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43 cool and unique gifts that are so much better than a gift card

From wearable weights to a doggie DNA test, these unique presents will be a hit.

Yes, you could gift your friends and family another Amazon or Starbucks gift card to celebrate a special occasion. But why not get a little more creative (and maybe put in a little bit more effort) and gift them something trendy and unique that they’ll love? See below for 36 cool gift ideas, no stress necessary.

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Bestselling gift ideas | Under $50 | Under $100 | Under $150 | Worth the splurge

Bestselling cool and unique gift ideas

Our Place Always Pan 2.0

I don’t think I’ve seen a cooler pan out there. This do-it-all piece can replace 10, yes 10, traditional pieces of cookware in just one handy pan. Whether you need to fry, steam, sauté, sear, boil or strain, this pan comes in 10 different colors and includes the pan, lid, stainless steel steamer basket and wooden spatula.

100 Movies Scratch Off Poster

The token film buff in your friend circle will get a kick out of this scratchable wall art, featuring 100 of cinema's most iconic works.

Light Up Electronic Word Clock

At first glance, this clock looks like a meaningless jumble of letters — until it lights up. With such a unique digital display, telling time has never looked more sophisticated.

John Derian Sticker Book

Former commerce writer Hannah Baker loves this sticker book, which has over 700 stickers from decoupage master John Derian. "This is the gift that keeps on giving. The larger stickers are frame-worthy, and the smaller ones are fun to add to a blank notecard for snail mail."

The USB Lighter Company Electric Lighter - The Motli Light

Perfect for lighting candles, this USB lighter is — you guessed it — rechargeable and also has an LED light so it can be used as a mini flashlight. The longer shape makes it great for lighting hard-to-reach wicks, and the pretty design (we love the terrazzo print of this one!) means it'll look great left out on your coffee table. Bonus: this rechargeable lighter was one of Oprah's favorite things!

Cold Beer Coats

I’m sorry, but have you seen anything cuter in your life? Dress up your beer with these cold beer coats, which come in two color combos.

Terrarium Candle

Not only do they smell incredible, but these candles are basically a centerpiece in and of themselves. They are a soy blend and their fragrances include premium fragrance oil in pine and vanilla (cactus) and jasmine and white tea (poppy).

Bala Bangles Wearable Weights

Arguably the trendiest wellness brand on the market, Bala Bangles not only help you maximize your workout to the fullest, but they just look really cool (kinda like jewelry) on your arms and ankles, too.

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit

For the friend who loves to add heaps of hot sauce on almost everything, this fun Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit is a dream come true for their taste buds. The kit includes various ground and whole spices, distilled white vinegar, six glass bottles with lids and much more to create the perfect hot sauce for any and every dish.

Cool and unique gifts under $50

Crockpot™ 20-oz. Lunch Crock Food Warmer

Gift someone the means of never having a sad work lunch ever again. This portable food warmer allows you to take your favorite hot meals on the go and not have to transfer it all to a microwaveable dish to warm up and eat.

Hydrascape Infinity Stickers

SEO editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger thinks these unique stickers will make for a great gift for those seemingly attached to their water bottles. "These long stickers wrap around and around your water bottle or thermos to create a mountain, arches, or canyon scene, depending on the national park you choose!"

Youthforia BYO Blush

If you watch Shark Tank as much as senior SEO editor Jess Bender, you might have seen this makeup item grace your screen — or even gifted it to a friend or two already! Bender got her hands on one and instantly fell in love. "I've fallen victim to too-dark blushes that make me look perpetually sun-burnt, so it's nice to apply this to my cheeks and have a more natural-looking flush in seconds," she says.

Sushi Sidewalk Chalk by Twee

Is it sushi? Is it chalk? It's both! This fun gift works for crafty grownups and kids alike — just don't try dipping it in soy sauce.

Stuffed Bun Maker

This nifty bun maker is the perfect gift for the home cook in your life who's always on the hunt for new kitchen gadgets. Bonus: you're bound to benefit from this gift when they whip up a batch of buns!

Candylab Big Sur Truck

All of Odin Parker's toys make great gifts for the parent with high aesthetic standards, but we especially love their line of vintage wooden cars!

FLOWER by Drew Blue Light Computer Glasses

They’re super trendy, block blue light and were created by the one and only Drew Barrymore — is there anything more you could want in a pair of glasses?

Welly Expanded Adventure First-Aid Kit

For the friend or family member who loves to explore the great outdoors, this first-aid kit from Welly is a super fun addition to any traveler’s backpack. This kit includes flex fabric bandages, waterproof bandages, a roll of tape, triple antibiotic packets and more.

"Eat Clean, Play Dirty," by Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle

Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle, founders of the popular meal delivery service Sakara, share delicious and nourishing recipes in this cookbook. While their meal kit also makes a great gifting option, this book is an affordable pick for your wellness-obsessed friend or boss who is always in the kitchen.

Black History Tote Bag

Looking to support a Black-owned business? This vibrant tote bag from Houston-based designer Trini Gee is adorned with vintage buttons from the civil rights movement during the '60s.

WTHN Acupressure Ear Seed Kit

A longtime form of traditional Chinese medicine, these ear seeds are made from 24K gold and Swarovski crystal — basically bling for your ears, but with an added health benefit. Ear seeds are said to help with a number of different ailments including insomnia, stress and anxiety and chronic pain.

Magnolia Bakery Classic Banana Pudding Party Bowl

Magnolia Bakery is a New York staple dessert, but you can actually get their famous banana pudding delivered nationwide. The Shop TODAY team is a fan of the dessert, and social media editor Kara Quill thinks the unique dish could make a fun gift.

"It has a good banana flavor, without being too in your face about it," Quill comments. "There's a creamy texture, but it's not too heavy — I like that in my desserts."

Birthdate Co. Birthdate Candle

The Shop TODAY team also has their eyes on these unique candles that are specially made for each day of the year. Commerce partnerships coordinator Victoria Herlocker is actually planning to grab a few to give as gifts.

"I think getting anything personalized is so special, which is why I want to give all my astrology-loving friends their own birthdate candle," Herlocker says. "I'm also so curious about what my own candle says, I might need to get one for myself, too."

Cool and unique gifts under $100

Snif Crumb Couture

It's no surprise that Bender — one of Shop TODAY's resident foodies — has a go-to dessert-themed scent. "I'm not a huge perfume lover, but there's something so inviting about this fragrance," she says. Off the bat, If you need confirmation of how 'crumb-y' the aroma is, I wore this over the weekend and my mom said I smelled like a buttery bakery within 30 seconds of seeing me."

50 States Bucket List Water Bottle

If you have a friend with an ambitious goal of visiting all 50 states, this sticker gift might give them the boost of encouragement they need to keep going! Custom Classic Matchbox

"I'm obsessed," says assistant partnerships editor Lauren Witonsky about these custom matchboxes. She's been seeing the trendy matches everywhere on social media and loves how you can personalize your box with text or even a photo.

West & Willow Custom One Pet Portrait

Any pet lover is sure to appreciate this thoughtful and artsy gift. They can hang their best furry friend right on their wall forever!

Susan Alexandra Fruit Earrings

SEO commerce writer Jannely Espinal isn't the only member of the Shop TODAY team who's a fan of these giftable, joyful earrings.

"The first time I saw production associate Audrey Ekman wearing these cherry earrings, I knew I needed to buy them," Espinal says. "It's the right amount of flair and fun without weighing your earlobe down. Even if you're wearing black, these will pop thanks to the sparkling beads. This is an excellent gift for someone who wants to zhuzh up their attire and add a hint of elegance to their look."

Jonathan Adler Le Wink Salt and Pepper Set

Add some high-end design to their kitchen with this gold-accented salt and pepper shaker set from Jonathan Adler.

Infinite Objects Video Print

Stagnant photos are so last year. This one-of-a-kind frame plays a video of your choosing on a constant loop, giving you a new way to look back on your favorite memories. There are no complicated buttons or upgrades that often come with tech, just the special moment playing over and over.

Scavenger Hunt Box

The Shop TODAY team is constantly on the lookout for unique gifts, and former associate editor Fran Sales found this DIY scavenger hunt kit she's interested in testing out this season.

"My boyfriend and I are always looking for new and fun ways to connect with each other, one of them being two-player games and puzzles," Sales explains. "So I love that this scavenger kit has everything I need to customize a game that's both fun and highlights what makes our relationship unique. I always go for inside-joke gifts or fun but useful gifts for him, and I think this one checks off several boxes."

Personalized Four-Across Game

Put your own spin on Connect Four with this handcrafted version. It can be personalized to carve out your name, anniversary or any other meaningful sentiment.

Clearly Filtered Water Filter

For the clean water connoisseur on your life, level up their Brita filter with this fancy water filter pitcher from Clearly Filtered. According to the brand, it's been tested to remove over 230 contaminants commonly found in drinking water and makes your water taste delicious and pure, too.

Cool and unique gifts under $150

Deep Sea Sand Art

If they're desiring a little bit of calmness in their lives, Klaus Bosch's sand sculpture should do the trick.

Astrid and Miyu Olivine Charm Necklace

This necklace with semi-precious stones is the perfect gift for the accessory-obsessed person in your life. It's great for layering or for wearing to gussy up a casual outfit.

The Sill Plant Bestsellers Duo

This low-maintenance houseplant duo is great for anyone who wants to become a plant parent without putting in too much work.

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser

This super sleek Vitruvi Stone Diffuser not only works wonderfully to fill your room with delicious smells of any essential oil of your choosing, but it also just looks incredibly cool and chic on your nightstand, office desk or anywhere else you want to add a bit of modern flair to your space.

Cool and unique gifts worth the splurge

Beautifect Box

If you're not sure what to gift the make-up guru in your life, why not splurge on the beauty box that claims to bring in "a new era in the way we do our makeup every day." This portable box offers five lighting adjustments, a distortion-free mirror and a cordless design, allowing you to touchup anywhere you go.

Dyson Limited Edition Holiday Colorway Airwrap

Dyson's extremely popular Airwrap device is about to get even more popular. The brand just dropped a new bright blue colorway ahead of the holidays (but it's limited edition and won't be around for long!).

Tinggly Superwoman Experience Box

For that person on your list who loves to travel and try new things, this experience box makes a great gift. According to the brand, the receiver can choose from over 900 experiences in nearly 400 locations, from a zipline tour in Colorado Springs to attending Moulin Rouge in Paris, to find their next great adventure.

Embark Dog DNA Test

Ever wondered what your adopted dog’s breed actually is? This fun doggie DNA test from Embark screens for over 350 dog breeds, types and varieties, and also tests for 190+ genetic diseases, too.

Misette Floral Plates

These cutie plates will delight that pal who always sets the most beautiful tables.

"I need this set of plates in my life," said Baker. "The floral motif speaks to my '70s-print-obsessed soul. In fact, I want everything from Misette, but especially the Floral Collection. Swoon!"

Big Blanket Co. Original Stretch Blanket

Who doesn't want a ginormous, 10-foot-by-10-foot blanket? Senior SEO editor Jess Bender can vouch for it.

"The Big Blanket on my couch is one of the most-used things in my apartment," Bender admits. "I pretty much fall asleep under it every night."

Theragun Prime

For the athlete in your life, the Theragun Prime is the perfect post-workout treatment to relieve sore muscles and recover more quickly. This kit comes with multiple attachments and the Theragun has a 120-minute battery life.