High impact gifts with a low impact on your wallet. Eleven gifts found in our own backyard – all for less than $20.
1. “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper in softcover is a story of an enjoyably dysfunctional family and the epiphany each member comes to while sitting shivah for their father. “It’s roll on the floor funny,” said Scott Asalone, co-owner of Words on Cookman Avenue. $15.
2. Also at Words is Scott’s own holiday book “Gloria the Christmas Angel”. “This is the story behind the story of Christmas,” said Scott. “Children and Christmas-weary adults will both enjoy the book.” $19.
3. Ken’s Antiques at the Antique Emporium has a mid-century modern taper candle holder made of teak and cast iron in 1964 by Digsmed of Denmark. $18.
4. For anyone looking for playful illumination, Flying Saucers has replica bumper car nightlights at in silver, aqua and red. “One of my best-sellers right now,” said store owner James Kaufman. $20.
5. Another top-seller for James this season is the Greetings from Asbury Park coin bank manufactured by Flexcraft in town. Twenty inches tall, the plastic banks are in the shape of a guitar and come in red and green. $20.
6. Purify indoor air with nature’s negative ionizer. The Himalayan salt lamps at EZential Living look good and are good for you. Made from the purest salt in the world from the Himalayan Mountains, the lamp is a natural work of art and emits a beautiful warm glow when lit. “The salt takes the radiation out of the environment and it’s beautiful to look at,” said Charlene Betz, store owner. Four-pound salt lamps, $20.
7. The Dawg Joint has a wall of companion animal toys under $20. One with a festive slant is the rope chew toy in red, green and white in the shape of a snowman. “Those toys are adorable, chewable and in the spirit of the season,” said Cindy Curto, owner. $7.
8. One of the more popular toys in Cindy’s store is the 18 inch stuffingless play coyote and wolf. “They are similar to a real animal friend and they squeak,” said Cindy. “Owners tell us their pets carry them around for hours.” $13.
9. I am always excited to see a gift from Shelter Home. Owner Scott Hamm stocks his store with a slick and special array of merchandise you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the area.
For the guy’s guy on your list Scott has whisky stones by Teraforma. Put these stones – handmade of soapstone in Vermont – in your favorite spirit, instead of ice and you control how diluted you want your drink, instead of ice cubes gradually watering it down. “This is a cool, handmade, practical gift,” said Scott. “And we giftwrap.” $20.
10. Foolish Ginger in the back of the Shoppes at the Arcade has a number of unique gifts for $20 or less, including Tokyo Milk shea butter hand cream in exotic scents like Le Petit with notes of lilly, peony, vanilla bean and violet. $18.
11. “For new rock and roll-type parents I suggest Rockabye Baby CD’s,” said Erica Vermilyea-Marchelle, Foolish Ginger’s owner. “They transformed timeless rock songs into instrumental lullabies. The CD’s will make both parents and their kids happy.” $20.