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Holiday or Secret Santa Gadget Gift Ideas for Under $30

Flying fk My crew of friends decided to have a Secret Santa event this year for the first time. I have never done one before so when I got my assignment I was scrambling for gift ideas. While our Secret Santa is limited to $20 I obviously found quite a few of my gift ideas that came to mind are slightly over $20. Since I spent quite a bit of time looking for ideas I thought I would share what I found and crowd source the effort. Please feel free to share your own gift ideas below if you have any. Better yet let us know what you would like to get!

At first I was looking for cellphone accessories like Bluetooth headsets or speakers and such but found that for under $30 the most you can get it a case or a memory card. Not very memorable gifts. For $30 you cannot even get one of the cool monogrammed ones though I think I will do a follow up post on what cellphone accessories make great holiday gifts. So I decided to think outside the cellphone box but still in the gadget world… Here are some of the sub $30 gadget gifts I found.

Whiskey Stones $19.50 @ UncommonGoods

Whiskey Rocks 

These cool little stones try to play the part of ice in your Whiskey on the rocks. The best part is that they do not dilute the drink. Pretty cool gift for a drinker…

Buckyballs Original Chrome $30.50 @ Amazon


While these are slightly more than the $30 limit but you can pick up some generic knockoffs for about $20. They are loads of fun and let you make any shape you want to put on your desk.

Flying F*CK R/C Helicopter $19.99 @ ThinkGeek

Flying fk

It blew my mind that somebody actually made this… I am still speechless.

Mini Business Card Filing Cabinet ~$15 @ Amazon

Business Card Filing Cabinet

This is a cute gift for a coworker or boss to organize business cards in a mini filing cabinet. Not sure how functional it is compared to just using your BlackBerry but still cute.

TV-B-Gone Universal TV Off Switch – $19.99 @ ThinkGeek


This is a great gift for a sneaky coworker or a friend who has a significant other that ignores them for the boob tube. It will switch off practically any tv just by clicking the button. A classic but goodie for under $20.

Phantom Keystroker V2 $12.99 @ Amazon

Phantom Keystroker

This prankster tool is loads of fun. A friend of mind has it and he has a blast tormenting people with it by just sticking it into any spare USB slot. The Keystroker emulates a keyboard and mouse and periodically makes random mouse movements, toggles caps-lock and types out odd garbage text and phrases. Switches on the side allow you to choose between keyboard garbage typing, caps lock-toggle, annoying mouse movements or all three. WARNING: I take no responsibility for what you or your friend does with the Phantom Keystroker!

Magnetic Bendable Flex Thinking Putty Classic Toy $12.40 @ Amazon

Magnetic Putty

I have been a fan of the stress relieving Thinking Putty for a few years now. It comes in a few cool styles but my favorite is the Magnetic one. Loads of fun!

Meeting Cost Calculator – Bring TIM! (Time is Money) $25 @ Amazon

Time is money

This gadget is a perfect gift for that guy who has everything at the office. It is meant to track how much money a meeting or phone call costs so that people do not bother you and keep things short. It is great for lawyers or anybody else who works on billable time.

Laboratory Flower Vases $24 @ Urban Outfitters


This gift is a perfect one for the ladies since it just looks cool. Really have no better description for it. Its the first vase I have seen that I can actually describe that way.

At about this point I ran out of ideas. I am still hunting for the perfect secret santa gift so PLEASE feel free to share your ideas in the comments! I am going to petition to go with one of the other secret santa variations next year. The Thieving Secret Santa sounds like fun!

7 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. OK, those laboratory vases are pretty neat. I have a few friends who are PhD students and would love to put this on their desks. Thanks for the tip!

    As for ideas, I’ve been on the lookout, too, and found some fun, wacky, but useful things from “Fred & Friends.” Most are around $10-30.

  2. These are very cool gifts. About buckyballs, it’s not even the original makers of magnetic ball toys. So it’s a little pushin’ it for calling the others “generic knockoffs”. They’re probably coming from the same factory in china.

  3. I like the whiskey stones and filing cabinet. Pretty cool gifts for Christmas.

  4. nice toys…!

  5. A couple favorites this year:

    Sharper Image Binoculars and Digital Camera – under $30 at BJ’s Wholesale Club, $50 online…

    Pylones, Soho New York – lots of fun gadgets and gew-gahs for under $25…

    25 dollar Ice Ice Cream Scoop

  6. Great post! I myself think that finding the right gift can sometimes be difficult. What I think is that people tend to like unique gifts that are hard to find and not sold in stores. People like the gifts more this way since they cannot be replaced. I have been buying a few items from and giving it away to friends and family. They all love it. There are a few quite interesting gadget items there. The stuff there are pretty cheap and unique and they deliver fast.

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