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Crowd-Pleasing Birthday Gifts Under $50

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Design: theSkimm | Photos: Goodee, Amazon
May 10, 2023

This post was originally published in February 2023 and has been updated.

Products you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Oh, and if something's out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) at time of publication.

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 of the park. 

mini hoops

A mini hoop that makes a major statement…

If ballin’ on a budget were an earring, it would be this one. Made from 14-karat gold with a huggie design, it’s dainty-looking and features a tiny gemstone set in the middle. Choose between a genuine ruby, white sapphire, or blue sapphire as the centerpiece, and feel good knowing that your purchase was responsibly sourced and ethically produced. (Note: price is for one earring.) ($49.90, Quince)

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Pastry bag

A pastry gift box that’s sweet and cute…

Because delicious gifts should look as good as they taste…give this basket with six different types of cakes and cookies straight from Japan.  It comes with chocolate crunch bars, Amaou strawberry kirara sandwich cookies, milk pudding Baumkuchen cakes, and more — all in a really nice-looking woven box. ($48, Bokksu

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gel polish
Le Mini Macaron

An at-home manicure kit for salon-quality nails…

If your giftee never seems to have time to get to the salon, bring the salon to them. This kit comes stocked with a cornflower blue gel polish, mini LED lamp, cuticle stick, nail file, and 10 remover wraps for their two-week re-up. The lamp cures in 30 seconds, and the polish is a three-in-one that doesn’t need a bottom or top coat to shine. ($38, Le Mini Macaron

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L.L.Bean tote

A classic tote they’ll have forever…

Because an L.L.Bean canvas tote 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. ($39.95+, L.L.Bean

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Birthday candle
Birthdate Co.

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

These hand-poured candles burn between 60 to 80 hours and take some cues from the stars. There’s one 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… ($49.99, Birthdate Co.)

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Make-your-own rainbow-bagel kit
Uncommon Goods

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. Psst...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. Psst: Use the code SKIMM to get 20% off your order. ($16, Deux)

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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, bourbon, 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. ($30+, Food52)

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Wine chiller
Sur La Table

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 right into the bottle. It has a pour feature, too, so they can serve the wine while using it. Nothing to whine 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 buy instead. Truly the gift that keeps on giving. ($26.74, 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 they can cut out and use to build their ultimate inspiration board. It has more than 700 words and pictures they can choose from, across alllll types of categories. ($24.99, 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 set of three is made from 100% silk and will usher in all the ‘90s nostalgia. Each scrunchie comes in a different color, so they can rock a new one for each bday Insta pic. ($39, Amazon)

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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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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. ($12.99+/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 coffee mug 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. ($30, Yeti)

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36 Hours travel book
Barnes & Noble

The ultimate coffee table book for a travel lover…

This New York Times book is based on the 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 insider knowledge from Times contributors, plus photos and maps — with nearly 600 restaurant and 350 hotel recs throughout. All they need to do now is book their trip. Bon voyage. ($33.99, Barnes and Noble)

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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. ($47.99, Amazon

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Watering globe
Uncommon Goods

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 self-watering 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. ($34.99, Uncommon Goods

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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. This blanket comes in a variety of patterns and is woven from 100% recycled materials by local artisans in Mexico. You can even get two and still be under $50. ($22.99, 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. ($24.03, 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 birthday like a little everyday luxury, right? ($50, Goodee)  

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Football coasters
Uncommon Goods

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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