The best holiday gifts for $100 or less
By many experts’ measures, peak Moore's law (the idea that the more computational power grows, the more affordable it becomes) has already hit. That means there has never been a better time to give life-improving, high-tech gifts without spending a wad of cash. Want proof? Ahead, find a coffee mug that keeps beverages at a preferred temperature; a smart toothbrush that tracks hygienic data; and a blender that knows how to make a smoothie better than you do (thanks to automatically managed pulse control). If smart tech isn’t at the top of your giving list, there are plenty of other impressive gifts to give that seem high end (from coveted brands like The North Face, Le Creuset, Coach, and Smartwool) — but don’t cost more than a C-note. Find our favorites, below.
Made from 50% recycled materials and non-PFC water repellent, this hands-free bag (which can also be worn as a crossbody or fanny pack) is just the thing for music lovers who can’t wait to get back onto the festival scene. A unique, drawstring exterior compartment makes it easy to access gear inside, while interior pockets and dividers help keep essentials (like tickets, vaccination card, keys, mask, and cash) from getting lost in the shuffle.
SHOP: The North Face Bozer 3 Hip Pack, $35, available at
About that friend who is always fishing lip liner out of the bottom of his or her bag (and at times, without the cap attached): send help in the form of this expensive looking makeup bag, which will not only help your pal become more organized, but looks chic in the process.
SHOP: Coach Small Boxy Cosmetic Case In Signature Canvas With Evergreen Floral Print, $39.20, available at
Whether your favorite chef regularly cooks for a party of one or many, these lidded stoneware ramekins make meal prep a more elegant affair. Sure, the French brand name brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the kitchen, but its signature glazed interior also helps easily release foods for beautiful plating every time.
SHOP: Le Creuset Set of 4 Mini Cocottes with Mini-Cocotte Cookbook, $100, available at
File under: small but mighty. This blender boasts a 1000-watt motor made to liquify whole fruits, veggies, seeds, and ice in seconds and self-manages pulse control for a smooth drink every time — all within a vessel that’s ready for on-the-go sipping.
SHOP: Ninja Nutri Ninja BL482 Auto iQ Blender, $89.99, available at
Most smart toothbrushes are too bulky to easily take on the road. This model incorporates brushing timers, data tracking, and all the bells and whistles of a traditional smart brush, but is slim enough to fit into the smallest of makeup bags and dopp kits without hogging precious space.
SHOP: Quip Smart Electric Toothbrush, $50.99, available at
Up your resident health nut’s zoodles game with this KitchenAid attachment that turns out perfect spirals of zucchini, squash, and more in seconds flat.
Shop: KitchenAid Spiralizer Stand Mixer Attachment, $99.95, available at
Sony has done a really cool thing with its go-anywhere speaker. It’s designed to kick out omni-directional, 360 sound (just like pricier brands) and offers remarkably deep bass (like bigger speakers) but in an easy-to-tote size of a standard water bottle. Bonus: It’s waterproof and shockproof, too.
SHOP: Sony SRS-XB23 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, $99.99, available at
The trappings of working from home? Everyday distractions that turn a simple task like returning to the coffeemaker for a warm-up into a detour of picking up laundry along the way. Give your WFH hustler a way to streamline their mornings with this mug, which keeps morning joe warmed to the perfect, self-selected temperature for 90-minutes time.
SHOP: Ember 10 oz. Mug² Coffee Mug, $99.99, available at
If the family gourmand wasn’t able to get their hands on any one of the hottest kitchen devices during the pandemic’s great air fryer shortage, now is the time to blow their mind. This design-forward model is equipped with easy presets, timers, and auto shut-off features — plus an ample 3.8 liter capacity to kick out juicy-on-the-inside, but crispy-on-the-outside foods without the use of oil, butter, or grease.
SHOP: Gotham Steel 4 Qt. Air Fryer, $79.99, available at
Forget what you think you know about wool. High quality merino wool provides warmth without the bulk or itchiness. What’s more, the natural fiber lifts and releases sweat and odors and helps regulate body temperature, making it a great choice for outdoorsy types (or those slugging through a frigid weather). Made in both men’s and women's sizes, these pants offer the perfect layer of warmth when worn as a base layer under street clothes. But its tight knit also gives enough coverage to be worn alone in studio classes and on hikes.
SHOP: Smartwool Women's Merino 250 Base Layer Bottom, $100.00, available at
The problem with reusable water bottles: The bigger they are, the less likely they’ll keep drinks cool until the last drop. This bottle — equipped to carry a whopping 46 ounces of your favorite beverage — is made with double-walled vacuum insulation to keep drinks cool over hours. Better yet, it’s dishwasher safe, leakproof, and comes with a removable cap made for sipping.
SHOP: Yeti Rambler Bottle with Chug Cap 46oz, $59.99, available at
Traveling has never not been a pain in the neck, but add COVID-era precautions and protocols to the mix and flying to Grandma’s house can feel more stressful than ever. Enter this travel neck cushion, which is loaded with spa-like features, including infrared and red LED light (to help boost circulation and address stiffness in the body) and a heating element (that warms the memory-foam pillow to a cozy — and nap inducing — 114 degrees).
SHOP: The Neck Pain Relieving Travel Cushion, $59.95, available at
What to gift the jewelry junky? They already have the dainty, minimal pieces and statement baubles, so why not charm them with something small that packs personality. Between apple and pretzel fashion fare and taxi-shaped studs, this darling set will make the perfect accessories.
SHOP: Dashing Beauty Taxi Stud Set, $88, available at