50 Unique Holiday Gift Ideas for Her Under $50

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IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS

Finding just the right gifts for the women in your life can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. Our guide to gifts for her features 50 ideas, including beauty products, gadgets for entertaining, fun ways to stay healthy, and more -- all under $50.

Related: The Early Bird's Guide to Holiday Shopping

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LILLY PULITZER WINE GLASSES

When Lilly Pulitzer's line debuted at Target last year, shoppers thronged the aisles for a grab at budget-priced goods by a high-end designer. Although that collection didn't last long, this set of two stemless wine glasses ($20 at Nordstrom) is a prime example of the colorful aesthetic that appeals to so many at a low price. The lightweight acrylic tumblers come in two signature, preppy prints (hand-wash only).
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GODIVA CHOCOLATES

One of the world's top chocolatiers, Godiva has been making gourmet chocolates and candies since 1926. The company offers a popular holiday mix: the 19-piece gold ballotin ($32). (Ballotin is a term for a fancy box containing chocolates.) The gift box includes an assortment of milk, white, and dark chocolates with a variety of fillings, including caramel, nuts, ganaches, fruits, and pralines, in unique flavors; see the website for a complete list of the contents. It comes in a gold box with choice of ribbon.
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SKIN MIST

Give girls-on-the-go the gift of skin hydration -- a must when traveling on planes or in dry, winter air. TSA-friendly, travel-size skin mist from Tatcha ($15) keeps even the most ambitious jet setters looking glowy. With red algae and other emollients (and very little alcohol, which can be drying), this mist soothes dry skin with just a few spritzes.
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JEWELRY

It's hard to go wrong with an eye-catching necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings. And there's no need to spend a fortune. In addition to retailers such as Macy's and Kohl's, warehouse stores such as Sam's Club stock loads of costume jewelry, often at lower prices. Don't forget the handmade jewelry options readily available at Christmas markets and craft fairs.
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COMMUTER MUG

This is the perfect $20-and-under gift for those who commute to work. An insulated travel mug will keep her morning beverage of choice hot for hours. Coffee and tea addicts, in particular, will appreciate the offering.
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TERRARIUM

An enclosed garden may be just the right gift for women with a green thumb. Terrarium kits start at about $10 on sites such as Etsy and World Market and can always be personalized with unique finds -- a special moss from the garden center or a few trinkets from a flea market, for example. Some kits come with a container; otherwise buy a Mason jar at the dollar store or a decorative glass vessel costing $10 to $20 at a craft store. Once complete, one of these miniature wonders can brighten her day at work or her favorite room at home.

Photo credit: Courtesy of snapfish.com

PERSONALIZED COFFEE MUG

Who doesn't love (or need) coffee -- especially if they have young children? Put her kids' mugs on a mug (from about $12 on Snapfish but on sale for $5 at time of writing). Couple this photo gift with some gourmet coffee or a gift card to her favorite coffee shop.
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HANDMADE ITEMS

Handmade jewelry, clothing, and other goods are always popular gifts. Etsy is one of the best-known online marketplaces for artisanal items, but don't stop searching there. Consider alternatives such as Bonanza, ArtFire, and OddityMall.
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AUDIBLE MEMBERSHIP

Audible offers more than 180,000 audiobooks for download, including many new best-sellers narrated by the authors themselves, at a price of $45 for three months. Membership includes credit for one book each month, valuable discounts, and members-only sale opportunities for more audiobook purchases.
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FRUIT BASKET

There are companies that specialize in fruit arrangements, but holiday offerings start at about $45. Instead, assemble favorite fruits in an inexpensive basket to create a gorgeous -- and nutritious -- gift. Add sweetness by melting chocolate and dipping a few strawberries.
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RELIVE MEMORIES

Take her on a trip down memory lane with a collage of old photographs combined with current images for a personal demonstration of your affection. Or, create a love-song mix CD or playlist. As you listen together, relive memorable moments of holidays and seasons past.
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CAREER ADVICE

Alison Green, the blogger behind Ask a Manager, sells an e-book guide ($25) to applying for jobs, interviewing, and negotiating offers. A useful gift for a recent or upcoming graduate, or for anyone contemplating a midlife career switch, the book comes with two hour-long web seminars crammed with advice on job searching. The deal includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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SOLID SHAMPOO

For travelers, shampoo bars from Lush ($10 to $12) free up room in a quart-size bag for other carry-on liquids. They come in varieties such as Godiva, a jasmine-scented 2-in-1 bar for cleaning and conditioning hair. They also leave room in a $20 gift budget for travel-size shea hand cream from The Body Shop ($8).
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HOME PEDICURE

For a gift that pampers, put together a little home pedicure kit. The PedEgg ($13 on Amazon) keeps heels, soles, and toes feeling smooth well beyond the holiday season. This egg-shaped foot file fits in the hand and catches all the filed skin so there is very little cleanup -- a design feature that users appreciate. Add a bottle of nail polish and perhaps some lotion for a polished finish.
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BATH SPA BASKET

A home bathroom can become an aromatherapy day spa with fancy soaps and a few luxury bath items. Every department store stocks such merchandise, but clearance bins at specialty stores often contain a wider array. Start with several bars of floral, glycerine, or milled-oat soap and maybe include scented body lotion and an accessory, such as a loofah or shower sponge (from $3.50 at Bath and Body Works). An alternative assortment could include a few soaps in different scents or colors, shower gel or a bottle of bath oil beads, and a scented candle.
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CANDLE GIFT SET

A gift set with a candle theme can be assembled in several ways. The basic candle garden calls for free-standing pillar candles and a flat, fire-resistant surface or foundation on which to burn them. A dinner plate or wall mirror from a secondhand store serves the purpose. For candles, check dollar stores and overstock outlets, or head to Ikea for an inexpensive selection of block candles (starting at $2), scented candles in glass (79 cents), and votive candleholders ($1.79 for a four-pack). Assuage concerns about safety with an old-fashioned metal candle snuffer ($3).
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WRITING SUPPLIES

Even in today's electronic era there's room for old-fashioned pen-on-paper writing supplies. Start with several attractive pens in a variety of ink types, including ballpoint, fiber tip, and gel. Add a couple of blank-book journals or standard notebooks with pretty covers to complete a basic diary-writing kit. A three-pack of Field Notes portable memo books costs $10. For a stationery set, pick up a tablet of writing paper with matching envelopes and a few sheets of "forever" postage stamps. Present the gift in a basket or large decorative folder.
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ARTISAN SALTS

This is a useful holiday gift that adds a brilliant pop of flavor to gourmet and everyday dishes. Small-batch artisan salts from Chef Salt start at $10 each, or $25 for a gift box of any two jars, plus recipe cards for the chosen salts. Volcanic and sea salts are blended with herbs and spices to create varieties such as Bamboo Curry and Holy Mole.

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CHEESE-MAKING KIT

Anyone who enjoys being hands-on in the kitchen will enjoy a cheese-making kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. ($25) while stuck inside on a wintery day. Place this gift under the tree and watch the home cook turn milk into mozzarella or ricotta in about half an hour.
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FAUX FUR SLIPPERS

Comfy slippers from Minnetonka keep feet toasty warm, whether padding around the house or dashing outdoors in the depths of winter. One of the company's best-sellers is Cally mocassin slippers for women ($40 on Zappos), which feature suede uppers, faux fur lining, rubber soles, and a leather bow on top, and come in seven colors.
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PROGRAMMABLE SLOW COOKER

Harried home cooks can create an unending variety of meals with minimal effort when using this 6-quart programmable Crock-Pot ($48 on Amazon). With digital controls for setting the cooking time and temperature, there's no babysitting required. Contents cook for as little as 30 minutes and up to 20 hours; when cooking's done, the temperature shifts to "warm." The oval stoneware pot is dishwasher-safe and can go in the refrigerator, oven, or microwave.
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HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

Dessert is always a welcome gift and, for many, chocolate makes it doubly so. Aficionados will delight in "bean-to-bar" artisanal chocolate, which often goes for less than $10. Jacques Torres' Wicked hot chocolate mix ($18 for 18 ounces) contains enough cinnamon, allspice, and chili to rouse the taste buds of the most jaded palate.
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HIGH TECH GLOVES

Touchscreen gloves, which let wearers use smartphones, tablets, and other devices while keeping fingers warm, typically cost about $20 and up, but they start at about $10 on Amazon. These are a good gift for anyone who works outside, runs outside year-round, or just lives in a colder climate.
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FRAMED PHOTO

A framed photo is a welcome gift that lives on as a keepsake. Just about every major pharmacy will print a digital image for less than 25 cents and picture frames can be found for as little as $1 at the dollar store.
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STAR WARS HAND TOWELS

ThinkGeek's take on his-and-hers towels ($25) is a good gift for a couple of Star Wars fans. The hand towels are embroidered with Leia and Han's famous words to each other in "The Empire Strikes Back": "I love you." "I know."
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UNIQUE GIFTS

This Is Why I'm Broke doesn't sell anything directly; it's a directory of interesting products. Some, such as a custom-made underground parking dock for $61,000, could make you go broke. But visitors can browse all kinds of other oddities, and the site sends price-drop alerts. A coffee mug that looks like a camera lens could make a good gift for a shutterbug. A curved Oreo dunking spoon ($5) is a fun and inexpensive addition to the kitchen. SkyMall fans will be hooked.
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ROADSIDE EMERGENCY KIT

A roadside emergency kit like the AAA 42-piece roadside kit ($24 at Home Depot) contains the basics needed to get a vehicle running if something goes wrong. The kit comes with jumper cables, a flashlight, and a safety vest to wear during roadside repairs -- all packed in a handy carrying case designed to fit in the trunk. This is one gift you hope she'll never use.
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RICE COOKER AND FOOD STEAMER

For anyone who fears the challenge of boiling up a perfect pot of rice, one of Cheapism's top picks is a stylish stainless steel rice cooker from Aroma ($33 on Amazon). It makes up to 20 cups of cooked rice (10 cups uncooked) and features programmable digital controls for different types of grains, with a 15-hour delay timer. It also steams vegetables and meats while the rice cooks down below and doubles as a slow cooker. The inner pot has a nonstick surface, and the parts are dishwasher-safe.

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HELP SAVE A MANATEE

Lumbering and majestic, with a face that's hard to resist, the manatee is a smiling member of the underwater animal world. A symbolic adoption of this endangered species ($25 through the Save the Manatee Club) is an eco-conscious gift. Another $10 buys a 2017 wall calendar and a manatee club magnet.
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DRINKWELL PET FOUNTAIN

Babbling water cues a dog or cat that, hey, maybe it's time for a water break. This simple fountain ($26 on Amazon) replaces a lame water dish with a continuously flowing stream; the fountain holds 50 ounces. It's a boon for pet owners who leave furry friends home alone for extended periods and worry about providing fresh water to keep them hydrated.
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TARTELETTE EYE SHADOW

Whether it's date night or a workday, an eye shadow palette with 12 exclusive shades ($45 from Tarte) will come in handy. The makeup is made with Amazonian clay and contains mineral pigments and vitamins E, C, and A. Dozens of 4- and 5-star reviews at Sephora, Ulta, and Macy's admire the colors.
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'HUMANS OF NEW YORK: STORIES'

In an inspiring project called "Humans of New York," photographer Brandon Stanton captures regular folks going about their business in New York City and teases out poignant, and occasionally hilarious, stories from their lives. The snapshots claim millions of followers on Stanton's Instagram account, Facebook page, and blog, and now he's put together his third book, a New York Times best-seller ($19 on Amazon).
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SUBSCRIPTION TO ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

Architectural Digest ($24 for 12 issues) features gorgeous photography of interior and exterior spaces designed by professionals and amateurs around the world. Issues also provide tips on landscaping, home decor, travel, and culture. DIY buffs and admirers of design and architecture will delight in the photos that show up in monthly issues.
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'A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE' BOX SET

This epic fantasy series by George R. R. Martin (from $31 on Amazon) inspired the popular "Game of Thrones" TV series on HBO. Fans waiting for the show to return for a seventh season next summer can crack the five hulking paperbacks in the set: "A Game of Thrones," "A Clash of Kings," "A Storm of Swords," "A Feast for Crows," and "A Dance With Dragons."
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KIVA CARD

With more than 1.3 million participants, microlender Kiva enables donors around the globe to lend money to others who need capital for projects such as growing a business, attending school, and adopting clean energy systems. The smallest loan is $25 and, when repaid, the funds can be loaned out to someone else as a gift that keeps on giving. Send a Kiva card to someone on your list, who will choose the recipient.
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REUSABLE CHOPSTICKS

Think of all your friends and family members who enjoy Asian cuisine. Then think about the claim by activists that disposable wooden chopsticks add to the planet's deforestation and may contain toxic chemicals. Avoid the guilt -- and splinters -- with reusable and lightweight titanium chopsticks from HealthPro ($12 for a set of two on Amazon).
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KATE SPADE EARRINGS

It's hard to go wrong with a classic piece of jewelry. Faux-gem square stud earrings by Kate Spade ($29 at Nordstrom) hit the mark. Available in 12 colors, including fluorescent pink, turquoise, beryl green, and clear crystal, the simple and basic studs pair well with casual and even dressier outfits. The posts are 14-karat-gold-filled.
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COOKIE CUTTER KIT

Williams-Sonoma sells an eight-piece Star Wars cookie cutter set ($30). Instead of giving it as a gift, you may want to keep it and make Yoda, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C3PO, stormtrooper, Death Star, Darth Vader, and Millennium Falcon holiday cookies for others.
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FLOCK OF FOWL

Heifer International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and hunger, provides animals to families in need around the world. A donation of $20 on behalf of a favorite someone on your list sends a flock of geese, ducks, or chicks, along with a personalized card, to a family who will use the livestock as food and a source of income.
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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ELEPHANTS WALL CALENDAR

A wall calendar displaying stunning photos is a go-to gift for someone who is hard to shop for. Calendars from National Geographic ($15) feature animals such as elephants and travel destinations around the world, providing educational information on every page. They're made of earth-friendly materials: FSC-certified paper and soy-based inks.
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WABASH VALLEY FARMS POPCORN POPPER

What's movie night at home without a bowl of homemade popcorn? The stainless steel Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper ($25 on Amazon) makes 6 quarts of popcorn in about three minutes. The pan features a two-sided lid and an old-fashioned wood crank attached to a stirring system. It averages 4.3 stars from more than 3,200 reviewers.
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CHEESE AND CRACKERS SERVING BOARD

A cutting board from Uncommon Goods ($48) celebrates a classic combination. Crackers can be arranged in an ampersand cut into the solid maple board, leaving prime space for cheese and condiments. This fun, functional gift is produced by a family-owned company in Vermont. Some buyers may be tempted to keep it for themselves for holiday entertaining.
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REMINGTON CURLING WAND

A pink curling wand by Remington ($20 on Amazon) tapers from 1 inch to one-half inch and is a favorite of Amazon shoppers, with an average of 4.4 stars from more than 4,100 reviewers. It features patent-pending ceramic pearl technology and heats to 410 degrees (there's an automatic shut-off feature, just in case). The wand comes with a heat-protective glove for safe styling.
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VEGETABLE SLICER

A user-friendly spiral slicer from Paderno World Cuisine ($30 on Amazon) turns vegetables and fruits -- zucchini, squash, potatoes, cucumbers, apples, and so on -- into spaghetti-like, ribbon-like, or thick spiral strands. Just crank the fresh produce through this novelty kitchen tool for "pasta," curly fries, and more. The three blades are easy to switch out and clean, reviewers say.
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ELECTRIC WINE OPENER

Save the arm strength for hugs this season rather than wrestling with stubborn wine corks. The Oster electric wine bottle opener ($13 on sale at Best Buy) has won over thousands of consumers who have posted reviews on retail sites. The opener is cordless and comes with a charging base; one charge opens up to 30 bottles.
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HOMEMADE SOAP KIT

The LorAnn Oils soap making kit ($24) includes glycerin soap base, liquid colors, cocoa butter, fragrances, and a mold. Or, assemble a DIY kit on your own. You'll need lye (available at the local hardware store), oils, fragrances and textures (e.g., dried flowers), mixing bowls, protective glasses and gloves, and a plastic or silicone mold, PVC pipe, or a cardboard box lined with freezer paper. Include very specific instructions, because working with lye can be dangerous. The web is loaded with recipes and instructional videos.
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SELFIE STICK

To some people's chagrin and others' intense enthusiasm, selfie sticks continue to be wildly popular. An extendable one from Mpow ($12 on Amazon) fits most smartphones, pairs with Bluetooth, and features an adjustable holder that extends to nearly 3 feet. Its compact size and light weight make taking selfies or photos from any angle a breeze.
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NINJA BLENDER/FOOD CHOPPER

The 450-watt Ninja Master Prep ($40 on Amazon) blends, chops, purées, and dices. It comes with two jars (one holding up to 48 ounces and the other up to 16 ounces), two storage lids, four- and six-blade attachments, and a power pod that fits in the palm of a hand. The Ninja is dishwasher-safe and BPA-free, and averages 4.5 stars from more than 9,400 reviewers.
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ARTFUL THROW-PILLOW COVER

Combine art with practicality in a gift from Society6, a selling platform for pieces created by artists all over the world, such as a throw-pillow cover ($20) decorated with ornate, majestic elephant images on both sides. Hand-sewn and made of spun polyester poplin, it measures 16 inches square. A pillow is not included, so pick one up at a home-goods or craft store for a few dollars.
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PERSONALIZED CALENDAR

Photo gifts are a good way to give a unique gift without forking over too much hard-earned dough. Use photos to create a one-of-a-kind wall calendar (from about $20 at Walgreens), with each month highlighting a special memory. Many stores also have kiosks for uploading, ordering, and printing favorite shots that can be given as gifts in matted frames.