How to Make Money

50 Holiday Gifts Under $10 Your Friends Will Actually Want

Updated November 17, 2015
by Jamie Cattanach
Staff Writer
cheap gift ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and for many people, the most expensive.

But holiday shopping doesn’t have to fill you with dread. Try your hand at some DIY gifts or try a creative IOU: Last year, I gave family members Christmas cards promising one free baked good of their choice at any time, since I have a reputation as the family baker.

Even if you’re not crafty, you can find tons of great gifts on the cheap. Here are 50 great holiday gifts for $10 or less.

Around the House

These great gifts will please everyone on your list — not just the homebodies!

1. Novelty Tea Infusers: $1.29-$2.29

Got a Beatles-loving tea enthusiast on your list? This silicone Yellow Submarine tea infuser is dishwasher-safe and super cute.

Or try this adorable Mr. Tea infuser, who looks like he’s enjoying a hot soak in your cup, for $1.29.

2. Caffeine Mug: $7.99

If you have a nerdy caffeine junkie in your life, this mug is sure to keep her energized and entertained.

Plus, you can find lots of other cute mugs for less than $10, and they’re always useful to have around. Some even transform once their contents warm up!

3. Cat Coffee Cup Cozy: $7.99

Or, if your cat-loving friends already have their own travel mugs, consider this cute hand-crocheted cozy. They could even use it at coffee shops and help save paper sleeves.

4. Kitty Wine Stopper: $9.06

Maybe the cat lady in your life is more of a wino than a java junkie. This adorable wine stopper will keep bottles fresh between glasses.

Oh, and don’t forget —

5. Kitty Wine Glass Markers: $9

— so your friend won’t lose her glass when she hosts parties!

6. Cheese Knives: $9.95 each

The only thing I love more than wine and chocolate is cheese.

Just one of these knives takes a plate of cheese from an appetizer to a display worthy of any get-together.

7. Water Bottle Friendly Ice Cube Trays: $9.15

I love carrying around a reusable water bottle — it’s green and it encourages me to drink more water. But traditional ice cubes won’t fit through the neck of the bottle, and sometimes my water gets tepid.

These ice cube trays solve that problem! And you get a set of two flexible and dishwasher-safe silicone trays for this price, so you can even keep one for yourself if you want. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

8. Novelty Ice Cube Molds: $4:34-$9.99

OK, I’m a total geek, I know. But it turns out you can find pretty affordable novelty ice molds — and I, for one, would be thrilled to have my drink cooled off by miniature brains ($4.34) or dinosaurs ($6.48).

What about Han Solo trapped in carbonite ($9.99)? Yes, please.

You can also find gummy bears ($8.99), smiley faces ($7.77), the Titanic and icebergs ($8.80) or skulls ($9.99) — perfect for Halloween parties!

9. Bonsai Tree Seeds: $4.99

Who knew these were so cheap?

If you know a green thumb who’s interested in making a new hobby of an ancient tradition, these bonsai seeds might be perfect — although the substrate and container are not included.

10. Cute Succulent Plant Displays: $7

It doesn’t take a green thumb to throw a plant into a pot.

With this set of containers and the succulents you can buy at Trader Joe’s or Home Depot for $2 to $3 apiece, you’ll spend about $7 per recipient of each adorable final display.

11. Handmade Soaps or Bath Bombs: $4.75-$9

Receiving soap as a gift is far from insulting when the products look good enough to eat!

There are tons of options on Etsy (look how pretty this one is!) or at your local craft fair, but higher-traffic brick-and-mortar stores offer quality products at only slightly higher prices.

12. FingerPrint Bookmark: $7.00

Do you know a bookworm who frequently loses his place? No more with this stretchy, silicone bookmark, which will point at the exact line where he leaves off.

13. Scarf Hanger: $8.05

I know I struggle with storage tactics for my plethora of scarves, which have ended up just bunched up into a storage box.

This hanger displays and organizes scarves in your closet, so they’re easily accessible and wrinkle-free.

14. Recipe Rock: $9.45

Got a friend who frequently uses recipe print-outs in the kitchen? This magnetic recipe stand will help keep ‘em clean when his hands are covered in flour.

It’s small enough for any space and could even be used in an office or classroom for other documents.

15. Starry Night Light Projector: $6.23

What kid — or adult, for that matter — wouldn’t want to make their bedroom into a planetarium? Coolest nightlight ever.

16. Sputnik Bud Vase: $9.99

Look how pretty this is! Look how simultaneously nerdy it is! This vase is quick to become a keepsake for anyone on your list.

17. Hanging Glass Candle Holder: $4.95

These hanging candle holders are elegant and timeless. And at prices this low, you could check quite a few people off your list.

18. Elsa Glass Tea Light Holder: $7.95

Or, you could mix and match with these tabletop tea light holders. Give your recipient the gift of new light (yep, pun intended) and a transformed living or dining room.

19. Fancy Candles: $8

Or, you could get the candle itself.

A beautiful scented candle can brighten any space. If you’re shopping for 50 or more people, you could even check out listings for wedding favors and get a really nice gift quite cheaply (like $5 apiece).

You can find lots of other scents — check out these candy-scented candles for $4.99!

20. Small Ceramic Dish: $9

To wrangle stray jewelry or set down a spent tea bag, these little dishes work for anyone on your list, and won’t cost you much at all.

21. Personal Photos: 20 cents

There’s just something about a tangible photo that the digital file lacks. You can get prints of your best memories online at vendors like Mpix for cents on the dollar; or you can check out what Target and Walmart have to offer.

You don’t have to buy a frame — you could string up your photos with wooden clothespins for a cheap, but romantic, option. Many vendors also sell canvas prints or other configurations of your photos at good prices.

If you do go shopping for frames, though, you can find cheap ones in a variety of sizes. I love stalking pricey vendors like Pier 1 for picture frame sales — I’ve seen cute frames like this one for as much as 60% off!

22. Just Crunch Anti-Soggy Cereal Bowl: $6.99

Nothing ruins your Raisin Bran like a slightly-too-long milk bath. Get the breakfast lover in your life this bowl to keep her crunching all the way through the Saturday morning news — or cartoons.

On a similar note:

23. French Fry Dipping Cone: $4.99

Dishwasher safe and not just for fries, this is a convenient and attractive way to serve finger foods and dip.

Less mess on the cheap! What’s not to love?

24. Flexible Pot Clips: $8.99

For your aspiring-chef friend who’s still a little messy in the kitchen. Help him get organized and stop splattering chili on your countertops with this convenient gadget.

25. Magnetic Spot Scrubber: $9.99

If your friends have hard-to-clean glassware like carafes or decanters, this gift might be a godsend.

The scrubber goes inside the vessel and you scrub by dragging the magnetic component along the outside of the glass. Pretty cool, huh? Plus, it won’t scratch your stuff.

Edibles

The way to a friend’s heart is through the stomach. Here are some awesome edible gifts to consider this holiday season!

26. Beer Marshmallows: $7.95

Um, yum? You can get a box of 16 for under $10.

If beer isn’t your style, you can choose from Bourbon, Chai or Pumpkin Pie among other flavors, which change seasonally.

27. Good Chocolate: $5 or less

If you know me, you know this had to show up on my list.

This listing on Amazon is $16 for six bars, which means you’d spend about $3 on each lucky recipient. But you can head to your local grocery store and stalk the candy aisle for lots of options under $5.

If you want to get really fancy, some single-origin, small-batch chocolate bars can cost up to $10 or even more — but are well worth the price to the true chocolate snob on your list (hint, hint)!

28. Good Tea: $8.99

When it comes to the coffee or tea debate, I’m firmly on the side of java — but this cinnamon spice black tea has enough caffeine to keep even a diehard like me going, and it tastes great even without sweetener.

Shop around; there are tons of flavors available. Plus, lots of tea bags come in pretty, reusable tins that serve as decorative organization — all for under $10.

29. Really (Really) Good Honey: $5.99

Once upon a time, I didn’t even like honey. Then, I discovered Stubbees, which specializes in raw, creamed, flavored honeys. Pioneered by a 20-year-old beekeeper in the Jacksonville, Florida, area (and sold in local coffee shops while I lived there), this honey isn’t just delicious: its supports a really cool, small business and a young entrepreneur.

The cinnamon flavor is the best, but they have tons of flavors to choose from, and new seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and vanilla bean, too.

30. Pizza Garden: $9.99

Help the pizza fanatic in your life save cash by growing her own Italian herbs and tomatoes. The kit comes with seeds and substrate for oregano, basil, roma tomatoes and bell peppers — a fun, kid-friendly project that could cut costs in the kitchen!

Pizza (somehow) not your style? There are lots of other grow-your-own kits for under $10 — how about growing your own coffee?

You could also go to your local nursery and buy a custom sampling of seeds based on your recipient’s tastes.

31. Gourmet Barbecue Sauces: $5.97-$7.95

There’s nothing like good barbecue sauce to put the finishing touch on a backyard grilling session.

This selection from Crate and Barrel was developed by champion Chicago pitmaster Charlie McKenna, and comes in three flavors.

32. Cookie or Brownie Mix in a Jar: $3

You don’t have to be super-crafty to DIY a great gift! Mason jars usually come in packages of 12 for a little over a dollar apiece — or, check out your local thrift store to find ‘em for as low as a quarter.

Then, scour the web for tons of creative recipe ideas. In most cases, the ingredients for a single jar shouldn’t cost you more than a dollar, especially if you’re planning on making quite a few and buy your sugar and flour in bulk.

Write an instruction card for your recipient and decorate the jar with ribbon. You just gave someone a cheap, useful and beautiful gift!

For Friends at Work or Secret Santa

You might not know some folks on your list that well; maybe you only see them around the office. Here are some non-Starbucks-gift-card gift options.

33. Dine Ink Office Pen Utensils – $8.26

Help your colleague who’s always having lunch in her cubicle make multiple uses of her writing utensils. Multitasking is the way of the future in corporate America, after all!

34. Daily Mood Desktop Flipbook – $7.90

For the social media junkie in the office whose Facebook feed is full of updates — whether she’s tired, cranky or ecstatic.

This flipbook is a cute cubicle addition with 47 moods to choose from, complete with snarky definitions and translation into Pig Latin.

35. The Seven-Year Pen: $7.95

Work with someone who takes a ton of notes? This unassuming, eco-friendly pen can write five and a half feet per day for seven years! That’s a lot of on-hold scribbling for just over a buck a year.

36. Mini Tabletop Zen Garden: $7.99

Got a coworker who could use a mini vacation? Help her relax and focus with this thrifty desktop zen garden.

37. Cute Food-Themed Erasers: $6.99

Come on, these are pretty adorable, right? A quick, cheap, safe bet for any secret Santa recipient — even if you only ever say hi around the Keurig.

Wearables and Accessories

Buying for a fashionista this year? Here are some options.

38. Infinity Scarf: $8.99+

These sheer scarves are fashionable and versatile, and come in enough colors to get your loved ones a couple.

Plus, your friend will have a use for the scarf hanger listed above!

39. Funky Fingerless Gloves: $3.72

Even though I live in Florida, I suffer terribly from cold hands during our brief winters. These fingerless gloves are stylish and still let you use your touch screen.

40. Tiny Golden Heart Earrings: $9 (on sale for $7.65)

These studs are unassuming, but adorable — they’d go with anything.

You can also find tiny flowers ($3.75) or even unicorn earrings ($5.99, on sale from $9.99) for the pierced person on your shopping list.

41. Wildflower Crown Knitting Pattern: $3.50

If you’re crafty, you could make a friend this everlasting flower crown (cute!) for $3.50 plus the cost of yarn. If you know a crafty person, you could give her the pattern itself as a gift!

42. T-Shirts: $6

Since there are so many options, you’re sure to find something for anyone on your list. Even those hard-to-buy-for folks who seem to have everything need T-shirts!

Threadless has lots of funky designs and often has sales, taking their tees under $10.

Geekery and Other Useful Stuff

From on-the-go light to blank pages to carry in your pocket, these gifts will make any geek on your list grin.

43. Credit Card Lightbulb: $3.99

Ever get home late at night and can’t get your key in the door? Or maybe you’re out at a bar and someone loses an earring back?

No more scrambling to keep your cellphone screen active. Flip open your wallet and save the day!

44. Cell Phone Propper-Upper: $4.95

Have a techy friend getting carpal tunnel from holding her phone so much?

This little gadget holds up your Android or iPhone so you can scroll through the screen with ease. Since it has suction cups, you can even attach it to your windshield to use your GPS!

Want a more stylish option? Try the Pumped Up smartphone stand for $3.84, or the tongue-in-cheek Banana Stand for $7. And at a price like that, Arrested Development fans will be pleased to learn there’s always money in the banana stand, after all!

45. Cable Management System: $9.95

Wires, wires everywhere. How many of us suffer from this problem?

This cable management system is sleek and would help streamline anyone’s workspace.

46. Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Keychain: $2.39

For the die-hard Harry Potter fan on your list, you can’t go wrong for under $3.

47. Novelty USB Flash Drive: $6.50

Everyone needs portable storage these days, and there are some really cute flash drives available.

Even better: Fill it with fun personal stuff, like date photos or favorite songs. It’s the 21st century mix tape!

48. Clear Soft-Flex iPhone 6 Case: $9.99

You don’t have to spend (another) fortune to protect your investment — although you certainly can.

Lots of folks will be getting new tech over the holidays, so help keep their expensive new gadgets safe. I especially love this case since it’s transparent — you can still see the beautiful design, which is part of your phone’s high price tag to begin with!

49. High-Quality Pocket Notebooks: $9.95

Maybe I’m a little biased since I’m a writer and all, but you can never go wrong with pocket notebooks.

These are beautiful and come in lots of different styles — dot matrix, graph or lined paper. And you get three for less than $10!

50. Gift Cards: $10 or less

A $10 gift card to Starbucks or Panera can actually get you a decent amount of stuff, and you might even be able to get it for less than $10!

So get shopping, penny hoarders — you can still save lots while you do!

Your Turn: What gifts under $10 would you like to give or receive?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We would have shared them with you anyway, but a true “penny hoarder” would be a fool not to take the company’s money. :)

Jamie Cattanach is junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’d gladly unwrap anything on this list, but especially the chocolate. Seriously, if you could send chocolate, that would be great.

by Jamie Cattanach
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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