It can be hard to find gifts that are both beautiful and budget-friendly. Look no further: This is the design gift guide for that white elephant invite you’re wondering whether you should reply “yes” to. Don’t buy a gift card. Here are eight thoughtful ways to design your work day (or someone else’s) for the better. And they’re all under $25.
Nail polish in Ellsworth blue
$18 at Poketo
With this pop-art bright nail polish from Poketo, you can create Ellsworth Kelly-inspired nail art that even Christie’s might bid on. Buy any of these bright primary colors—blue, yellow, or red—individually for a monochrome look, or buy the entire Ellsworth set to create your own mini masterpiece (at a bit higher price point).
Tonkotsu ramen jigsaw puzzle
$18 at Areaware
If your eyes are bigger than your stomach this holiday season, have no fear—this Tonkotsu ramen comes in a box, not a bowl. The mini jigsaw puzzle by Areaware comes in a variety of other fun designs and can be completed in 20 minutes or less. Give your eyes a break and get solving.
$25 from Karst
It’s the giving season, so why not choose a gift that takes a little less from the environment? These Karst notebooks aren’t made from trees but biodegradable stone and resin, which is recyclable. The pages are also waterproof and tear-resistant, so you won’t lose your notes if your happen to drop the notebook in the slush at the airport departures, or when you try to cram one more thing into your carry-on alongside it.
Travel flatware set and case
$14 from MoMA Store
As any airline will tell you, the holiday season is travel season. Be prepared for eating on the road (and do away with single use plastics at the airport) with this design-friendly travel flatware set.
Caffettiera French press
$20 from MoMA Store
Mondays are hard. Bring some cheer to your morning coffee routine with this colorful French press. Though originally designed in 1958, it was updated for MoMA Design Store (and the design enthusiast’s modern sensibilities).
Heng mini balance lamp
$25 at MoMA Store
This minimalist lamp is more than meets the eye. There’s no switch to turn it on; rather light illuminates it by connecting the two magnetic balls in the center of its sleek wooden frame. The mini size makes it great for creating a soft light for late nights at work, and it’s pretty to look at when turned off, too.
From $10 at Areaware
When graphic designer Susan Kare came onboard to Apple in the early 1980s, she designed typefaces and icons that are ubiquitous with computing today (Need an example? The command symbol (⌘). That was Kare.) Kare has taken that experience and designed this set of textiles ranging from coasters and tea towels to placemats and more, which “celebrates the parallels between weaving and pixels” and will surely be celebrated by anyone who receives them.
$8 from Need Supply
Returning to the office after a holiday break can be bleak. Add a bit of whimsy to the experience with this design-friendly, vintage-inspired stapler from Monograph. Get things done. And look good while doing it.