Fifteen Favorites Under Fifteen Dollars

We’re not much for extravagance around our house at Christmas – unless you count the sheer volume of Land-o-Lakes butter that we consume, of course – but we’re definitely fans of giving. In order to keep the giving from breaking the bank, I typically put a ten or fifteen dollar price limit on gifts for friends (we call smaller gifts “happies” in Mississippi and Alabama; people in south Louisiana call them “surcies,” and OH MY WORD I adore regional quirks). I think it’s so fun to find something that fits a friend or family member’s personality, and I love practical things that have a little kick of funky to them.

Since I’m always on the look-out for unique, affordable gifts, I thought some of y’all might be, too – so I decided to make a list. And get this: every single item is under fifteen dollars. I KNOW! In the South we’re big on hostess gifts (I’m guessing other parts of the country are, too), and anything on this list would be a wonderful way to thank your host or hostess for his or her holiday hospitality. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with the standard poinsettia, but these gifts will keep giving long after the party – and the season – is over.

And if you’re wondering where all the Etsy goodness is, let me explain. I initially had a few Etsy items on this list, but now I think I’m going to do a second list that’s Etsy-only. Because I’m a wee bit obsessive. And also fascinated by the crafty people.

All righty. Here are my fifteen-and-under favorites. And yes, I know we still have a couple of days until Thanksgiving, but I figured I’d go ahead and post this for those of you who like to plan ahead and create spreadsheets and wrap all your presents by December 1st.

Very Merry Christmas – Dave Barnes – I am a huge fan of Harry Connick, Jr.’s Christmas CD because of its laid-back, bluesy feel. But you know what? Dave’s Christmas CD is even better. YEAH. I SAID IT. It’s infectious joy all the way around.

Tapestry Hand Towel – This little towel packs a punch with great, bold colors. Tie it up with a gold ribbon and make your hostess’ day.

Surprised By Worship – Travis Cottrell – That Travis. I tell you what. He composes incredible music, sings like a dream, and now he’s gone and written an absolutely beautiful, heartfelt book about worship. What I love the most about this book is that it’s who he is inside and out – reverent and funny and wise and tenderhearted. Anyone who reads it will be challenged and encouraged.

French Bull Pocket Notepads – I feel like I’m always digging in my purse for a piece of paper. Or rummaging around the kitchen for a piece of paper. Or looking in my car for a piece of paper. This little notepad set would solve all my paper-related problems. Stash one wherever you might need it – and then swoon when you see the cute cover designs.

Glass Bird Ornament – The thought of Christmas lights illuminating this little beauty makes me sigh with nostalgia. Lovely.

Hummingbird Farms Lavender Body Wash – Melanie introduced me to the Hummingbird Lavender products a few years ago. They’re THE BEST. This body wash smells fantastic and is the bath-product equivalent of instant relaxation.

Chop & Scoop Cutting Board – This gift errs on the side of practical, but good grief at the handy. Anyone who likes to cook would get tons of use out of it, I imagine.

Trudeau Colorful Melamine Mixing Bowls – You know what would make somebody smile when they’re making their 46th batch of cookies this Christmas? These mixing bowls. Adorable.

French Bull Tapestry Salad Servers – A few years ago I saw these salad servers in a local store, and I’m pretty sure that my heart stopped as a result of all the cuteness. They’re colorful and funky and functional – my favorite combination.

Caspari Decorative Matchboxes – These matchboxes are so much prettier than keeping a big grill lighter-stick-thing-y on your coffee table. The matches are longer than normal, so they’re perfect for lighting candles and fires, and the boxes are a great decorative touch.

Paisleys Spoon Rest – I adore a good spoon rest. And while yes, that might be the lamest sentence I have ever written, it’s the truth. I use a spoon rest every day of my life, and I’d prefer for said spoon rest to have a solid cute factor, by diggity. This one delivers.

Aveda Refreshing Bath Bar – One day I’m going to write an ode to Aveda products. Or maybe I’ll just move in an Aveda store so that I can smell all the divine scent combinations every single day for the rest of my life. This soap bar is for men or women, and it’s moisturizing without leaving an annoying soapy residue. It also lasts for a sweet forever.

Snowflake Pajama Pants – I’m sure there are people who don’t live for the post-supper moment when they put on their pajamas, but I don’t know any of them. And if I did know them, I probably couldn’t be friends with them. Because comfy pajama bottoms? NOTHING BETTER. If someone gave me these as a hostess gift, I’d be tempted to change clothes and wear them to the party. I’M JUST SAYIN’.

Lightweight Ruched Scarf – Scarves are timeless, and this one is light enough that it can be worn year ’round. Can’t beat it.

Little Peepers Shakers – Salt and pepper shakers are something that I never think to buy for myself. One Christmas a sweet friend gave me a set as a gift, and I was TICKLED. These would be pure happiness on a breakfast table any day of the year, and the price is fab, too.

Happy Merry, y’all!

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  1. I’m going TOMORROW to get the spoon rest. Mine is UGLY and yours matched my kitchen.

    And the snowflake pj pants? Adorable. And if I had the abs like the model wearing them? I probably would wear them to the party also, but with a sports bra on top so I could show off those abs.

    Just being honest.

  2. Oh my, YES! at the Aveda product love. How bad is it that I want to get me my own “happy” right now? ;D

  3. Thanks for the great list. I am going to save it for next year….I am one of those crazy people who is pretty much through with my shopping!! And yes, I have a spreadsheet with which gift goes to each person, and column to check off when I wrap the gift.

    A hobby!

    Seriously, I do love the ideas, and I will keep them in mind as I shop year round for next Christmas! :)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    p.s. My kids are decorating the tree right this very minute.

  4. I made some cornbread this afternoon. As I was mixing the batter in my 40 lb. ceramic mixing bowl, I thought to myself, “After six years of marriage and living in my own home, I really need to get a set of lightweight plastic mixing bowls…”

    I think your recommendation for the melamine bowls is confirmation. :) Thanks!

    (And, also, as I was typing in the address for your blog this evening, I accidentally typed in Thankfully, our internet protection program saved me from my mistake, but I can only imagine what it would have been… It gave me a good giggle, and I thought you’d giggle, too. Happy Thanksgiving!)

  5. Love this list! I’ve been on the hunt for some Christmas happies! And here you send me a list of 15!! thanks so much.
    And if you haven’t checked out, do so quickly! I bought an emergency clown nose in a jar. Perfect happy for a co-worker!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. The Little Peepers Shakers Set. Oh my word. I’m about to buy about a hundred of them, so anybody else who wants a set better hope they beat me to it in the middle of the night.

  7. Sweet! (I, too, am a fan of the spoon rest.)
    I can’t remember who originally shared this link with me, but it’s cool – etsy-ish, crafty-ish, and all the shops represent families raising money for adoption and orphan care:

    I’ve already ordered several of the pins from the Wild Poppy Shop ($15 each!) Every girl on my list is getting one of these!

  8. Oh what cool gifts! I’ve done much of this years batch of gifts, but will look out for these next year!


  9. i love these ideas! i needed some good ones this year and you have given me lots! i will be returning often to these links. :)

  10. Just bought the salad servers for my SIL who has EVERYTHING… but not these! I would be okay if you did about 7 more posts like this… just sayin.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Best post ever! Already have plans to buy the Anthropologie spoon rest and salt and pepper shakers for a friend. Thanks!

  12. Better than the Harry Connick Jr. Christmas CD?? That’s crazy talk.

    And those salt shakers make me want to redecorate my kitchen. Almost.

  13. Can’t wait for the Etsy-only list! I’m a bit obsessed with that site, too.

  14. Great ideas! My siblings and I have started to adore the gift of consumables. Not a one us needs a thing, so we’re growing to love the gift of the practicle–gigantic bags of coffee, stationery, body washes, iTunes cards, etc.

    I kind of feel like a goob, but I plan on giving my hostess sister a giganto pack of Sam’s paper towels for her T’giving hostess gift. Not as fun as a piece of pottery, I suppose, but the girl has four children. And I know she’d much rather be spared an emergency paper towel trip to Wal-Mart with 4 kids over having anything pretty. :)

  15. FANTASTIC LIST!!!! Thank you so much for such cute ideas!!

  16. Thank you for introducing me to the French Bull stuff … I love it!!!

  17. Geez, a list of total awesomeness!
    Thanks Boomama!

  18. omg, boomama, you did it! you made my christmas hostess/gift list for me! thank you!

    i was with on everything until i got to the pajama pants which, for some reason, i didn’t look a until the end.

    and then i saw it.

    her, rather.

    the model, i mean.

    and it made me THANKful for food and that i get to eat it tomorrow and that i don’t just have to drink water and watch everyone else because i have to fit into my extra extra extra small pajama bottoms later.

    skinny bitch.

    happy thanksgiving!


  19. I don’t have a woman to buy for this year. We draw names and somehow we get the same names every year anyway. So, your list is so great I am going to get myself a present…or two.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  20. Okay, so now that I’m married and have three kids, I guess I should start acting like a grown-up…one facet of which is giving hostess gifts when I go to Christmas parties. But having been raised in the casual Pacific Northwest, I’m definitely not as schooled in manners as you good Southern girls. So I need to know: Should hostess gifts be wrapped? For example, the hand towel or salt and pepper shakers…is just a ribbon appropriate, or should they be gift-boxed and wrapped with wrapping paper?

  21. Yolanda Valdez says:

    I love, love, love spoon rests. I’m not ashamed to admit it.