gifts they might actually want

32 Stocking Stuffers Under $15 (That You Can Buy on Amazon)

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

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The best holiday gifts are small and delightful. Anyone can pick out a big-ticket appliance or designer scarf, but there’s a real art to finding a stocking stuffer that’s affordable, thoughtful, and won’t end up in the junk pile, all while being compact enough to fit into a stocking with a bunch of other stuff. To help you find the perfect little presents for everyone in your life (from close family members to co-workers to college friends), we’ve combed through our archive for inexpensive items recommended by Strategist staffers and other experts we’ve spoken with. And for more gift ideas for different kinds of people in your life (from birders to knitters to Formula 1 fans), find all of our curated picks here.

Food and drink

For the chocolate maximalist

Whether they’re a kid or a kid at heart, they’ll be thrilled to receive a container full of chocolate rocks — they’re half-toy, half-candy.

For the roommate who puts hot sauce on everything

If they’ve tried every spicy condiment out there, this Old Bay–flavored hot sauce will be something different.

For the friend who already owns a sardine fork

Delicious Portuguese tinned fish in a box that’s beautiful enough to gift.

For the vintage candy fan

Fruit-shaped marzipan for the person who loves Victorian cake molds and Jell-O salads.

For the coworker who takes a 4 p.m. coffee break

These Italian candies contain approximately one-third of a shot of espresso encased in a chocolate shell. They’re “light, crunchy, rich, and not too sweet,” writes Strategist contributor Caroline Weaver. “It’s the perfect portable caffeine and sugar kick.”

For the Japanese-candy collector

These matcha-flavored biscuit cookies are a classic — they’re one of Christine Chiu’s favorite things — or you could get a bunch of different flavors and gift them a stocking full of Pocky.

For the friend with a bitter tooth

If they prefer astringent flavors, gift them a bartender-favorite bottle of orange bitters. (It’s one of the few bar items I always restock when I run out.)

For the friend who always hosts

$19 for 10

Gift them these festive Korean dish sponges (there are also some amazing ones on Etsy) before begging them to let you do the dishes just this once.

Beauty and self-care

For the friend who wears full glam to the grocery

They’ll love this cult-favorite mascara. It “dramatically plumps and intensifies my lashes in every single way — it lengthens, volumizes, lifts, and curls each tiny hair,” writes Strategist contributor Jinnie Lee.

For the skin-care nerd who’ll try anything once

We went deep on the skin-care benefits of snail mucin and emerged with this cult-favorite serum. (It’s been a reader best seller several times over.)

For the sister-in-law looking for a fresh start in 2023

If she’s had a tough year or just wants to cleanse her entryway energy, she’ll love these smudge sticks, which come recommended by celebrity stylist Ty Hunter.

For the dad with chapped hands

Weleda Skin Food Original
From $15
From $15

Everyone loves Weleda Skin Food, from makeup artists to actors to authors. (I was thrilled to get a bottle in my stocking a few years ago.)

For the theater kid

If they’re bringing Macbeth energy to arguments over who gets the last pudding cup, they’ll make good use of this shortcut to fake tears. It’s recommended by actress Annie Hamilton: “Crying not only felt good, but it sure looked good,” she writes.

For the cousin who loves an onsen

Photo: Retailer

This beautiful, aromatic Japanese incense is easy to fit in a stocking, and the faintly sandalwood-scented wooden box it comes in can also be repurposed for next year’s gifts.

For the friend with a fancy bathroom

A luxe toothpaste for a European-drugstore fan. According to designer Todd Snyder, mint is the best flavor: “The cinnamon is nice, but I feel like the mint is more like a toothpaste. I like the officialness of the Strong Mint.”

For the mom who’s allergic to fragrance

An olive-oil-and-mineral-salt soap with just three ingredients, perfect for those with sensitive skin who still want the fancy soap experience.

For the digital nomad

A simple concept that can be totally life-changing, these clip-on toothbrush protectors are a great gift for frequent travelers.

For the friend who FaceTimes in a face mask

The cutest pimple patches ever created come highly recommended by two expert dermatologists we spoke with as well as our beauty writer, Rio.

For the overworked college student

Esarora Ice Roller
From $15
From $15

An ice roller soothes skin and reduces puffiness; it’s a favorite morning ritual for many of the celebrities we’ve spoken to. (It’s also great for hangovers.)

For the Gen-Z sibling who’s on her fourth -core of the year

An oversize hair bow that could skew dark academia, coquette, or whimsigoth plus whatever aesthetic movement is coming next.

Electronics and gadgets

For the couple with different bedtimes

A soothing amber book light to ease negotiations over when to turn out the lights.

For the person with an immaculate desk setup

This two-sided electronics brush will help extract any crumbs or bits of lint from their keyboard.

For the sibling who’s gone all-in on cottagecore

Because there’s nothing cozier or more delightful than a glowy mushroom night-light.

For the brother-in-law who keeps losing his AirPods

Objects that look like food are always a delightful gift. This Napa-cabbage AirPods case comes recommended by fake-food enthusiast Allison Rodman.

For the vacation photographer

If they’ve always got the best pics when you travel together, they’ll love messing around with this retro disposable camera that can shoot underwater.

Games, toys, and art supplies

For the brother who can’t sit still

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Bouncing this classic pink Spalding bouncy ball off a wall is one of illustrator Maira Kalman’s brain-reset hacks: It’s “one of the greatest diversions and brain reactivators around,” and these balls specifically don’t leave marks on the wall.

For the person who insists on carrying bugs outside instead of killing them

Carson BugView Magnifier

This magnifier, recommended by comedian Kate Berlant, lets them inspect their little insect buddies before flicking them out the window.

For the kid with village of miniatures

These cute penguins from cult-favorite toy company Calico Critters come with a tiny car and removable driving glasses.

For the kid who loves retro toys

Enjoy a moment of intergenerational bonding over just how hard it is to avoid killing a Tamagotchi pet.

For the design-minded games nerd

‘Uno Minimalista’

So they can make you draw four in a cool, chic, understated way.

For the kid who has dressed up as an animal five Halloweens in a row

German toy company Schleich makes durable, very realistic figurines of all kinds of animals, whether they’re a unicorn kid or a Jurassic Park kid.

For the artist in the family

These double-sided colored pencils, recommended by designer Nikki Chasin for their sturdiness, will give them 24 colors to work with for the price of 12.

For the sibling whose books are full of margin notes

Gift them the pen Sofia Coppola uses to mark up the script for her upcoming Priscilla Presley biopic, Priscilla.

For Daddy’s little helper

An adorable pair of kid-sized leather work gloves, so they can “help” with gardening and home DIY projects.

For the frequent dinner-party host

These drippy rainbow candles change color as they burn down — a fun, trippy way to mark time when dinner parties go deep into the night.

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, ultraflattering pants, 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.

36 Stocking Stuffers Under $15 (That You Can Buy on Amazon)