, too, which we appreciate for the work commute. 

BAGGU

Puffy Laptop Sleeve

An 8-ball phone strap

Uhhhh, yes. If the person you give this to doesn’t absolutely love it, it might be time to consider why they’re on your holiday gift list in the first place. 

BONBONWHIMS

Fortune Teller Phone Strap

A butcher knife phone case

Maybe your pal is into horror movies, or maybe they’re just really digging the art of butchery lately. Either way, this clever, cleaver phone case is amazing. (Don’t come crying to us if you get weird looks on the bus.)

TranquilloM

Kitchen Knife Phone Case

Books and Art Gifts Under $50

They’re an H.R. Giger nerd

Taschen, one of our favorite art book vendors, has curated an expansive look back on the work of the late, great H.R. Giger.

Taschen

HR Giger. 40th Ed.

A crunchy-groovy wall piece

It’s all gravy, baby. Did our own grandmother make this? No, she’s a Connecticut conservative. But you’d never know it by the looks of this thang. 

Urban Outfitters

Peace Crochet Wall Hanging

They’ve got streetwear nostalgia

Streetwear buffs will know Kevin Amato’s photography from his many 2000s-era fashion campaigns, street snapshots, and his work with brands including Hood By Air that catapulted him into international fame. The embossed diamond on the cover makes it an especially cool coffee table book.

Kevin Amato

The Importants Book

Beauty and Wellness Gifts Under $50

A planner for helping you feel good

Ban.do makes some of our favorite planners for every purpose, but for those who are trying to free their brains of bad vibes in 2022, a wellness planner can have magical results. It has weekly check-in pages (have you had enough water today?), tips and advice, and even suggested grocery lists. You’ll never forget to go outside for fresh air with this planner as your trusty companion.

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Ban.do

Wellness Planner

A spa for your eyeballs

There are a bunch of aromatherapy pillows out there, sure. But this linen one is perfect for stressed and sweaty sleepers, since linen is a naturally cooling fabric, and is infused with a dreamy blend of chamomile and lavender. 

Standard Dose

Linen Aromatherapy Eye Pillow

This cult pube oil

Seriously though, why don’t we give our pubic hair the same attention as the other parts of our body? Le bush needs love, too. One of our writers tested out Fur Oil—which is designed for pubic hair but also great on armpit hair, leg hair, brows, and pretty much anywhere hair grows—and loved it. 

A benevolent claw

This scalp masajeador by the Latinx-owned brand Ceremonia will massage your scalp in a way that mere hands, which don’t have tons of gently spiky little teeth, could never. One of our writers likes to use hers when shampooing her hair for better scalp exfoliation.  

Ceremonia

Scalp Masajeador

The 'weed gatorade' of the future

Does your buddy love CBD and slam sports drinks? Well, do we have a gift for them. Offfield (yes, that’s a third F), is a CBD sports drink that promises to make exercise suck less. One of our editors tested it out, and loved it. 

OFFFIELD

enhanced hydration

Like your dad used to smoke

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Before you start hitting us with the “nah bro, ur just smoking the wRoNg sTrAiN” memes, hear us out: Dad Grass, a.k.a. CBD joints and buds that contain less than 0.3 percent THC, slaps. One of our writers gave it a try and reported that “about half a joint will get [him] the right kind of not-really-faded, like the light, smiley feeling you have a couple of hours after hitting a bubbler.” Perfecto.

Dad Grass

Hemp CBD Preroll 5 Pack

Hand wash that makes us feel richer

Aesop really is that good, from its earthy citrus scent to those gently exfoliating little beads. If we see this in someone’s restroom, it’s plus 10 points, immediately.  

Aesop

Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

An MCM Travel Spray

No, not Man Crush Monday, it’s freakin’ travel perfume, dude! With top notes of raspberry, middle notes of jasmine, and bottom notes of clean, textured woods, and sheer ambrox, you can juice yourself with this decadent scent whenever the mood strikes you. 

MCM

Mini Eau de Parfum Travel Spray

Sexy Gifts Under $50

A “tongue-flicking” clitoral sex toy

There are a lot of suction vibrators in our arsenal of clitoral sex toys, and CalExotics makes one of the rarer additions with this “flickering tongue” toy—it’s great if your clitoris needs a little more direct contact.  

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CalExotics

Red Hot Rechargeable Silicone Flickering Tongue Vibrator

A prostate and G-spot massager from space

Here’s an idea: If your giftee celebrates Christmas, hang this stunning multi-tasker from the tree. And if they don’t, gently caress their face with it while they sleep. 

Unbound Babes

Stellar internal and external massager

The best long-distance sex toy

This is the perfect gift for adding some holiday, uh, “cheer,” to your long-distance relationship. Cammers love this sex toy for work because of its quality engineering and easy-to-use remote functions (which operate through a smartphone app), but it’s also just a rad sex toy for couples who are far apart and looking to add a little spice. Also, it looks like an anglerfish.

Lovense

Lush 3 App Controlled Rechargeable Love Egg Vibrator

This cult-fave clitoral vibe has over 45,000 reviews

A legend. The Satisfyer Pro 2 is often imitated but never quite equalled, as one of our writers who tested it concluded, because the suction attachment is deep set and stimulates the clitoris without making direct contact. It really feels like getting head, man. 

Happy shopping, you price-slashing stud. 


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.