10 Fun, Funky, Fanciful & Functional Gifts Under $50

It's the Holidays, 2010.  We're stretching it to buy gifts for only the most special in our lives, and the gifts will be more personal, more meaningful, than years past, because we are stretching and our giftees know that.  This year I found a range of new design gifts for those special people - the fun, the funky, the fanciful, and the functional. You'll find something for your special ones, without busting your budget.

1.  The Fun:  Magtastic Pack of TWENTY Magnets ($56)

Before you think I've cheated on your budget already, let me tell you that this is actually 20 gifts, not one.  The MincingMockingbird is one of the most witty and fun creator of magnets I've found, and the magnets are birds who are mocking us humans by mincing, as in cutting out, words... from printed material.  With this package, you can gift 20 persons at less than $4.00 each. Four bucks is the price for individual magnets, but buying in bulk means you get 6 free magnets.


Mincing Mockingbird MagnetsMincing Mockingbird Magnets


2.  The Funky: Best Chinese Year Wine Stoppers ($12)

These delightful wine bottle stoppers come in 12 animals, one for each year of the Chinese calendar - the Year of the Rat, the Year of the Rooster, etc.  Just find out the year your giftee was born, or if that is too indelicate, just ask what Chinese sign she was born under, and you can gift the Best Year Wine Stopper made of cork and resin in either black or dark pink.  imm Living Best Year Wine Stoppers.


Living Best Year Wine Stoppers: image via realsimple.comLiving Best Year Wine Stoppers: image via realsimple.com


3.  The Fanciful: 'Thinking of You Here' Vase Cover ($50)

I had been looking at another piece I wanted to feature by designer Tord Boontje, but found it was too expensive for this article.  Low and behold, here is a similar Boontje design at Moss, on sale for $50. It is actually a laser-cut stainless steel cover for a glass jar, doubling as a vase, that sits over the jar.  The flower petal top is exquisite, and a common Boontje motif.


'Thinking of You Here' vase by Tord Boontje'Thinking of You Here' vase by Tord Boontje


4.  The Functional: The Tea Drinker's 51 Ounce Bodum Eileen Tea Press ($40)

Hey! You're going to drink more tea, aren't you.  Why make repeated cups when you can make a nice freshly pressed huge pot? This rugged Tea Press is made for the hustle-bustle life of the tea room - with borosilicate glass, stainless steel, chrome plated steel and plastic.  Some tea drinker you know wants his own.  Find it at Organize.com.


Bodum Eileen Tea Press (51 ounces)Bodum Eileen Tea Press (51 ounces)


5.  The Fun: Tuorflux Kinetic Toy ($50)

Another sale from MossOnline, the Toroflux, a fascinating and fixating kinetic sculpture by Jochen and Conrad Valett, will transfix the viewer and the user. By spinning the large plastic wheel, the metal sculpture turns around the wheel at a faster and faster rate, moving inside and around the wheel as it spins. This was originally $145 at Moss. 


Toroflux kinettic toy by Jochen and Conrad ValettToroflux kinettic toy by Jochen and Conrad Valett


Toroflux kinettic toy by Jochen and Conrad ValettToroflux kinettic toy by Jochen and Conrad Valett


6.  The Funky: Ultra Realistic Sushi Lover Deluxe Soaps ($16)

These Sushi Lover guest soaps are the best design buy you can get for $16.  Anyone would love the realistic beauty and yes... the realistic fragrance of wasabi!  Included are a variety of 8 sushi and one gyosa (little white dumpling).  The store on Etsy is called Two Eggplants Company.  It not only features other sushi soap sets but many more artistic soap replicas all scented with complementary fragrances (e.g., the Blackberry soap smells like blackberries)!


Sushi Lover Deluxe Soaps by Two Eggplants CompanySushi Lover Deluxe Soaps by Two Eggplants Company


7.  The Fanciful: Palekh Nutcracker Music Box ($50)

Oh, how lovely is this Nutcracker Music Box, commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker. The music: The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, from the ballet. The art: the famous lacquered painting named for the city of Palekh in Russia, whose 18th artists developed a specialized style of lacquered icon painting.  The box: 2 1/4" H x 4 5/8" W x 1 7/8" D, numbered, and porcelain.  This will be a keeper. 


Nutcracker Music BoxNutcracker Music Box


8.  The Functional: Private Preserve Wine Preservation Spray ($12)

We've had aerators and pourers up the ying yang already, but here is something new for the wine connoisseur:  Wine Preservation Spray.  And it seems to be a great value too!  The 'system' includes a nozzle and a spray can with a tube.  You insert the tube through the nozzle, against the glass and spray a few short times and then immediately insert a stopper into the bottle neck to seal it.  The spray removes oxygen from an opened bottle.


Private Preserve Wine Preservation SystemPrivate Preserve Wine Preservation System

9.  The Fanciful: Snowman Bird Feeder ($20)

This sweet outdoor bird feeder brings the holidays to our backyard birds with a pretty, but functional feeder for them to treat at. One of Plow Hearth's 'No-No' Feeders, the Snowman contains no wood, no plastic, and prevents squirrel damage. It's a wire mesh design that attracts both clingers and perchers, and disperses black oil sunflower seeds. Fill by lifting the Snowman's hat!


Snowman Bird FeederSnowman Bird Feeder


10.  The Functional: Battery-Operated Bodum Latte Milk Frother ($30)

There are two kinds of drinkers: coffee and tea.  We provided a gift suggestion for avid tea drinkers; now, here's something new for avid coffee drinkers: Bodum's battery operated Latte Milk Frother, just about the only thing between my home brew and Starbucks.  It sure saves some money.  Froths up to 6 ounces of milk at a time, but prefers not-fat or low-fat milk to heavier ones.


Bodum Battery Operated Latte Milk FrotherBodum Battery Operated Latte Milk Frother



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