Sometimes, the holidays are the most fun when you don’t take them too seriously. Sure, everyone will probably love their new smartphones and tablets, but in a few years, no one is going to remember or care that they got an iPhone 5S during the 2013 holiday season. What they will probably remember getting is one of these off-the-wall gifts.
They have everything – that means they have a lot of toys to play with, and that smartphone can’t always be in use. When it’s idle, they can turn their iPhone into a robot pet that cruises around on its own, taking pictures and giving his new human buddy a big smile thanks to facial recognition software on the app.
The Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System packs in special sensors to help keep your food preserved, and it should come especially handy after the holidays are over, and there are lots of left overs laying around. For $299, this device isn’t cheap, but it is the most high tech way to preserve your food, which should save you money in the long run.
They might wonder where all their old T-shirts went. Just keep telling them they’re in the laundry somewhere, until they return in the form of a blanket that will actually be used. Project Repat accepts old T-shirts, and sews them into quilts and blankets. Perfect for T-shirt hoarders!
Shoes are a common gift, yes. Running shoes, not so much – especially ones that nail the combination of lightweight and comfortable as well as the $100 PureFlow 2 trainers. You might get some cocked heads and raise eyebrows after unwrapping, but they’ll change their tune once they actually put them on.
Not content to be a mere umbrella, the GustBuster sets out to be the last word on umbrellas. It succeeds by solving one big problem with cheap umbrellas – wind. You won’t see a GustBuster being hurled into the air by ferocious winds, thanks to wind vents that open up and let air pass through. Also the #1 choice of PGA Tour golfers, for some reason.
Samsung ties your musical world together with a speaker-hub system that can be paired with all of your devices. You can switch between playing music from your smartphone and tablet, and direct that streaming audio to any Samsung M7 speaker in your home on the fly.
The cyclist in your life won’t know they needed a new backpack until they unwrap this cavernous backpack from Chrome. It can hold as much as 40L, and will take a beating. It’s also welded-waterproof – key for protecting whatever is slipped inside the laptop sleeve.
For the stressed-out traveler, get them a TripIt Pro membership. TripIt already does a great job of helping keep travel plans organized – the pro version throws in extras like refund tracking., mobile alerts, automatic search for alternate flights, and memberships to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Regus Gold. You can donate any of your extra frequent flier miles to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, while you’re at it.
It’s the tried-and-true gift of booze with a holiday twist. A sweet dash of cinnamon swirled into this smooth whisky to create something that will take the edge of any holiday stress the lucky recipient might be caught under.
Not every smartphone stand is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The NanoTek Stand is, and will look classy on any desk while holding smartphones up at a comfortable viewing angle, without the need for adhesives.
In the aftermath of Movember, it is virtually guaranteed that there will be at least one, if not many more, men in your life who will desperately need a shave (like Christmas lights after the new year, many will let Movember linger long after the event has passed). Offer a subtle hint with ShaveTech, a light, sleek electric razor that can be charged over a USB connection.
A great digital camera for the kids or anyone who loves things that hail from off the beaten path, the Lit Mini is a tiny digital camera with a 7 MP sensor. It keeps things light and fun, offering a few different effects and filters you can play around with using the LCD screen on the back.
Here’s a gift you can give to yourself during the holiday season. When you’re decking out your tree, make it a feast for the nose as well as the eyes. ScentSicles a long ornaments that give off any number of sweet holiday smells – suddenly, plastic trees aren’t so bad, after all.
Moleskine is doing their part to try to satisfy the world’s seemingly insatiable hunger for things that look like cassette tapes with a new limited edition notebook that eschews the brand’s usual monochrome trappings. A gift the celebrate not just the holidays, but the 50th anniversary of the cassette tape itself.
Instead of giving to charity in someone’s name, you can let them pick their cause of choice with a Razoo eGiving Card. It’s like a gift card, except the recipient chooses which cause they want to give to the most. They come in a range of denominations, from $10 to $500.
A go-to gift if you’re strapped for ideas, the Fandango Gift Card is a true deus ex machina for the holiday season. Brings the joy of Hollywood to some lucky recipient this year, so they can go watch Catching Fire or whatever they want to watch after having already seen Catching Fire 13 times.
Gift cards aren’t so bad of a gift when it comes to things that need to be personalized by the recipient. So it goes with the Zing Revolution Gift Cards, which allow your special someone to order custom skins for any of their devices.
Be lauded for your gift-giving prowess by offering up the Tech-e Pillow, a comfortable pad that can hold up tablets and laptops at multiple angles. Essential for anyone who leans back on the couch and uses their gadgets. So, everyone.
The iPhone case that keeps on giving, the Fashion Frame is a hard case that comes in multiple styles and has room for insert cards on the back.The insert cards, which you can also get from ChromaLuxe, are scratch resistant and can be customized with your own photos.
Our wine choice for the 2013 holiday season, the 2010 Beringer Moscato Red is an affordable and tasty blend of Moscato, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. It will be one of the most appreciated and shortest-lived gifts this year.
One of the many plant trackers sprouting this year, the Parrot Flower Power goes in the ground with plants, notifying gardeners of when they need to water. Detailed plant health data will be pushed to a smartphone app, allowing those with even the blackest of thumbs to grow thriving plants.
A designer tablet sleeve at a reasonable price, this neoprene offering from Vera Bradley fits iPads in particular snugly and securely. It comes in a few different designs, including this floral model that brings visions of spring to the dead of winter.
I’m sure you already have someone in mind who would love an HDTV with Hello Kitty perched right on top of it. Hello Kitty appeal aside, this television isn’t half bad, at 1366 x 768 resolution with LED backlighting. This adorable TV is a Target exclusive.
Another exclusive to Target, this set of two gets the job done for anyone whose hair curler is on the fritz. The ceramic works with even heating to get perfectly curled or straight hair with no worries about static electricity later.
For anyone who has made the switch to Windows 8/8.1, you can bring their Fresh Paint masterpieces to life through CanvasPop. The digital piece will be printed onto canvas and hand-stretched over a frame for a gallery-worthy piece ready to grace some lucky wall.
A scanner that puts convenience first, the Doxie Flip is a mobile scanner about the size of a book page. Great for anyone who has stacks of Moleskine notebooks at home, or anyone who gets digital scrapbooking inspiration just about everywhere they go.
Karma bills itself as a social 4G mobile hotspot. Sharing with Karma pays – if you let other people connect to your wireless signal, you earn free data from Karma that never expires. Otherwise, it’s a pay-as-you-go data service. A 4G mobile hotspot would be useful for anyone, anyway – might as well spread around some good karma while you’re at it.
A tiny USB 3.0 flash drive, the Supra 3.0 USB Drive makes the most of its tiny body, glowing with LED lights encased in resin. It’s as small as a standard wireless peripheral dongle while packing in 16 GB of storage.
The Shutterball makes it a snap to turn the camera on yourself. It’s a tiny, portable shutter release for Android and iOS devices. Just fire up the partner app, prop up that smartphone, and fire away. You definitely know if this belongs in someone in your family’s stocking this year.
One of the most affordable tablets out there at $130, the M7 from Monster isn’t too light on the good stuff, with a 7’’ 720p IPS display and a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. A crowd-pleaser for the crow not overly concerned about the cutting edge.
M-GO is the rental alternative to Netflix and Hulu – no subscriptions costs, just a pure pay-as-you-go model. You can get someone started on paying as they go with an M-GO Gift Card. You can buy specific movies or television shows, or give a general gift card good for anything in M-GO’s library. You can find the cards at Kroger, Ralphs, and Vons stores.
This isn’t just an iPhone case, but it’s a case that will help you more easily take selfies. Pick it up for $29.95.