November 21, 2022

Affordable gift ideas for the holidays

Written by kevin-c

Saving Money

Believe it or not, most products used to be built to last. Cast iron frying pans, Underwood typewriters, safety razors – these things used to be designed to buy once.

That said, there are still some products out there that are very well made and don’t require a yearly replacement, and you can even find them for a much lower price than you might expect.

Consider one of these items for stocking stuffers or gifts this holiday season. They’ll last more than one Christmas, guaranteed.

Leatherman Skeletool CX (from $34.95)

I am an unabashed fan of the Multitool, which is exactly what it sounds like – a hand tool that has multiple uses like a Swiss Army Knife. Modern multitools have expanded on that classic Swiss design in some pretty amazing ways, but what I like about the Skeletool CX (aside from being practically indestructible) is that it’s all killer no filler. It comes with 7 tools: needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, wire cutters, 154cm Knife, carabiner/bottle opener and a large bit driver. And you’d be shocked how often these come in handy. It also comes with a lifetime warranty – not that you’ll need it.

Darn Tough Socks (starting at $16.00)

I truly believe the moment you become an adult is the moment when you’re thrilled to get socks as a gift. Enter Darn Tough Vermont, a company that sells a truly amazing number of socks for all people and tastes. Basically, if you have feet, Darn Tough Vermont has a pair of socks for you. And, even more amazing, they have an unconditional warranty. Here’s their warranty policy, straight from their website: “If these aren’t the longest lasting socks you’ve ever owned, you can return them to us for another pair. No receipt needed, just the pair in question.” Well heck, I wish my car had that kind of warranty.

Tupperware (prices vary)

Yeah, that’s right, Tupperware. Talk about indestructible. Tupperware, like Zipper and Kleenex, is so ubiquitous the word itself is a stand-in for “plastic bowl with a sealed cover.” Tupperware has plenty more than just bowls. Want a can opener that will survive a nuclear war? How about a manual food processor? Or a cold brew coffee carafe? Tupperware’s got it – all high quality and less than you think. Plus, they sell Jello molds! If you don’t need a Jello mold in your home, you should reconsider your life choices.

Tilley Hat (prices vary)

The classic hat of world travelers across the, um, world. Tilley hats have a reputation for being indestructible, so much so that, famously, a customer from the Bowmanville Ontario Zoo claimed that an elephant ate and passed his Tilley hat three times and the hat was still intact. Now granted you probably don’t have to contend with hungry elephants in your average day, but if it can survive a trip through an elephant, chances are good it’ll survive whatever you throw at it. In the course of researching this article I discovered Tilley has expanded their product line beyond just the classic bucket-style hat to sweaters and tops and anorak style coats. (No word on whether the coats are elephant proof.) And of course, everything is covered by lifetime warranties.

Anker Powercore Fusion ($24.99)

If there’s one thing on this list that literally everyone could use, it’s the Anker Powercore Fusion. First, Anker products are super solid. (In fact, if you’re in an office reading this instead of working, there’s an excellent chance your IT department has loads of Anker products – cables, chargers, power strips, etc.) But the Powercore Fusion is my pick, a model of simplicity, that once you have, you’ll wonder why you didn’t have one years ago. It’s a wall charger with three ports that will charge any iPhone, iPad, or Android device. But unlike a regular wall charger, the Anker also works as a portable battery! When fully charged it can provide 3 portable charges for your devices, no outlet required. Brilliant! Also, it’s small enough to stuff in a Christmas stocking and comes in handy for those with a budget!

What's your best buy-it-for-life gift idea? Share it in the comments below!