Gifts for Moms, Dads, and Grads

Best gifts under $50: 25+ ideas for absolutely everyone

Yes, it's possible to give them something they'll love without obliterating your budget.
By Mashable Shopping  on 
All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers. If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
a collage of gifts under $50
A little something for everyone... Credit: LEGO / PetSafe / Stasher / Yonanas / AnotherStudio / Stanley / Mashable composite

Generating the best affordable gift ideas is an art, much like gift-giving in general. And it's an art that Mashable shopping experts take very seriously, which is why we're bringing you these awesome gifts under $50.

To find the perfect gift, think about the "Christmas Party" episode of The Office where Michael insists on doing a Yankee Swap with everyone's Secret Santa gifts: You don't want to pull a Michael and go way over the agreed price limit, but you also don't want to choose a gift that no one actually wants (like Phyllis' oven mitt). You've got to ride that line: cool gift, appropriate cost.

Yes, some people possess an innate talent for finding gifts on a budget. No matter the occasion (anniversary, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day) or recipient (wife, boyfriend, teens, in-laws), they somehow nail it every time — winning the unofficial "best gift-giver" award among those who are lucky to know them.

Then there are the not-so-intuitive gift-givers who've maybe leaned on the same scented candle or gift basket a few too many times. If you can relate, that's OK! Gift-giving is hard. So, take that Yankee candle out of your shopping cart and check out this gift guide. We've found the best gifts under $50 for him, for her, and for every hard-to-please person on your shopping list.

Maybe you're searching for the perfect Christmas gifts under $50 to woo your Secret Santa. Maybe you need a surprise just-because gift for your sweetheart. Or maybe you're determined to finally, after a lifetime of trying, find a birthday gift that Dad actually wants.

No matter the reason, read on for over 25 unique gift ideas that strike the perfect balance between a thoughtful gift and an inexpensive gift. All of these sub-$50 picks are ones that people will actually be happy to receive, including a bunch of products we've tested and loved ourselves.

a top-down view of stasher bags filled with berries and vegetables on a marble countertop
Credit: Stasher

Stasher bags

For eco warriors

Stasher's popular reusable bags are made from heavy-duty, food-grade silicone that can be frozen, boiled, microwaved, baked, and tossed in the dishwasher. They comes in myriad sizes, colors, and shapes (starting at $7.99), including snack pouches, bowls, and new "beauty bags" for makeup.
Buying Options
See Details
side by side images of a national parks fill-in bandana
Credit: Parks Project / Mashable composite

A national parks fill-in bandana

For wilderness explorers

Your recipient can use this bandana to keep track of all the U.S. national parks they've been to (so far), which gives you an excellent excuse to plan some trips together. It's made and sold by the Parks Project, a brand that funds a backlogged national parks maintenance project with every purchase.
a close-up of brass mushrooms decorations in a potted plant
Credit: AnotherStudio

Houseplant ornaments

For plant parents

Made by the London-based design company AnotherStudio, these miniature metal ornaments are cute accessories for houseplant pots and terrariums. If you don't think your recipient would be into the mushrooms (available in brass and stainless steel), they also come in impressively detailed animal, flower, and fruit shapes.
Buying Options
$15.41 from Etsy

'Wordle: The Party Game'

For board-gamers

Everyone's favorite word-guessing game is now a simple B-O-A-R-D game for two to four people. Mashable deputy reviews editor Miller Kern found it a little dull at times but liked that players have the option of making up their own personalized words, deeming it best for dedicated Wordlers who still have a daily streak going.
Buying Options
$19.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of a kitten playing with a PetSafe Bolt Automatic Laser Light Cat Toy on a wooden table in front of a window
Credit: PetSafe

A PetSafe Bolt Automatic Laser Light Cat Toy

For cat parents

For senior culture reporter Christianna Silva and their feisty cat, Colby Jack, the Mashable's Choice Award-winning PetSafe Bolt "was a godsend...It works reliably, solves a problem, turns off automatically, and is virtually hassle-free." It operates in two modes, so your recipient can control it themselves or set it to a random pattern and have their cat burn off some energy solo.
Buying Options
$21.95 from Amazon Amazon Prime
box art for a magic puzzle company puzzle
Credit: The Magic Puzzle Company

A Magic Puzzle Company puzzle

For puzzle-doers

There are puzzles, and then there are Magic Puzzle Company puzzles. Each one is a beautifully illustrated, 1,000-piece feat with over 50 Easter eggs and a surprise twist at the end; don't go on PuzzleTok if you don't want spoilers. Series Three includes "The Secret Soup," "The Puzzled Patron," and "The Gnomes' Homes" (pictured).
Buying Options
$22.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of a pile of shutterfly photo books
Credit: Shutterfly

A custom Shutterfly photo book

For sentimental types

Starting around $25, Shutterfly's photo books can be personalized from top to bottom with different layouts, bindings, cover finishes, stickers, and ribbons — it's like scrapbooking on steroids. Guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of any parent or significant other, if you're looking for a gift that'll speak from the heart and be cherished for years to come.

An Apple AirTag

For forgetters

This quarter-sized Bluetooth tracker works seamlessly with the Find My app, which comes pre-installed on iPhones and iPads — super convenient for anyone who's already plugged into the Apple ecosystem. If an item the AirTag is attached to ever gets lost or misplaced, its owner can pull up its last-known location on their device or ask Siri to find it.
Buying Options
$29 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of a 12-inch lodge cast iron skillet filled with shrimp
Credit: Lodge Cast Iron

A Lodge cast iron skillet

For home chefs

Cast iron skillets are the versatile workhorses of any kitchen — they retain heat tremendously well and can be used for almost any dish, from steak to skillet cookies. (They're also durable enough to be used over a campfire, if your recipient's into that.) Lodge's pans come pre-seasoned for immediate use and can last for decades with proper care; this 12-inch size is perfect for family dinners.
a screenshot from 'Ori and the Will of the Wisps'
Credit: Xbox Game Studios

'Ori and the Will of the Wisps'

For Xbox gamers

The mystical sequel to 2015's "Ori and the Blind Forest" is one of the best platformers of all time, per former entertainment reporter Kellen Beck, "marrying gorgeous visuals, excellent music, a haunting story, and some of the smoothest platforming I've had the pleasure of experiencing." It first came out for Xbox One and Windows but has since been optimized for the Series X/S.
Buying Options
$29.99 from Best Buy
box art for the National Geographic Earth Science Kit
Credit: National Geographic

A National Geographic Earth Science Kit

For young scientists

If you know a kid who goes crazy for science experiments, this STEM gift kit will delight them to no end (and make you their favorite grown-up). It comes with over 15 activities — including crystal growing, building a volcano, and unearthing geological treasures — that are both easy to follow and easy to clean up after.
Buying Options
$29.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of two le creuset mini round cocottes filled with a pot pie and a fruit cobbler next to a plate of pita pieces
Credit: Le Creuset

A Le Creuset Mini Round Cocotte

For foodies

Yes, you can gift someone a Le Creuset cocotte for less than $50 — a *very small* Le Creuset cocotte, but the point technically still stands. Made from nonstick stoneware that's safe for oven, broiler, microwave, and dishwasher use, the 8-ouncer is a nice size for individual cobblers and pot pie. It's available in colors like Cerise (pictured), Artichaut, Nectar, Chambray, Azure, and more.
Buying Options
$32 from Le Creuset

An OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

For coffee connoisseurs

Starbucks gift cards are a nice gesture, but categorically lame. The Mashable's Choice Award-winning OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a better way to gift someone their next caffeine fix: "[It] pays for itself in one or two brews, and the cold brew concentrate it produces is consistently strong, velvety smooth, and richly flavorful," wrote contributor Sam Stone.
Buying Options
$34.95 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron
Credit: BaBylissPRO

A BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron

For beauty buffs

Ideal for on-the-go touch-ups, this miniature version of BaBylissPRO's premium flat iron can get as hot as 430°F. It features the exact same titanium-ceramic plates as the standard size (only these are half an inch wide), which are designed for even heating and reducing frizz.
Buying Options
$34.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
the cover of "What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People"
Credit: Clarkson Potter

'What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People'

For bakers

From "Dessert Person" Claire Saffitz comes this beginner-friendly cookbook with over 100 simple and efficient recipes for sweet treats. (Emphasis on "simple and efficient" — none of them require a stand mixer and only half need a hand mixer.) Entries are accompanied by beautiful retro-style photography and helpful troubleshooting tips.
Buying Options
$37.50 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a screenshot from the video game 'stray'
Credit: Annapurna Interactive


For PlayStation gamers

Available for PS4, PS5, and PC (via Steam), "Stray" is a 2022 third-person game that follows an orange tabby cat who's trying to escape a grungy cyberpunk city — and yes, you play as the cat. Mashable tech and games reporter Alex Perry described it as a stunning sci-fi adventure "with a sweet story, endearing characters, and some truly gross art design at times (in the best way)."
Buying Options
$39.99 from Best Buy

A Roku Express 4K+

For Netflix binge-watchers

Mashable contributor Callum Bains called the Roku Express 4K+ a "fast, no-nonsense streaming device with a price to match." (It's our favorite budget media player on the market.) Plug it into a TV's HDMI port for all-in-one entertainment and hands-free voice control.
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

A LIFX Color smart bulb

For techies

LIFX Color smart bulbs are vibrant and easy to install — and unlike the Philips Hue variety, they don't require a bridge or a hub to work with WiFi. Mashable contributor RJ Andersen has replaced about half the bulbs in their house with these things: "Would I recommend [LIFX bulbs] to anyone looking to tip-toe into smart lighting? Absolutely," they said.
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
side by side images of a wild one treat pouch in different colors
Credit: Wild One / Mashable composite

A Wild One Treat Pouch

For dog parents

"Walkies," but make it fashion. Wild One's Treat Pouch has a hidden compartment for a roll of poop bags and adjustable carrying straps that let you wear it like a crossbody bag or a fannypack. It's available in at least five colors (depending on the season) and overall super stylish — you'd never know it was made from recycled water bottles.
Buying Options
$44 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of a picassotiles build in front of a kneeling boy
Credit: PicassoTiles

A PicassoTiles set

For little tykes

PicassoTiles are stained glass-esque magnetic tiles that kids ages three and up can use to build colorful 2D and 3D shapes. (If you're familiar with MAGNA-TILES, these are basically a cheaper dupe.) The 100-piece set makes a great starter kit.
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon
a close-up of a woman wearing turquoise jewelry holding a stanley quencher cup on a wooden table amid potted plants
Credit: Stanley

A Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler

For hip sippers

TikTok's favorite reusable drinking vessel is a 40-ounce, travel-friendly tumbler with a removable straw, a comfort-grip handle, and an insulated, stainless steel body that can keep drinks iced for up to 40 hours. It comes in a bunch of trendy colors, including some limited-edition ones that'll earn you some extra cool points.
Buying Options
$45 from REI
The Death Lens Fisheye lens attached to an iPhone resting on a solid surface.
Credit: Kenneth Bachor / Mashable

A Death Digital fisheye lens

For amateur videographers

Death Digital's fisheye iPhone lens makes it possible to recreate the unique style of '90s music and skateboarding videos with your smartphone. It earned our Mashable's Choice Award for its durable build quality and user-friendliness: "For under $50, it’s a great timeless accessory that’s small and easy to throw in your pocket," wrote contributor Kenneth Bachor.
a bloomscape propagation kit filled with leaf cuttings next to a glass pitcher of water on a wooden surface
Credit: Bloomscape

A propagation kit

For people with green thumbs

This Bloomscape kit is a chic way to display fresh cuttings while fostering healthy root growth; each one comes with propagating instructions and a tub of TakeRoot Rooting Hormone. The stand itself is handmade by Michigan's Speckl Goods, a small-batch houseware studio that specializes in concrete terrazzo pieces.
Buying Options
$45 from Bloomscape
close-ups of six a24 x joya genre candles
Credit: A24 Shop

An A24 x Joya Genre Candle

For movie buffs

The folks behind "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "Hereditary" teamed up with a Brooklyn-based fragrance studio for this collection of 10 hand-poured candles. Each sophisticated scent is inspired by a different film genre — "Horror" smells like mandarin, clove leaf, cypress, suede, and cinnamon bark, for example.
Buying Options
$48 from A24 Shop

A LEGO Orchid building kit

For LEGO masters

This bestselling kit from LEGO's Botanical Collection for adults builds into a realistic orchid with six large flowers, two newly opened buds, and a fluted pot (complete with some "bark mix" the actual plant would grow in). It contains 608 pieces, so it'll take the better part of an afternoon to assemble. No watering or pruning required!
Buying Options
$49.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
main art for nintendo switch online + expansion pack
Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack

For Nintendo Switch gamers

Nintendo's premium membership tier unlocks online play, libraries of classic retro games, cloud saves, and access to select DLCs. (That includes 48 additional courses for "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and the "Happy Home Paradise" expansion for "Animal Crossing: New Horizons.") A year-long individual plan comes in just under $50, which is easily one of the best deals in gaming.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Nintendo
a yonanas machine in the process of making ice cream next to a pile of fruit
Credit: Yonanas

A Yonanas machine

For ice cream lovers

The Yonanas is a borderline brilliant kitchen gadget from Dole that can successfully turn frozen fruit into a smooth, soft serve-adjacent dessert — a great gift for regular ice cream eaters who want to switch things up, *or* anyone who follows a vegan, keto, or dairy-free diet. Another Mashable Choice Award-winner, it "seriously impressed" contributor Michelle Rostamian.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Target
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Stacia Datskovska
Mashable Shopping Intern

Stacia Datskovska is an NYU journalism major (graduating this December). Her work has appeared in USA Today, Boston Globe, Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Bustle, and more. When she's not writing something or other, Stacia can be spotted crying over poetry, making a home-cooked meal, or walking on an NYC pier. For her more half-baked thoughts: @staciadats on Twitter.

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