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

This Stunning Tiny ‘Cliff’ House on Amazon Costs $105,000 (and Up)

Q-haus, Amazon
Q-haus, Amazon

Tiny houses are cheaper, simpler, and definitely more portable than full-sized homes, and thanks to online retailers, they're easier to purchase. On Amazon, you can shop for pre-fabricated tiny houses in between adding toilet paper and bed sheets to your cart. One of the latest minimalist structures Amazon has sold is a "Cliff" house with a few luxurious amenities you won't find in many conventional homes.

For $105,000, the third-party seller Q-haus will ship you its Cliff model in two ready-to-assemble modules, according to Southern Living. The 774-square-foot house is modular and can have two to three bedrooms and one to two bathrooms. The bathrooms—which are where many tiny homes cut corners—are spacious enough to house either a bath tub or a sauna. The space also boasts built-in furniture, smart-home technology, an outdoor terrace, and tall windows for letting in lots of natural light.

The Cliff is definitely cheaper than most brick-and-mortar homes on the market, but as Realtor.com warns, the Amazon price tag may be deceiving. Unless you're a skilled professional, you'll likely need to hire contractors to put the components of the home together for you. Add that to the cost of the land and the concrete foundation for the home's footprint and you're looking at a bill that's much larger than the $105,000 you'd pay up front.

Tiny homes may also seem like a good option if you're looking for new place to live immediately. But transitioning to tiny house life is rarely as easy as putting together a structure and calling it home. Zoning laws, insurance, and storage are all factors tiny home owners need to contend with before moving into their new abode.

Q-haus's Cliff design sold out shortly after it hit Amazon, and there's no indication of when or if it will be back in stock. But if you still have your heart set on downsizing your lifestyle, there are plenty of tiny dwellings available on Amazon for much cheaper prices.

[h/t Southern Living]

This Convenient, Comfortable Travel Pillow Doesn’t Wrap Around Your Neck

Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images
Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images

If an angry bit of airplane turbulence has recently whammed your forehead into the window, you probably have the bruises to prove that sleeping on the go can be a dangerous game. Though neck pillows can offer some security, not everyone’s a fan—some people can’t sleep totally upright, some don’t think it provides enough support, and others simply don’t like the feeling of a plush toilet seat curled around their necks.

For those people, there’s the Ostrich Pillow Mini, a tiny, oblong pillow into which you slip your hand, forearm, or elbow, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. It will stay in place and protect your head from airplane turbulence in a way that no balled-up, threadbare hoodie ever could, but it’s not just for those lucky winners (or purchasers) of window seats. You can use the pillow wherever you might be inclined to rest your head on top of your arms, including plane or train trays, piles of library books, and office desks. One Amazon customer even used the pillows as elbow pads to protect himself from unforgivingly hard arm rests.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

Since the Ostrich Pillow Mini essentially works as an extension of your arm, you don’t have to stay stone-still while you sleep. As Travel + Leisure’s Claudia Fisher puts it, “Sometimes, I even wake up from a nap to discover I’ve shifted in my sleep but brought my little arm pillow with me to support my head in its new spot.”

In addition to its main opening, the pillow has two other holes. One is a small, finger-sized opening through which you slide your thumb if you’re keeping the pillow on your hand. The other is a larger hole at the other end, through which you slide your hand if you want the pillow to stay on your forearm or elbow.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

It’s compact enough that you can easily fit it into your carry-on bag, backpack, or briefcase, and understated enough that you can power nap in public without drawing attention to yourself. The outer layer is light gray, and the inner layer comes in Midnight Grey, Blue Reef, or Sleepy Blue. You can order it for $35 from Amazon.

Check out some other ways to make flying more comfortable here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

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