It probably seems premature to be talking about Christmas and Hanukkah — but is it? We’ve got Prime Day coming up soon with some good money-saving opportunities. From there, it’s right on to the regular flood of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. So in honor of the fabled early bird, we’re here to help you get that affordable holiday worm. OK, that’s maybe not the best term, but you see where we’re going here.
This roundup is all about great gifts for $25 or less. Some items are old favorites, others are new finds. As always, if you’ve got candidates of your own to nominate, hit the comments!
True wireless earbuds are all the rage these days but sometimes I prefer to keep the cord, especially while exercising. That way, my earbuds won’t go flying if I shake them loose, and they can just dangle if I want to take them out.
Mpow’s sport ‘buds are IPX7-rated waterproof and able to pair with two different devices. I especially like their large, raised, separated volume buttons on top, as well as the big red multifunction button on the side — two usability wins.
At this writing, there are about eight different colors available, with prices ranging from $14 to $20. At this price, you’re not likely to find better sport earbuds.
This is one of my favorite new things of 2020. It’s a retractable ping-pong net that can set up just about anywhere: dining room table, picnic table, conference room table and so on. You also get a pair of paddles, some balls and a drawstring case to carry it all. Presto: Table-tennis to go.
A personal aside: My dad is dealing with dementia, and I learned recently that ping-pong has the potential to slow cognitive decline. So I got one of these for him; we used to play all the time when I was a kid. Long story short: He loves it. Plays almost every day now. It’s been a huge win.
The button below will take you to a set from Amazon seller RuRuYunYe, which currently has a 10% off coupon on a $20 set. If that’s no longer available, there are countless other versions of this in the same price range. At this writing, for example, here’s one for $19.97, one for $18 and another for just $16.
The Wyze Band is by no means a perfect activity tracker, but it does a lot, especially considering its super-bargain price tag. It has a color AMOLED screen, a full-time heart-rate monitor, support for Alexa voice commands and a battery good for up to 14 days.
It’s also a watch, of course, and it can sling notifications from your phone. Read our Wyze Band first take to learn more.
By the way, the Wyze price doesn’t include shipping, which adds about $5. You can also order the Band from Amazon for $29.98, shipping included.
Rumors of an Apple wireless tracker have yet to pan out. In the meantime — and for the millions who have Android phones — the Tile Mate tracker gets the job done nicely. For just $25, this little guy attaches to a keychain, purse, backpack or the like. Then just pair it with your phone.
Can’t find your phone? Double-press the Tile button to make it ring. Can’t find the Tile (and whatever it’s attached to)? Use your phone to locate it. You’ll soon see why these are amazing gifts.
Maybe the game has Stranger Things to thank, but it feels like Dungeons & Dragons has had a small resurgence in recent years. If you need an inexpensive gift for someone who’s looking to expand their game horizons beyond the gamepad realm, the classic pencil-and-paper roleplaying game may be just the ticket. This starter set includes everything a newbie needs to get the game up and running — including all the requisite multisided dice, natch — all for under $15. If you’re buying for someone who already has some ideas of how the game should be played, the new D&D Essentials Kit might be a better choice, though.
These handy straps loop through your phone case so it’s easy to keep a good grip on your phone. They go for $8 each, with a choice of dozens of patterns and a variety of colors available. Buy three or more (pick your own colorful palette) for free shipping and you’ll have a trio of practical gifts. It’s just me talking here, but I consider the Ninja Loop the best stocking stuffer ever.
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Originally published last year. Updated with new info for 2020.