The Best Gifts Between $50-$250 To Give This Holiday Season

Patrick Lucas Austin

It’s the holiday season, and you’re likely looking for some great gifts for your family, friends, significant other and so on. If you’re hunting for options in the $50-250 range, these are some of our favorite gadgets, games, and services (doggy DNA tests, anyone?) to gift someone this year.

Embark Dog DNA Test Kit

Many animal lovers prefer to rescue dogs from shelters rather than shell out for a purebred. Now, adopted dogs can trade in their “mutt” moniker for something far more precise. Through Embark, a doggy DNA test kit, a simple cheek swab revealed that our toast-colored rescue dog Fawn was not a mini Golden Retriever, as we had suspected. Instead, she’s a surprising blend of about 10 different breeds: 16.8% Chow Chow, 16.3% Cocker Spaniel, 14.9% German Shepherd and more. Embark also tests for certain health conditions and offers to connect pups who are genetically related, arming pet lovers with more knowledge about their companions. ($199, Embark) — Mandy Oaklander

Rothy’s Shoes

Rothy’s makes the rare “it” shoe that’s actually comfortable and stylish. These flats’ flexible knit outsole makes them a blister-free (and machine-washable) choice for commuters and kids alike, while their classic designs and wide range of colors and patterns promise a worthy addition to any wardrobe. The cherry on top? Each pair is sustainably made using recycled plastic water bottles, vegan and non-toxic adhesives and foam from other recycled shoes. (From $125 for adults and $65 for kids, rothys.com) — Jamie Ducharme

Monoprice Sous Vide

Sous Vide cooking is all the rage, and rightfully so. The process, wherein cooks put food in a plastic bag, dunk it in water and heat the water around it, can result in far better meals than with typical cooking methods. Get the home chef on your list a Monoprice Sous Vide, one of the most-recommended models, and they won’t be disappointed. Just make sure they invite you over to dinner as a thank-you. ($80, Amazon) — Alex Fitzpatrick

Google Home Hub

Google’s Home Hub is a perfect gift for someone new or just getting started with smart home gadgets. A smart speaker with a screen, it can show YouTube videos (like cooking instructions), the weather forecast or display your favorite photos. It’s also voice-controlled, making it a handy kitchen assistant. ($149, Google) — Patrick Lucas Austin

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

With the Harry Potter Coding Kit from Kano, kids can assemble and program their own wand while tackling challenges set in the Potterverse. It’s the perfect STEM gift for kids who love all things Potter. ($80, Amazon) — Patrick Lucas Austin

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

Like vinyl records and denim jackets, instant film is suddenly cool again. Fujifilm makes some of the best instant cameras around, including the Mini 90, which uses the company’s popular and easy-to-find Instax film. It’s beginner friendly but has options for more “serious” instant photographers too, like a double exposure mode that produces creative results. ($120, Amazon) — Alex Fitzpatrick

Philips Hue Lights

Philips and its Hue smart home lights are compatible with every voice assistant, and feature a variety of styles, price points, and extra features that let users customize the colorful LED bulbs. They even connect with Siri and other digital assistants for voice-activated controls. ($90, Amazon) — Patrick Lucas Austin

Beasts of Balance

It’s 2018. Ditch the Jenga and gift someone Beasts of Balance, which uses stackable animal figurines, cards, and a companion app to encourage both cooperative and competitive play. ($100, Amazon) — Patrick Lucas Austin

Anker PowerCore+ 20100

The gift of power when someone needs it is always appreciated. Anker’s PowerCore+ 20100 gives users more than enough juice to recharge their smartphone a few times over, and can charge the notoriously finicky Nintendo Switch without issue. ($70, Amazon) — Patrick Lucas Austin

Photobook of the Month Club

Got a photographer who’s serious about their hobby on your shopping list? Ignore all those lenses and tripods they want and get them a subscription to Charcoal’s Photobook of the Month Club instead. They’ll get a curated selection of the latest and greatest photography books across a variety of genres, a far better gift than new gear to help inspire up-and-coming shutterbugs’ creative streak. ($180 for three months, CharcoalBookClub.com) — Alex Fitzpatrick