With both holidays and finals on the horizon, the time between Thanksgiving and Winter is notorious for its hecticness. Amidst all the responsibilities of studying for and taking finals, traveling, and remembering to call your grandparents, it can be hard to find the perfect gift for a loved one while staying within your budget. 

And let’s be real, every NOLA night out means less cash for special holiday gifts. But don’t worry, with this in mind, I put together a list of 10 gifts under $20 that are the ultimate gifts to give to friends or family during this holiday season. Remember, your loved ones will be happy with almost anything, as long as you put some thought into it.  

Ho-ho-ho and happy shopping!

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Fun Lamp

Perfect for cozying up a dorm room or adding a bit of flare to your desk, lamps make a wonderful holiday gift. Journey under the sea with this ceramic pearl lamp from Amazon  or to outer space with this moon lamp. Either are sure to add some pizzazz to any room.

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It is hard to go wrong with this classic holiday gift. Two great deals that you can find now include the NARS Mini Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil Duo from Sephora or this Midnight Minis Sleeping Mask Kit from LANEIGE sold at Kohl’s, which includes 5 flavors of the brand’s acclaimed Lip Mask.

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Mini Waffle Maker

This gift is perfect for the food lover in your life or a fan of miniature items. Great places to find these portable breakfast makers are Williams Sonoma and Amazon.  

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Tote Bag

My personal favorite gift to give, reusable bags are both stylish and eco-friendly. Companies such as Baggu and ChicoBag have a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from. The best holiday gifts are eco-friendly!

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Another room decoration that is fun and customizable in any way, calendars are a great Christmas gift. Personalize your own desk calendar or choose from fun designs such as a lunar calendar or even a mini calendar!

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Statement tights

As the outside temperatures continue to drop, adding a pair of statement tights to your outfit is an easy way to stay warm and stylish. Some of my favorites include the Cross Fishnet Tight from Urban Outfitters as well as the Centered Diamond Motif Sheer 30 Denier Tights and Hearts 50 Denier Mesh Eco Tights from Calzedonia.

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Knit beanie

Another style staple when keeping warm, beanies make the perfect, cozy, holiday gift. Many colors are available in the Knit Cuffed Beanie from Carhartt and the Elmer Beanie from Herschel.

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Tumblers are both a useful household item and underrated accessory. Choose from classic color options at Tervis or gift a piece of NOLA with the Eco Wheat Tumbler from Café Du Monde, which retails for only $14.

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Fuzzy Socks

The quintessential stocking stuffer, fuzzy socks are perfect for warming your feet when not by the fireside. On my wishlist is the Cozy Chenille Sock from Uggs or simply any socks from Barefoot Dreams. 

An aside: I’d like to gently remind you all that the best holiday gifts don’t always come in gift wrapping. Creating a personalized playlist, baking goodies, making a piece of art, planning an adventure, or framing a photo of you together are all wonderful ways to show appreciation for your loved ones this season. At the end of the day, whatever gift you choose, as long as there is some heart in it, will mean so much to the person who is receiving it.


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