25 Best Gifts for Freelancers Under $25
Freelancers are hard to shop for.
We know we are. We have weird schedules, we don’t all do the same kind of work, and in my experience, most of us also have a lot of different interests!
It can be hard to figure out what the best gifts for freelancers under $25 are.
So, I got together with some freelancing buddies and came up with a list that hits all the sweet spots, from software to sweaters and everything in between (and, yep, some of these are under $10, for those of us, like myself, with fluctuating budgets).
Why Is It So Hard to Shop for Gifts for Freelancers?
I’m one of the worst people to buy things for, because I tend to like experiences more than stuff. I don’t like my work space to feel cluttered, so I’d rather go somewhere than add another thing to my collection.
I think a lot of others are hard to shop for because we don’t always have an “easy” purchase. Like – you might get a book or a pen for a teacher, but does a freelancer need that? A gag gift for most salaried positions is easy to find, but what do you get for someone who doesn’t have a regular schedule, office hours, etc?
There are certain gifts I’ve gotten from and for friends that have actually been awesome, despite my Kondo-esque approach to life.
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Here Are the 25 Best Gifts for Freelancers Under $25
As you may know (or may learn), I’m super into comfort. Comfortable fashion, comfortable working conditions, comfortable life. That doesn’t mean I don’t work hard! But it does mean I want my office space to be controllable. I think it comes from being super sensitive to, basically, everything? Which also probably makes me good at my detail-oriented job.
Anyway, here’s a fox shaped aromatherapy diffuser. I think it’s really cool-looking, and I love anything that can help me control my environment! This diffuser seems to fill space well and isn’t too overpowering.
I’ve already talked about my favorite pens, but I love a fun organizing tool. Here’s the Hemingway pencil cup (I assume it’s called Hemingway due to the typewriter, but don’t quote me on that). It’s cute and functional. I’m a big fan of products that are visually appealing while still being useful – I’m not a big fan of stuff for the sake of stuff (though I did post some purely-for-fun things on this list, don’t worry).
But if you’re just looking for something practical and cute, this is a great gift for anyone with a home office.
This is kind of ironic, because I mostly use a laptop, but I really love cool mousepads. If I used one still (or when I transfer to a desktop), I’d definitely use this one. Remember back in the day, when having a mousepad with a design on it was the coolest thing you could get for a present? No? Maybe that was just in my head. Anyway, it used to be a pretty fun gift, and I think fun mousepads are making a comeback.
It’s both functional and formal, and you know how I like form and function!
If you’re like me, you probably never forget anything. Just kidding. I forget things all the time!
This to-do list pad from Knock Knock keeps me on track. I also use a digital calendar, of course! But sometimes you just need to write something down (I’ve heard that psychologically, it helps you remember things). Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!
33 Feet of string lights. I know what you’re thinking… who needs 33 feet of string lights?
I’ll tell you:
Your friendly neighborhood freelancer. When my wife installed string lights, I thought she was nuts. Then I turned them on in the evening, and the whole living room space felt warmer and more friendly. Definitely try these out.
I love a new notebook. Motivation + notebooks = get writing done!
I used a notebook like this when I was writing a pitch for a TV series I eventually sold, so this reminds me of the one that helped me get there! Total lucky notebook alert.
Pick one up for yourself or a friend.
If the name “Little Big Fan” doesn’t make you laugh, you’re either younger than me or dead inside.
If you’re a freelancer, it’s possible you’re both. Anyway, buy this fun USB fan for the joke or the usefulness.
Obviously, laptop cases come in all shapes. I have a 13″ laptop, so I need a 13″ laptop case. I also like how simple this is; I’m a pretty laid back person, but I don’t like to look messy for a meeting, so if I have to go out and see a client, this is a great way to have my laptop case look professional without being overdone.
Bear with me. This seems like it’s just a great camping mug. Some of us have, shall we say, a slight tendency toward spilling stuff everywhere? If you’re klutzy like me, a mug with a top is a winner.
How many people forget to drink water if it’s not right in front of them? Just me? Anyway, I really love a water bottle with a time marker (or anything that lets me mark how much I’m drinking, like this one. I’m actually buying this one right now… because hydration is super important, and I forget to drink water too much).
I know other freelancers who forget to eat and sleep, too! Self-care is important, but like, the basics of eating/sleeping/drinking are kind of necessary.
This is… apparently a sympathy gift? I don’t know why, exactly, as it seems like it works well for kind of any occasion.
All I know is, having a comfortable blanket to curl up with while I’m working makes it easier for me to save on heat, and more comfortable in my home during colder months.
I… kill plants. I’m sorry! I don’t have a green thumb, at all. But I also really like greenery. So, if your freelancer buddy is good with plants, get them a real one. If they’re like me, get them a fake one.
Or if anyone wants to volunteer to teach me how to not kill a plant, let me know.
This is one of my favorite of all time Amazon purchases. I use these constantly, and I love having access to a bottle opener on my fridge, which doubles as a magnet, if you’re in need of extra fridge magnets. Though, I’m always taking this off the fridge, so I don’t really like to use it to hold anything.
I know, they’re not pretty or clever or funny. They’re just plain useful. And for the price, you kind of can’t beat it.
I’m not telling you to buy a snuggie. I’m also not not telling you to buy one. I know I’m that person who’s obsessed with comfortable stuff…
When you live in Los Angeles, and your heat and A/C bills are strangely always too high, you gotta get creative. I’m all about finding ways to keep cool (or warm) that don’t rely on my utility bill.
I know I rant a lot about Los Angeles, which I have a love/hate/mild disgust relationship with.
Anyway, if you have allergies, living in Smogsville USA isn’t helpful. Hypoallergenic pillows actually have helped me a lot. So, recommend. Obviously, if you do have allergies, consult a doctor before purchasing anything to help with them.
I talk a lot about working from home, but during the pandemic, it’s kind of become a “doing everything from home” lifestyle. Working, workout out… it’s all happening at home.
The first time I saw one of these ab rollers was in a tae kwon do class. I thought my instructor was nuts. Then I tried it. This is hard! Especially if you’re flabby-ab’ed like I am.
Let me know what you think of these, and please post your favorite home exercise equipment in the comments. I need more gear!
At time of posting, this was $7.99, which is a pretty good deal for a jump rope (the ball bearings apparently keep it from getting tangled).
Full admission of guilt: I don’t like jump ropes, so this is a definite “recommendation from a friend.” She swears by it, and she’s way more fit than I am. So… I might be guilted into trying it. If you have one, let me know what you think about this one in the comments!
For the longest time, I didn’t have any hand towels or washcloths. I recently got these, and *life changing.*
I know this is kind of turning into the “stuff you need around the house” list, but I wouldn’t recommend these if I didn’t like them. They (so far) haven’t been pilling and are soft and quick-drying. So… I find them accurately advertised.
I used to think Swiffers were one of those advertising gimmicks that didn’t really do anything. I was so wrong! I use a swiffer a lot now, and I find it works way better than a broom/dustpan combo (or can be a great follow-up to wipe down your floors).
I already talked earlier about ways to keep your home clean when you’re a freelancer, but I do recommend a Swiffer as a great gift for your freelance buddies.
Freelancers like fun, too. We’re not all about work and cleaning and organizing. Finding a good way to decompress, have fun, and just relax is key to the whole “mental health” thing. And freelancers definitely need fun ways to relax.
If your freelance pals are not into this particular game (or already have it), I recommend other board games as a great way to chill away from the screen.
While we’re discussing fun, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to find ways to distract myself (it’s been a particularly tough year for all of us).
Sometimes you just need to tune out, so you can come back to your work – and the rest of the world’s troubles – refreshed.
I can’t recommend The Goes Wrong Show enough. If you like community theatre, it’s for you. If you hate community theatre, it’s also for you. If you’re a fan of sites like Clients from Hell, it’s 100% for you. Watch an episode and let me know what you think in the comments.
Maybe your freelancing pals are more into serious or thoughtful audiobooks? I can dig that. I really enjoyed this one.
I actually think just a basic Audible Subscription is a great way to go, too.
I got my first Honeywell fan when I lived in New York City. I didn’t have an air conditioner in my bedroom, and summers were hot! Then I came to LA, and I still didn’t have a bedroom A/C.
I probably should have bought like 5 of these. But 1 did a fantastic job of keeping the room cool at night and during the day. Also was great for white noise (though I think they’ve gotten quieter since I bought my first one many years ago).
I think these are the best fans, and it’s probably one of my favorite things on the entire list of 25 best gifts for freelancers under $25.
You have no idea how badly I needed one of these when I first started doing martial arts. These are amazing for post-workout muscle aches. I genuinely can’t believe this one (at posting) is going for $24.99! How?!
Of course, use under direction from a physical or sports therapist!
This might be a little over the mark (at posting time, it’s around $21, but usually runs $25.99). I don’t have this exact power strip, so buy at your risk.
I will say, though, freelancers: we’re always plugging stuff in. Always. And we always run out of plugs.
Common Questions About Buying Gifts for Freelancers
Is a Cheap Gift Okay?
Totally. The thought really does count! Also – a lot of us have really weird hours. So getting us something we might not think about, that’s useful for those hours (like an alarm clock, a blanket, a fan, etc), is really helpful for many of us who rely on ourselves rather than a larger company.
For instance, if you work in an office, you probably have access to water somewhere in the building; when I was working freelance outside the house, a great water bottle was key to getting through the day, as I didn’t know if I’d be anywhere near an available water source. Now, it helps to have a water bottle nearby, so I don’t have to constantly get up to get a drink.
That’s the kind of gift a gig worker can really appreciate.
What If I Don’t Know the Person Well?
Try to do some sleuthing. It can help to ask a friend or family member or fellow co-worker, if you’re keeping the gift thing quiet. If you know what they like, a themed item is totally chill.
One year I got the same t-shirt from two friends… and I still have both shirts!
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Buying Gifts for Freelancers
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Or – more accurately – the small stuff is totally cool. It’s very, very doable to get something for under $25 that’s awesome.
And your freelancer friends will thank you for it.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten as a freelancer?