35 Fun And Thoughtful Birthday Gift Ideas That Are All Under $20
Just bookmark this list *now* because it’s always someone’s birthday.
We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
1. An adorable set of flower measuring spoons that’ll, no doubt, put a smile on any cook’s face when they reach for these.
Get a set of four from ModCloth for $12.
2. A celestial-inspired journal featuring a gorgeous gold-foil detailing for keeping their thoughts, to-do’s, and dates in one stunning place.
Promising review: “This journal is wonderful. The pages are lined with a golden sheen and the cover shimmers as well. The pages are very thick which has both pros and cons. The main pro is that your ink WILL NOT show through to the other pages even if you write on the front and the back of each page, assuming you’re using an average pen. The main con is that because the pages are so thick the journal won’t last as long as one with thin pages. I’ve been writing in it once daily for about a month now and it’s already about a quarter of the way filled. The pages are also a nice cream color with very thin, light lines on each so they don’t stand out too much. I will definitely buy another one in a new color when this one runs out. The price is great for what you get; I would suggest it to anyone looking for a unique journal.” —Kiersten Hurst
3. And! A ticket stub diary to organize the piles and piles of tickets they have stored in a shoebox under their bed. Now they can easily flip through and see all of the things they’ve done!
Promising review: “My kids have been lucky enough to attend more than a few great events together; I know they save those ticket stubs, and they were so thrilled when they opened their gift on Christmas Day. ‘We were just talking about saving our ticket stubs in a box, Mom! This is so cool!'” —Mom of Adult Boys
4. A mug with a lil’ animal figurine at the bottom so once they’re finished with their hot beverage, there’s a sweet surprise waiting for them.
Promising review: “I served coffee to my daughter in it on her birthday morning, and it was amazing to see her face when the hedgehog was unveiled. She loved it.” —David Jimenez
Get it from Amazon for $15.98 (available in 19 animals).
5. A dainty layered necklace so they always have a go-to, simplistic piece of jewelry to rely on. Honestly, it’s so cute they probably don’t need to own any other necklaces!
Get it from Amazon for $10.99 (available in five styles).
6. An incredibly fun cocktail recipe book for the friend who’s obsessed with fine literature and even finer cocktails.
Promising review: “Love the recipes, and the variety: simple, complex, sweet, tart, bitter, etc. The literary puns are spot-on, and I like the idea that the drink could match both the themes at work in the story, and sometimes even the literary criticism surrounding the novel. The suggested games at the end were very funny, and the illustrations also added to the whole presentation.” —Spilt Over
7. An actually affordable jar humidor to maintain their small cigar collection at peak freshness.
Promising review: “With the addition of Boveda humidity packs, this brilliant and versatile humidifier is my new favorite. I re-calibrated my hydrometer and popped it in this with a Bovida 69% humidity pack and it is spot-on. My temperature is pretty solid in the space where I keep my cigars and I have not seen any major swings in humidity. It’s simple, useful, and a fantastic investment for keeping several cigars ‘at the ready’.” —bearto
Get it from Amazon for $12.58.
8. Multichrome nail polish that shifts colors based on the angle. In other words, it’s the coolest $10 gift out there.
Promising review: “This color is amazing. People stop me all the time wanting to know which salon I went to. They always think it’s gel too. I have tried it over black nail polish and it does last longer and I’ve tried it with just two coats and it’s still beautiful.” —England86
Get it from Amazon for $10.
9. A DIY bath bomb kit, because the best gifts let them create something really pretty…and then use it to relax.
And once they’re done, they can soak in a nice hot bath. That’s a double win in my book.
This kit comes with citric acid, liquid colorant, liquid fragrance, molds, and a book with instructions on how to make bath bombs and other bath treats.
Get it from Amazon for $18.99.
10. A tarot card set for beginners that’ll give them a fun new hobby to pour their attention into.
The essentials set comes with a 78-card deck and a book that explains the fortune telling elements of each card.
Promising review: “I purchased this for one of my teenagers a year ago. Honestly, this is ideally suited for a rookie. It gives the beginner an idea of tarot cards in general. It’s an affordable and nice starter set. Don’t get me wrong…this kit is appropriate for beginners and seasoned souls. I only mean if you’re looking for an introductory set this one is great. My 16-year-old loves it.” —Oregonians
Get it from Amazon for $16.19.
11. Or if they’re more into crafty things, a calligraphy how-to book for newbies. Just think of how pretty their thank you card to you will be!
Promising review: “I LOVE this book!! I’ve wanted to improve my penmanship and learn modern calligraphy and lettering for a looooong time. I thought I’d give this book a try and I’m so confident in my lettering now. I’m excited to create my own projects and show off my new skills!!” —KHenderson
12. A coffee subscription box so they can drink coffee from countries around the world even if they haven’t bean there before.
Atlas Coffee Club delivers you fresh coffee from all over the world! You can purchase individual bags to sample (though some are only available with a subscription), or sign up for the delivery service so you can receive different bags biweekly or monthly. And because Atlas Coffee Club doesn’t mess around, they offer coffee from over 50+ countries! Hello, good morning!!!
Get it from Atlas Coffee Club starting at $9 per month (certain bags available for individual purchase).
Read BuzzFeed’s complete review on this subscription service.
13. And if coffee isn’t their ~cup of tea~, then an actual loose tea subscription box that’ll satisfy any tea-lover’s cravings with a variety of new options to try each month.
Every month they receive three-four premium teas, and the first month’s box includes a tea infuser.
Get it from Cratejoy for $9+/month.
14. A zodiac button to match their sign *and* add a cool pop of color to their best denim jacket.
15. A teddy bear scrunchie made in the material of our childhood’s favorite stuffed animal. Truly, just so much cuteness all around.
Get it from Free People for $6 (or 3 for $12; available in eight colors).
16. Spicy honey you better bee-lieve they can smother on all their favorite foods since it tastes amazing with everything. When in doubt, always gift delicious condiments.
Promising Review: “Saw this on a Food Network show and decided to try! LOVE IT! Great honey taste with just a bit of heat at the end. My husband loves ‘hot’ foods and even grows his own peppers to put on anything. He really likes this on his French toast and I like it with peanut butter. However, I just made baked beans and added a tablespoon of Mike’s Hot in addition to the brown sugar (reduced amount) and they were the BEST baked beans ever!” —Ritakc
Get it from Amazon for $9.61.
Read our full review of Mike’s Hot Honey.
17. A variety pack of sheet masks that’ll hydrate, tighten, and brighten their skin while forcing them to enjoy some dang R & R for once.
Promising review: I love the variety in this package! I shared them with my family, all of whom have different skin care needs and so this was perfect! I used the hydrating masks and they left my skin feeling wonderful.” —Jennifer Lee
Get a 15-pack from Amazon for $16.97.
18. AND, a silk eye mask set with a removable gel insert and refillable pouch they can fill with lavender or flax seed.
Promising review: “I have tried many different eye masks and pillows and combinations with the gel mask and was still looking for the right one. This one has all the features I wanted. I love the silk, it’s the only way to go because it’s natural and breaths nicely and stays cool to the touch and lightweight. The ability to change the inside bag with various things and adjust the weight is another awesome feature. But one step further and this definitely tipped the scale, if you put the gel eye mask in the fridge/freezer for a couple of minutes and then remove the muslin sack from the eye pouch, you can put the gel mask in the silk eye patch for a fabulous cooling sleep eye mask. The band on the back is soft and easy to adjust as well.” —Colleen Myers
Get it from Amazon for $16.95.
19. A compact travel mirror and honestly the shelling point is just how freakin’ darling this thing is — like, you should buy an extra one for yourself.
Get it from ModCloth for $12.
20. A non-stick pizza prep mat, because there is not a soul in the world who doesn’t love pizza, and therefore, would not want this mat.
Get it from UncommonGoods for $15.
21. A set of dog corn-on-the-cob holders sure to give ’em a laugh every time they break these out for dinner. I’m chuckling just looking at them in this photo:
Promising review: “These are so cute and whimsical! I have two sets we use for summer BBQs. They are always a hit! Perfect for anyone who loves doxies and has a sense of humor! I have had my first set for about four years and they still look brand new.” —Abby
Get a set of four pairs from Amazon for $5.48+ (also available in four other animals).
22. A natural wax, white tea candle in a pretty tin for the ultimate night of relaxation. The tin is so stylish, they can use it for jewelry once the candle is burned through.
Life tip: Once your candle is completely burned through, you can stick the tin or jar in the freezer and then pop out the remaining wax with a butter knife!
Get it from Amazon for $16.99.
23. A pillow cover based off of The Office they’ll love more than bears, beets, and Battlestar Galactica combined!
I will never stop putting this in gift posts! For one, I have this in my apartment and it never fails to start conversation. The fabric is great quality and has held up incredibly well. TL;DR: this is the best thing you could ever spend $8 on.
Get it from Amazon for $8.99.
Psst! The pillow insert is *not* included, but you can get one from Amazon for $8.49. I have this exact pillow insert and cover and I can confirm: It’s all great quality.
24. A pair of in-style acrylic earrings, because friends help friends keep up with trends.
Promising review: “Exactly as pictured. They look very classy and expensive. I have seen these earrings in boutiques for five times this price. I have had several friends ask me where I got them and they bought them too!” —Lydia F.
Get them from Amazon for $8.49+ (available in six colors).
25. A super helpful book that covers practically everything home-related. If they own a home, rent an apartment, or are in the market to buy, then no need to look any further for a suitable gift!
Seriously, this book is amazing! Read a BuzzFeeder’s full review on Home Comforts here.
Promising review: “From age-old advice to updated, improved information on everything home related, this book is a gem. It’s practical, easy to read, interesting and detailed. I first borrowed it from the library and then realized we needed it on our bookshelf. My husband refers to it as well, as the seasons turn and home care varies from winter to summer. There has been an unexpected additional benefit to this book: We appreciate our house, our possessions and our domestic time together even more.” —Cozy Cottage
26. A double pack of The Golden Girls playing cards you *have* to gift to your Blanche, Sophia, Rose, or Dorothy…you just have to.
Get it from Urban Outfitters for $15.
27. And! A deck of encouragement cards so they can leave themselves (or others) sweet life reminders. There’s even space on the back for personal messages!
Promising review: “I LOVE these little cards! I’m old school and actually handwrite letters, cards, and notes. I love adding one of these in them for a pop of color and as a keepsake. These are great to put in my lunchbox too as a pick-me-up during a hard week. Also super fun to leave for your servers or strangers. A little kindness goes a long way!” —Abby B.
Get it from Amazon for $9.95 (available in three other categories).
28. An initial wax stamp for anyone in your life who still loves to send letters — which should be all of us, people! *Chants* bring back the joy of snail mail!
This Etsy listing also has the option to add wax and make it a kit, or you can get wax from Amazon for $10.09.
29. A Rick and Morty card game even cranky Rick would approve of. Game nights just got a whole lot better.
Promising review: “I’ve played a lot of board games and card games; a favorite is Cards Against Humanity in our house. After 15 minutes of play I feel this game will be another favorite. It’s simple enough to learn in 10 minutes yet complex enough to keep advanced players on their toes. I was surprised at the complexity of the rules, to be honest, and the fact there are two versions (standard and advanced) allows you to tailor the experience depending on the players. Also it is very small so it’s easy to take with you. A worthwhile purchase if you like board/card games, even if you don’t like Rick and Morty. Recommended.” —Geoff C.
Get it from Amazon for $9.19 (also available in a board game).
30. A bottle-sized wine glass because literally wine not?! You probably just gave them their favorite gift to date.
Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in seven styles).
31. A rose gold makeup brush set that’ll make it seem like you dropped some serious $$$. Seriously, these are so affordable you might as well get a set of your own. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Promising review: “These brushes are sooooo BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely love them. I instantly fell in love, no smell to them when they first came, the bristles are very soft and comparable to makeup counter brands, the handle itself is very durable and the brush has a little weight to it. I love the grooves in it for a comfortable grip. These brushes are true to picture and have a beautiful rose gold color. They’re super affordable but the LOOK high, highhhhh end.” —Amazon Customer
Get the eight-piece set from Amazon for $14.99.
32. A pair of trusty headphones you can *cough cough* give to to the headphone thief in your life.
Promising review: “Compared to MANY other earbuds that I’ve had that cost $75, $100, $150, these sound as good as any of them. I’m astounded! I use these for running, and I’ve attached them to my sunglasses along with my iPod Shuffle. I figured for $8, I could afford to sweat up a few of these and replace them whenever I needed to. I’VE RUN 1,500 MILES WITH THESE in the last year and a half! I’ve gone through four pairs of New Balance shoes, two iPod Shuffles, three pairs of sunglasses, and am on the SAME set of earbuds! And, THEY STILL SOUND GREAT!” —Gene Goodell
Get them from Amazon for $9.17+ (available in 15 colors, and with or without a mic).
See BuzzFeed’s full write-up of these headphones.
33. A sweet fill-in-the-blank book that’ll straight up tell ’em exactly why you love them! The pages have enough blank space for you to write additional messages and add photos.
Promising review: “For Christmas, I wanted something personal for my boyfriend. Sometimes I feel like there isn’t enough time to show your appreciation for the one you love. After doing some researching, I decided on this fill-in-the-blank book. Some of the questions were a bit goofy and a laugh for us both but I loved being able to fill out and answer the questions. It was a gift that he definitely will remember and it made my day to see how much he appreciated hearing all the things I love about him!” —Jenna G.
Get it from Amazon for $9.70.
34. A vacuum-insulated water bottle because if you’re completely stumped on a present, the gift of pretty hydration is always a solid (or liquid, HA!) route.
I will not apologize for that bad joke.
These bottles can keep liquids cool for up to 18 hours, and hot for up to five (and even longer with the larger bottles).
Promising review: “Great water bottle. I see water bottles like this everywhere that are $40-50 for the 25-oz. size and just wasn’t able to spend that much on a water bottle. Finally I found this on Amazon and I absolutely love it. It keeps my drink cool all day, it’s so sleek, and most importantly (for me) it really is 100% leak proof. As long as the top is screwed on obviously, you can fill this to the top and shake it around and it’s not going to spill, ever.” —Alexa Wright
Get it from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in four sizes and 46 prints/colors).
35. And finally, some very funky, purrrrfect, out-of-this-world socks any COOL CAT would be honored to receive.
Get it from Amazon for $13.95 (available in one size).
Actual footage of them opening your gift:
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.