The 16 Best Gifts We've Ever Received for Under $30

 L’Occitane / Le Creuset / Mountaineer / Amazon
L’Occitane / Le Creuset / Mountaineer / Amazon

We've all had the overwhelming sense of dread that only comes when you finish holiday shopping and realize just how much money you've spent. But buying presents doesn't always have to drain your wallet. That's why we thought back to some of the best gifts we've ever received for under $30 and compiled them here, so you can get your loved one (or yourself) a gift they'll remember, without wearing out your bank account in the process. Whether you're looking for kitchenware, cosmetics, socks, or something in between, we think you'll find something on this list that the recipient will love just as much as we did.

1. Le Creuset Mini Cocotte; $26

Le Creuset pot
Le Creuset / Amazon

I love everything Le Creuset makes—even when it's not big enough to fit my dinner. This 8-ounce cocotte my mom bought me for Christmas last year has the stunning glazed enamel design of the rest of Le Creuset's stoneware line, and it's strong enough to withstand a range of temperatures. But instead of cooking casseroles, I use it to bake eggs and soufflés for one. —Michele Debczak, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

2. L’Occitane Almond Hand & Nail Cream; $12

L’Occitane hand cream
L’Occitane / Amazon

I don't spend a ton of money on cosmetics, but some of my favorite gifts to receive are fancy beauty products. The design of L’Occitane's hand cream tube, which a friend gifted me in 2017, makes me want to carry them with me wherever I go—which is nonnegotiable during the winter months. Plus, the scent and silky-smooth texture of their almond moisturizer makes me feel luxurious whenever I use it. —MD

Buy it: Amazon

3. Eparé Double-Wall Glass Coffee Mugs; $25

Eparé coffee cups
Eparé / Amazon

I'm not keen on sipping out of a Thermos all day, so these Eparé double-wall glass mugs from my sister have been a blessing. They keep coffee much warmer than a conventional ceramic mug and look great while doing it. —Jake Rossen, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

4. Vbiger Winter Gloves; $4–$16

Vbiger gloves
Vbiger / Amazon

Gloves are necessary to prevent your hands from falling off in the northeast winters, but bulky mittens are always a hassle. These gloves have a tight fit while protecting you from Hoth-like blasts. And their surface allows you to grip things like wallets and ice scrapers without letting them plummet into the snow. Dad made a good choice. —JR

Buy it: Amazon

5. Moonster Leather Notebook; $23

Moonster leather journal
Moonster / Amazon

An all-purpose clearinghouse for anything on your mind, the Moonster has pages of unlined paper that are all wrapped in a real leather case, making even your shopping lists look like ancient and sacred texts. A gift from a friend, who read me perfectly. —JR

Buy it: Amazon

6. Kikkerland Travel-Size Laundry Bag; $7

Laundry bag
Kikkerland / Amazon

Ever have to scrounge for a plastic bag once you get to your destination just so you have something to hold your dirty laundry? These cute-but-durable travel-size laundry bags fold up into a pouch, making them a space-saving, yet classy, option for your suitcase. —Bess Lovejoy, Staff Editor

Buy it: Amazon

7. Zero Waste Cap; $10

No-waste cap
Novum / Amazon

It's annoying to pay money for nice personal care products only to feel like you're wasting several applications at the end of the bottle. This Zero Waste cap helps you get everything out, which also makes it easier to rinse and recycle the bottle when you're done. —BL

Buy it: Amazon

8. Moso Natural Shoe Deodorizer Bags; $10

Shoe deodorizers
Moso Natural / Amazon

Because stinky shoes plague just about everyone who wears them, here are chemical-free bags of activated charcoal that will miraculously remove odors from your footwear without leaving behind any residue or fragrance. —Ellen Gutoskey, Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

9. Magnetic Poetry Kit: Mixed-Up Movie Lines; Starting at $12

Magnetic poetry game
Magnetic Poetry / Amazon

This Magnetic Poetry Kit splits Hollywood’s most iconic lines into smaller words and phrases, so you can create hilarious mash-ups between Star Wars, Gone With the Wind, Airplane!, and many more of your favorite movies. —EG

Buy it: Amazon

10. Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasoning; $13

Kernal Season's
Kernal Season's / Amazon

Any popcorn addict will love an opportunity to season their favorite snack with a different flavor every night, and there’s no rule that says these can only be used on popcorn—they’re also great on eggs, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and pretty much every other food, too. —EG

Buy it: Amazon

11. Karribi Paint-By-Numbers Kit; $26

Paint by number

I love to paint, but I'm not a great draftsperson, which is why I crave paint-by-numbers kits. Last summer my GF bought me the one in the middle of the above photo. The kit contains a stretched canvas, small and medium brushes, acrylic colors, and many, many tiny pots for keeping extra paints from drying out. When you're done painting, you'll have a chic new masterpiece for your walls. —Kat Long, Science Editor

Buy it: Amazon

12. Uniqlo Heattech Knee Socks; $13

Knee-high socks

Out: needlessly cold shins. In: These knee socks from Uniqlo, with cozy Heattech technology to keep legs toasty in frosty weather. (My GF got them for me after hearing me complain about chilly legs too many times.) I layer them under jeans and pants to keep out the chill, and they stay up without squeezing my calves too tight.—KL

Buy it: Uniqlo

13. Soxnet Eco Friendly Heavy Weight Recyled Cotton Thermals Boot Socks; $12–$14

Warm socks
Soxnet/ Amazon

One of my biggest sources of pride in life is my sock collection. Depending on the day (and my mood), I can be seen in socks with pictures of Pikachu, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, or Bill Clinton on them. I even have two pairs decorated with the face of my cat, Freddie. But in terms of pure foot bliss, I reach for these simple socks from Soxnet made of recycled cotton that I got from my mom a few Christmases back. They’re tough and durable, but have somehow stayed perfectly soft for three years. And in the winter, they’re ideal for going in a pair of boots. My favorite thing about them, though, is that they can also double as quasi-slippers to just lounge around the house in. I always say that they would be on my list of possessions to save from an apartment fire. People laugh—but if you know me, you know I don’t joke about socks. —Jay Serafino, Special Projects Editor

Buy it: Amazon

14. Mountaineer Brand Beard Wash (Citrus & Spice Scent); $14

Mountaineer beard care
Mountaineer Brand / Amazon

What I lack in a traditional head of hair I more than make up for with a suitably dense winter beard. Because of that, I get a lot—and I mean a lot—of beard accessories as gifts every year. And working in media, I get even more sent to me by companies from all over. But when my brother got me this beard wash by Mountaineer Brand a few years ago, I finally found the one brand I always need to have in my apartment. It leaves my beard noticeably softer and a bit more full of life, and it even helps fight the good fight against drying out in the unforgiving cold. An 8-ounce bottle will only set you back around $13, and because you don’t really need a whole lot when you use it, it’ll last you a while. —JS

Buy it: Amazon

15. Seville Adjustable Bamboo Spice Rack; $16

Spice rack
Seville / Amazon

I love to cook, and over time, I’ve built up a pretty decent-size spice collection. But sometimes I forget to measure out spices ahead of time, which means fumbling around in the cabinet trying to find the right jar. But last Christmas, my boyfriend got me this spice rack. The Seville makes it so the jars are organized and easy to spot if I need to quickly grab one. And if you’re like me and never measure things ahead of time (even though you probably should), it's adjustable so it can fit in a variety of cabinet sizes. —Kristen Richard, Associate Editor

Buy it: Amazon

16. Running Belt; $20

Spibelt for running
SPIbelt / Amazon

If you run, you know holding your keys, phone, and anything else you may need can be a major pain. But three years ago on my birthday, my mom got me one of these belts. It's like a smaller take on a fanny pack, but it holds everything I need and fits neatly under my shirt so it's not even visible. I've also used it as a secure place to lock up my passport while traveling. —KR

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!

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon


As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

This 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Honors 11 Unforgettable Women Who Made History

You can plot your own plan to make history while you assemble the puzzle.
You can plot your own plan to make history while you assemble the puzzle.

The assertion that “well-behaved women seldom make history” has been an oft-quoted feminist slogan ever since historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich first wrote it in the 1970s. This 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle from Galison ($18) honors women from all eras who truly embody the phrase.

The image, illustrated by creative designer Ana San José, depicts a woman walking through a portrait gallery, gazing up at gilt-framed paintings of 11 icons who have pushed the envelope on what society thinks women can (or should) do. Some, like Amelia Earhart and Jane Austen, are household names, while others haven’t been as well-represented in education and popular culture. Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei, for example, became the first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest in 1975; and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson was instrumental in sending astronauts to the Moon. The puzzle includes a living legend, too: Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education activist and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history.

herstory museum 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle
Not a single well-behaved woman in sight.

The completed puzzle measures 27 inches by 20 inches and comes with a printout showing the full image, which you can use as a guide. The pieces are printed with no-glare ink, so you won’t have to constantly reposition yourself (or the pieces) to keep your light source from obscuring your view. And when you’re finished, you can either pack the puzzle back into its box, or seal it with puzzle glue ($13) and hang it on a wall to create your very own mini feminist portrait gallery.

You can purchase the puzzle for $18 from Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.