holiday gifts 2021

49 Truly Surprising, Strange and Immensely Pleasing Gifts Under $200

Including sardine effigies, tinned toro, and not-so-clunky clogs.

Video: Joe Lingeman
Video: Joe Lingeman
Video: Joe Lingeman

Typically, we share recommendations for the best products, period — it doesn’t matter when they came out as long as they are exceptionally useful, beautiful, surprising, or otherwise worth recommending. Last year, we surveyed celebrities on the best thing they bought themselves during the pandemic. This year we have gone in a different direction, focusing almost entirely on the world of the recently released. Here, you’ll find a wide assortment of new-ish things for every person on your list, from the stealthy and stylish blender Halle Berry happens to love to an actually-stylish cat tree made from salvaged rugs. Plus, of course, dozens of other ideas, like some Crocs-meets-Birkenstock Italian cork clogs (seen above, $58 from gardenheir.com) to the gift of at-home blowouts and 22-karat AirPod earrings. (You can also see our picks for gifts under $50.)

Don’t miss all of the Strategist’s holiday gift coverage right here.

Not-So-Clunky Clogs and a Pac-Man Frog (pictured above)

Particularly supportive garden shoes.

It eats crickets, dubia roaches, and whole night crawlers and tends to thrive in home terraria.

Celebrity Blender

$165
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

The NutriBullet founder’s new launch both “crushes ice at a record speed” and is a favorite of Oprah’s.

Tinned Toro

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Mediterranean bluefin-tuna belly that can be eaten straight from the can with some lemon.

Sustainable Shave

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

It has a fully pivoting head with space for three blades, which can be sent back for recycling.

Oaxacan Candelabra

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Artist José Garcia Antonio’s sculptures are inspired by Zapotec iconography.

Sardine Effigy

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

It’s an incense holder.

iPad Alternative

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Each Tonie figure tells stories and sings songs when placed upon the Toniebox — like an on-demand Aesop.

No-Polish Nails

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Nail artist Sarah Nguyen’s newly launched press-on sets are adorned with gold flakes and crystals.

Yellow Kite

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

By designer Larry Tchogninou, inspired by mountains.

Three Amaryllis Bulbs

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Drop this kit into a pot before it gets too cold and be rewarded with a bounty of amaryllis this spring.

German Jurassic Park

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

This Schleich set comes with an ankylosaurus and a gigantosaurus — and a volcano that erupts with vapor.

Prawn Place Mats

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

From local drag queen Steak Diane’s new housewares line.

Hat Named Wanda

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

The cult crochet-knit hat from Emily Dawn Long and Maria Dora, now in red-and-white stripes.

Ca. 2003 Cologne

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

A&F released a “vintage-edition bottle” of its sandalwood-and-musk classic.

13 Artist’s Notebooks

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Each features a particular type of paper: one for sketching with pencil, one for painting with watercolors, and so on.

Dish Tote

Aplat designed this for carrying unwieldy casseroles, baking sheets, and pans to the potluck.

Striking Polo

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

From the Brooklyn-based men’s basics line Adsum in “safety red.”

At-Home Blowouts

Chi Dryer Brush
$70
$70
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

This CHI Volumizer 4-in-1 brush enhances natural hair.

Handsome Robe

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

In Italianate tones of cream, brown, and sky blue.

Ceramic Tomatoes

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Fresh from the Neue Galerie’s gift shop.

Bright Dog Garb

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

A neon-pink leash and collar made from supersoft French leather.

Actually Nice Cat Tree

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor/B) 2020 Hannah Rosa Lewis-Lopes

Cat Haus’s wares are made from rugs and fabrics found at garage sales and Goodwill.

Vegan Mochi and Painted Lady Butterflies

Video: Joe Lingeman

Mochidoki’s collection in six dairy-free flavors.

A dozen can be shipped in a “release container” — the idea is to let them go at once for dramatic effect.

Rollable Wellies

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Pokeboo’s rain boots can fold down small enough to fit into a purse.

Postcard Club

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

The monthly postcard subscription is just one of the many ways Summertime Gallery seeks to highlight and support the work of the neurodiverse artists in its fold.

Speckled Chef’s Knife

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

A new design to match F&M’s signature cutting boards.

… And a Place to Put It

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Magnetic knife stands help ensure blades stay sharp.

Special-Occasion Steaks

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

From one of the few American companies producing verified Wagyu.

Ruffled European Linen

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

With an ethically sourced duck-down cushion.

Galactic Jelly Cake

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

With a touch of booze from Brooklyn’s own Solid Wiggles.

Bauhaus for Babies

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

They’ll be able to construct a practically infinite number of structures and designs with this 40-pack of screenprint flat panels.

Sleeping-Bag Slippers

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

The Japanese house-shoe brand Subu collaborated with London’s Garbstore for this tie-dye iteration.

Hong Kong Knit

YanYan uses leftover factory yarn to make its wares.

Dried Persimmons

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Orchardist Jeff Rieger picks, hangs, peels, and massages these fruits.

[Editor’s note: This hoshigaki will be restocked later this month, according to the website. We’ll keep an eye out and update this when they’re back.]

Art Comb

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Designed by Nigerian American artist Nifemi Ogunro.

Fingerless British Gloves

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Made of sheepskin, courtesy of the queen’s glove-maker.

French Sheep

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Beh, as she is known, is handmade by Parisian knitwear designer Sophie Digard.

Western Undies

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

A four-pack with each featuring a different embroidered cowboy motif.

Park Slope Playsuit

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

A toddler-size chunky knit made of Peruvian cotton.

Smallest Sonos

$180
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Meant for toting from room to room or park parties.

Pickleball Paddle

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Recess Pickleball launched during the pandemic, as the obscure tennis alternative saw a huge boom.

Dimes Square Dog

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

A Scottie barrette from Emily Bode.

Cheddar-Cheese Dog

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Upload a picture of your animal to Whisps’ website and one of its “sculptors” will re-create it.

Staffordshire-Inspired Mug

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Ceramicist Ginny Sims’s popular wheel-thrown cups perpetually sell out.

[Editor’s note: These mugs are indeed currently sold out, but they’re slated to restock in early December.]

Non-MSG Knicks Merch

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Also available is a blue-and-orange-striped rugby.

AirPod Earrings

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Slippage-protectant 22-karat studs.

Grater With Feet

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Modeled after an 18th-century English version.

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 treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

49 Truly Surprising and Immensely Pleasing Gifts Under $200