In my mind, gift giving is all about the wow factor. I love watching someone open a present and look totally blown away by its contents. And though I relish the feeling of giving an expensive, luxurious gift—I’ve also learned how quickly that feeling can fade when I see my bank account post-holiday.
For the past few years, I’ve spent hours in search of perfect gifts for everyone on my list (ones that look and feel like splurges, but align more within my budget). And this year, the offerings I’ve come across are truly some of the best. They’re not all practical, but they are all exactly what presents should be, IMO: thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing, and just a little bit extra. From a chic set of soaps to a must-have pair of slippers, here are 14 gifts that look super fancy, but are actually extremely affordable.
I’ve always wanted a Mason Pearson brush, but could never justify the price. This Rake Comb feels just as luxurious as the brand’s other products, but costs a third of the price.
Not only are the formulas in Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty line top notch (read a full review of every product from our associate editor Holly here), but the packaging itself is just as praiseworthy. This limited edition eyeshadow palette reminds me of a jewelry box, and looks like it would cost way more than $25.
I’ve been holding onto an unused box of these tiny Claus Porto soaps for way longer than I’d like to admit. They truly just give me so much joy to look at that I can’t imagine reducing them to suds. I’ve given a set of these as a hostess gift twice, and both recipients have found the tiny soaps just as irresistible.
This tiny tin is proof that good things come in small, chic, gold packages. It’s filled with 100% pure shea butter that can be used from head to toe to solve any dry skin woes. Plus, it’s very adorable.
I’m going to go right ahead and declare these velvet scrunchies as the stocking stuffer of the year. I can’t get over how good the quality is for their price. I keep one or two on my wrist at all times, and strangers have stopped me in the street to compliment them. Buy a pack for everyone you know.
Maybe I’m including a puzzle because this one actually does look expensive, or maybe it’s because I’m still not recovered from the period earlier this year when puzzles felt as valuable as gold. Either way, this is one of the chicest options I’ve seen, and something anyone on your list will be happy to have come January.
I have TikTok to thank for discovering the most affordable Chanel product available. These are undoubtedly the softest, most luxurious cotton pads out there, and despite their low price point, the brand still packages them with the same grandeur it applies to its more expensive offerings.
Everyone I know has gone candle happy while working from home. This super chic brass candle lighter from CB2 is the perfect gift for that one friend who won’t stop talking about burn times and wick trimming. At $35, it’s a steal for something they’ll use literally every day.
Accidentally Wes Anderson is likely going to be one of the most gifted books of the year, and for good reason. It’s a “visual adventure” filled with stunning images of Wes Anderson-esque locales from around the world. A coffee table book, yes, but also a mental vacation, which is the most priceless gift you can give in 2020.
I have almost impulse bought several uniquely shaped candles after seeing them all over my feed for the past few months. This cube one from Etsy costs less than $13, ships for free in the US, and looks exactly like the pricey ones I’ve seen from high-end design stores.
I have been served what feels like hundreds of Instagram ads for these trendy paperclip chain necklaces. This one from Madewell looks just like the expensive ones all of the influencers are wearing, but is way more in my price range.
I am aware that these Halluci slippers are on practically every gift guide this year. But I’m still including them here because they are genuinely the best pair of slippers I have ever tried. I’ve been wearing them 24/7 while working from home, and I swear they’re more comfortable than any other high-end pair.
Any product made with 24 karat gold just feels extra luxurious, and this face oil from Black-owned indie brand Kanti is no exception. Its other key ingredient is pure baobab oil, which helps to boost cell turnover, so you’ll literally be giving your recipient the gift of smoother, more even skin. Priceless.