We have been pretty damn creative when it comes to gift giving in this lifetime, from getting matching cyber fairy tattoos with partners to whipping out the classic “coupon book” of
sexual affectionate acts. But, like us, you may be wondering how in the name of the god of your choice you can find gifts that look expensive (for cheap) without making your giftee any the wiser.
We know, we know. Y’all said you would “do small gifts for birthdays this year,” but everyone knows that’s kind of BS. That’s why we did the dirty work for you, and unearthed the very best Amazon gifts that feel expensive and work for everyone, whether you’re shopping for a gym shark, Boomer parent, or that one friend who’s always drooling over Le Creuset sets; we found cloud-like puffer slippers for pampering their toes, fancy hand soaps for pampering their paws, and a veritable spa day in a box.
Dare we say it, you may be tempted to smash that order button twice.
The perfect Noguchi lamp alternative
Most archival lamps by the late, great Isamu Noguchi fetch thousands of dollars on auction sites such as 1stDibs, but we have curated an entire VICE guide to shopping the best Noguchi lamps and their alternatives for folks with a more modest budget. This Nordic Design Lamp from Amazon is a striking substitute for the artist’s iconic Akari light sculptures, and it costs less than most brunches. Consider your ambiance boosted.
Pondering their orbs
Taking your giftee to the spa would be spensi, but these hypnotic facial orbs feel luxurious and calming; your lucky duck can just chill them in the fridge, and then use them to massage their temples, forehead, and anywhere else that needs a little TLC. As one Amazon reviewer writes, “While I was rolling these things around my face, I made sure to concentrate on the sinus areas […] I could almost feel like the pressure was being released.”
This Le Creuset kettle doppelganger
Who doesn’t like a kettle? Coffee drinkers, tea drinkers, aesthetes who want something pretty sitting on the back burner—this whistling tea kettle will quench them all. It has a 4.5-star average rating from over 4,400 reviews on Amazon, and sure is making us do a double take with this Le Creuset kettle that costs nearly three times as much.
These $34 earbuds are just as good as AirPods
Apple is rad, but it’s not the end-all-be-all when it comes to wireless headphones that give you solid sound. VICE editor Hilary Pollack gave this $34 set with over 57,800 Amazon reviews a try, and was très besotted with the bang for her buck. “I truly love that they show you how much battery life you have left right on the case, and that they pair so easily with my phone, computer, and even gym equipment,” she writes in her VICE review. Gift them to the tech-lover or audiophile in the family.
Who couldn’t use a little tenderizing?
Maybe it’s just that we’ve been going a little harder in the gym lately (or perhaps its the crushing existential dread of existing in the 21st century) but we’re constantly reaching for our
muscle tenderizers percussive massagers. If someone on your gift list is lacking a massager of their own, it’s the perfect thing to share; in our experience, something like a Theragun is the epitome of “I didn’t know I needed this… until I started using it.” (In other words, it’s the thing to send to someone if you want to end up in their good graces). While Therabody’s options are certainly the “name brand,” that doesn’t mean you can’t find a deal on a top-tier alternative. Here at VICE, we’ve found plenty of success with Olsky’s massage gun, which comes in at a fraction of the price of comparable Therabody option.
Art Deco highball glasses
This set had our attention at the words “Art Deco design,” but it captured our hearts with the attention to detail in presentation. Not only is this set of four vintage-inspired glasses perfect for elevating everything from booze to OJ, but it comes in a sateen-lined box. Your giftee will easily think you spent over $100.
Fancy hand soap
David Blaine wishes he had the power to enchant as much as this soap on a rope. No shade (maybe a little), but we are absolutely ensorcelled by the way in which this ample, fancy Claus Porto hand soap dangles from its delicate rope. Known as the brand’s “Classic Scent,” it has a unisex, woodsy aroma of sandalwood and patchouli.
Move over Vitamix
We know we said that Vitamix blenders are certified Worth It™, but that doesn’t make its massive price tag any easier to swallow. In search of expensive Vitamix alternatives, VICE writer Becca Blasdel took this Ninja blender for a spin, declaring that “the Ninja BL610 blends just as quickly and smoothly as a Vitamix, is noticeably quieter, and has some well-thought-out design features that the Vitamix doesn’t.” Given that Ninja’s already built a cult-status reputation on the back of a few appliances (looking at you CREAMi Breeze), we feel confident that this blender is the perfect chance to impress… without putting your bank balance in the blender.
For the outdoorsy friend
Every friend group has one: The hot person in parachute pants who can stay at the basement rave until 4 a.m., and still be on time for the Sunday hike in the Catskills at a secret spot “they’ve been going to for a million years.” They deserve this incontestably rad Stanley canteen with a 4.7-star average rating on Amazon. As one fan writes, “[After] almost 9 hours, my soup was still boiling hot and delicious!! No leaks while in my backpack [either].”
Like down jackets for your feet
Out of all the foot jawn we covet, puffer material is highest on the list for its lightweight feel and warmth. This pair of puffer-esque slippers is highly rated on Amazon, and a solid alternative for the $54 slippers by The North Face.
The best gift for a rando
If you have to find the perfect gift for a rando/boss/uncle who belongs to the flat earther Facebook group, fret not: Everyone likes olive oil. Everyone uses olive oil. But not everyone has fancy Spanish olive oil from Nuñez De Prado, which has been slinging the liquid gold since 1775. Amazon reviewers praise its versatility as an olive oil that can handle high temps on the stove, and taste great alone as a dipping oil with bread. After all, one fan writes, “The region [where it’s from] has produced virgin olive oil from the time it was under Roman rule.”
Don’t get us wrong: We love a Dyson vacuum cleaner. That said, we’d be lying if we said we loved the brand’s staggering price tags. This Black+Decker Powerseries stick vacuum packs all the punch of a much pricier Dyson (without leaving you feeling like the purchase sucked up a major chunk of your checking account). As one five-star Amazon reviewer wrote: This vacuum “SUCKS! In the good sense.”
Cult-fave Korean skincare products
Winter is usually when everyone’s skin feels like a desert, so spoil your giftee with some über replenishing skincare products. The coveted Lip Sleeping Mask from Laneige would normally cost $24 on its own, but the cult-fave Korean skincare brand, which has gone viral on TikTok for its hydrating prowess more times than we can count, has been bundled up with the brand’s Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer and Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturizer for this 2023 holiday gift set. Your recipient will think that you know really your shit when it comes to skincare (and never guess that you only dropped around $30).
This men’s wallet has over 100,000 reviews
This versatile men’s wallet has accumulated enough fans on Amazon to populate a modest city. With 115,900 reviews and counting, the Travando wallet is such a hit with shoppers thanks to its slender, easily expandable bifold design and RFID protected lining. As one reviewer writes, “[It] gives me peace of mind knowing that my sensitive information is secure.” It’s the perfect gift for the boomer dad, doomsday prepper, or aspiring James Bond figure in your life.
So, we meat again…
There’s an entire VICE guide to the best gifts for food lovers, but if there’s one thing we know, it’s that everyone and anyone who can be trusted stans a slappin’ charcuterie board. This handsome plank is crafted out of organic bamboo, and it comes with a variety of knives for slicing and dicing your fromage. Pair it with a sexy Stilton cheese, and you’re set.
Elevated tech accessories
It’s a dangerous business, letting a spensi Apple Watch swim in a sea of tangled charging cables on your nighstand. Gift your beloved the gift of organization and peace of mind with this bestselling charging stand, which has a 4.6-star average rating from over 6,200 Amazon reviews. As one pleased owner writes, “It leaves the beside cables tidier [than] just [having] the loose watch charger cable laying around.” It’s the small things, y’know?
The perfect cozy season blanket
Every year, we crave a new blanket or throw for movie nights, lazy mornings, and WFH days when the temps dip to Flo Rida-levels of low. This checkered flannel throw has an impressive 4.8-star average rating from over 100 reviews on Amazon, and cozy customers won’t stop talking about how buttery soft (and big) it is.
Who said that you can’t find your next best gift on Prime?
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.