Crowd-Pleasing Birthday Gifts Under $50

Published on: Jul 29, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Add these to cart...Design: theSkimm | Photo: Amazon, Happy Socks, The Sill

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. 

L.L.Bean tote
A classic tote they’ll have forever…

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)

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Birthday candle
An all-natural candle inspired by the day they were born...

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.)

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Make-your-own rainbow-bagel kit
A make-your-own rainbow-bagel kit…

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)

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Paravel belt bag
A fold-up belt bag for the on-the-go person who prefers to travel light...

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)

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Edible cookie dough
Edible birthday cake–inspired cookie dough you can eat straight out of the jar…

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)

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Fiddle-leaf fig plant
A fiddle-leaf fig plant to jazz up their space...

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)

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PS: Want to set them up with everything else they’ll need for plant-parent life? Here you go.

Small-batch organic chocolate library
A small-batch organic chocolate library with unexpected flavors...

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)

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Piñata puzzle
A lil’ piñata puzzle for some old-fashioned fun...

Because everything mini is that much cuter. For the puzzle lover without a ton of time to spare, this one is 70 pieces and can be completed in 20 mins or less. Good things come in small packages, right? ($15, Amazon)

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Wine chiller
A wine chiller for the person who always forgets to throw the vino in the fridge...

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)

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5-pound bag of Sour Patch Kids
A 5-pound bag of Sour Patch Kids for anyone who thinks candy > cake...

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)

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Vision board book
A vision board book for the friend who’s all about manifesting…

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)

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Scrunchies for the coolest person in your life...

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)

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Brightland vinegar set
A farm-to-table vinegar set that’ll upgrade their pantry situation...

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)

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Haus aperitif
A rose aperitif for anyone who loves hosting boozy brunches…

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)

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Coffee scoops
Chic coffee scoops that’ll upgrade their AM routine...

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)

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Yeti mug
A cult-fave mug for the person you don’t know that well...

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)

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DIY hot sauce kit
A DIY hot sauce kit...

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)

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36 Hours travel book
The ultimate coffee table book for a travel lover…

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)

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Watercolor set
A professional-grade watercolor set so they can get their Monet on…

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)

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Watering globe
A self-watering birthstone globe for the plant parents in your life...

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)

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HBD sock set
A HBD sock set...

This three-pack of celebration-themed socks will take any outfit up a few notches. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that its box is just as cute as the socks themselves. ($22.80, Happy Socks)

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Brass key ring
An enamel key ring that’ll zhuzh up their key situation...

This brass one is minimal in design and strong in structure. Aka it gets the job done while looking good. Choose your color and give them the practical upgrade they probably didn’t think to give themselves. Major key. ($20, Craighill)

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Authentic Mexican blanket
A do-it-all blanket they’ll use for literally everything…

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)

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DIY salad kit
A salad kit for the gardenistas...

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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Fancy soap
High-end hand soap to make ‘em feel fancy...

You can’t go wrong with this timeless option. This one smells like sandalwood and comes in a glass bottle that they can refill over and over again. Nothing says 'happy birthday' like a little everyday luxury, right? ($42, Goodee

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Football coasters
A set of four coasters featuring football’s greatest plays...

Hut, hut, hiiiike — all the way to these slate cuties. Each coaster is etched with an iconic football play from the NFL team of your choosing. Touchdown for real. ($40, Uncommon Goods)

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If you buy anything from this email, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate too) when we published. Thanks.

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Skimm'd by Lindsay Schneider, Emmy Favilla