How To Be Everyone's Favorite Gift Giver Without Spending A Fortune

Darrel Hunter

"It's the most wonderful time of the year" — both a song and saying you hear on repeat from the start of November until after New Year's Day. Indeed, for many, the holiday season is highly anticipated year round. But, it's also the most expensive time of the year. As much as you would love to spoil everyone on your list with the most extravagant presents, often times that's not realistic. Enter: affordable gifts that seem expensive. Whether you're shopping for clothing, jewelry, or stylish home decor, these gifts make it possible to still give them something luxurious. (Shh, they'll never know what you actually paid.)

"Value is really in the eye of the beholder," Richard Xiang, a buyer at Nordstrom, tells TZR. "Yes, some things come with higher price tags, but ultimately the gifts that people cherish make them feel special for different reasons." For instance, he says that it could be a daring accessory that adds a pop of color, or a practical item that only someone close to you would know you needed. "Value does not have to mean expensive," he adds. Xiang says since this season is different than any before, people are investing in their homes more and more. "Whether it be in smaller ways like decor accents or by investing in the simple at-home activities or elements that bring joy."

If you're looking for a fashion gift to wow your trendiest friend with, there are a few industry-favorite destinations to turn to. For instance, Garmentory, an online retailer, features small indie brands from around the world. "We have such a wide variety of amazing pieces that every customer can find something unique and stay within their budget," Karina Tselnik, the retailer's operations manager, tells TZR. And of course, high-end retailers like Net-A-Porter and Moda Operandi never fail to disappoint when it comes to a lavish selection of gifts. To stay in your price range, consider a designer wallet or AirPods case.

Start by writing down who you are shopping for, and then consider what is on their wishlist. To assist in finding the best gifts this year, below find 20 options that are affordable, yet appear expensive.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Notte's Buonanotte Pearl Earrings

Made with precious stones, colorful gems, and shiny pearls, Notte's Buonanotte Pearl Earrings look way more expensive than just $86. And if she likes to mix and match her earrings, you can opt to buy one earring for half the price.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: & Other Stories' Pointed Leather Sock Boots

Looking for a sleek shoe that won't cost an arm and leg? Lucky for you, & Other Stories is chock-full of affordable boots and loafers. For under $200, treat her to an ultra-chic pointed-toe boot from the fashion girl-favorite label.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: JW Pei's Carly Medium Shoulder Bag

If she loves brands like Staud and By Far, she'll certainly adore a bag from JW Pei. Though most are under $100, they look as elevated as the cult-favorite labels. Gift her this croc-embossed style for a versatile, yet on-trend option.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: MSGM's Horizontal-Stripe Sleeveless Jumper

Tis the season to wear sweaters daily. But instead of gifting her a typical pullover or cardigan, go for a sweater vest that she can wear over a polished blouse or plain long-sleeve tee. MSGM's Horizontal-Stripe Sleeveless Jumper fits the bill.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Fleur Du Mal's Tan Silk Luxe Face Mask

A silk face mask is arguably the chicest way to stay safe when you leave the house. With Fleur Du Mal's offerings, you don't have to pay a ton to sport the lustrous face covering.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Gucci's Textured Leather-Trimmed AirPods Case

She'll never misplace her AirPods if they are in a designer case. This option from Gucci can be clipped on to her everyday purse or her wallet.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Rachel Comey's Gumdrop Earrings

New York-based label Rachel Comey makes some of the chicest ready-to-wear and accessories on the market, and these Gumdrop Earrings are no exception. She can throw them on for a Zoom call and impress all her coworkers.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: 54 Thrones' Adwera Turmeric Glow Soap Bar

What's a more appropriate gift for 2020 than a nice hand soap? This turmeric bar from 54 Thrones is only $16, so you can throw in a cute bathroom towel, too.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Justine Clenquet's Gold Kirsten Earrings

If her personal style toes the line between trendy and minimal, give her a piece of jewelry that's a bit more eye-catching than her everyday staples. These Gold Kirsten Earrings from Justine Clenquet will look cool paired with simple dainty gold necklaces.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Marc Jacobs' Snapshot Leather ID Wallet

For a present she'll use every single day, consider a wallet. This style from Marc Jacobs will pair seamlessly with any bag she decides to wear.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Local European's Nuria Oversized Blouse

If you're in search of luxe basics, look no further than Local European. Gift this crisp white blouse to those returning to the office, or just looking to amp up their work-from-home wardrobe.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Prada's Square-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses

Are her go-to sunglasses covered in scratches? Replace them with Prada's Square-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses. The tortoise print will look stylish paired with both gold and silver jewelry.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Completedworks x Ekaterina Bazhenova Yamasaki's Postures Small Ceramic Vase

Ceramics can get pricey, however, this vase by Completedworks and Ekaterina Bazhenova Yamasaki rings in at under $100. Present it to her with a plant or flower already inside so all she needs to do is keep it alive.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Jacquemus' Le Bob Gadjo Cotton Bucket Hat

A bucket hat is a fun addition to any look. Whether she's having a bad hair day or wants to add a cool element to her outfit, Jacquemus' Le Bob Gadjo Cotton Bucket Hat will become a staple throughout the year.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Laura Lombardi's Rafaella Chain Necklace

If you're unsure of her jewelry taste, a chunky chain necklace is a safe bet. Laura Lombardi's Rafaella Chain Necklace will add a flashy addition to her accessories without going overboard.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Sincerely, Tommy's Mabel Slides

Incorporate a fun pastel addition to her flat collection with Sincerely, Tommy's Mabel Slides. Though only $85, the shoe will immediately polish off any look.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Shopbop Home's Dusen Dusen Hand Towel

From clothing to home decor, checkered print is taking over this season. Make her excited to do the dishes with this funky towel from Dusen Dusen.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: For The Ages' Ineva Baguette Moiré Shoulder Bag

Based in New York, emerging handbag label For The Ages features its unique Moiré Shoulder Bag in both pastels and a clear silhouette. Gift it to the trendiest friend on your list.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Edas' Angie Earrings

Brooklyn-based label Edas is a go-to destination for one-of-a-kind jewelry that won't cost you a fortune. The brand's Angie Earrings are perfect for the person in your life who loves a statement earring.

Affordable Gift That Seems Expensive: Flattered Nadine Leather Ballet Flats

If her style is elevated, give her a lavish ballet flat she can wear everywhere from work to (social distancing) happy hours. This pair from Flattered looks much more expensive than its price tag shows.