holiday gifts 2018

43 Surprising, Delightful, and Weird Holiday Gifts Under $50

Including terrazzo coasters, tea-bag eye masks, CBD gumdrops, and much more.

The best nail clipper. Photo: Joe Lingeman
The best nail clipper. Photo: Joe Lingeman

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 kooky, beautiful, and useful gifts, priced under $50 from New York’s print gift guide.

Matte-Black Nail Clipper (above)
$17 at Amazon

Beautiful, yes, but also crafted by a Tokyo company called Kiya that’s been making knives for over two centuries.

Jonah Hill’s Zine
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Jonah Hill’s Zine
$5 at A24

In which the actor (and street-style icon) interviews celebrities, including Edie Falco and Michael Cera.

“Me” Stud
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
“Me” Stud
From $45 at distal phalanx

The earring of a generation.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
The Noma Guide to Fermentation
$24 at Amazon

Noma’s recipes for everything from lacto blueberries to whiskey vinegar.

Teething Mushroom
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Teething Mushroom
$16 at The Baby Cubby

For the baby who prefers to chew on natural rubber from Malaysian Hevea trees.

Terrazzo Coasters
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Terrazzo Coasters
$34 at Abacá Store

An Aperol spritz deserves to sit upon mother-of-pearl.

’70s Drug Dictionary
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
’70s Drug Dictionary
$15 at Pacific

Goofballs, fattys, gold dust: all terms that were catching on circa 1972, when New York State issued this brochure, now reproduced.

Pepe’s Tomatoes
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Pepe’s Tomatoes
$10 at Pepe’s Pizzeria

From the family behind New Haven’s (or the country’s, depending on who you’re talking to) best pizzeria.

’80s Kitchen Staple
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
’80s Kitchen Staple
From $14 at Bed Bath & Beyond

As seen in archival photos of the Missoni family in the recently released Missoni Family Cookbook.

Leather Fly Swatter by Hay
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Leather Fly Swatter by Hay
$20 at Huset

A pest slayer with a beechwood handle.

Merino-Wool Duster by Hay
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Merino-Wool Duster by Hay
$24 at Finnish Design Shop

Luxurious yet playful, in a bright Elmo-ish color.

Infinite Answers
$7 at Amazon

As with the narrator in Sheila Heti’s novel Motherhood, you too can flip I Ching coins to ask yes-or-no questions (heads means yes, tails no).

Romanesco Candle
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Romanesco Candle
$45 at NOONS

Also available: a waxy sugar apple.

Piece of a Long-Lost Restaurant
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Piece of a Long-Lost Restaurant
From $40 at eBay

A saucer from André Soltner’s groundbreaking French restaurant, Lutèce (1961–2004).

Hair Exhibit
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Hair Exhibit
$20 at The Academy of Natural Sciences

Scrapbooks full of 18th- and 19th-century hair — including George Washington’s — are on display at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences.

Viral Phone Case
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Viral Phone Case
$35 at Wildflower

Designed by YouTube’s own Emma Chamberlain, who will need no introduction to the tween in your life.

Photo: Joe Lingeman

Jell-O Recipe by Apt 2B Baking Co.
Print (then laminate) the instructions for baker Yossy Arefi’s Instagram-worthy fruit-filled wobble mold.

Large Hair Clip
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Large Hair Clip
$6 at Urban Outfitters

À la Ariana Grande.

Kirsten Gillibrand’s Children’s Book, <em>Bold & Brave</em>
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Kirsten Gillibrand’s Children’s Book, Bold & Brave
$15 at Amazon

The senator tells the story of ten suffragists alongside the illustrations of Maira Kalman.

iPhone Purse
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
iPhone Purse
$45 at Folk Fortune

For a 2018 Cher Horowitz.

Gummy Gherkin
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Gummy Gherkin
$10 at Amazon

4.5 ounces of sugar and dill-pickle flavoring.

Porn Socks
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Porn Socks
$38 at Assembly New York

For the friend who likes vintage.

Millennial Tie-Dye
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Millennial Tie-Dye
$20 at Audrey Louise Reynolds

Made with two very 2018 ingredients: pale-pink roses and Himalayan salt.

As–Seen–on–<em>The Simpsons</em> Books
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
As–Seen–on–The Simpsons Books
$26 at bestplayever

They’re notebooks, actually, with covers, like Better Homes Than Yours, that have appeared on the show.

Bucket of Finishing Salt
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Bucket of Finishing Salt
$29 at Amazon

Three pounds of Ina Garten’s preferred brand to last as long as her marriage to Jeffrey.

Indulgent Toothpaste
$16 at Amazon

Flavored with mint and certified-organic green-tea extracts, and (of course) French.

Triceratops Serving Piece
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Triceratops Serving Piece
From $12 at Amazon

Tacos, turkey sandwiches, and other sorts of kids’ meals become instantly more enticing.

The Melatonin of Dog Biscuits
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
The Melatonin of Dog Biscuits
$6 at Amazon

A lavender-and-vanilla bedtime treat for the nonhumans of the household.

Porcelain Dumplings
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Porcelain Dumplings
$30 at Stone Dumpling House

Inedible but irresistible.

Tea-Bag Eye Masks
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Tea-Bag Eye Masks
$30 at UncommonGoods

For a (slightly twee) spa night.

Squeak-Free Pogo Stick
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Squeak-Free Pogo Stick
$39 at Target

It uses low-friction spring technology for a joyously smooth bounce.

Caboodle 2.0
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Caboodle 2.0
$20 at Caboodles

Equally appealing for your friend whose mom wouldn’t let her have one in the ’80s or a niece for whom the entire concept will be new.

The Board Game for Popaholics
Photo: Joe Lingeman
The Board Game for Popaholics
$14 at Target

Perversely satisfying Operation-esque family entertainment endorsed by the high priestess of zit extraction herself, Dr. Pimple Popper.

Netflix-Approved Olives
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Netflix-Approved Olives
$13 at Amazon

The same Ligurian varietal that Samin presses to make olive oil in episode one of Salt Fat Acid Heat.

Dyson for Kids
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Dyson for Kids
$25 at Target

A 25-inch replica of the Rolls-Royce of vacuums to develop their cleaning-gadget tastes early.

CBD Gumdrops
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
CBD Gumdrops
$45 at Lord Jones

For the friend who needs a little help getting into the Christmas spirit.

Splatterware Tupperware
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Splatterware Tupperware
$9 at Salter House

Because the leftovers of that carrot slaw deserve an equally photogenic storage container.

Wendy’s World
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Wendy’s World
$35 at Amazon

Access to Gloria Vanderbilt’s home, Kehinde Wiley’s live-work studio, and other interiors via the POV of New York’s longtime design editor.

Cozy Little Insoles
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
Cozy Little Insoles
$40 at Smallable

Some discerning kids simply can’t bear to play outside with chilly toes.

Beastie Boys Book
Photo: Brian Rasic/Getty Images
Beastie Boys Book
$23 at Amazon

You’re welcome, cool dads of every age.

A Nina Garcia Glow
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
A Nina Garcia Glow
$44 at Bergdorf Goodman

This liquid bronzer is apparently the only makeup the editor wears daily.

The New Cards Against Humanity
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
The New Cards Against Humanity
$18 at Amazon

It’s called Relative Insanity and involves conjuring all the crazy things your family might say or do.

An Interview Tie
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
An Interview Tie
$50 at New York Public Library

The NYPL recently introduced its work-fashion lending library, where adults and teens can borrow neckties and briefcases for job interviews.

*This article appears in the November 26, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

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 acne treatmentsrolling luggagepillows for side sleepersnatural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

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43 Surprising, Delightful, and Weird Holiday Gifts Under $50