10 Thoughtful Gifts Under $25

iStock/monkeybusinessimages
iStock/monkeybusinessimages

Whether you’re searching for last-minute gifts, in need of a few stocking stuffers, or just frugal and proud of it, let our guide to gifts under $25 help you find the right surprises for everyone on your list.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we 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!

1. Good + Well Supply Co. National Park Candle

Good + Well Supply Co National Park candle in Redwood
Good + Well Supply Co.

Now you can share the beauty of our national parks in candle form: Good + Well Supply Co. has created 20 evocative scents that will stir your sense of adventure. Try Acadia’s sea salt, dunes, and driftwood, Olympic’s red cedar, oak moss, and earth, Rocky Mountain’s juniper berry, peppercorn, and spices, and more luscious fragrances.

Find It at Good & Well Supply Co. for $24 and also at these other retailers:

2. Stirrings Craft Cocktail Bar Ingredient Set

Stirrings craft cocktail bar ingredient set
Patrick Gibbons

Your giftee can craft pro-quality cocktails with this trio of tasty mixers. The set includes 12-ounce bottles of blood orange bitters, simple syrup, and authentic grenadine for making manhattans, whiskey sours, tequila sunrises, and more (recipes are right on the labels).

Find it at Stirrings for $15.

3. The Public Domain Review Selected Essays, Vol. V

Public Domain Review Selected Essays Vol. 5 jacket image
Public Domain Review

With a cover drawn from a lithograph by 19th-century naturalist Ernst Haeckel, this 208-page illustrated collection brings together essays about narcoleptic walruses, witches, death masks, and other obscure topics, all inspired by works in the public domain. Volumes I through IV are also available and just as thought-provoking.

Find It at Public Domain Review for $20.

4. Kuhn Rikon Click n’ Curl Spiralizer Set

Kuhn Rikon click n' curl spiralizer on Amazon
Amazon

This space-saving kitchen gadget will help your giftee keep a New Year’s resolution to eat fewer carbs. Pick a peeler—toothed blade for spirals, smooth blade for ribbons—and snap on the large or small cone. Then, just twist a chosen veggie (we tried zucchinis) against the cone to make veggie noodles or ribbons for salads, stir-frys, and more.

Find It at Amazon for $18.

5. Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans

Harry Potter Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans from Jelly Belly
Jelly Belly

Harry Potter’s fave candy makes a perfect stocking stuffer—but beware of the truly gross flavors mingling with the standard sweets. Among the tutti-frutti, watermelon, and cherry beans, you might find those redolent of earwax, dirt, or vomit. Delicious!

Find It at Jelly Belly for $3 and up.

6. Hubble Space Telescope 2019 Wall Calendar

Hubble Space Telescope 2019 wall calendar on Amazon
Amazon

Time and space come together in this wall calendar, which features actual images snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope far beyond Earth's orbit. The 16-month layout includes 12 incredible photos of the Bubble Nebula, Jupiter’s moon Io passing in front of the planet, the birth of a star in the constellation Cygnus, a swirling pair of interacting galaxies, and many more.

Find It at Amazon for $12 and also at these other retailers:

7. Creature Cups Lobster Mug

Creature Cups lobster mug on Etsy
Creature Cups

Filled with coffee or hot cocoa, this glazed, handmade mug might look like others from your kitchen cabinet. As you drink the beverage, a double-clawed lobster appears out of the murk. Other colors and creatures—including manatees, spiders, unicorns, and French bulldogs—are also available, and each is dishwasher- and microwave-safe.

Find It at Etsy for $18.

8. Rifle Paper Co. Art Prints

Rifle Paper Co. art print by Ann Bond
Rifle Paper Co.

Know someone who’s redecorating, or a friend who just moved apartments? Rifle Paper Co.’s affordable art prints make great housewarming-slash-holiday gifts. Based on original paintings from artist Anna Bond, the collection includes a series for virtually anyone on your list: favorite cities, floral designs, reimagined vintage travel posters, birds, inspirational quotes from great thinkers, and much more, all illustrated in Bond’s colorful style.

Find It at Rifle Paper Co. for $24 each.

9. Effin’ Birds Playing Cards

Effin' Birds poker deck playing cards
Effin' Birds

Audubon probably never pictured his painting of an Eastern bluebird chirping “Keep it in your pants,” nor did ornithologist Thomas Bewick imagine his regal hawk calling out “Eat farts!” from on high. Effin’ Birds features those mashups (plus many with more profane sayings) in this delightfully coarse poker deck.

Find It at effinbirds.com for $20.

10. Native Union Belt Cable

Native Union BELT charging cable
Native Union

Hate tangled cords? This stylish 4-foot charging cable loops up neatly in its integrated leather belt, so your gift recipient will never have to undo snarls. The BELT cable is available in a variety of earthy tones for Apple Lightning (marine, taupe, zebra, cosmos, and rose) and USB-C (zebra, marine, and taupe).

Find It at Amazon for $25 and also at these other retailers:

11 Gifts for the Curious Kids in Your Life

The Play Gym by Lovevery
The Play Gym by Lovevery

No matter their age, you want to find gifts that will keep the kids in your life entertained, stimulated, and give them a sense of accomplishment—even during playtime. Luckily, these 11 gifts will do all of that, and will encourage their curiosity to grow.

1. The Play Gym by Lovevery; $140

Baby playset
Lovevery / Amazon

Specially designed by experts to stimulate infants for their first year, this play mat grows with your favorite baby. It has five developmental zones and multiple activities—like teethers, mirrors, and colorful flash cards. And, when baby becomes a toddler, the mat converts into a tent fort for further imaginative play.

Find It: Amazon

2. Real Insect Superpowers Comic Book; $18

Follow the adventures of the Supersonic Assassin, the Malevolent Mimic, and other insect superheroes as they smash, zap, hypnotize, and sting in this 88-page book that's part comic, part nature encyclopedia.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

3. Droid Inventor Kit; $100

This is definitely the droid you’re looking for. Recommended for kids in grades eight years and up, this customizable robot comes with an app that defines more than 22 missions as well as easy block-based coding activities. And for any Star Wars fans, the Droid makes 20 different sounds, just like from the movies

Find It: Amazon

4. Solar System Chalk; $40

Solar system chalk
Uncommon Goods

This nine-piece chalk set features all the planets in the solar system, along with Pluto. Each piece has multiple colors, which represent the planets' cores, layers, and crusts. And for each set sold, $2 will be donated to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to support autism research.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. Jr. NASA Rocket Scientist Lab Coat; $20

Jr. NASA coat
Aeromax / Amazon

Get kids excited about science early with this lab coat, which comes in sizes for boys and girls. Alongside three pockets, the jacket also has the NASA logo and the words “Rocket Scientist.” When your astronaut-in-training is done playing, the coat can be tossed in the washing machine.

Find It: Amazon

6. 3Doodler 3D Pen Set; $50

This wireless pen allows kids to freestyle draw in the air—the eco-plastic filament cools in place quickly, giving kids plenty of practice with spatial reasoning without the costs of a full 3D printer.

Find It: Amazon

7. Giant Coloring Poster; $19

Giant coloring poster
O'Kroshka / Amazon

If your kid is going to color on the wall, you may as well give them a designated place to do so. Children can use pencils, markers, and paints on this 33''x 45'' poster that depicts all types of animals in a zoo. This gift will not only encourage creative expression, but it can also help kids work on their motor skills.

Find It: Amazon

8. Root-Vue Farm; $39

A little girl poses behind the Root Vue farm
Young Explorers

Whether they join FFA or not, kids can get a head start on understanding horticulture with this indoor garden system. Plant the included seeds—for carrots, radishes, and onions—and watch them obsess over the underground view of their harvest.

Find It: Amazon

9. Geosafari Jr. Kidnoculars; $9

Kid-proof and specially designed for tiny hands and faces, these binoculars can help preschoolers get to know the world around them. Play a game like “I Spy” and have them find squirrels in trees, clouds in the sky, or all those Cheerios they spilled behind their bed.

Find It: Amazon

10. Dimpl Baby and Toddler Learning Toy; $13

This brightly colored sensory toy holds a young one's attention with 100% food-grade silicone bubbles they can press and poke—perfect for keeping kids occupied in a stroller or car.

Find It: Target

11. Otamatone; $30

The face on this highly kawaii ribbon synthesizer is made of rubber, and by manipulating it with one hand you can make cool sounds (the other hand controls the pitch along the ribbon controller). With a bit of practice, you can even play real music—check out this entertaining cover of "Take On Me."

Find It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we 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!

The New York Times's Latest Book on Travel Will Help You Plan the Perfect Weekend Getaway

TASCHEN
TASCHEN

Getting a full sense of a new city while traveling can be tough—especially if you only have a weekend to explore it. But since 2002, The New York Times’s "36 Hours" column has been breaking down destinations all over the world into bite-size pieces, allowing travelers to see the big attractions while still experiencing the city like a local. Now, you can get the best of the column's North American destinations with the fully updated and revised edition of 36 Hours: USA & Canada for $40 at TASCHEN or on Amazon.

Even if you have the original, it’s worth purchasing this updated copy, as this version features 33 new itineraries from Anchorage, Alaska; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Miami; Oakland, California; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and many more.

36 Hours: USA & Canda from the New York Times
TASCHEN

The 752-page book also offers more than 5400 hours of travel itineraries, 600 restaurants to dine at, and 450 hotel options. Each city featured includes a brief history, a list of popular destinations, and tips on how to experience it all like a local. For example, the New Orleans guide encourages travelers to start at the French 75 Bar for happy hour and order a Sazerac, a cocktail close to an Old-Fashioned that's a local favorite. Whereas the Miami guide takes you to the Buena Vista Deli, a bistro known for its take on classic French dishes. The travel book also features detailed city maps that pinpoint all the stops, and it's accompanied by nearly 1000 photographs.

Once you've picked your destination, check out some tips on how to craft the perfect itinerary.

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!

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