March 3, 2024

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a gift for it to be thoughtful. And if you know where to look and what to look for, you can find plenty of budget-friendly options to delight every single person on your list. We’ve saved you the trouble of searching for something special (and affordable) with suggestions below, each of which has been handpicked by one of our discerning writers or editors or is an item we’ve written about before. And to make gifting even easier, everything here is available on Amazon.

Lao Gan Ma Chile Crisp

Chile crisps add compelling heat and a bit of crunch to anything you put them on, and this is the one Chef Buddha Lo calls the OG and uses as a key ingredient in his sauces.

Jade Leaf Matcha

They’ll be able to make their own matcha lattes at home. This is the one that actress Brenda Song prefers.

Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate - Crunchy Hazelnut Butter Dark Chocolate

These chocolate bars are dairy free, vegan, and kosher and made with fair-trade, organic ingredients. In addition to listing all that — as you might expect from the soap-maker Dr. Bronner’s — the wrappers have a whimsical, colorful design that makes the chocolate look as good as it tastes.

Kimmie Candy Regular Mix ChocoRocks Chocolate-Chunks Rocks

Get them this cheeky pack of realistic-looking rock-shaped chocolates that are as yummy as they are fun.

Choward’s Violet Candies

… Or unusual flavors. They won’t find these intensely floral sweets in the candy aisle of their grocery store.

Maldon Salt, Sea Salt Flakes

The preferred salt of many chefs and bakers for its large, delightfully crunchy, pinchable flakes and the not-too-salty savory zing it gives to everything they sprinkle it on.

Euthymol Original Toothpaste

This British toothpaste tastes like “if Fernet-Branca were spiked with the most delicate whisper of spearmint,” writes Strategist contributor Angela Serratore.

TTSAM ‘Spiky Sensory’ Acupressure Ring Set

Photo: Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

These rings stimulate certain parts of your fingers and, “according to Chinese-reflexology charts, can help with both physical and mental issues,” writes Strategist contributor Yana Shept. Plus they just feel really good.

Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Shimmer, Peony

This balm — made from shea butter, beeswax, and other natural ingredients — adds a bit of subtle color to their lips.

Body Back Scalp Massager

This massager has a head-tingling effect.

Zig-Zag Rolling Papers French Orange

They probably don’t need any help chilling out, but you can give them some tools to make their relaxation time even better. Sen Dog of Cypress Hill calls this the “ultimate rolling paper.”

Aēsop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

A travel-friendly rinse-free hand wash that’s a major upgrade from Purell.

Urbana Exfoliating Gloves

The first step is scrubbing all the dead skin off.

Newgo Cooling Eye Mask
Very Good Deal

Give them some relief from headaches, stress, or dry eyes.

Cremo Original Shave Cream

An exceptionally long-lasting tube that won’t leave skin feeling tight. “No nicks, no irritation, no accidental shearing of the epidermis like thin-sliced deli turkey,” writes Strategist contributor David Walters.

Isshah Biodegradable Ecofriendly Natural Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush
Very Good Deal

These biodegradable toothbrushes have charcoal-infused heads that help fight tooth-staining ingredients and bad breath.

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
Strategist Tested

This mascara works its magic on even the sparest, stubbiest lashes. “It lengthens, volumizes, lifts, and curls each tiny hair,” says Strategist contributor Jinnie Lee.

Strawberry Dangle Earrings

These colorful, realistic-looking strawberry earrings are sure to earn a compliment or two.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe and Rose Water

A quick mist to the face can be a refreshing way to pause and get centered when life feels overwhelming; you probably know a friend or two who can relate. “I use it as a reset button during a tedious, overwhelming, or high-concentration day,” writes actress Tavi Gevinson.

Wholesome Beauty Dry Skin Body Brush

This is a great tool for dry-brushing, which can help with lymphatic circulation, and comes recommended by Hailee Steinfeld.

Nag Champa Incense Sticks

Lighting some of this incense will fill their place with a homey, comforting fragrance. Actress Piper Perabo takes it with her when she’s traveling so she can burn it in her hotel room.

Singer Travel Sewing Kit

A sewing kit lets them fix things in a pinch.

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether

The colorful, interwoven loops of this teething toy keep babies mesmerized and are easy for tiny hands to grasp and manipulate. Bonus: The rattle is on the quieter side.

Lip Smacker Flavored Lip Balm Lippy Pal Panda

Melissa & Doug ‘Poke-a-Dot!’ Books

This ingenious series offers all the delight and satisfaction you get from popping Bubble Wrap, and this edition adds a classic children’s song to the activity.

Tech Deck, DLX Pro 10-Pack of Collectible Fingerboards
Very Good Deal

These are just as fun to play with on a desk as they are at the playground.

Schleich Wild Life Safari Animals Baby Indian Rhinoceros Toy Figurine

Charismatic megafauna, but make it small.

Jialeey Kids Safety Craft Scissors With Decorative Edge Cutters (Set of 6)

These child-friendly scissors come in a variety of colors and can make wavy and saw-toothed cuts.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Magical Unicorn Toy to Seahorse to Peacock 31140

This LEGO set packs a lot of playtime into a tiny package with bricks that can transform into three different creatures.

‘Spot It!’ Junior Animals Card Game

A matching game that’s portable, fast-moving, and fun.

35-Piece Mini Take-Apart Animal Erasers

These erasers are “like puzzles they can put together and take apart,” says Strategist writer Lauren Ro.

Mudpuppy Emperor Penguin Mini-Puzzle, 48 Pieces, 8 by 5.75 Inches

These mini-puzzles come in a range of cute and colorful designs and are just the right size to throw into a bag for a trip or to put together at home without taking over half the dining table.

Chuckit! Ultra Squeaker Ball, Small

This squeaky ball can keep their energetic dog entertained while they’re working from home or during a day of fetch at the dog park.

Mammoth Flossy Chews Natural Cotton-Rope Dog Toy

This rope toy is perfect for teething puppies and can help floss their teeth while they play.

The Original Slinky Walking Spring-Toy Metal Slinky

Yeowww! Catnip Toy

It’s the perfect shape for them to chew on, snuggle with, and kick around.

‘The Science of Stuck’

Britt Frank’s book on the practices that can help us break the patterns that distract us from the things we want to do has been instrumental in helping me manage my ADHD. Maybe it’ll help them focus on writing that novel.


This luck-based dice game is one that Strategist contributor Steven John loves to play with his wife over a glass of wine. (It’s one that kids can join in on, too.)

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.

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


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