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7 Budget Gifts That Don't Seem Cheap

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The holidays are great: You probably get some days off work. There is usually tasty dip at parties. You can gaze out a snow-rimmed window as a fire crackles in the background.

Unless you are Leonardo DiCaprio, who model-boned his way to a plane of permanent bliss and can never be stressed by the celebrations of mere mortals, the holidays can also a fraught time, because you're supposed to buy loved ones gifts and gifts cost money and are hard to pick out. Don't worry! You can buy your people cool stuff that costs some money, but not all money. I understand the desire to save some dough but also not buy someone a used Amazon Fire Phone* well.


Here are some budget-friendly options that'll make people happy over the holidays without murdering your budget:

Roku Streaming Stick


This is a good one for parents frustrated by cable but unwilling to just watch stuff on their laptop in the grand Millennial tradition. Roku makes the best streaming devices, and the Roku Streaming Stick is a solid budget option. It's easy as hell to set up (just stick it in the HDMI slot in the back of your TV) and has over 1,000 more channels to be disappointed by. $50 [Amazon]

Google Cardboard Kit

When Google debuted its charming, low-budget cardboard VR set-up at I/O, it almost seemed like it could have been joke. But the DIY virtual reality set-up worked, and now Google Cardboard has its own app section in the Google Play store. There are a variety of third party companies offering pre-made Cardboard kits. Dodocase does them especially well. If you can't splurge on an Oculus kit, this is a fun gift for someone interested in VR. $25 [Dodocase]

Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphones


Monoprice's $7 earbuds are a rad stocking stuffer and cheap as hell. They have the sound quality of much more expensive earbuds, and come with a few different rubber eartip sizes. You even have your choice of color: Black, pink, silver, or white. $7 [Monoprice]

Kindle Paperwhite


The Kindle Paperwhite isn't Amazon's flashiest ereader, but it is one of the best deals. The screen is beautiful and resembles paper in a way that tablet screens cannot. It doesn't have the full capabilities that the more-expensive Fire tablets have, but if your loved one loves to read, it's still a terrific gift. $120 [Amazon]

Misfit Flash


This flexible, affordable plastic band is the perfect entry-level fitness tracker. The battery lasts six months, it's waterproof, and the interface is minimalist and easy-to-use. In addition to measuring steps, calories burned, and distance, it also doubles as a sleep tracker. $50 [Misfit]

AR Jingle Balls Wireless Ornament Bluetooth Speaker


I am mostly opposed to giving people ornaments as a Christmas gift because by the time you give them the window for enjoying them that year has narrowed considerably, and by the time they get whipped out the following holiday, the novelty is gone.

The AR Jingle Balls is an exception because it will make your Christmas tree play Christmas music, and that is a gift that keeps on giving. $18 [Lowes]


UDI U839 Mini Drone


This miniscule drone looks like a ton of fun. Look at it! It's so small! Screw big drones. If you know someone who liked playing with remote-control helicopters or cars growing up, they're going to love this. Hell, if you know someone who enjoys fun, they will enjoy flying this thing around. It's a little challenging to control, but resilient.

I've never thought of a drone as cute until I saw this lil guy. $30 [Amazon]

*Only buy your enemies used Amazon Fire phones.

Still haven't found the right present? Don't worry, we're rolling out new gift guides all month—right up until the last minute. To see 'em all, head here.