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Just-Right Gifts Under $50

Dec 5, 2011

by jgoddard18 handmade and vintage goods

Joanna Goddard writes the award-winning blog A Cup of Jo, which covers fashion, decor, weddings, babies and motherhoodForbes named her blog one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women,” and Martha Stewart Living praised her “genius finds from around the web.” Before her own baby was born, she wrote about relationships for Glamour Magazine, and she now contributes regularly to Conde Nast Traveler. Joanna lives in a teeny Manhattan apartment with her husband and their toddler son, who just learned how to walk (yay!) and never refuses a Cheerio.

My mom always, always finds the perfect gift, and after 30 years of watching her, I’ve finally figured out her method: she thinks long and hard about the person whom she’s buying a present. She thinks about what books, movies and hobbies they truly love. She’ll think about the vacations they take, the foods they splurge on, even the way they typically spend a Sunday afternoon. After mulling over the way they spend their lives, she’ll be able to more easily scout a present that truly fits. Isn’t that sweet? So, for the people on your list, here’s a list of ideas that might fit, whether they love reading books, dressing up or sampling desserts.


[Clockwise from top left: Blocks print long scarf from leahgoren; Botanical print from Kari Herer; Whale tissue holder from gnomesweetgnome; Fleur del sel caramel brownies from Cupcakes in Jars; Vintage pair of white birds from esther layne; True gardenia perfume oil from Little Batch Botanicals; Triangle earrings in bronze from Upper Metal Class


[Clockwise from top left: Ceramic scottie dog from littlebyrdvintage; Men’s navy apron from Dear Edna; Texas state cutting board from AHeirloom; Amsterdam print from studiokmo; Skinny mustard brown knitted tie from vKnit; Zenblocks desk decoration from zenblocks


[Clockwise from top left: Vintage wooden abacus from AMradio; Vintage wooden car toy from aemontague; Knit grey sweater from little dipper vintage; Hand-printed baby leggings from thief & bandit kids; Baby booties from Wooly Baby; Eco friendly soy crayons from earth grown crayons; Forest friends cookie cutter set from weewaldorf

Enjoy your holiday shopping! I’m wishing you a very merry one from New York, and come visit A Cup of Jo anytime; I’d love to see you.

More Gift Guides

Peach Stripe Smokestack
Peach Stripe Smokestack
Bicycle Bookends
Bicycle Bookends
$69.99 USD
vintage seascape painting
vintage seascape painting
mixed bag of 6 large succulents
mixed bag of 6 large succulents


  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 9 years ago

    Great and interesting choices, Joanna! Love that whale tissue holder! P.S. I've been a reader of your blog for quite a while. :)

  • jezek

    jezek said 9 years ago


  • bombastitch

    bombastitch said 9 years ago

    Wonderful selection! I'm pretty sure I *need* the Texas state cutting board :)

  • gkdecorate

    gkdecorate said 9 years ago

    Oh i love the vintage pair of white birds!

  • shopCOLLECT

    shopCOLLECT said 9 years ago

    LOVE this collection!!!

  • whitemetal

    whitemetal said 9 years ago

    Love the Zen blocks!

  • jacklom3

    jacklom3 said 9 years ago

    Love your Blog!

  • AmethystArt

    AmethystArt said 9 years ago

    Nice picks. I really like the zen blocks! A side note- Is it just coincedence the hand printed baby leggings have shown up in the last three children's lists on the blog?

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 9 years ago

    Beautiful picks ! Thanks for your time !

  • Cleverella

    Cleverella said 9 years ago

    Great gift ideas!

  • PolClary

    PolClary said 9 years ago

    Love it! I found something in every set that I want, no matter who it's for. ;)

  • sonyarasi

    sonyarasi said 9 years ago

    Great collection! I love your blog.

  • UnionStudioMetals

    UnionStudioMetals said 9 years ago

    Fabulous gift ideas, thanks!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 9 years ago

    Neat picks, those brownies look yummy - theres something for everyone on Etsy nom nom!

  • zenblocks

    zenblocks said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for including zenblocks! And we think they are perfect for men, women and children alike! :) Same with those brownies... now I'm hungry!

  • TheLonelyHeart

    TheLonelyHeart said 9 years ago

    Ooooh, I LOVE your process I think that would help a bunch, I never thought of their vacations and Sunday afternoons! Great collection!!!!!

  • asundrynotion

    asundrynotion said 9 years ago

    Fine to fun choices. Kari Herer's botanical print is as beautiful as any Dutch master still life! Cute baby leggings but this is at least the 3rd, maybe 4th time they are featured in a week. That's a bit much.

  • devikasart

    devikasart said 9 years ago

    Umm..The roll on gardenia perfume sounds good!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 9 years ago

    Great finds!! ..of course ;)

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 9 years ago

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  • MorfineDoll

    MorfineDoll said 9 years ago

    I am sorry to say this but the picks are rather boring to me. There are a few thousand better picks around etsy that are under $50, international shipping included. I am one who loves giving gifts and enjoys the reactions of my friends so if I chose anything from this post I know what the reaction would be - "Oh...thanks..." Us ladies love jewelry and cosmetics, it's a fact but the triangle earrings are too simple, too invisible and uniteresting + there are so many sterling silver post earrings for the same amount or under the given $30. I approuve of the perfume though. The tissue holder + brownies under it remind me of a munching and crying Bridget Jones which is just patethic. The doves, print and "scarf" make me think of a 50's Hausefrau. Now the men's section. I don't know any hetero or gay man who would like any of the listed items and I know a lot of both. The tie looks like out of the 70s or 80s and sure the fashion from that eras is coming back...just not literally. I can't imagine the terrier statue at a guy's place, just can't. The Amsterdam print is a good pick though but not the zen blocks - pointless and redundant. "Back to the kitchen with you!" - the apron and cutting board scream that to me, especially when given to someone who doesn't even like to cook or lives on take out. The children's section has a lot of good picks in my opinion - the wooden car, the abacus, the cookie cutter set and the crayons. The clothes however look second hand. In general - to pick a good gift: 1. Yes, you have to know the person well. 2. Yes, you have to be creative and have a lot of imagination. 3. Yes, you may have to search on etsy, other sites or real life shops for a few days until you find the gift you are after. Sorry if my critique upsets anyone but I only tell the truth and what I think. xoxo

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 9 years ago

    Great picks - I love how there's something here for everyone! Didn't know you can get make your own cheese kit here on Etsy.

  • spinspin

    spinspin said 9 years ago

    Good stuff :)

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 9 years ago

    Love them all!

  • mulch

    mulch said 9 years ago

    Thanks Joanna for the gift guide. Great choices. Mulch "The Coupon Organizer"

  • YouniquesRings

    YouniquesRings said 9 years ago

    ♥ Great!

  • ZiLLAsQuEeN

    ZiLLAsQuEeN said 9 years ago

    Fun indeed! Creative thoughts brewing! Thank you :)

  • cottonbirddesigns

    cottonbirddesigns said 9 years ago

    Great finds!

  • marmunia

    marmunia said 9 years ago

    Thank you from Little Dipper! You're just the best, Joanna!

  • cybelle3693

    cybelle3693 said 9 years ago


  • janellehaskin

    janellehaskin said 9 years ago

    What lovely finds! :)

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 9 years ago

    Cool finds! We have the exact pair of white birds that were my dh's grandmothers. I just pulled them out the other day to deck the halls with.

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits said 9 years ago

    Nick picks!

  • uniquefabricgifts

    uniquefabricgifts said 9 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. What your mom does is the only way to find the perfect gift. As you said, everything is " Just Right!". Thank you!

  • vicro

    vicro said 9 years ago

    Nice selection!!!

  • cgstudio

    cgstudio said 9 years ago

    sigh... thanks to the author for some cool ideas but ya'd think one quick look would have sent up red flags regarding what is OK at etsy and what might need a second look.. and clothes with 'big bird' which still have the tag, far as I know, are not what Etsy is supposed to be about.... dunno- maybe its 'vintage kmart'-- sorry for the buzz kill.

  • aemontague

    aemontague said 9 years ago

    So excited to be featured in this blog - the vintage wooden toy car is perfect amongst the other wonderful children's items...I think I might need to pick up those heart crayons for myself. Thank you and lovely picks.

  • emwi

    emwi said 9 years ago

    I love the printed kid's leggings. Great choices! (despite what all these negative Nancy's say)

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 9 years ago

    Great gift ideas! Thanks for sharing!!

  • violetjulia

    violetjulia said 9 years ago

    love a cup of JO

  • siennaorlando

    siennaorlando said 9 years ago

    I LOVE those succulents at the bottom!

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 9 years ago

    Gimme the blocks!!!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Great blog! great selections!

  • blueroompottery

    blueroompottery said 9 years ago

    Great choices! Well done! :-)

  • beliz82

    beliz82 said 9 years ago

    Great finds and perfect gift ideas !!

  • NicoAndMooMoo

    NicoAndMooMoo said 9 years ago

    I know your blog, love it! the whale, the whale! :D

  • BroccoliHouse

    BroccoliHouse said 9 years ago

    Great Choices! Tooth Fairy Box is my favorite!!

  • CocoBijou

    CocoBijou said 9 years ago

    Love how you featured some really creative things that I've never seen:)

  • zmedceramics

    zmedceramics said 9 years ago

    cool picks, Joanna!

  • SoVeryCharming

    SoVeryCharming said 9 years ago

    Cute blog, but I'll never understand this simple shape fad.

  • EndQuotes

    EndQuotes said 9 years ago

    Ooo thanks, I just found a stocking stuffer for my husband!

  • sadiedesignsca

    sadiedesignsca said 9 years ago

    So awesome. I love the zen blocks!

  • thiefandbandit

    thiefandbandit said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much Joanna for featuring our leggings! Love ALL the picks! :) xoxo T&B

  • littleshopofphotos

    littleshopofphotos said 9 years ago

    Cool ideas!!

  • HandmadeIsAllAround

    HandmadeIsAllAround said 9 years ago

    Cute little boots! :)

  • JessicaRoseJewelry

    JessicaRoseJewelry said 9 years ago

    the whale tissue box is awesome!

  • QsGoodies

    QsGoodies said 9 years ago

    Great selections! Luvin' the Texas state cutting board, Eco soy crayons & Baby booties!

  • GoddessOfJewelry

    GoddessOfJewelry said 9 years ago

    I don't think my hubby would like any of the items listed under "for men" but I like them all for myself! :) Those Zen Blocks are AWESOME! I want!!!

  • WhisperingOak

    WhisperingOak said 9 years ago

    I like the gift selection process your mom has taught you. I would also add that I buy for someone what I would love to receive myself, not less

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    Caramel brownies! Brownies, brownies, brownies, brownies! 'Nuff said.

  • perebags

    perebags said 9 years ago

    love this list!!

  • thebeadgirl

    thebeadgirl said 9 years ago

    i look at those wooden blocks ALL the time!

  • peshka

    peshka said 9 years ago

    Great gift ideas! love..

  • gretchenmist

    gretchenmist said 9 years ago

    gorgeous gift ideas. i love the headband :)

  • JennythingVintage

    JennythingVintage said 9 years ago

    Here's another tactic for gift-giving: Consider what frustrates or challenges your loved ones. For my mom, it's not having a scarf to match her hat -- ever. For my husband, it's not having the right tools for the job. And for my dog, it's never having enough bacon. Just think of what they're always whining about, and bada bing, instant gift idea!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 9 years ago

    all really great. :)

  • penumbraimages

    penumbraimages said 9 years ago

    Very interesting choices :) But even more exciting to find your blog because of this. As a new mom of two babies trying to balance with my creative dreams I find your blog is exactly what Ive been searching for. Thank you etsy for featuring this blogger and cant wait to check out your site for more inspiration!!! Yeah

  • cozyowlco

    cozyowlco said 9 years ago

    These are all great ideas! Etsy is the perfect place for unique gift shopping!

  • kbails84

    kbails84 said 9 years ago

    fun ideas!

  • Verdurebydesign

    Verdurebydesign said 9 years ago

    Thoughful presents are a pleasure to receive. Thanks for the finds.

  • audreytolove

    audreytolove said 9 years ago

    really cool !

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign said 9 years ago

    Beautiful stuff!

  • mikiheather

    mikiheather said 9 years ago

    mmm... caramel brownies!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 9 years ago

    The doves! I love the doves!

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery said 9 years ago

    The flowers and brownies look especially good!

  • modfolk

    modfolk said 9 years ago

    Nice guide! Thanks Joanna!

  • chocolatedogstudio

    chocolatedogstudio said 9 years ago

    I have those doves as well. Don't wash them, they will melt.

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 9 years ago

    Love the Texas.

  • ArtDecoDame

    ArtDecoDame said 9 years ago

    great picks!

  • 40degN

    40degN said 9 years ago

    Awesome guide!!!

  • shoppingosdoceu

    shoppingosdoceu said 9 years ago

    great choises!

  • PlumeandPetals

    PlumeandPetals said 9 years ago

    Love the list!


    ZULYA said 9 years ago

    Good idea!

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 9 years ago

    People do just LOVE rich hearty brownies. I give them big and individually wrapped!

  • traceydumont

    traceydumont said 9 years ago

    Great picks! :))

  • katec9377

    katec9377 said 9 years ago

    The state cheese boards are fantastic - definitley buying one for my Wisconsin relatives!!!

  • JCTgoods

    JCTgoods said 9 years ago

    Good selections for men.

  • FableBay

    FableBay said 9 years ago

    very cool collection, i love the tooth fairy box!!

  • Earmark

    Earmark said 9 years ago

    Lovely Jo!

  • willaby

    willaby said 9 years ago

    Great gift guide! Happy to see Little Dipper Vintage included, as I think her finds are awesome! Love the whale tissue box as well!

  • MountainGoth

    MountainGoth said 9 years ago

    Very Nice! Wonderful Picks

  • seasonsart1031

    seasonsart1031 said 9 years ago

    Interesting picks! I like the cheese board and handmade real wood toys for kids are great!

  • HibouCards

    HibouCards said 9 years ago

    Nice selection!

  • LRdarling

    LRdarling said 9 years ago

    I was so excited to see Joanna featured here! I love A Cup of Jo. There are some great gifts in her selections. I try to follow the same gift-giving philosophy. I wish everyone did!

  • Roselyn888

    Roselyn888 said 9 years ago

    Unique, pretty picks! Congrats & best wishes to all featured artisans. Roselyn888

  • NaturalGorgeous

    NaturalGorgeous said 9 years ago

    "brand new but vintage quilted overalls with a knitted big bird appliqued onto the front. comes with a yellow ribbed turtleneck. it still has the kmart tag." Nice one, Etsy. Also - I read the Jo description out loud to my partner for a laugh - is she a real person or a cultural construct designed by an ad agency? *I love babies, brownies, and buying the perfect gift!* - what a tool. Is there a real person under there, or just a stack of market research memos?

  • SoStinkingSweet

    SoStinkingSweet said 9 years ago

    Great finds! Someone beat me to the white birds :(

  • Steampunkitis

    Steampunkitis said 9 years ago

    Lots, and lots, of Beautiful, 'One of a Kind', unique, hand crafted gifts in our shop for UNDER $20, and many, many (more expensive ones)with FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the world. I've tried twitter, and paying for Etsy adds, (no time for face book,) but if you like what you see, PLEASE spread the word, 'cause nothing works like word of mouth.' Also, all items are gift boxed, with ribbon and all. And I will be happy to do custom orders, just order early to avoid postal delays. AND PLEASE STOP BY ! Thanks.

  • alterdesigns

    alterdesigns said 9 years ago

    Very nice

  • HeatherLucille

    HeatherLucille said 9 years ago

    How cute would those cookie cutter cookies be decorated?! Almost too cute too eat, especially the little hedgehog! SQUEE!

  • earthgrowncrayons

    earthgrowncrayons said 9 years ago

    Beyond thrilled to be included in this collection. Thank you so much for mentioning my handmade soy crayons!

  • tjalaine

    tjalaine said 9 years ago

    Nice choices! I want one of those brownies now! :)

  • TeethME

    TeethME said 9 years ago

    WOW! It's amazing! I'm excited! :)

  • wmalexalvarez

    wmalexalvarez said 9 years ago

    I love that scotty :)

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl said 9 years ago

    I adore the whale tissue holder!

  • woolybaby

    woolybaby said 9 years ago

    Thanks for including my slippers!!

  • redstringstudio

    redstringstudio said 9 years ago

    I love the mini succulent garden, what a great gift that keeps on giving! Thanks!

  • GlobalFibernet

    GlobalFibernet said 9 years ago

    I can guarantee, I'll be picking up a set of those ZenBlocks! Thanks for the ideas! Brilliant!

  • wylddesign

    wylddesign said 9 years ago

    Well-- I LIKE THE LISTINGS.... Some are very creative, others interesting. The point is, good job everyone of you who are just trying to make it in this world. I need my shop, I love my 4 shops... can't please everyone. No need to hurt peoples feelings. This is the season for all people everywhere to be kind,and think of others.Is it because people don't see the other person face to face they think kindness and manners don't matter. I thank all my customers,and the ones that just add my items to favorites. I think everyone has different talents and that is what makes ETSY a great place to shop. Merry Christmas,Happy Holidays,Happy New Year.!!!

  • Europedesign

    Europedesign said 9 years ago

    12 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 12

  • LizardSkins

    LizardSkins said 9 years ago

    that is how a gift SHOULD be selected. With the heart. Good job.

  • eringamache

    eringamache said 9 years ago

    That brownie looks SO good. I want to reach out and eat it! :)

  • ArtGiftStore

    ArtGiftStore said 9 years ago

    really good job!

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