No one’s expecting you to give them a brand-new TV or surround-sound speaker system for the holidays, right? (Or if so, do you have any friend openings?) But even if you’re not the presumed giver of big-ticket items, you can still bestow some great tech gifts upon your friends and family this year.
Tech is such a rewarding category for gifts, even with a budget less than $50. The idea here is that you can give others the kind of fun gadgets and accessories they don’t need, but would really enjoy playing with. These don’t make people feel like you’ve got the wrong idea about who they are (the way a misjudged beauty or
fashion gift might). At the same time, they don’t feel super impersonal like that peach candle. We see absolutely zero fake sing-songy “thank yous” in your future.
Another great reason to give tech this year: the variety — from adorable stocking-stuffer phone accessories for those teenage cousins to a rather useful portable speaker for your partner (because this is the winter you plan to get them to
love your musical tastes). Well, no one said gift-giving had to be completely selfless, did they?
There’s always one more room in a house that doesn’t yet have music access. The bathroom? The backyard? The motel room you two will be sharing at your friend’s wedding? Fix that problem with a sleek portable speaker.
Cambridge Soundworks OontZ Angle 3 Ultra : Portable Bluetooth Speaker, $39.99, available at Amazon
If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t absolutely have to be on the cutting edge of all technology, but might enjoy commanding their own robot anyway, you’re in luck. The older, 2nd generation Echo Dot is available for just $19.99. (The newest version is $10 more).
Amazon Echo Dot – Smart speaker with Alexa – Black, $19.98, available at Amazon
Want your person to spend less time staring at their phone and more time staring into your eyes? Or less time saying, “Have you seen my phone?” Flic is a really attractive little button you can stick somewhere in your home and program to do anything from find your phone to order in Seamless to control the volume of your music.
Flic Flic -The Wireless Smart Button, $34.99, available at Amazon
With everyone taking breaks from social media these days, it’s time to go back to an era when we actually printed our photos and had to view and comment on them in person. This photo printer is surprisingly inexpensive and might even inspire you to take more pictures.
HP HP Envy 5055 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer, $49.99, available at Amazon
It’s not fun to be that person who runs into a room begging someone for phone charger because you’re about to lose your connection to the world. That’s why a person can never have too many power banks. Especially cute ones with animal ears.
ModCloth Feline Prepared Portable Charger, $16, available at ModCloth
Most people already have their favorite go-to headphones, but they deserve to have a playful back-up pair too, don’t they? You can go with a retro pair that look like they went with you mom’s Sony Walkman, or a pair that will double as earmuffs for the winter (
from Flying Tiger). Maybe in this price range they’re not music-studio worthy, but they work! JLab JLab Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones, $19.98, available at Target
Help that friend who is always pulling a tangled mess of headphones out of her purse by gifting her a stylish earbud holder that will encourage her to stay (a little bit more) organized in 2019.
Etsy Cable Organizer, $10, available at Etsy
Is it weird to give someone a light bulb as a present? Maybe. But this smart bulb, which you can control through Alexa or Google Assistant to change the mood and color of a room, is a really awesome party trick.
Lumos eufy Lumos Smart Bulb By Anker, $24.99, available at Amazon
Speaking of parties, here’s another way to make any gathering just a little more memorable: a portable karaoke mic with a built-in Bluetooth speaker. It just requires the user to download any karaoke app onto their phone — and to convince others that the time is right for an impromptu performance of “Love on Top.”
The Grommet Karaoke Mike, $17.95, available at The Grommet
Do you have a parent who still hasn’t made the switch to streaming on their television? Or a friend who just got a not-so-smart TV as a present? Be their hero, but on the cheap, with a handy little Fire Stick.
Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, $24.99, available at Amazon
Then again, you may also have that friend or family member who can’t or won’t get an actual TV but still loves to watch videos on their phone. This retro TV phone magnifier will improve their viewing experience.
Uncommon Goods Smartphone Magnifier, $30, available at Uncommon Goods
When you live with other people, the chances of grabbing the wrong phone out of the charger are high. Solve this problem in the most adorable way possible with these little cable biters, available in an assortment of colorful critters.
Urban Outfitters Cable Bite, $6, available at Urban Outfitters
Using all this tech can have an impact on your health, unfortunately. Show your people you care, or at least want them to get a good night’s sleep, with a pair of stylish blue-light blocking glasses.
Quay Eyeware Women’s Walk On Blue Light Round Glasses, 49.5mm, $50, available at Bloomingdale’s
For the friend who wants to stop using their phone as an alarm clock, this retro-looking alarm clock will ensure they make it to work on time.
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock, $39.95, available at Nordstrom
The perfect gift for that person in your life who’s watched every single episode on Netflix…twice.
Urban Outfitters Friends Logo UO Exclusive iPhone Case, $20, available at Urban Outfitters
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