The problem: Every holiday season, after all the big-ticket purchases have been made, I start obsessing over stocking stuffers and Secret Santa gifts. The people on my “nice” list deserve awesome, thoughtful presents, but it’s not like I have unlimited funds.

The solution: I draw up a list of budget-friendly gifts that won’t break the bank! (The holidays always trigger my feeble attempts to be money-smart.)

Oh, and just so you know: I own and love everything I’m recommending, and I use them all on a regular basis.

Wanna see my picks?


1. Insanely great water bottle: Life Factory 16-ounce Beverage Bottle


When I purged my cabinets of all plastic bottles last year, I searched high and low for a healthy, eco-friendly replacement. (I also wanted one without a straw. Bottles with straws are a pain to clean properly, and I’m forever losing them.) After trying a bunch of stainless steel water bottles (my favorite of which is the Kleen Kanteen Reflect, which is pricey but 100% plastic-free), I finally decided to test out this glass water bottle.

Verdict: Woo-hoo!

I tote this durable glass water bottle with me wherever I go. It’s stylishly wrapped in a silicone sleeve, and snugly outfitted with a twist top that ensures that my water doesn’t spill all over my bag. The Life Factory bottle is available in a number of bright, eye-popping colors, too. I can’t wait to fill up my bottle with home-brewed kombucha. 

2. BEST. THERMOS. EVER: Nissan 16-Ounce Stainless-Steel Insulated Bottle


Carrying around temperature-controlled liquids? This baby’ll keep your bone broth, coffee, tea, or Choffy super-duper hot for hours. When I say hot, I mean HOT. I’ve scorched the roof of my mouth swigging a big gulp of broth that I filled many hours earlier. Also, unlike other insulated beverage containers I’ve tried, the Nissan bottle is totally leak-proof. 

3. No brainer: Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler


I know I wax poetic about this little gadget all the time, but it’s only ‘cause I have so much fun transforming vegetables and fruits into “noodles.” The Asian in me can’t quite shake my craving for slurpable, squiggly pasta imposters. 

4. My favorite grater on the planet: Microplane Classic Zester/Grater


This simple gadget cured me of my lifelong disdain of ginger. When I was a kid, I hated biting into the spicy, fibrous pieces of ginger hidden in my mom’s stir-fry dishes. Hacking and spitting and gagging would ensue, and oddly enough, my family did not find it cute. 

Fast-forward to years and years later, when I learned that frozen ginger could be transformed into fluffy piles of ginger snow  with a microplane. Imagine that! Instant essence of ginger without the bad stuff. Hate turned to love just like that. (For those of you not in the same room as me, I’m snapping my fingers.)

I use my microplane for all sorts of things in the kitchen: grating nutmeg, zesting citrus, mincing garlic, grating hard boiled eggs – you name it. (I have not, however, used it for its originally-intended purpose: Woodworking.)

5. Cutest grime fighter: Tovolo Three Pigs Pan Scrapers


Last month, I got one of these adorable nylon pan scrapers from my buddies, Bill & Hayley, and it’s made cleaning my pots and pans a breeze. The stiff yet gentle scraper easily removes the goop off my cast iron skillets, all without scratching off the seasoning. How can you not love something so cute and functional?

6. Kickiest knee-highs in the universe: Nom Nom Paleo Socks [UPDATED: SOLD OUT!]


These comfy Nom Nom Paleo socks will have you PRing in the gym without bloodying your shins. Hurry and snatch up these magical socks soon, ’cause they’re almost all gone! Did I mention that the designer is an incredibly cool chick? 

7. The best $5 cookbook you’ll ever buy: the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook app for the iPad®

Yes, I know this looks like shameless self-promotion, but if you’ve got an iPad or iPad Mini, you really should check out my immersive and interactive cooking app. Fifty-three recipes are included in the app upon purchase, and users can then customize the app with up to 60 more recipes, which are available to purchase on-demand from within the app in sets of 10 recipes each. With interactive guides, a customizable shopping list, fully-emailable recipes, and a 30-day meal plan, this iPad app is an invaluable tool for Paleo foodies and culinary newbies alike! You can download it for yourself, or gift a friend.

To top it off, we’ll soon be launching an update to the app, which will include more recipes and a new twist that we think will make everyone very, very happy. Unlike regular cookbooks, all future updates and improvements are free to those of you who have already purchased the app. Cool, right?

That’s it for this year’s edition of budget-minded stocking stuffers. Need more gift buying tips? Check out my post on Essential Paleo Cooking Tools.

What are some of your suggestions for inexpensive but AWESOME gifts? Frugal shoppers wanna know, so post your favorites in the comments!

P.S. If you buy stuff using the links to Amazon above, I’ll get a teeny-tiny commission on the sale (but the price you pay remains the same!). Thank you for supporting Nom Nom Paleo!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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