This was originally published in July 2021 and has been updated.
Looking for the perfect birthday gift on a budget? We rounded up some no-fail ideas that’ll delight everyone in your life — from your partner to your parents to your cool Gen Z cousins. Consider these yummy treats, fun twists on classic gifts, and upgraded versions of everyday products your new go-tos. Get ready to hit your next gift straight out the park.
Because an L.L.Bean cotton-canvas bag never goes out of style. It’s super durable thanks to double-stitched seams, a reinforced bottom, and handles that can hold up to 500 pounds. Available in a variety of size and color options, the bag can also be monogrammed for an extra-special touch. They’ll tote-ally love this gift, promise. ($34.95+, L.L.Bean)
These hand-poured ones burn between 60 to 80 hours and take some cues from the stars. There’s a candle for every day of the year, each with a custom scent and fun info like personality traits and a tarot reading based on their birthday. Blowing out their candles in three, two, one… ($38, Birthdate Co.)
For a gift that’ll brighten their day — literally — this kit has everything they’ll need to make a dozen of the trendiest (and tastiest) bagels on the block. They’ll just need to supply the water, flour, and sugar. Don’t forget to grab them some cream cheese and take a photo for the gram. ($30, Uncommon Goods)
Celebrate them with this trendy yet functional bag. It’s ultra lightweight, water-resistant, and made from recycled plastic water bottles. Choose your colors and add a monogram if you’d like. Pssst...Paravel’s donating 10% of the proceeds from the bag to the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Look good, feel good. ($35+, Paravel)
Or bake into cookies. It’s made with real ingredients you can pronounce — like cashew butter, organic maple syrup, vegetable juice, and vanilla extract — plus maca powder (for a natural mood boost). Annnnd it’s vegan so you don’t have to worry about any raw egg consumption. Deux it, deux it, deux it. Pssst: Use the code SKIMM to get 20% off your order. ($15, Deux)
This plant’s famous for its big green leaves and eye-catching veining. Tell your giftee to keep it in bright light, and water it every one to two weeks. This one will arrive in the ceramic pot of your choice — and instantly liven up their home decor. ($40+, The Sill)
PS: Want to set them up with everything else they’ll need for plant-parent life? Here you go.
Somewhere, Willy Wonka is shaking. These boxes include a set of three or eight deliciously inventive chocolate flavors, like bananas foster, cabernet sauvignon, green tea crunch, and more. All the bars are gluten-, nut-, dairy-, and soy-free. They’ll feel like they’ve won the ultimate golden ticket. ($35+, Food52)
Tell them to keep this genius little gadget in the freezer. They can take it out when they’re ready to chill their drink, and it’ll fit it right into the bottle. It has a pour feature too, so they can serve the wine while using it. Nothing to wine about here. ($24.95, Sur La Table)
Make their childhood dreams come true with this huge bag of sugary goodness. Oh, and if your giftee is more of a cereal marshmallow fan, here’s a giant bag to gift ‘em instead. Truly the gift that keeps on giving. ($15, Amazon)
Or for the one who loves a good arts and crafts project. This book is filled with non-cheesy images that they can cut out and build their ultimate inspiration board with. It has more than 700 words and images they can choose from, across alllll types of categories. ($29.99, Amazon)
Because they’re having a moment, and they’re not going away any time soon. This machine-washable set of three is made from 100% organic cotton and will usher in all the ‘90s nostalgia. Each scrunchie comes in a different size and pattern, so they can rock a new one for each bday Insta pic. ($18, Baggu)
This kit from one of our favorite culinary brands is a must for any home chef. They’ll get a raw balsamic vinegar and a raw champagne vinegar that are double fermented with wine and fruit from California. Bonus: Brightland’s cheery branding means their new gift will look as great as it tastes. Win-win. ($44, Brightland)
This drink will turn their bday into a lifestyle. It’s got notes of raspberry, rose, and cherry. So they can pour it over ice, or add it to a spritz for an ideal summer cocktail. Every bottle is blended in Sonoma by a team of in-house experts. It’s also low in sugar, which European equivalents tend to use a lot of. Cheers. ($40, Haus)
Because you love them as much as they love coffee. These luxe tablespoons have an ergonomic design, plus they’ll fit into canisters and jars without getting jammed. Choose from silver, gold, or rose gold, and treat them to a gift they’d never think to buy for themselves. ($13.99/set of two, Amazon)
This Yeti option comes in over 10 colors, is dishwasher safe, and has incredible reviews. It’s made of kitchen-grade stainless steel so it’s rust-resistant. Plus it’s vacuum-insulated so it’ll protect their hands and keep whatever they're drinking or eating (think: oatmeal, chili) at the perfect temp the entire time. It’s a yes from us. ($29.99, Yeti)
This artisanal one has everything they’ll need to have a major hot sauce moment right in their own kitchen. Choose from a set of three or six bottles. Whether your giftee is an extreme-heat lover or prefers something a little more mild, this box allows them to make it their way. *Insert sweating face emoji here.* ($34.95+, Grommet)
This New York Times book is based on its popular “36-Hour” series and is full of advice for planning a weekend trip to 150 different cities worldwide. Each vetted guide to a 36-hour stay includes photos, maps, and insider knowledge from Times contributors — with nearly 600 restaurant and 350 hotel recs throughout. All they gotta do now is book their trip. Bon voyage. ($26.80, Amazon)
Because sometimes the best gifts are the simplest. And the arts-and-crafts adventures don’t have to stop just because they’re out of quarantine. This elegant set from Japan comes with 36 paint options and even works on dark-colored paper. ($34.99, Amazon)
Maybe they’re going on a birthday trip. Or maybe they just forget to water their green babes sometimes. These cute globes will keep their plants hydrated for up to a week. They’re made of terracotta and glass, and are available in a different design for every birthstone. Grow get it. ($46, Uncommon Goods)
Like yoga, picnicking in the park, lounging on the beach, and more. The authentic blanket comes in a variety of patterns and is woven by local artisans in Mexico. It’s made with 100% recycled materials, and with every purchase, a blanket is donated to one of the brand’s charitable partners. ($20.99, Amazon)
This one has everything they’ll need to grow a variety of veggies. They don’t need a green thumb to be successful either — the set comes with step-by-step instructions and all the stuff they’ll need to make their lemon cucumber, red lettuce, onions, beets, and radishes thrive. Farm-to-table meals, here they come. ($16.99, Amazon)
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Skimm'd by Lindsay Schneider, Emmy Favilla
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