The holidays are coming (cue the Mariah Carey) and they’re looking a little different this year. Gone is the risk of getting trampled at an in-person Black Friday frenzy, but also gone is the chance to gather around with lots of extended family and friends and enjoy time together.
That’s why we’re leaning towards gifting electronics this holiday season—they’re easy to find, simple to ship, one-size-fits-all, and useful. So long as we’re stuck socially distancing, we’re fans of making that time as comfortable, connected, and celebratory as possible.
This guide is broken up into sections by price. We thought about doing it by personality or interests—gamers, chefs, creative types—but then we realized that since we’re all spending all our time at home anyways, the most important criteria is that the gifts be useful, fun, and within budget. Six-plus months of social distancing have turned me into a gamer, a chef, and a creative, after all.
Onto those budgets:
1. Best gifts under $25
2. Best gifts under $50
3. Best gifts under $150
4. Best gifts worth the splurge
Best gifts under $25
Selfie clip and light, $25, Uncommon Goods. Whether you’re on the family video hang or a work Zoom call, this LED light clamps onto a table’s edge and provides impeccable lighting (with three brightness settings) to help you look your best. It has a universal holder so you can go hands-free with your phone, too.
Anker PowerCore battery pack, $20, Anker. For keeping phones, tablets, and wireless headphones charged without ever having to get up from the couch, this tiny pack (it’s only slightly bigger than a credit card!) is all you need.
Goal Zero Crush Light Lantern, $20, REI. For the eco-friendly outdoors-lover in your life—or the parent who wants to send the kids outside for a night of backyard adventures—this collapsible, solar-powered lantern weighs less than 4 ounces and will keep any campsite well-lit through the night.
Best gifts under $50
Blue Snowball iCE USB microphone, $50, Blue Mic. For the budding podcaster or the uncle who learned guitar in quarantine and is ready to record, this mic is a gift worth giving. Just prepare to be bombarded by .mp3s well into the new year.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k, $30, Amazon. This Alexa-friendly streaming option comes with voice control and a simple interface—and the light version can be found for as low as $18.
JBLGo 2 waterproof speaker, $30, JBL. For the person who can’t take a shower without curating a get-clean playlist, the perfect gift: the gift of waterproof sound. Or, you know, for park hangs and kitchen dance parties and any other situation that would be improved by music.
Best gifts under $150
Ring video doorbell, $140, Ring. Why get up to see who’s at the door when a video doorbell could do it for you? With wifi connectability, 1080p HD video, and Alexa integration, home has never been smarter.
Moleskine smart pen and notebook, $130, Moleskine. Retro but high-tech, this Bluetooth-enabled pen-and-paper combo lets you harness your genius (or, y’know, just take notes at work meetings) the old-fashioned way while simultaneously uploading your work so you can access all your thoughts from any device. We love it.
InstantPot Duo Nova, $100, Sur la Table. For the chef or the person who’s just sick doing dishes after making all their own meals at home, this 7-in-1 cooker makes stews, soups, rice, and even French fries quicker, easier, and with less cleanup than traditional methods. (You can put the whole pot in the dishwasher when you’re done!)
Wireless charging station + UV sanitizer, $100, Sharper Image. If the pandemic hasn’t turned you into a clean freak, nothing might. But for any friends and family who are extra-worried about germs, give them peace of mind and a cool wireless charger with this stylish little bucket.
Gifts worth the splurge
Hydrow Rower, $2,245, Hydrow. Gyms may end up being a thing of the past, but Hydrow lets you harness that experience at home, with live workouts and a sleek design that won’t look out of place tucked into the corner of a home office.
Epson Mini EF11 laser projector, $800, Epson. Bring the movie experience home with this all-in-one projector. With an HDMI port where you can automatically connect a streaming device—Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.—and built-in speakers, you can get up and running in about 5 seconds flat. Pass the popcorn?
Vitamix Ascent blender, $500, Vitamix. The latest model from the blending pros includes self-detect technology that senses what container you’re using and adjusts blend settings automatically, touchscreen controls, and all you need to make the soups, sauces, and even nut milks of your dreams.
KitchenAid tilt-head stand mixer, $380, KitchenAid. The Artisan 5-quart line brags that it can handle 9 dozen cookies in a single batch. If there was ever a time to mass-produce baked goods, it’s in the first quarter of 2021, is it not? (If that’s not your style, it can also mash 7 pounds of potatoes at once. We love to see it.)
BALMUDA toaster, $329, BALMUDA. For the person who thought they had every kitchen gadget but has never tried the superior taste of steam-cooked toast (or pizza, or sandwiches, or pastries).
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4 wireless headphones, $300, Bang & Olufsen. Airpods and the like are great, but sometimes you get sick of sticking things into your ears and want something to put around them instead. Plush and comfortable with seriously long battery life, these are the best wireless full-size headphones out there
May your 2020 holiday season be full of perfectly-picked consumer electronics
No matter what you’re shopping for, you—and your gift recipients—will rest easier and enjoy new gadgets more if they’re protected from any mishaps or accidents. If you’re a retailer, consider offering product protection to give your customer peace of mind this holiday season. Questions on how it works? Reach out to our team here.