Charles and Ray Eames top
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Holiday gift ideas $5 and under

Charles and Ray Eames top
This wooden top bears a design from Southern California designers Charles and Ray Eames’ 1961 exhibit, “Mathematica: A World of Numbers ... & Beyond,” on display at the New York Hall of Sciences in Queens. The top is made from solid walnut and measures 1.5 inches.

Price: $3.50

Where to find: LACMA Museum Store, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,

--JL (Courtesy of LACMA Museum Store)
Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit
If you missed the flyover or parade through Los Angeles, see the shuttle at the California Science Shuttle. The exhibit, which opened Oct. 30, is accompanied by a companion show, “Endeavour: The California Story,” which includes displays and artifacts.

Price: $2 service charge per ticket; admission to the California Science Center is free

Where to find: California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles; reserve tickets online at

--JL  (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)
Beanie Baby
These inexpensive stuffed animals were wildly popular in the ‘90s, causing buyers to line up outside of toy stores as they awaited shipments. Interest eventually declined, and the company announced it would stop producing them in 1999. That “shut down” lasted a few months; the company resumed production in early 2000. Little kids (among others) still love them.

Price: About $4.99 each

Where to find:

--JL  (Michael S. Green / Associated Press)
Duncan yo-yo
Yo-yos have been around for centuries, and Duncan Toys Company has been making them for more than 80 years. How can you go wrong?

Price: $3.49 to $4.99 for Classic series yo-yos

Where to find:

--JL  (Jason La / Los Angeles Times)">Spotify Unlimited
Listen to Spotify, a music streaming service, without ads or time limits. Its catalog includes millions of songs.

Price: $4.99 per month

--JL  (
Artistic notepad
These small notepads, measuring 3 by 4 inches, are decorated with works and scenes from the Getty Museum.

Price: $5

Where to find: Getty Center Store, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles,

--JL  (Courtesy of Getty Center Store)
Emergency clown nose
This foam clown nose was created by professional clowns, so no need to worry about your loved ones making a fool of themselves when they put it on. (Seriously, it was designed by professionals!) One size fits all.

Price: $5

Where to find: UncommonGoods,

--JL (Jason La / Los Angeles Times)
Straw broom
They’re colorful, cheap, extremely practical, and widely available in Chinatown shops and some Asian supermarkets.

Price: About $2, depending on location

Where to find: Los Angeles Chinatown; for location of home stores:

--JL  (Jason La / Los Angeles Times)
“Cleopatra: The Exhibition”
This exhibition, which ends Dec. 31, contains the largest collection of Cleopatra-period artifacts from Egypt ever assembled in the U.S.

Price: $2 service charge per ticket; admission to the California Science Center is free

Where to find: California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles; reserve tickets online at

--JL (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
TAP Card
It’s time to give your family and friends the gift of public transportation. The Expo Line connecting downtown Los Angeles to Culver City debuted this year, and more extensions are scheduled for the next few years.

Price: $1 for the card and $1.50 for each ride

Where to find: Purchase at any Metro station,

--JL (Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times)
Green Vets LA cloth shopping bag
Several Southland cities including Santa Monica, Pasadena and West Hollywood have already adopted bans on single-use plastic bags at checkout lines, and Los Angeles’ ban will be phased in next year. Stock up on reusable grocery bags. The charity Green Vets LA offers bags made by veterans from scrap material.

Price: $5 ($15 for a 3-pack)

Where to find: Green Vets LA;

--JL  (Courtesy of Green Vets LA)
Soft drinks from Galco’s
This Highland Park grocery store sells more than 500 varieties of soft drinks, so picking a few for even your most particular friends shouldn’t be hard.

Price: About $2 each

Where to find: Galco’s Old World Grocery, 5702 York Blvd., Los Angeles,

--JL (Ken Hively)
Holiday hand sanitizers
‘Tis the season for spreading holiday cheer -- and cold germs, so stuff those stockings with a few of these cheery disinfectants.

Price: $1.50

Where to find: Bath & Body Works,

--JL (Courtesy of Bath & Body Works)">Magazine subscription
This gift has nostalgic appeal and is surprisingly inexpensive. Options include InStyle, Travel + Leisure and Cosmopolitan.

Price: $5

Where to find: Amazon,

--JL  (
The Republic of Tea traveler’s tins
These quaint and reusable tins come with six tea bags. Flavors include acai green tea, Earl Greyer, blackberry sage and mango Ceylon black tea.

Price: Most $3.99 to $5

Where to find:; traveler’s tins only available for some tea varieties

--JL  (Courtesy of The Republic of Tea)
Prison Pens
These flexible rubber pens, used in actual prisons, are stab proof. You can use them to write letters, but you can’t use them as a weapon. And who doesn’t appreciate that during the holidays?

Price: $2.99 for a pack of 5

Where to find: ThinkGeek,

--JL  (Courtesy of ThinkGeek)">Personalized car cling
They look cute on minivans, so why not your car? They’re each sold separately, so you can buy one or two for now and add more as needed.

Price: $4.95 each

Where to find:

--JL  (
99 Cents Only tie
The 99 Cents Only Store in Garden Grove carries a surprisingly wide variety of ties, including traditional, skinny, whimsical and serious. The merchandise changes, so call to make sure they have ties in stock.

Price: $.99

Where to find: 99 Cents Only Store, 9920 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove

--JL (Kathy Pyon / Los Angeles Times)
College football fan pins
Show support for your favorite team with a “UCLA #1 Fan” pin or a USC Trojan lapel pin.

Price: $4.95

Where to find:  (
Elf 48 piece eye shadow box
A palette of eye colors comes in a sleek black case.

Price: $5

Where to find: Target  (Target)
Doggy travel cups
These reusable cups are eco-friendly and come with a photograph of your favorite pup.

Price: $4.99

Where to find:  (
Bamboo back scratcher
Bamboo back scratcher

These back scratchers measure 16.5 inches and are made from real bamboo.

Price: $1

Where to find: Pier 1 Imports,,default,pd.html

--JL (Pier 1 Imports)