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Even if you’re not cutting back on your budget this holiday season, there are occasions that call for, if not demand, inexpensive gifts. Stocking stuffers are traditionally little extras for your loved ones, as are gifts given on days 2 – 8 of Hannukah. Then there’s the office grab bag or secret santa holiday event with an upper dollar limit. So here are some ideas for these gift giving events.

For the Foodies in your Life
Restaurant gift certificates are likely over the top, but there are less expensive gift card options for giving the gift of food.

First there’s a gift card from Starbuck’s for that friend who’s cut back on her $3 lattes and is going through withdrawal. What’s nice about this gift card is that it can be registered on the Starbuck’s website. Once registered, a lost gift card can be reported and replaced, and the balance is always available online. Registered gifts cards also give the user little extras.

Then there’s the Whole Foods gift card for the gourmet take out queen in your life. It can be purchased online and loaded with as little as $20. The owner of the card can also check their balance online at any time.  Also check with other grocery stores in your area. I once worked for a company that gave its employees Stop and Shop gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas. your local supermarket may also have gift cards for giving.

Also look into gift certificate/card options at local specialty stores. In Boston, Cambridge and New York, you can get gift certificates in a number of denominations from Formaggio Kitchen.

There are also a host of cool kitchen tools available for under $20. We like the Utensil Pot Clip and the Avocado Slicer from Trudeau. We’ve also seen various versions of single-serve silicone egg poaching bowls in local kitchen stores and online.

High Performance Workout Gear
PowerSox are unique because the pair includes one each of a sock specifically designed to fit your left and right foot. They come in a few styles and colors and are sure to make the athlete in your life more comfortable.

Unique Writing Implements
Pens come in all shapes, sizes and a wide range of prices. Its a gift I like to give when friends and family achievement something new like graduating from college or graduate school, or getting a new job or promotion. In perusing the Paradise Pen catalog that arrived in my mail box this week, I saw many beautiful writing instruments. Two of them in particular struck my fancy. The first is the Sherpa. The Sherpa is not a pen per se, but a pen cover that elevates the look and feel of that disposable pen you bought at your local stationery store. The Sherpa comes in 6 different styles and sells for $29.95. A bit higher than the usual stocking stuffer, but a one-of-a-kind item.

The second pen that caught my eye was the Junior Fountain Pen. This pen is specifically designed for the hands of kids, comes in four colors and sells for $11.50.

Small and Easy
I have never been a fan of large handbags that hold a ton of things that take forever to find. In order to use the smallest possible handbag I have always bought the smallest wallet I could find. Now I have found not only a smaller wallet, but one that I can put on my key ring. Its call Jimi. Jimi comes in two versions – Jimi and JimiX, both under $16. They are slender, handy, come in several cheerful colors and contain a cardholder and money clip. The JimiX has its money clip on the outside enabling you to clip it on your belt or armband. Its perfect for going to the gym, running errands in the neighborhood, or slipping into a briefcase.

Yum What’s that I Smell?
I just love scented candles. They’re available every where in a multitude of sizes, shapes and price ranges. My favorites are 60 hour Soy candles from Archipelago Inc. They are available in local gift and home stores, and on the web. I have the remnants of their Tuscany candle which came in a tin, sitting in and scenting my lingerie drawer – heavenly. I also find that even when not lit, if I’m sitting within a foot or so of a candle I catch a hint of its scent.

These are my starting picks, I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of interesting cool things. Pick a category, find some web sites and look for their section labeled stocking stuffers or gifts under $25. You’ll get lots of additional ideas that will be just right for the person you’re shopping for.

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