Thoughtful Gifts That Mean Much More Than They Cost

Sarah Kollmorgen

Expert gift givers know that finding the perfect present is an art. It takes more than one trip to your local boutique and a few hours browsing Etsy before you find that one thoughtful gift for him or her you know will really catch your giftee off guard. Of course, gift givers know seeing that extra spark of surprise in someone’s eyes when they unwrap your gift makes the extra effort worth it.

Finding the ultimate gift is all about cultivating a balance of thoughtfulness, occasion and budget. Nail those three categories, and you’re sure to go down in gift-giving history, regaled during holidays to come.

Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out for tickets to “Hamilton” or a 5-carat piece of jewelry to show you care. You do, of course, have to put a little bit of elbow-grease into thinking about what exactly your gift recipient will find meaningful.

To take some of the stress out of shopping this holiday season, we’ve compiled a short list of thoughtful gifts for friends, family and loved ones all under $50. But remember: It’s ultimately up to you to personalize and make these gifts extra special.

And FYI, HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

1 A whimsical portrait of the giftee’s pet.

(Etsy / GoatLucky)

Pet parents will love these custom portraits, which can be customized with a pet’s face, pet name, background color and more.

2 The book set that encourages mother and daughter to exchange letters.

(Uncommon Goods)

This is a sentimental gift that honors the bond between mothers and daughters through written letters. This book comes with writing prompts for those who can’t quite find the right words at first.

3 A monogrammed yoga mat.

(Etsy / itsgeegeebaby)

Never mix up your yoga mat with a classmate’s again. Remind the yogi in your life how much you care every time they step onto their mat with this monogrammed yoga mat.

4 Whiskey glasses that remind them of home.

(Etsy / theUncommonGreen)

These sophisticated whiskey glasses come etched with maps of several different cities around the U.S. and abroad, making it a thoughtful gift for friends who are homesick.

5 An eye-catching, artsy duffle.

(Society6)

Choose from hundreds of unique designs to find the perfect weekend bag — ensuring the traveler in your life never loses their bag in a crowd again! Bonus points for finding the perfect print that matches your giftee's personality.

6 A mini AeroGarden for the kids.

(Aerogarden)

This educational gift will inspire budding young chefs with a small herb garden that can be cared for year-round. It’s the perfect learning gift to teach kids about the plant lifecycle, growing their own food and so much more

7 A set of bath bombs, for some at-home self care.

(Ulta)

Whether you have a friend who’s going through a hard time, or who just likes a good soak now and then, give the gift of an at-home mini-spa session with this set of soothing bath bombs.

8 A chic, personalized necklace.

(Baublebar)

It’s hard to go wrong with jewelry for significant others. This thoughtful gift for her is sure to make her smile.

9 A tour of their new city or town.

(Airbnb)

Have a friend who has recently made a big move? Help them feel more at home in their new town or city by gifting them a fun tour. Extra points if it’s a food tour! Whether your friend is in a big city or a small town, we recommend snagging an Airbnb gift card to use on Airbnb Experiences, restaurants and more in their favorite city.

10 An ode to their favorite book.

(Out Of Print)

Out Of Print creates clothing and accessories inspired by classic and popular literature. You’re sure to find your book club buddy’s favorite novel from the company’s growing collection.

11 A unique take on the succulents trend.

(Amazon)

Plant lovers will obsess over these unique hanging air plant jellyfish, which are the perfect touch for any room.

12 A spa day, the gift of relaxation.

(SpaFinder)

A gift card from SpaFinder will give your hardworking friend or family member a chance to relax (on their own time!)

13 A dozen customized golf balls, the perfect gift for dad.

(Personalization Mall)

Place your choice of photo or text on these golf balls with just few clicks, and you’ve found the perfect gift for the hard-to-shop guy or gal in your life.

14 A custom, old-fashioned photo book.

(Mixbook Photo Co.)

Memorialize your last family vacation or even all the ridiculous selfies you’ve sent each other over the years with this simple, high-quality photo book.

15 A leather Moleskine journal cover.

(Saddleback Leather Co.)

Know that “Type-A” friend who's always scribbling lists in a classic Moleskin journal? This cover goes over their favorite notebook, and ensures their to-dos stay safe. An extra perk? The leather will only become more beautiful as it ages.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.