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Holiday Gift Guide: 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

It's a particularly tough time for families across the US right now, so we thought we'd try to find some budget-friendly alternatives for the holiday season.

You can, of course, always make your own Apple-themed presents. Philipp Janssen's daughter helped decorate the corner of a MacBook Pro carton to create the fashionable iPhone 5 dock you see at the top-right of this post. You can read about other kid-friendly crafts in this write-up from a couple of years ago.

Do you know how hard it is to find Apple-relevant gifts for about 10 bucks or less? Here's a hint. You head over to Google and enter "Apple gifts under $10," and Google will helpfully correct that to "Apple gifts under $100". It's not that Google is making any judgments, it's just darn difficult to track down inexpensive gifts.

So frustrating was this, we were getting close to making a list that looked something like the following:

  1. $10 iTunes gift card
  2. $10 iTunes gift card
  3. $10 iTunes gift card
  4. $10 iTunes gift card
  5. ....

Fortunately, a lot of brainstorming, Twitter blegs and hard research helped us track down a variety of gift possibilities. We reserve the right to keep the $10 gift card in our final list, but beyond that thanks go to the whole TUAW staff and everyone who responded on Twitter.

10 Gifts For About 10 Bucks

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

1. iTunes Gift Card - It's never the wrong gift when you allow the recipient to choose exactly the movies, music, apps and books he or she wants with a gift card. The iTunes Gift Card will never go out of style, and exactly on budget, it's the anchor for our list.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

2. Macbook Mirrors - Widely available from numerous vendors on eBay, these little mirrors will set you back anywhere from $2 to $10, often with free shipping. I gave away a bunch of these last year. Steven Sande even "unboxed" his on an episode of TUAW TV Live. They aren't great mirrors, but they are great novelties. Available in both white and "MBA"-silver models. Kelly Guimont says she's ordering one for herself this year.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

3. The JOYSTICK-IT Arcade Stick for iPhone - Starting at $8.99, you can add a real physical joystick to your iPhone for retro arcade fun. We reviewed this last year and found it to be more novelty than must-buy, but it can make a cute budget gift. If you want to splurge, the superior iCade Mobile gaming system is now just $17!

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

4. "PU Leather" case for iPad mini - You can pick up a folding leather case from Deal Extreme for $10.20, with free shipping. We haven't tested this one out but like the built-in folding stand. Deal Extreme offers super-inexpensive items from Hong Kong. I've bought lots from them in the past -- just be aware you're buying low-end goods and adjust your expectations accordingly. A similar case at a similar price, offering a magnetic latch is also available from Monoprice.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

5. Touch Screen Stylus - Oleophobic screen or not, sometimes it's nice to use a stylus with your iPad instead of your greasy sweaty finger. This Monoprice stylus three-pack clocks in at $8. You can find similarly priced offerings from a wide range of dealers.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

6. iPhone Hoodies - Accessorize your iPhone with the latest fashions. The Hoodie Case shown here started at under $10, although your street cred might be enhanced with one of the more authentic versions, which range up to about $20.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

7. iPhone Stand - The well-reviewed Rabbit Mini Portable Stand costs $10 on Amazon. Easy to fold, highly portable, and (most importantly) stable, you can use the unit in both portrait and landscape without blocking the screen.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

8. iPhone 4 Cases - At $7.50, you can let out your inner geek as your iPhone goes where no phone case has gone before -- unless it's Dave Caolo's phone case, in which case, been there, done that. To infinity. And beyond.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

9. Lens set - Change the way your iPhone sees by adding on a wide-angle or fish-eye lens. Perfect for the amateur photographer, you can play with optics for about $9.25. These lenses reportedly work with most iPhone models.

Holiday guide 10 gifts for around 10 bucks

10. Cufflinks - Know someone going to a wedding? Add a little geek chic to their style. Pick up a pair of novelty iPhone-styled cufflinks for about $7 on eBay. There are a lot of vendors, with a variety of color and model choices. It's just the thing for formal occasions.

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