After everything has been wrapped and the menus have been planned, how much would you estimate you spend on the holidays? If you’re anything like the average American, a lot: A new study from Yelp examined spending habits for this time of year, and it turns out the medium amount is a whopping $972. What’s more, a reported 28 percent of people end up inadvertently going into debt, which takes them about three months to pay off…which is pretty dismal for what’s reportedly the most wonderful time of the year.
Now that we’ve sufficiently scared you (and your bank account), here’s the good news: That number takes into account everything from hosting parties to the office Secret Santa exchange. If you start planning now, you can easily avoid a rent-size credit card bill. The first step: getting your shopping list in order. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales just around the corner, having a clear idea of exactly what you want to gift now will circumvent last-minute (and much pricier) panic purchases later. To get the ball rolling, here are a few of our go-to stocking stuffer gift ideas, all under $25:
For the Host
Ditch the expected bottle of wine in favor of a different bar cart staple: A jalapeño-infused simple syrup, so they can quite literally spice up their next cocktail party.
For the Notoriously Hard-to-Shop-For Parent
A coffee-table book that they’ll actually want to read, particularly if they’re art history buffs and always dragged you to museums when you were growing up. A gem from Matisse inside: “Working with scissors in this paper is an occupation I can lose myself in…. My pleasure in cutting things out grows ever greater. Why didn’t I think of it earlier?”
For the Coworker
A set of coffee mugs will definitely come in handy—literally—once that 4 p.m slump hits and they need a caffeine jolt. (The double-walled design makes it possible to grab even when what’s inside is piping hot.)
For the Roommate
Give the gift of a zen space with a chic stoneware incense holder handmade by up-and-coming ceramist Ninon Choplin.
For the Secret Santa
Pick something crowd-pleasing yet useful—for example, a set of glass straws to help whomever your giftee is start the New Year off on a sustainable note.
See more holiday stories:
59 Percent of Dinner Party Hosts Say This Is the Perfect Number of Guests
Oprah Found 79 No-Fail Gifts on Amazon—These Are Our 3 Favorites
Pinterest Just Revealed the Most Popular Gift Ideas of 2019