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

L’Occitane / Le Creuset / Mountaineer / Amazon
L’Occitane / Le Creuset / Mountaineer / Amazon / L’Occitane / Le Creuset / Mountaineer / Amazon
This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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

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

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

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 / 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 / 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


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


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

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 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

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 / 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!