11 Smart Gifts $25 and Under

Amazon
Amazon

Thoughtful, useful gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money. Whether you’re delighting friends and family with small indulgences or making their lives better with practical gadgets, these under-$25 gifts are a pleasure to both give and get.

1. MAXONAR PORTABLE IPHONE FAN; $12

One of the few things your smartphone can't do is cool you down. This gadget to the rescue: It's a clip-on high-speed fan you can aim at yourself at an outdoor concert, while hiking, or on a sweltering subway platform.

Find It: Amazon

2. ANKER POWERCORE+ MINI LIPSTICK-SIZED CHARGER; $20

Anker PowerCore+ mini Lipstick-Sized Charger
Amazon

Few things are worse than a dead phone. Save your friends from that predicament with this lipstick-sized charger, which holds one full iPhone 6 charge (and about one charge for most other phones). Available in five different colors, it's easy to slip into a purse or bag, and can be recharged with the included Micro USB cable.

Find It: Amazon

3. FRED MANATEA SILICONE TEA INFUSER; $10

Fred MANATEA Silicone Tea Infuser
Amazon

Add a little joy to your loved one's morning ritual with this MANATEA infuser, constructed of food-safe silicone. Since it perches cutely on the edge of the cup, they won't have to worry about fishing it out with their fingers. If manatees aren't your thing for some reason (too adorable? too gray?), the same company offers a variety of other nautical infusers, including a deep sea diver, an octopus, and the "TEATANIC."

Find It: Amazon

4. RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS GLOWING COASTER SET; $20

Radioactive Elements Glowing Coaster Set
Amazon

Impress the chemistry geek in your life with these pressure-sensitive coasters featuring radioactive elements, which light up when you put your drink on them. Each one in the set of four features the atomic number and isotopic mass of the most stable or common isotope of the respective element. Batteries are included.

Find It: Amazon

5. LIBRARY CARD ART PRINT; $12

Library Card Art Print
Etsy

Pay tribute to your favorite reader's favorite book with one of these old-fashioned library card prints, each featuring the Dewey Decimal System number, title, author's name, and first and last lines of a treasured classic—whether it's Tolstoy or Anne of Green Gables. Choose from two sizes (5x7 or 8x10) and a wide variety of titles (or customize with your own).

Find It: Etsy

6. CERAMIC HEDGEHOG PLANTER; $15

Ceramic Hedgehog Planter
Plum & Punch

It's not every day you find a planter pretty enough to be given as a gift, but the gold accents on this hedgehog make him feel extra special. For extra fun, fill it with succulents or air plants (bonus: hard to kill!) before gifting.

Find It: Plum & Punch

7. PUBLIC DOMAIN REVIEW FINE ART PRINT; PRICES VARY

Louis Renard’s "Fish," Folio 4
Public Domain Review // Public Domain

One of the most interesting history sites on the web also has a gift shop featuring prints of public domain images, drawn from the pages of natural history, travel, ethnography, and other types of fascinating books. (This one is Louis Renard’s Fish, Folio 4, from 1719—the earliest color publication on fish.) Prices vary, but many are around $25 and can be ordered with one of an assortment of frames for an additional fee.

Find It: Public Domain Review

8. PRE DE PROVENCE BUTTERFLY SOAP GIFT SET; $12

Pre de Provence butterfly soap gift set
Pre de Provence

Soaps are an easy hit: Most people like to smell good. This pack of seven pretty shea butter-enriched guest soaps includes familiar favorites like lavender and rose, as well as more distinctive fragrances including sage and starflower. The slightly nubby texture gives them a rustic, hand-made feel that will look beautiful in a bathroom, and the scents will linger.

Find It: Pré de Provence

9. PURE VERMONT ORGANIC MAPLE SUGAR CANDY; $25

Mount Mansfield Maple Products candy
Amazon

Food purists won't be able to quibble with these: The only ingredient is pure certified organic Vermont maple syrup, formed into the shape of a maple leaf and coated with concentrated, crystallized syrup to keep it fresh. Straight from the people at Mount Mansfield Maple Products in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains, the candy is packaged in an elegant black-and-gold box and will last for 10 weeks on the shelf—assuming the giftee doesn't eat it all.

Find It: Amazon

10. CAPABUNGA REUSABLE WINE SEALERS; $13

CapaBunga Reusable Wine Sealers
Amazon

Store leftover wine without fear (even on its side) with these caps made of 100 percent silicone, which provides an airtight seal. Each cap in the set features "cheers" in a different language: "Cheers," "Prost," "Santé," and "Salut." Give it to your favorite vino-lover—one who also knows how to practice a little self-control.

Find It: Amazon

11. RAW HONEY SAMPLER; $18

Raw Honey Sampler
Etsy

Who wouldn't love these little luxuries? Eight varieties of pure raw honey, including seasonal harvests and herb-infused treats, straight from a family-run farm in Central Ohio. Aside from being tasty, raw honey is known for a host of healing benefits, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antibacterial properties.

Find It: Etsy

16 Magical New Harry Potter Products

Business Wire
Business Wire

Another September has arrived, and with it, the realization that—once again—you won’t be going to Hogwarts. But don’t cry into your butterbeer: These Potter products from Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Target will help you forget that you’re a mere Muggle.

1. HOGWARTS CANDLE LANTERN; $99

Pair this turret-like lantern—which is made of aluminum and glass and features an antique bronze finish—with a pumpkin juice candle from Wick and Fable to get that Hogwarts at Halloween vibe.

Find it: Pottery Barn

2. HOGWARTS COMFY THROW; $13

Don this fleece throw—which looks exactly like a Hogwarts student robe—for studying in your house “Common Room” (a.k.a. your living room) or before mealtime in the “Great Hall” (a.k.a. your kitchen). Get some treacle tart on your robe? Don’t worry—it’s machine-washable.

Find it: Target

3. GRYFFINDOR APRON; $40

As all wizards know, food is the first of the Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration: Tasty treats don’t just appear out of nowhere—someone has to make them. Now you can display your house pride in the kitchen with this cotton twill robe. The neckband is equipped with a d-ring to make adjustments a snap.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

4. HOUSE BACKPACK; $63

These adorable canvas backpacks (available for all houses) feature interior and exterior pockets, a padded laptop pocket, and a roomy interior. See if you can make it even roomier with an Undetectable Extension Charm!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

5. VELVET TRAIN CASE; $59

Arrive at Platform 9¾ in style with one of these chic velvet toiletry cases.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

6. TRIWIZARD CUP LAMP; $18

Great for your bedside table or your Halloween costume, this cordless, battery-powered acrylic lamp will make you look like a Triwizard champ.

Find it: Target

7. MIRROR OF ERISED JEWELRY CABINET; $399

If you don’t have room for the full-length mirror, this jewelry cabinet is the next best thing: It opens to reveal hooks, shelves, and pegs for all of your baubles.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

8. WALL DECALS; $16

What better way to show of your hoggy hoggy Hogwarts pride than with these house crest vinyl wall decals? Each set comes with five decals, which reviewers give high marks.

Find it: Target

9. HOUSE CREST COOKIE CUTTERS; $17

These detailed cookie cutters are fun for witches and wizards of all ages. Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

10. HOGWARTS MAP; $129

This vintage-looking aerial map of Hogwarts is a true work of art. It’s printed on canvas and has grommets for easy hanging. And it won’t talk back like the Fat Lady!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

11. WIZARD CHESS; $40

It’s not life-sized, but this set is a detailed replica of the smaller board Harry and Ron play with in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Find it: Target

12. FAUX BOOK LOCKBOX; $139

Whether you’re hiding a Hallows or a Horcrux, this 20-inch-long facade—which looks like a shelf straight from the Hogwarts library—will keep all of your most precious things safe.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

13. GOLDEN SNITCH SNACK BOWL; $40

Made of gold-plated aluminum, this adorable bowl is perfect for serving up all kinds of snacks, from jelly slugs to Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. (Just watch out for the earwax flavor!)

Find it: Pottery Barn

14. QUIDDITCH PILLOW; $50

This Quidditch pillow—which is made of cotton velvet—has a delightfully retro vibe. There’s also a Snitch pillow, a Hogwarts letter sham, and this throw pillow featuring one of Harry’s signature spells.

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

15. DEATHLY HALLOWS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, $79

This gold-gilded Bluetooth speaker is compatible with all smartphones. It’s also cordless, which means you can take it with you—and listen to the Weird Sisters—wherever you go.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

16. ETCHED SCENE SHEET SET, $79 - $149

These cotton percale sheets come in every size from Twin to King and are adorned with scenes from the Hogwarts grounds and the Forbidden Forest.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

25 Back-to-School Products That Earn High Marks

iStock
iStock

New school style: Whether you're starting college, shopping for the kids, or just want an excuse to treat yourself to new office gear, Mental Floss has you covered. Equip yourself or a loved one with these stylish and functional school supplies.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. COFFEE AND DOUGHNUT POST-ITS; $13

coffee and doughnut Post-its
Courtesy of Post-it

Add some flavor to your notes with the two-pack set of coffee and doughnut Post-its. Each of the 60 sheets is 3.20-by-3 inches.

Find It: Amazon

2. PACKIT FREEZABLE HAMPTON LUNCH BAG; $16

PackIt Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag, Blanket Stripe
Amazon

This spacious lunch bag is designed with a freezable lining, so it can be folded and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to take it on the go, it'll be ready to chill your food for hours. Bonus: It's also lead- and BPA-free.

Find It: Amazon

3. MONSTER REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS; $11

Orange Monster Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Amazon

Save the Earth and amuse little students with these reusable, dishwasher-safe bags. Each set of four includes two sandwich bags and two snack bags—all with an easy-to-grip opening.

Find It: Amazon

4. BENTO BOX FOR KIDS; $40

OmieBox Bento Lunch Box With Insulated Thermos For Kids
Amazon

This three-compartment bento box is roomy enough to fit a hearty, healthy lunch. The BPA-free container—available in five bright colors—is leak-proof, easy to open, and comes with a built-in thermos.

Find It: Amazon

5. LARGE MONTHLY PLANNER; $15

Large Personal Monthly Planner
Amazon

JStory's minimalist planner is made of thicker-than-average paper and includes a column for notes. And the blank design offers flexibility: You fill in the dates yourself.

Find It: Amazon

6. ORANGE LINED NOTEBOOK; $9

Rhodia Staplebound Orange Lined Notebook
Amazon

French brand Rhodia earned a strong following among artists and designers for its high-quality paper that's unbelievably smooth. The cover is sturdy so you can take notes anywhere.

Find It: Amazon

7. HONEYSTICKS BEESWAX CRAYONS; $23

crayons
Amazon

These sustainable crayons are made of 100 percent beeswax from New Zealand. (They smell like honey, too!) The thick shape is perfect for toddlers to hold.

Find It: Amazon

8. MOPHIE POWERSTATION XL; $66

external battery
Amazon

An external battery is a must for days when shuttling around campus from classes to clubs to rehearsals is unavoidable. This slim rose gold option has two USB ports and is compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

Find It: Amazon

9. CABLEKEEP; $13

Nice GLD-02 Goldie CableKeep
Amazon

This helpful gadget for iPhones holds both your power adapter and USB cable while keeping them tangle-free. It also functions as a stand for your phone when the Cablekeep is plugged into the wall.

Find It: Amazon

10. PARKLAND BAYSIDE KIDS' BACKPACK; $28

Parkland Bayside Kids Backpack
Amazon

Tote books in style with this eco-friendly backpack, featuring a polyester exterior made from recycled water bottles.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO BRICK BACKPACK; $50

LEGO Brick Backpack
Amazon

This whimsical statement backpack from LEGO features a padded handle and shoulder straps, so it's as comfortable as it is cool.

Find It: Amazon

12. HERSHEL NOVEL DUFFEL; $81

Herschel Supply Co. duffel
Amazon

Class up your gear with this stylish duffel from Herschel. It features a padded shoulder strap and a special compartment for those dirty cleats.

Find It: Amazon

13. ANTIQUE BRASS PHARMACY FLOOR LAMP; $50

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Amazon

Overpower dim dorm room lighting with this brass floor lamp. Its height can be adjusted from 33 inches to a maximum of 55 inches, while the arm can be adapted to shine light at a variety of angles.

Find It: Amazon

14. EGYPTIAN COTTON TOWEL SET; $24

bathroom with towels
Amazon

This set of soft Egyptian cotton towels from Amazon's Pinzon brand includes two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bath towels—all listed as 100 percent cotton and at an affordable price.

Find It: Amazon

15. WHITE MARBLE MACBOOK KEYBOARD SKIN; $12

White Marble MacBook Keyboard Skin
Nordstrom

Protect your keyboard while adding a little luxury to your Macbook with this white marble keyboard skin.

Find It: Nordstrom

16. MAGNETIC CHALK BOARD; $18

chalkboard
Amazon

Get organized with this wood-framed chalk board, which comes with chalk and two vintage-style magnets.

Find It: Amazon

17. COFFEEBOXX SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER; $230

portable coffee maker
Amazon

This ultra-durable single-serve coffee maker is great for the dorm as well as the campground. It's water- and dust-resistant and works with K-cups.

Find It: Amazon

18. TRAVEL MUG; $25

 Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Amazon

If you need java to survive, pick up this sleek vacuum-insulated travel mug, which features a splatter-free push-button lid. It's also lockable, so you won't be that person who spills coffee in class.

Find It: Amazon

19. SIX-PACK OF STACKING DRAWERS; $32

stacking drawers
Amazon

Stack these versatile transparent drawers to create a dresser so you can fit your huge wardrobe in your dorm room.

Find It: Amazon

20. FACETED TAPE DISPENSER; $7

gem tape dispenser
Amazon

This elegant copper tape dispenser will give your desk some class. It's also weighted, so you can grab with ease. (Roll of Scotch tape included.)

Find It: Amazon

21. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE; $84

microwave
Amazon

Master the art of dorm room microwave cooking with this 1000-Watt model, featuring that all-important popcorn setting.

Find It: Amazon

22. SATEEN SHEETS; $18 AND UP

sheet set
Bed Bath & Beyond

These 400-thread-count sateen sheets feel silky to the touch: They're a simple way to make your dorm room feel luxurious.

Find It: Bed Bath & Beyond

23. TOUCHSCREEN MIST CLEANER; $10

Two-In-One Spray and Microfiber Cloth
Amazon

Use this screen-safe spray to remove dirt and fingerprints from your phone. It comes in a bottle that's coated with microfiber cloth so you can spritz and wipe all in one.

Find It: Amazon

24. MESH SHOWER BAG; $13

 Saltwater Canvas, LLC Zip Top Mesh Shower Bag
Amazon

No more feeling around outside the shower curtain for your shampoo. Take this quick-drying mesh shower caddy right into the stall with you.

Find It: Amazon

25. MINI FRIDGE WITH DRY ERASE BOARD; $250

 Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator with Neon Markers
Amazon

Make your dorm room unique with this fun fridge that has a dry erase exterior and comes with neon markers so you can write notes directly on it. No paper and magnets needed. It also includes a freezer unit and ice cube tray.

Find It: Amazon

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