Gift giving is as old as humanity itself. It is practiced by almost every culture around the world, for almost always the same reason — to strengthen our connection as people and to show appreciation for one another.
Some gifts are more expensive than others, like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, a gift from King Nebuchadnezzar II to his queen Amytis, which became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But let’s face it, most of us cannot afford to build towering multistory gardens in the middle of a desert for our loved ones. And to be honest, they’re very impractical if you don’t rule your own country, as Nebuchadnezzar II did.
Even though it makes us feel really good to give presents, it can be really difficult. With shopping available to everyone, most people see something they like and buy it immediately right from their phone.
So we’ve rounded up 24 unique gift ideas to help with your shopping, as we approach the holidays. They’re all under $100, so they won’t break the bank, either.
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Unique Kids Gifts
So maybe it’s not for kids per se, but wouldn’t a child’s bookshelf look adorable with these two playing on a seesaw holding up all the classics? The bookends are handcrafted from iron, with a velveteen-lined underside to protect shelves from any damage. They’re a precious addition to any playroom or bedroom shelf.
You read that correctly--these bubbles are edible, so no more hollering at small people to “not eat the bubbles.” When the kids catch these on their tongue, they’ll be met with flavors like milk chocolate, watermelon, cinnamon roll and cotton candy. Frankly we’re surprised no one thought of this sooner.
From Amazon.com’s Handmade department comes this personalized wooden box for new parents to store keepsakes and treasures from the baby's first year. It comes in three sizes and is made of solid wood with laser engraving. One version even features a slot to add cards or letters as the years go by.
Learning geography can be boring, but not with this coloring tablecloth. As kids color in the countries, they’ll learn geography and fun facts about the world around us. The included markers are washable, so once the map is filled in, the ink washes out with warm water and the fun (and learning) starts all over again.
It’s terraforming right before your very eyes in just a few hours! The manufacturer calls it fractal landscaping but we just call it fun. As the water evaporates out of the dish, crystals form on the volcano or coral reef, leaving behind an amazing landscape.
Unique Pet Gifts
Cat owners know there’s nothing more satisfying (for a cat) than interrupting your work to sit on your laptop, so give them their own. Designed to look just like yours, it’s a scratch pad keyboard they can work on anytime they like, without appearing in your Zoom meeting. It even comes with a “mouse” attached for extra play experiences.
We know our dog loves to steal the blankets, but if he had his own, we might not have to fight over them as much. This personalized 30 x 40 inch blanket comes in a plush white fleece or a gray fleece that’s backed with sherpa material.
Come springtime, birds will start building their nests in anticipation of new life. Help them make their new homes more cozy by filling this handmade iron sculpture with bits of wool and maybe your pet's discarded fur. It’s really beautiful yard art that serves a sweet purpose. In the winter, you can use it for seed balls and keep the birds happy and fed all season long.
Dogs are messy eaters. This is a fact. Protect your favorite person’s floor from dribbles and spills with this placemat designed just for them. Best of all, it’s washable! The fabric top will have their name printed in one of four fonts on your favorite color background, and the rubber backing means it won’t go sliding across the floor.
Our dog may walk away with one of these for himself, they’re so cute. Made in the U.S. from cotton and using sturdy buckles and D-rings, these adjustable dog collars come in buffalo plaid, green plaid, a bah-humbug pattern, gumdrops, and a Hanukkah pattern. Your dog will be fashion forward at the next holiday gathering.
Recreate one of the best toys of the 1970s with this grown-up version, complete with your own photos. Grab your favorite snaps using the instructions included in the viewer. They’ll send it back and you can pop it in and enjoy your vintage stroll down memory lane.
There’s a Broadway song that perfectly sums up what a mix tape means: “He was thinking of me, which shows he cares!” They’ll know you care with this personalized “cassette tape” that digitally stores your favorite mix of meaningful songs.
Unique Kitchen Gifts
Imagine how awesome mornings would be if they could bake bagels in their own home? No need to get dressed and head to the deli. These sesame seed bagels mixes have (almost) everything they need to create bagels--just add water, sugar, and an egg. There’s even a URL on the package that links to a how-to video.
One might think boiling an egg is as simple a cooking task as there is, and one would be wrong. The perfect boiled egg takes trial and error, unless you’re using this countertop egg cooker. Set it for soft, medium, or hard boiled, or try poaching instead for some variety.
Bubble tea, a flavored tea with tapioca pearls, is a relatively new creation, starting in Taiwan in the 1980s. Served hot or cold, this kit has everything they need to build their own bubble tea at home, with classic black and rooibos chai plus tapioca pearls. They can add flavors, milk, and sweetener of their choosing, making it a perfectly personal bubble tea.
At first glance, this looks like a novelty item. A hat? For a bunch of bananas? However, bananas absorb ethylene gas from the air, which causes them to brown and ripen too quickly. A silicone cap on the end of the bunch, covered by an adorable knit cap, will make your bananas ripen slower and therefore last longer. Also, it’s really funny to put knit hats on bananas.
Up their grilling game with this custom monogrammed branding iron. It’s a unique and personal gift that they probably don’t already have. And it’s not just for monogramming steaks--it works on wood and leather, too.
These lovely little wooden bowls are a great addition to any kitchen, especially if they’re into entertaining. They’re the perfect size for dips, come with matching serving spoons, are made from sustainable Acacia wood, and easy to clean. Just wash them with warm water and a mild soap and they’re ready for the next party.
Take their favorite brand of whiskey and add it to this barrel, and it will reach peak flavor much faster. This personalized barrel is made of charred oak, and will leave whiskey with more vanilla and butter notes the longer its aged. Each week new flavors appear, so it’s like having a new bottle!
Unique Decor Gift
There’s something striking about this small sculpture. This little bronze piece of art is only eight inches long overall, and will perch on the edge of a shelf or table. What’s the story behind it? Well, that’s up to the beholder, but we know it will spark a lot of conversation.
Earth-bound zen gardens are so boring. This one takes you to a mindful place in space. With red sand, lava rocks, a copper rake, and a tiny astronaut, this garden will have you completely relaxed with a few rakes through the sandy surface.
Another treasure from Amazon’s Handmade collection, this beautiful hand-carved wooden bowl will hold all their keys, jewelry, or just sit on its own and be gorgeous. Each bowl is approximately 10-inches but as they are truly handmade, sizing varies, as does color.
Rain chains are a beautiful alternative to unsightly gutter downspouts. They function in much the same way, diverting rain from the roof, where it can collect and cause damage, back down to the earth. These recycled-stone chains are handmade by a family-owned studio, and no two are alike.
This unique candlestick caught our eye, and we know it will be a show-stopper in any household. But can you really call it a stick, with its handcrafted glass curves and twists and turns? Available in three colors, we think it’s a striking addition to any mantel or table.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.