20 Gifts for Under $20

There is no reason to break the bank during the holidays. It’s more important to choose something thoughtful and fun instead of something expensive and predictable. These gifts are perfect for that work friend or the new date you don’t want to weird out with something extravagant. But they are also nice enough to give to the person at the top of your list. I will admit some of the selections are a little bit quirky; I’m a little bit quirky.

socksKnee High Cozy Socks

Usually these fuzzy slipper socks only come up to the heel, but these seasonal socks at Target keep you extra warm. They come in a variety of cool styles, and no one would ever guess they are only $4. Buy a set of 3 different colors for the perfect gift. Plus Target has free shipping for the holidays.



painkillersPainkillers Pocket Tin

 Not only is this tin big enough for the massive doses of medication required to combat those horrible headaches, but just looking at the picture will make you immediately feel like your headache isn’t really that bad after all. Snaps shut securely to carry in your purse or backpack. You can also use it as a wallet to carry credit cards or business cards. $7


dog teethHumunga Teeth Dog Toy

Make people at the dog park do a double-take when they see how happy your dog is with his new toy! I’m sure the dog must pick it up sideways half of the time, but when the teeth line up it’s hi-larious. Made of non-toxic materials; ball is hollow with a hole on the top and bottom. Diameter is 2.4″ similar to a tennis ball. $12


tomrobbinsTibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins

I must confess up front that this book is so new I have not even read it yet. Still, I have read and loved every one of Tom Robbins’ strange and convoluted novels, including “Skinny Legs and All” and “Another Roadside Attraction” (with the possible exception of “Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas”). Robbins insists this book is not a memoir, but it is a collection of stories from his life, taking the reader on a journey from Appalachia to the psychedelic 60s in San Francisco. Robbins spins yarns in his own inimitable style, full of unusual plots and freaky metaphors. $17.97



Striped Bowls

These earthenware bowls sport a design of graduated stripes, making them perfect for the holiday season, but useful for everyday. The mixing bowl is 11.25″ dia. x 7″H and the individual serving bowls are 4.75″ dia. x 3″H Microwave and dishwasher safe. Mixing bowl $19.95 Individual bowls $3.95 each, so you can still get a set of 4 for under $20.


Space Shooter Gameshootergame

The picture seems to show fire shooting out of the front of this toy, but maybe they are trying to suggest flashing lights. It does, however, make space noises. You could buy one each for a couple of friends to let them attack each other, but you know who really loves this toy? Cats. There are 20 foam rubber disks to shoot across the room for your cat to chase. Do not shoot directly at the cat. $10


violence girlViolence Girl by Alice Bag 

One of the best memoirs to come out of the LA punk scene, the legendary Alice Bag looks back upon her life growing up in a traditional Mexican family and examines some of the culture clashes she faced during her teen years. But don’t worry, there are also a lot of the legendary tales of the late 70s scene in LA. It is the story of a strong, independent woman making her way through a man’s world. Buy this for your favorite punk, musician, revolutionary, or feminist. $17.95

clothespinsGlam on Wire Clothespins 

Hang your laundry on the line with these old-fashioned tightrope walkers. There is even a monkey acrobat. Add a touch of whimsy to everyday chores. Order a set of five plastic clips, or you can order two sets of clips to round it out at ten. Individual clothespins range from 4.75 inches to 5 inches in length, 2 inches to 3 inches in width. Imported. Man-made materials. (which probably means plastic). $8.99 for a set of five.


Soul Stealer Tote Bag

This large faux leather tote with a fabric lining is vegan-friendly, but maybe not Christian-friendly. Shoulder straps, zipper closure. 1 inner zip pocket and 2 pouch pockets. It is 33cm x 46cm (around 13 inches x 18 inches). The design on the reverse side is the flames of hell. What did you think was going to be on the other side? At exactly $20 it is on the edge of the budget, but it’s a really good deal.


Organic Flour Sack Cloths

This may seem like a very simple and humdrum gift, but bakers love them. The light fabric is perfect for draping over dough as it rises. $11.96 for a set of three.


wilfredWilfred: The First Season

This FX remake of a popular Australian TV show stars Elijah Wood as Ryan, a lonely sad sack who sees his neighbor’s dog as a man in a furry suit. Everyone else sees Wilfred as a dog, but Ryan and we (the TV audience) see a person. Wilfred swings between helping and tormenting Ryan in one of the strangest buddy comedies ever made. We never quite know whether Ryan is hallucinating or if Wilfred is a mischievous demon or something magic like Santa Claus. DVD Complete 1st Season $12.18



badgeRhinestone ID Badge Holder

Do you have one of those jobs that requires you to wear a laminate? Give it a little pizzazz with these vintage-style rhinestone and pearl flowers attached to a 30″ long nylon cord that comes with a plastic badge attachment. Give one to your favorite nurse, doctor or lawyer or add a little style to the gift recipient’s next convention. $10




bike hornRetro Bike Horn

A fun gift for your favorite cyclist. It is for safety only. The Big Kid Collectible and Toy Mall want to remind you this is for bikes only – it is not a toy. $5.25




littlefriendLittle Friend by Donna Tartt

This year it seemed like everyone was reading “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. I myself prefer her mystery thriller, “Little Friend.” The story is told through the eyes of 12 year old Harriet, who is raised by a contingent of old southern ladies after the mysterious death of her younger brother breaks up the family. It is an exciting, sometimes hilarious story filled with eccentric characters worthy of Flannery O’Connor. Plus, there are snake handlers. $10.72


 e91b_diy_guitar_pick_punchDIY Guitar Picks

An exciting novelty item. You can make picks out of credit cards, store cards, any kind of plastic. The site is a little impractical when they suggest you carry this guitar pick punch in your guitar case so you are never caught without a pick. What’s easier – carrying a big metal stapler gadget that could scratch your guitar, or a handful of lightweight picks? We recommend it for home use only. $19.99



animalMuppets Animal Lunchbox

If you don’t actually have children of your own, it can be tough to keep up with the latest cool characters. But like Disney, The Muppets are forever. And there is no cooler Muppet than Animal, the manic drummer supposedly fashioned after Keith Moon. It’s no longer hip for young women to use lunchboxes as purses, but maybe a cool drummer could use it to “stash” his drum keys and “stuff” (wink wink). $12.95



cn8172863Bear Pro Fleece Hat and Mitten Set

Who doesn’t love babies in adorable little hats? And it doesn’t get much more adorable than hats with ears. This pro fleece hat in icy pink is machine washable and comes in every size except for mine. It has a striped 100% cotton jersey lining and a hook and eye closure. $16.95





26042_zoom1Solar Photography Kit

This kit is based on the cyanotype process pioneered in 1842. Place any object or transparency on the Sunography paper, expose it to sunlight, then rinse with water to produce your own  prints.. Kit includes: 6 5″ x 7″ sheets of photosensitive paper (each printable on both sides), instructions, and light proof plastic storage bag. Perfect for your little scientist or grown up artsy type. $15


johnJohn Dies at the End

This sleeper is one of the most surreal films you will ever see. Get it for a friend who doesn’t mind things very weird and a little bit gross. A new drug with a life of its own gives best friends and slackers John and David the ability to see creatures from other dimensions. With this newfound ability come some awful surprises and an obligation to save the earth. Paul Giamatti is perfectly cast as the skeptical reporter. $13.97


Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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