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20 gifts for under $20

Although good intentions abound this time of the year, money is often scarce. Everyone wants to get the gift that is remembered -- without breaking the budget. And it's nice to avoid the overcrowded malls and support local businesses or charities while we shop. So, here are some great gift ideas, all for under $20, which hopefully will help make this holiday season a bit easier on both you and your bank account.

FOR MOMS, AUNTS, GRANDMOTHERS, SISTERS ETC.:

* Zebra Striped Bulletin Board: Unique and fun plush satin message board framed in a bold zebra-striped pattern. $20 at Thin Ice (719 Elmwood Ave.).
Crabtree & Evelyn Gardener's Hand Therapy: Great for anyone whose hands take a beating, especially in the dry winter air: lotion ($7) or scrub bar ($10). Diggin' It (801 Elmwood).
* Moonflower or Basil Garden: For gardeners who miss their plants in the winter, these pots come with all the necessities: seeds, soil, a beautiful pot and planting directions. $13.95 at Diggin' It (801 Elmwood).
* Assorted Earrings, Bracelets, and Rings: A wide selection of distinctive jewelry and accessories can be found at Clutch (814 Elmwood). Most earrings and bracelets are only $10.
* Other unique earrings and necklaces are featured at Sweet & Dirty (585 Potomac Ave.), ranging from $8 to $18, along with nostalgic treats, like candy cigarettes.
* Fragrant Reed Diffuser: Ideal for dorm rooms where scented candles are prohibited, this gift comes in three varieties: lavender, green tea and jasmine. $10 at Everything Elmwood (740 Elmwood and 4446 Main St., Amherst).
* Fun Stationery: Made by Chronicle Books, the sets include beautiful envelopes, paper and stickers to write distinctive letters and thank-you notes with themes from Native Flowers to Bad Girls. $8.95 at Talking Leaves (951 Elmwood and 3158 Main St.).
* Bath Essentials: With 15 different scents in products from bubble bath to body butter to bath fizzies in their own line of body products, Cosefini (1004 Elmwood and 660 Main St., East Aurora) offers a wide range of exquisite gifts. Products range from $7.50 to $19.50.

FOR DADS, UNCLES, GRANDFATHERS, BROTHERS ETC.:
* The Art of Spice rubs: This set of four gourmet rubs for beef, seafood, chicken and pork, will give the grill master the perfect incentive to cook you something delicious. $19.50 at Delish (802 Elmwood).
* Spot Coffee: Good for dads who love to wake up early to a great cup of coffee or relatives who have moved away and miss this Buffalo favorite, a pound of whole beans goes for $9.99 at Spot (765 Elmwood or 227 Delaware Ave.).
* The Man Products: This line of men's bath products, designed here in Buffalo, includes everything from shampoo to shaving cream to body scrub. With 12 different products in all, you're sure to find something to surprise and please him. $12 for any product at Cosefini (1004 Elmwood and 660 Main St., East Aurora).
* Posters: Featuring musicians from Johnny Cash to Jimi Hendrix and movies from "The Boondock Saints" to "The DaVinci Code," these posters are awesome to decorate the dorm room, bedroom, or living room of any faithful fan. $6.99 at New World Record (765 Elmwood).
* Fuzzy Dice: These rear-view mirror ornaments are a must for anyone with a new car or a new driver's license. $3.99 at New World (765 Elmwood).

FOR CHILDREN:
* Interactive Art Books: Titles ranging from "Brush Mona Lisa's Hair" to "Feed Matisse's Fish" feature famous art works and "touchable" features like real hair on Mona Lisa and soft feathers on the wings of angels. $9.95 at * Everything Elmwood (740 Elmwood and 4446 Main St., Amherst).
* Buffalo T-shirt: Ridiculously cute T-shirts for babies and toddlers feature a buffalo donning a winter hat and scarf, with the caption "Wintertime fun in Buffalo, New York."
Just the thing for relatives out of town or visiting for the holidays. $12 at Pavlov's Togs (734 Elmwood).

FOR ANYONE:
* Chocolate: What better way to share a piece of Buffalo with out-of-town relatives than through their sweet tooth? A pound of sponge candy at Watson's Chocolates (738 Elmwood; 4770 Transit Road, Depew; 3227 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park) sells for $15.95, though it can also be purchased by the piece. A set of 9-ounce chocolate pizza and wings goes for $9.99, and an 8-ounce box of assorted sugar-free chocolates for diabetic or weight-conscious people is a reasonable $9.50 at Fowler's (754 Elmwood; 671 Main St., East Aurora; 2468 Niagara Falls Blvd.; 314 Lake St., Hamburg).
* Comic Blocks: Perfect for those in your life who are new to the office and probably bored to tears in their cubicles. The set includes five blocks, one for each day of the week, which have a small comic on each side mocking common office mishaps. $12.50 at Spoiled Rotten (831 Elmwood).
* Dodge 'Em: Also for the office, this desktop dodgeball set includes a set of eight rubber replicas of familiar playground characters, from the bully to the tattletale. You try to knock down as many of them as possible in three throws of the miniature ball. $16.50 at Spoiled Rotten (831 Elmwood).
* Day Planner: To keep your loved ones organized in the new year, this 2007 day planner has a stunning embroidered fabric cover. $12.95 at Talking Leaves (951 Elmwood, and 3158 Main St.).
* Caramel Popcorn and Peppermint Bark: Sold by the Paint Box Project to benefit Roswell Park, these delicious snacks provide a great way to double your giving. Featuring original art by children who are cancer patients or survivors. $12 at the Roswell Park Gift Shop or online at www.paintboxproject.com.
* Calendar: By the Food Bank of Western New York, these calendars highlight popular Buffalo attractions with the Food Bank turkey in the photograph. Another way to help those less fortunate this holiday season, calendars are $10 plus $2 for shipping at www.foodbankwny.org.

Margaret Zupa is a senior at Nardin.

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