10 Affordable Gift Ideas under $20

HolidayGift_HoldingBox_400 While you make the rounds of parties and dinners this month, treat each host or hostess to a thoughtful gift that won’t break your holiday budget. Books are surefire pleasers. And homemade anything works well if you have the time. These simple yet thoughtful gifts work equally well for a loved one or trusted individual in your life (teacher, manicurist, neighbor).

Lemon Cypress Tree, $19.99, 1-800-Flowers
With festive packaging, bright green branches, and a sublime scent, this plant will set off any room or table. Order the set of three for $49.99 if you have several upcoming events. A hardy, fragrant rosemary tree— often found at your local nursery—makes a great alternative.

Wine Glass Tags, $9.99, Kitchen Kapers
Like a bottle of wine, this gift could be put to use immediately but is more fun. The set includes 12 tags, each featuring an irreverent wine “review,” to help guests keep track of their glasses.

Assorted Blank Card Set, $14 for set of 8, Etsy.com
Save your hostess the trouble of running to Hallmark before the next birthday, holiday, or celebration. With “Oh Happy Day,” “Howdy,” Bravo,” and “Thanks” messages (the set includes two of each) she’ll be covered for almost any occasion.

Beeswax Candles, $17.50, Beeswax Candle Company
This stylish pillar candle is eco-friendly, to boot— beeswax candles serve as natural air purifiers, cleaning the air of odors, pollen, and other allergens.

“Small Gesture” Chocolates Gift Box, $15 for six pieces, La Maison du Chocolat
What could be more decadent than a box of Parisian chocolates? A bigger box, maybe. But these irresistible confections come at just the right price.

Owl Salt & Pepper Shakers, $9.95, Paper Source
We’ve seen owls everywhere lately, from tree ornaments to bookends to even necklaces, but nowhere do they look as cute as these useful table decorations.

Hand Cream with SPF 10, $16, Kiehl’s
The “Unusually Rich-But-Not-Greasy-At-All” Hand Cream from Kiehl’s is a classic for a reason: The packaging and scent are decidedly unisex, and the stuff really works. A great winter gift.

Republic Chai Tea, $9.50 for 50 bags, The Republic of Tea
Nothing beats a chai tea latte on a chilly day. Your recipient can whip up her own version by adding warm milk and honey to a cup of this aromatic tea.

Healthy Dog Treats, $15, Uncommongoods.com
Don’t forget the dog! Available in two flavors (Eggnog Smoothie or Peppermint Melts) these treats are wheat-free, corn-free, and soy-free.

Two-Bottle Wine Tote, $19.99, World Market
In festive red, this stylish, insulated tote comes with a corkscrew. If you’re staying as someone’s house guest and want to express your gratitude in a bigger way, add two bottles of something special.

Joy of Cooking, Asopao de Pavo, turkey and rice soup

The Joy of Cooking Recipe: Asopao de Pavo (Turkey and Rice Soup)

Megan Scott is the newest member of the JOY clan. After meeting John Becker in Asheville, North Carolina, she was warmly welcomed into the family and the happy couple was married on September 29, 2012. After graduating with a degree in French literature, Megan worked in a bakery where she honed her pastry skills and developed a passion for high-quality baked goods of all kinds. This experience with fast-paced industrial kitchen work inspired her to create her farmer's market baking business, The Little Blue Baking Company. Megan's work for JOY involves a little bit of everything. She is JOY's blogger-in-residence, she works with John on digital projects, newspaper articles, and food photography, and has spearheaded the Joy of Cooking's kitchen garden and flock of chickens. During her time off, she maintains a lively sourdough starter, sews, spins wool, and does yoga.

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    [post_content] => HolidayGift_HoldingBox_400 While you make the rounds of parties and dinners this month, treat each host or hostess to a thoughtful gift that won't break your holiday budget. Books are surefire pleasers. And homemade anything works well if you have the time. These simple yet thoughtful gifts work equally well for a loved one or trusted individual in your life (teacher, manicurist, neighbor).

Lemon Cypress Tree, $19.99, 1-800-Flowers
With festive packaging, bright green branches, and a sublime scent, this plant will set off any room or table. Order the set of three for $49.99 if you have several upcoming events. A hardy, fragrant rosemary tree— often found at your local nursery—makes a great alternative.

Wine Glass Tags, $9.99, Kitchen Kapers
Like a bottle of wine, this gift could be put to use immediately but is more fun. The set includes 12 tags, each featuring an irreverent wine “review,” to help guests keep track of their glasses.

Assorted Blank Card Set, $14 for set of 8, Etsy.com
Save your hostess the trouble of running to Hallmark before the next birthday, holiday, or celebration. With “Oh Happy Day,” “Howdy,” Bravo,” and “Thanks” messages (the set includes two of each) she'll be covered for almost any occasion.

Beeswax Candles, $17.50, Beeswax Candle Company
This stylish pillar candle is eco-friendly, to boot— beeswax candles serve as natural air purifiers, cleaning the air of odors, pollen, and other allergens.

"Small Gesture" Chocolates Gift Box, $15 for six pieces, La Maison du Chocolat
What could be more decadent than a box of Parisian chocolates? A bigger box, maybe. But these irresistible confections come at just the right price.

Owl Salt & Pepper Shakers, $9.95, Paper Source
We've seen owls everywhere lately, from tree ornaments to bookends to even necklaces, but nowhere do they look as cute as these useful table decorations.

Hand Cream with SPF 10, $16, Kiehl's
The “Unusually Rich-But-Not-Greasy-At-All” Hand Cream from Kiehl's is a classic for a reason: The packaging and scent are decidedly unisex, and the stuff really works. A great winter gift.

Republic Chai Tea, $9.50 for 50 bags, The Republic of Tea
Nothing beats a chai tea latte on a chilly day. Your recipient can whip up her own version by adding warm milk and honey to a cup of this aromatic tea.

Healthy Dog Treats, $15, Uncommongoods.com
Don't forget the dog! Available in two flavors (Eggnog Smoothie or Peppermint Melts) these treats are wheat-free, corn-free, and soy-free.

Two-Bottle Wine Tote, $19.99, World Market
In festive red, this stylish, insulated tote comes with a corkscrew. If you're staying as someone's house guest and want to express your gratitude in a bigger way, add two bottles of something special.
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