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Gift-Wrapped Fun for Less

7 products that make perfect presents for under $50 each

  • Photos courtesy manufacturers

    Checking It Twice

    Good news, thrifty holiday shoppers: This year you’ll have a wide variety of affordable goods from which to choose. “We see more merchants offering price-match policies, discounts and free shipping during the holiday season as further incentives for shoppers,” says Patricia Pilgrim, senior editor at social commerce site Slickdeals. With so much to choose from, we’ve simplified things by choosing seven products with price tags under $50 in seven key categories. Happy shopping!

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  • Photo courtesy Mosaic

    For Your Techie

    It’s sometimes hard to convince your touch-screen-oriented offspring of the simple joys of flipping through an old-fashioned photo album. But here’s a solution that allows them to create a tangible photo book from their smartphone or tablet in mere minutes: the Mosaic by Mixbook. You buy your loved ones a $25 or $50 printed or electronic gift card; they download the Mosaic app to their iPhone or Android device; they use the app to pick photos they’ve taken and arrange them into a physical photo album, which should arrive within four days. Lastly, they invite you over to leaf through the album, at which time you gush about how adorable and photogenic your kids and grandkids are.      

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  • Photo courtesy Umbra

    For Your Old-School Gamer

    Here’s a new invention that blends old-school fun with marvelous modern design. It’s the portable table tennis set by Pongo, which allows you to quickly stretch a net across any large table, unfold the retractable handles from the pair of paddles and begin playing lickety-split. The $40 price tag also nets you two balls and a drawstring pouch.

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  • Photo courtesy Conscous Box

    For Your Foodie

    Before you give yet another basket or box of edible indulgences loaded with tasty but unhealthy ingredients, consider this feel-good alternative: the Conscious Box, an arrangement within a recyclable container housing natural snacks as well as bath and beauty products from environmentally friendly businesses. Three varieties are available: classic, vegan or gluten-free. A six-month subscription to the “taster” Conscious Box is just under $50.

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  • Photo courtesy Nokia

    For Your Music Lover

    Remember the days when you’d sit in a comfortable chair, turn on your stereo and soak in music from real loudspeakers? Today’s fast-paced tech-dependent crowd doesn’t have the time — or the equipment — for that amusement. But virtually anybody with a smartphone can still enjoy tunes that actually sound good while being played out loud, provided they have a portable wireless speaker like Microsoft’s new MD-12. This compact but surprisingly effective $50 gizmo, sporting a colorful and futuristic design, can connect to devices via Bluetooth, NFC or standard audio cables, and its rechargeable battery boasts 15 hours of playback.

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  • Photo courtesy Umbra

    For Your Bookworm

    If book lovers had their way, they’d take their trusty tomes with them wherever they go — even in the shower. While the latter may not be very practical, they have come up with a product that enables you to turn pages in the tub. Umbra’s Aquala bathtub caddy (around $40) combines a book prop, soap dish and wine glass holder into one sturdy bamboo tray attached to chrome-plated stainless steel arms that extend up to 37 inches across the width of the tub. Now, your readaholic relative can soak away stress and immerse herself in a good book — without immersing the book itself.

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  • Photo courtesy GardenHOME

    For Your Gardener

    They’ve got a green thumb, but you’re green behind the ears when it comes to choosing the right gardening gift. Relax — your solution is found within a handy folding stool and tethered tool bag by GardenHOME. This smartly designed product packs five wooden-handled stainless steel garden tools (a trowel, transplanter, cultivator, weeding fork and weeder) within the pockets of a lightweight storage tote, all for $40. Be sure they invite you to dinner once their fresh veggies are harvested and ready to eat.

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  • Photo courtesy J-Animal

    For Your Grandkids

    Stuffed animals never seem to go out of style. But what if you could turn an oversized toy into a wearable pal? Then you’d have the best of both worlds: a squeezable companion and a wee-sized wardrobe accessory that would satisfy any grandparent’s cuteness quotient. Meet the J-Animals, a new line of wearable stuffed animals that fit most youngsters and are made from breathable soft polar fleece for comfortable warmth. Best of all, when not being worn, this Transformers-like tyke apparel rolls up conveniently into a pillow or toy. Choose from a cat, dog, giraffe, zebra or unicorn, each about $30.

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