Clever Christmas Gifts for the Home to Fit Any Budget

From gutter rakes to a helping hand, our 2011 Christmas gift guide is a potpourri of clever ideas for your home that will fit any budget.

When we think of the holidays, we think of home — our own home, maybe our mom’s, or even a best friend’s. Why not give a gift that will make that home better, warmer, more practical, and more fun?

Here’s a guide to Christmas gifts for every budget, from under $50 to stocking stuffers that dreams are made of.

Gifts Under $50

Gutter rake: This plastic gunk grabber attaches to any broomstick or telescoping handle to extend your wingspan when cleaning rain gutters, an essential home maintenance chore. It reduces trips up and down ladders, a leading cause of DIY injuries. $10.

Concealed shelf: A powder-coated steel shelf that virtually disappears when loaded with books, this clever storage solution makes your library seem to float in the air. $11-$15.

Concealed shelf

Bugzooka: A fun and fabulous bug gun that sucks up insects and other pests so you don’t have to capture or squish them by hand. $29.

Bugzooka


New York Botanical Garden Multi-Tool with Axe: This all-in-one tool helps consolidate your tool stash and will make you the star of your neighborhood tool co-op. It’s an axe, hammer, pair of pliers, wire cutter, chisel, wrench, and more. $48.

 

Concealed shelf

Gifts Under $100

Nature’s Foundry Universal Solar Pump Kit: Juiced by solar cells, this plastic insert turns any deep bowl into an outdoor fountain that attracts birds and calms nerves with a soothing gurgle. $60.

MoMA SunJar: Leave it to New York’s Museum of Modern Art to combine form and function in a mason jar that stores sun to provide outdoor lighting for your yard at night. The solar cells in the SunJar fuel a battery that lights the LED lamp inside. The result is a soft and steady glow. $50.

Sun Jar

Cavalier pot: This clever flower pot fits over a porch or balcony railing without any hardware. The sunlight- and frost-resistant pot is 70% flax, so it’s a green way to grow greens. $95.

Gifts Under $300

SimpleHuman sensor can: This trash can learns your trash-throwing habits, then opens and closes the lid accordingly. $249.

Sensor Can


Mail Vault: The mail that goes in can’t come out until you enter a code, defeating identity thieves who target your mailbox. Mail Vault is constructed from rugged steel to stand up to vandalism and tampering. $299.

Mail Vault

Milan Wall Art Sunjel fireplace: This gel fuel fireplace hangs directly on your wall with no venting or remodeling necessary. It produces a 7-to-10-inch flame and the sound of crackling firewood. $250.

Gel fireplace

Gifts Under $500

Delta faucets with Touch2O technology: Handles are so yesterday: Start your kitchen water running by tapping on any part of this touch-activated faucet. Great for when your hands are dirty or full of dishes. $350.

Touch faucet

Vacuuming robots: Grab a cup of coffee while a vacuuming robot sucks up dust bunnies and crumbs between major cleanings. Major manufacturers include Roomba and Neato. $270.

Roomba

Shigeru Ban modular furniture system: Help your rooms do double duty with this modular furniture system that lets you configure L-shaped units into a chair, stool, or table base. $390.

Modular furniture

Sky’s the Limit Gifts

Closet makeover: Turning a couple of hanging rods into functional and beautiful storage space can cost thousands. A gift certificate to one of the many closet storage companies can take the sting out of transforming your closet from humdrum to fabulous.

Closet makeover

PowerHouse Dynamics eMonitor-12 residential power usage monitor: Monitor your home’s power usage at the circuit level, which will tell you how much energy you’re using — even when appliances are off. The monitor even alerts you via an iPhone app when a light has been left on. $655.

Power monitor

The Hoseless evaporative cooling fan: An 8-gallon reservoir lets this outdoor misting fan cool a 1,000-sq. ft. area for eight hours. It reduces air temperature by as much as 30 degrees, making your patio more livable in the heat of summer.

 

Misting fan

Priceless

A helping hand: Give that special someone on your list a pledge to do a particularly onerous home maintenance chore — cleaning gutters, raking leaves, or shoveling snow. You might also barter your talents and fix a broken closet door in exchange for home-thrown pottery.

Clean gutters