The best gifts $20 can buy

Headphones are a gift you can often give for under $20. (Photo Illustration by George Walker | The Collegian)

It’s December, the time of the year when holiday music begins to play and we ready ourselves for the gift-giving season. This evokes both excitement and fear in many college students – excitement to celebrate with your family and the much needed month off, coupled with the fear of wondering how you’ll manage to buy a present for everyone on your list.

Well, here are some fun gifts under $20 that will not only be a treat for your bank account, but also a treat for your loved ones as well.

Creative cookies

For those looking for something different yet gimmicky, Baking with My Homies cookie stamps are a great present. Made for anyone who loves baking, especially during the holiday season, these cookie dough stamps imprint your cookies with the image of Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G and others. Even those who hate baking will get a kick out of making baked goods rapper-shaped.

With the price of $10 for a pack of three, this is a great novelty present that is also useful. Pair it with some icing, starting around $1.98 at WalMart, and you have a creative gift combination under $15.


Everyone goes through earbuds relatively quickly, so why not gift someone a set that will be worth the use? The Monoprice 9927 ($7 on, the RHA-MA-150 ($12.95 at Amazon) and the Panasonic RP-TCM125-K ($16 on Amazon) are all great options that provide a great value for the under-$20 price according to lifestyle website

However, you could also take the other route and opt to enjoy your short-lived time with your earbuds by going for a cuter pair. Boo the World’s Cutest Dog Headphones are only $7.80 at Forever 21 and absolutely adorable. Who doesn’t like Boo, the world’s cutest dog? Since earbuds are never durable, might as well get a cute pair that will bring a smile.

Reading material

“5: Where Will You Be Five Years from Today,” a great book by Dan Zadra can help someone plan ahead to structure the next five years of their life.

Priced at $9.26, you can gift a book that can inspire a friend to set goals and discover what they want to do with their lives. Rated 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon, this book will be a worthy investment for anyone wanting to kick off the new year positively.

Knock Knock pad

Any Knock Knock pad is a perfect holiday gift. These specific, pre-illustrated pads are great for a variety of useful and fun uses – such as a variety of different To-Do pads costing $7 and a Why I’m in a Really, Really, Really Bad Mood pad costing $7. These notepads are great for when you can’t display your anger to your roommate or just need some organization in your life. The Why I’m in a Really, Really, Really Bad Mood pad is great and can easily explain hundreds of reasons for your frustration on a sheet.

There are also clever pads like, High-Five and Just Sayin’, ranging from $3.99-$7. Ultimately a great, funny and affordable gift.

Throwback gifts

Who doesn’t want to relive bits and pieces of their childhood? The I Feel So A-Lava Volcano Kit can help anyone feel alive again for $19.99. This fun, educational paper-mache volcano kit is a fun gift to give to a sibling or a younger relative and is something that everyone can reap the benefits of over the holidays. It is also totally Instagram worthy.

Students in general don’t have a lot of money to spare, but $20 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things. With a bit of creativity and some thinking outside-the-box, you can get a great gift for a reasonable price.

Sonia Kumar is a sophomore in apparel marketing and textiles.