11 Smart Gifts $25 and Under

Amazon
Amazon

Thoughtful, useful gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money. Whether you’re delighting friends and family with small indulgences or making their lives better with practical gadgets, these under-$25 gifts are a pleasure to both give and get.

1. MAXONAR PORTABLE IPHONE FAN; $12

One of the few things your smartphone can't do is cool you down. This gadget to the rescue: It's a clip-on high-speed fan you can aim at yourself at an outdoor concert, while hiking, or on a sweltering subway platform.

Find It: Amazon

2. ANKER POWERCORE+ MINI LIPSTICK-SIZED CHARGER; $20

Anker PowerCore+ mini Lipstick-Sized Charger
Amazon

Few things are worse than a dead phone. Save your friends from that predicament with this lipstick-sized charger, which holds one full iPhone 6 charge (and about one charge for most other phones). Available in five different colors, it's easy to slip into a purse or bag, and can be recharged with the included Micro USB cable.

Find It: Amazon

3. FRED MANATEA SILICONE TEA INFUSER; $10

Fred MANATEA Silicone Tea Infuser
Amazon

Add a little joy to your loved one's morning ritual with this MANATEA infuser, constructed of food-safe silicone. Since it perches cutely on the edge of the cup, they won't have to worry about fishing it out with their fingers. If manatees aren't your thing for some reason (too adorable? too gray?), the same company offers a variety of other nautical infusers, including a deep sea diver, an octopus, and the "TEATANIC."

Find It: Amazon

4. RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS GLOWING COASTER SET; $20

Radioactive Elements Glowing Coaster Set
Amazon

Impress the chemistry geek in your life with these pressure-sensitive coasters featuring radioactive elements, which light up when you put your drink on them. Each one in the set of four features the atomic number and isotopic mass of the most stable or common isotope of the respective element. Batteries are included.

Find It: Amazon

5. LIBRARY CARD ART PRINT; $12

Library Card Art Print
Etsy

Pay tribute to your favorite reader's favorite book with one of these old-fashioned library card prints, each featuring the Dewey Decimal System number, title, author's name, and first and last lines of a treasured classic—whether it's Tolstoy or Anne of Green Gables. Choose from two sizes (5x7 or 8x10) and a wide variety of titles (or customize with your own).

Find It: Etsy

6. CERAMIC HEDGEHOG PLANTER; $15

Ceramic Hedgehog Planter
Plum & Punch

It's not every day you find a planter pretty enough to be given as a gift, but the gold accents on this hedgehog make him feel extra special. For extra fun, fill it with succulents or air plants (bonus: hard to kill!) before gifting.

Find It: Plum & Punch

7. PUBLIC DOMAIN REVIEW FINE ART PRINT; PRICES VARY

Louis Renard’s "Fish," Folio 4
Public Domain Review // Public Domain

One of the most interesting history sites on the web also has a gift shop featuring prints of public domain images, drawn from the pages of natural history, travel, ethnography, and other types of fascinating books. (This one is Louis Renard’s Fish, Folio 4, from 1719—the earliest color publication on fish.) Prices vary, but many are around $25 and can be ordered with one of an assortment of frames for an additional fee.

Find It: Public Domain Review

8. PRE DE PROVENCE BUTTERFLY SOAP GIFT SET; $12

Pre de Provence butterfly soap gift set
Pre de Provence

Soaps are an easy hit: Most people like to smell good. This pack of seven pretty shea butter-enriched guest soaps includes familiar favorites like lavender and rose, as well as more distinctive fragrances including sage and starflower. The slightly nubby texture gives them a rustic, hand-made feel that will look beautiful in a bathroom, and the scents will linger.

Find It: Pré de Provence

9. PURE VERMONT ORGANIC MAPLE SUGAR CANDY; $25

Mount Mansfield Maple Products candy
Amazon

Food purists won't be able to quibble with these: The only ingredient is pure certified organic Vermont maple syrup, formed into the shape of a maple leaf and coated with concentrated, crystallized syrup to keep it fresh. Straight from the people at Mount Mansfield Maple Products in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains, the candy is packaged in an elegant black-and-gold box and will last for 10 weeks on the shelf—assuming the giftee doesn't eat it all.

Find It: Amazon

10. CAPABUNGA REUSABLE WINE SEALERS; $13

CapaBunga Reusable Wine Sealers
Amazon

Store leftover wine without fear (even on its side) with these caps made of 100 percent silicone, which provides an airtight seal. Each cap in the set features "cheers" in a different language: "Cheers," "Prost," "Santé," and "Salut." Give it to your favorite vino-lover—one who also knows how to practice a little self-control.

Find It: Amazon

11. RAW HONEY SAMPLER; $18

Raw Honey Sampler
Etsy

Who wouldn't love these little luxuries? Eight varieties of pure raw honey, including seasonal harvests and herb-infused treats, straight from a family-run farm in Central Ohio. Aside from being tasty, raw honey is known for a host of healing benefits, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antibacterial properties.

Find It: Etsy

11 Great Gifts for Retro Gaming Fans

No Starch Press/Amazon
No Starch Press/Amazon

Video games are more realistic, expansive, and ambitious than ever, but there’s one thing that most modern titles can’t offer: a hit of nostalgia. If you’re shopping for the retro gaming enthusiast in your life, check out these 11 gift suggestions that promise to level up their holiday season.

1. Pac-Man Ghost Light Table Lamp; $30

The Pac-Man Ghost Light Table Lamp is pictured
Paladone/Amazon

Liven up a stagnant work area or nightstand with this cool LED lamp in the likeness of Pac-Man’s ghost nemesis. It can flash in a variety of different colors, and at a compact 8 inches tall, you can buy more than one to haunt your living space.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Street Fighter II Home Arcade; $245

Street Fighter II Arcade Cabinet.
ARCADE1UP/Amazon

Relive the sweaty palms and raw fingertips of your youth with this Street Fighter II arcade cabinet from Arcade1Up. The entire package is true to its classic arcade roots, with era-appropriate artwork adorning the outside and buttons and joysticks that look like they were transported right out of a '90s Pizza Hut. But this cabinet comes with a bonus: Instead of just getting Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, it also plays Street Fighter ll: The New Challengers and Street Fighter ll Turbo. If you're not in the mood for competitive play, the company also offers a retro Star Wars arcade cabinet, featuring games based on A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Level One Donkey Kong T-Shirt; $41

A Level One 'Donkey Kong' T-shirt is pictured
80sTees.com

Show off your love of arcade gaming with this cool design that depicts Mario’s earliest challenge: navigating the barrel-tossing rage of a giant ape.

Buy It: 80sTees.com

4. Playstation Coasters; $12

A set of four Playstation coasters is pictured
Paladone/Amazon

Keep beverage stains off your gaming-adjacent furniture with this set of four coasters depicting classic Playstation controller buttons.

Buy It: Amazon

5. SEGA Genesis Mini-Console: $79

Sega Mini Classic System.
Sega/Amazon

Flash back to the Genesis era with this retro console that features over 40 games from SEGA’s heyday, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, and Virtua Fighter. The system also features a port of the arcade version of Tetris, which never actually made its way to the original Genesis.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Sock It to Me Retro Gaming Socks; $11

Sock It to Me Retro Gaming Socks are pictured
Sock It To Me/Amazon

Keep it professional in a suit but game on underneath with these dress socks featuring iconic game controllers from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony.

Buy It: Amazon

7. The Game Console: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox; $19


No Starch Press/Amazon

Take in a photographic history of gaming consoles, from the vintage devices of the ‘70s like the Magnavox Odyssey on through Nintendo’s reign and the emergence of Sony and Microsoft. In all, 86 consoles are on display, ending with the era of the PS4 and Wii U.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Nintendo Super Mario Bowser Vs. Mario 3-Pack Diorama; $26

A Nintendo Super Mario and Bowser diorama is pictured
World of Nintendo/Amazon

Let other people display fine art. You can show off this diorama depicting the biggest rivalry in retro gaming between Mario and Bowser. You'll also get a Bob-Omb figurine, just in case you want to recreate one of the duo's video game battles.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Playstation Wallet; $25

A Playstation wallet is pictured
SONY PlayStation/Amazon

Keep your cards and cash in one place with this Playstation-shaped wallet. There's even a button-snap opening in the shape of the system's disc tray.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Pong Shirt; $38

A 'Pong' T-shirt is pictured
80sTees.com

Go so retro that Millennials won’t even know what you’re referencing with this nod to the popular game Pong.

Buy It: 80sTees.com

11. The Legend of Zelda Ugly Christmas Sweater; $39

Legend of Zelda Ugly Christmas Sweater
Nintendo/Amazon

It may call itself ugly, but those pixelated images of Link from Legend of Zelda are nothing but gorgeous to retro gamers. There's also a Mario version, if the portly Italian plumber is more your style.

Buy It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Hallmark Released Some Adorable Harry Potter Ornaments—Just In Time for Christmas

Amazon
Amazon

Even if you never received your letter of acceptance to Hogwarts on your 11th birthday, you can still add some magic to your Christmas tree this year with some Harry Potter Christmas ornaments from Hallmark. These pieces have more of a minimalist style than Hallmark's other Potter releases, which are modeled to look identical to the characters' movie counterparts. But with that simplicity comes a unique charm that is sure to be popular with Potterheads.

Shoppers can look for seven different ornaments, which include Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in mid-flight, as well as Hedwig, the Sorting Hat, Dobby, and the Hogwarts Crest. Each one comes with a hanger, so is ready to be put on your Christmas tree as soon as its out of the packaging. You can find each one for $9 on Amazon—though be forewarned that Harry is currently out of stock (but you can find an equally adorable replacement Potter for $8).

If you can’t get enough wizarding gifts this holiday season, then check out our Harry Potter gift guide, which includes everything from magical cookbooks to chess sets.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER