In all the Black Friday hysteria, you may have gotten a good deal on a flat-screen TV. But what about those gifts that elicit a truly delighted wow? Here, dozens of surprising, kooky, beautiful, and useful gifts, priced under $50 from our print gift guide, including the sparkliest backpack, a cheeky card holder, the most handsome lighter — plus giant googly eyes for, well, anyone.
Classy Lighter (above)
Tokyo brand Tsubota Pearl has been making lighters (and money clips, cigarette cases, and other stately objects) since 1952.
Verameat made only 50 of these, so you’re unlikely to meet another superfan with Delia Deetz on her jean jacket.
From German designer Simone Wild: velvet jewel-toned stockinged feet.
Students start with swans and graduate to elephants and dogs.
Connects to devices’ Bluetooth, so they can sing along to their Raffi playlist.
The Sparkliest Backpack
Polyester water- and stain-resistant laces perfect for your sneakerhead.
A Peek at an Abandoned Subway Station
City Hall station is gorgeous but abandoned. Take a friend on the ninth car on a downtown 6 and catch a glimpse.
Cheeky Card Holder
A not-so-serious Italian leather case to hold your tween’s first debit card.
Disguised Nail Files
Six teeny nail files secreted in a matchbook for the trying-to-reform biter.
Classic Comp Notebook
With a modern update, thanks to a Mead-obsessed Pentagram designer.
The Mana’o Nani bear has hidden magnets and a unique name handwritten on a sticker.
Retro Hair Ties
Beechwood bobble ponytail holders made in Munich by designer Saskia Diez.
OCD Wall Calendar
For the designophile, from Crispin Finn.
Pretty pastels from our favorite grown-up toy company.
Mexico by way of New York.
Rosy foam sponges from Hay that’ll swim in your sink.
For the post-normcore comfort-food fanatic.
ABC’s for Hypekids
Who likely already know that B is for Biggie Smalls.
Your mother’s new favorite, designed by Josef Hoffman.
Giant Googly Eyes
Brooklyn Beckham’s Book
For a slice of Floridian retirement right here in New York, mah-jongg lessons at the Brooklyn Strategist.
A Consultation at a Danish Hair-Loss Clinic
Harklinikken brought its hair-regrowth elixirs to New York this year.
Rihanna’s Red Lips
Or an approximation of them, at least, via her new Red Stunna Lip Paint, which is said to last 12 hours.
‘Groundhog Day’ in Midtown
Peter Funch’s photos of the same Grand Central commuters is a meditation on the daily grind.
Hudson Bay Mitt
For his famous lasagna.
A pleated ecobag from Japanese brand Kna Plus.
Made with an oil found only in 300-year-old aomori hiba trees.
Designed by Brooklyn-based artist Eric Elms.
Next-Level Peanut Butter
Artisanal and, of course, Portland-made, with Kaffir-lime leaves and lemongrass.
Eco Cargo Truck
Made with sawdust recycled from furniture factories.
Add this canvas bag to your tote rotation to show support for Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.
For the infrequent flower buyer, a metal slip that’ll turn water cups and pitchers into vases.
Build-Your-Own Roller Coaster
For the aspiring structural engineer: the thrill of Coney Island in your living room, in 753 ready-to-assemble pieces.
A Salt-Cave Session
Forty-five minutes of restorative breathing in a cave built from 14 tons of pink Himalayan salt.
Digestif drinkers can finally buy local.
A Catchall Tray
A lacquered steel tray that practically begs to store your pencils and spare change.
Heritage-pork salumi with a kick from a million-plus-Scoville-units chile.
Vintage Game Set
A ’60s Reissue
For cowboys ages 0 to 24 months.
Low-Cost Peace of Mind
Eyes everywhere for a bargain.
A Slumpy Sloth
Jerry Garcia Socks
Game Boy Nostalgia
The BittBoy mimics the hardware of the Nintendo classic but runs with 300 built-in games.
Membership to the Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan Museum
If the movie isn’t enough, there’s a museum dedicated to the most insane story in ice-skating, which started in the Crown Heights home of two comedians.
Courtney Love’s Favorite Toothpaste
Giant Cone Planter
A (14-inch, plastic) kid-friendly Group Partner alternative.
Instagrammable Poppy Seeds
From blue opium flowers grown in the Turkish city of Afyonkarahisar, which translates to “Poppy Black Fortress.”
A New Coat for a New Yorker
As part of its annual drive, New York Cares partners with apparel vendors to donate brand-new coats.
Worldly Peg Dolls
Made of Bogotan Urapán wood, these palm-size figurines come dressed in the ancient garb of Egypt, Rome, India, and China.
Classic aviators with perspective-shifting pink lenses.
*This article appears in the November 27, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
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