My best comprehensive list for reasonably priced, practical gifts

November 07, 2022

I'm a gal who loves to give and receive gifts, but now more than ever I'm looking for practical, inexpensive, useful, clutter free gifts. Consumables are great to give; think champagne, lotto scratchers, candles, fancy baking mixes, and exotic jars of jam or honey, but I also love to surprise friends and family with supremely practical gifts they will love to use. 

Opening our stockings on Christmas morning is a big treat in our home. Each person is responsible for putting two items into each stocking and while we don't have a price limit, it's unspoken that they are supposed to be inexpensive. My son tends to give candy bars and my husband is fond of gifting lotto scratchers. My mother used to give toothpaste and floss and my daughter loves to give makeup and personal care items. My specialty is finding that quirky useful item. One year I gave batteries and scotch tape! Many of these items are appropriate for hostess gifts and a few are meant for more special under-the-tree gifts. I own, use and love every single thing on this list. Some you’ll find quirky but I think you'll love what I've come up with. All prices are accurate on posting day, but may change.

Are you ready to gift something that's a little bit out of the ordinary? Here ya go!

For the Cook

Missolo Oil Mister when you just want a spritz of oil. I use this every time I cook to lightly coat the pan or veggies or meat before I fry or roast. Whenever you want olive oil, but don't want a glug of it, this mister is perfect. When it's empty I pop it in the dishwasher before I refill. One year a friend gave this to me as a Christmas present and I'm forever grateful. $9.39 Also good for vinegar or soy sauce.

Danish Dough Whisk. I bought mine a few years ago when I was visiting Solvang, a little Danish town in Southern California. I haven't used my french whisk since and may give it away. I think you'll love this Danish whisk. Here is a selection on Amazon and they are generally under $10. 

These Skinny spatulas  are essential for getting out every little bit from little bottles with small openings--makeup, lotion and other skinny bottles. Keep one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen so you can use up every last drop. Set of 4, $5.69

Wooden citrus squeezer/reamer. Reject the rest, this old style is the best. $8.29

The best lemon zester by far. From OXO,  $10.99   A word about lemon zest and juice--maybe it's because I live in California where citrus is abundant, but just a tiny bit of fresh juice or zest can really elevate and brighten a dish. 

I love these Collapsable funnels--they are so easy to store and have sizes you'll use. Doubles as a bath toy! Set of 4, $6.99

The Original Vidalia Chop Wizard. I use mine several times a week and feel I can't live without it. Pass over the the bigger, fancier ones; I've tried a few of those and always come back to this simple, original chopper. Why? Because it's easy to use and easy to clean. I received my first one as a hostess gift quite a few years ago and I have to say, maybe the best hostess gift ever! And if you ever want a five year old to help you in the kitchen, just pull this out.  $22.95 

This Zylis tomato knife works wonders on any tomato or soft skinned fruit or veg. I use mine daily. $12.99

Taco Holders, set of 6, $12.99  Buying taco holders was a lark for me because we had a taco party this summer, but now it's something we wouldn't give up. Who knew that taco holders would make us so happy on Taco Night! Last night we had tacos and for the umpteenth time we told each other how much we love our taco holders. It's the little things.

The Magic Eraser. These really are magic! Set of 6, $5.17  For the doubters who really don't believe this truly is magic, stick one in their stocking and they will become believers.

Bamboo Scrubbers--Save your nails and scrub the pot at the same time. A real game changer in the kitchen. Set of 3, $13.99

Great for Men and Women

Police ID Roller. $14.99 Shred no more! Even if you have gone mostly paperless, there are still papers with information you'd rather not get into the wrong hands. A home office essential. Buy a set of six, save money and put one in everyone's stocking. 

Alexa Echo Show. We have Echo Dots around the house, but I have an Alexa with a video screen in the kitchen. She's my buddy. While cooking I've watched endless Fruity Knitting episodes, but also love to watch anything Jane Austen or catch up with Extraordinary Attorney Woo because she'll play anything from my Prime or Netflix accounts.  If I'm cooking Italian food, she'll play Italian Opera. If I'm making a French dish, she'll play some Edith Piaf. All I have to do is ask. We use our Alexa mostly for alarms, reminders, music and to answer questions, but the one in my kitchen with a screen is my favorite. Oh, another fun feature is she'll give you step-by-step recipes. We received ours as a gift years ago from our kids. We wouldn't want to live without her now. On sale at this time for $34.99. You might want to give it to YOU. See all the Alexa devices here.

My favorite rechargeable household lighter. This was in my stocking one year and is now a favorite gift to give. Do you own one yet? It's a total game changer.   $7.99

Flip It Bottle Emptying Caps  is something you didn't know you needed, but you do. It's genius. Get every last bit of lotion, etc. from all sorts of bottles, even pump bottles. You'll love it. Buy a set of six and put in everyone's stocking, or buy a set of two and give one away. It says it fits most bottles, but I haven't found a bottle it didn't fit. Two for $16, six for $25. 

Let's help out the squinters in our lives. It feels like quite a luxury to have a set of 4 new reading glasses. One for the car, one on the desk, one by your favorite chair and one in your purse. Four for $12.99

We were gifted a set of solar powered tiki torches and loved them so much we promptly purchased another set. They are well priced, realistic and fabulous looking in the garden. Sold in packs of 2-8 and prices vary by the the amount you buy. This is a great gift for people who love dining in their garden. Flameless and safe, and totally cool looking.

Fabulous stocking stuffer! I keep one in my purse and one in the car at all times. Long lasting and non greasy, Coppertone Stick Sunscreen $10.92

Fingertip blood and oxygen monitor. Sounds like a funny gift but it's a thoughtful item for the seniors in your life. One week after we bought this, it was helpful in getting essential medical help for a loved one. You never know. $14.99

My Everyday Makeup

I use these items daily in this order:

Roc Retinol Deep Wrinkle Daily Sunscreen. I've been using this for years and purchase 3 at a time. Each one will last me about two months. 30 SPF, priced at $59.91 for 3

ELF Poreless Face Primer. One tiny squirt creates a very beautiful foundation for makeup but it can be used alone. $11.03

Boomstick--Color glides on easily. For cheeks, lips and eyelids too. I use the plain color, not the glimmer. $28 for one, but it lasts quite a while.

ELF Finishing Powder At $3 can you believe this is my favorite powder? I subscribed to Amazon auto send, once a month. It's translucent and rests lightly on the skin and never looks cakey. Use with a makeup brush.

Chapstick Total Hydration, one for $5.78. A great stocking stuffer. I use this throughout the day and always have several going--I keep one in my purse, one in the kitchen drawer, and well, they are just all over my house! It adds a tiny bit of color and also hydrates.

For Kids or Entire Family

I looked at this marbling set for my grandson but it says age 6 and up and I think I will wait until next year. I would have loved this when I was young. Marbling Kit$19.97

My grandson will be receiving this on Christmas morning and I can't wait to play it with him! Candyland, age 3 and up, $11.99

Acrylic Paint Set is the perfect gift for the crafty kid or family. My heart would have flipped if I had been gifted this set as a kid. Set of 16 for $15.99

150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids.  No doubt about it, my 5 year old grandson's favorite book.  This is an ideal gift for the whole family and also great for grandparents with visiting children. This book has provided our family with hours and hours of fun. $12.29

First Orchard by Haba is a cooperative family game in which the players team together to beat the ravenous raven. You win as a team or lose as a team so it's perfect for little ones who are learning how to be a good sport. There are some elementary strategies that children can employ as they get older. A certain 5 year old thinks it's terribly exciting and I love the beautiful wooden fruits! $29.99

Making Pom Poms is great fun for kids and adults. I have a set and would have loved one when I was young.  Pom Pom Maker, $7.29 for a set of 4 different sizes. 

I hope you enjoyed reading my favorite budget minded practical gifts that are good for stocking stuffers too. I had fun putting it together.

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  1. Thank you for compiling this list. This post is timely because we are really struggling stretching our dollar. I love your family gifts but have also found quite a few things I want for myself! It's such a good idea to give practical hostess gifts and really, any gift for that matter should be practical.

  2. Thank you for these suggestions. We also do stockings. We are all adults here but I purchased a Candy Land game last Christmas. We had one as a child.. We still enjoy playing the game. Would have loved the acrylic paint set.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  3. Thanks, Kristen, bought a couple already. Love the idea of the skinny spatulas and I might ask for these for my stocking. Chloe


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