The holiday season always presents a great deal of challenge for me as I struggle to figure out what I’m going to offer to my loved ones. My daughter is two now and it’s already difficult to shop for her. You’d think that a doll would do it, but if her birthday is any indication, it appears she’d be as happy with an empty box and anything that can make loud noises.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably need a little inspiration for your holiday shopping.
Like every year, I join other iDB editors to share a list of gifts that I believe would make anyone who receive them as happy as I would be. The list is of course biased towards tech items, but I did make an effort to include stuff for the people in your life who might not have an inner geek.
I’m not going to lie, I was going to put the iPad mini with Retina display as my top recommendation, but seeing how Cody and Oliver already did, I had to come up with plan B. It actually didn’t take me long to. The iPhone 5c is the iPhone I would have if I could somehow magically slap the 5s hardware on it. To me, the quality build is far greater than that of the iPhone 5s. It feels good and solid in your hand, while still weighting barely more than the 5s. This is the perfect gift for people who want a great device without caring much for the latest tech available. iPhone 5c starts at $99 with a two year contract, or $549 contract-free.
Olloclip lenses for iPhone
If one of your friends or loved ones has showed interest in iPhone photography, then an Olloclip lens should make an impression. Olloclip lenses come in different flavors, but the best selling one is probably their new 4-in-1 lens. They’ve also recently released a macro 3-in-1 lens and a special original edition to match the iPhone 5c. Olloclip lenses aren’t cheap but that’s the price to pay for quality products. They start at $70.
Oakley Shaun White signature series Halbrook sunglasses
Gold is the new black! These sleek sunglasses actually mix gold and black (or brown, depending on the model). I bought these sunglasses for myself this summer after seeing my cousin wearing a knockoff version. They’re not cheap, but they’re pretty good quality and I believe they look really nice. The one problem I have with them is that scratches on the glass show very easily. Thankfully they come with a nice pouch to bring some protection. This model retails for $150 but you can find a slightly different version cheaper on Amazon.
Onitsuka Tiger by Asics Ultimate 81
If you’re going to wear those styling Halbrook sunglasses, you might as well have the shoes that match. I am a big lover of the Onitsuka line by Asics. I’ll be the first to admit they’re not extremely comfortable, but they look so good that I suck it up. I own several pairs of Asics and this model is actually pretty comfortable compared to other models I have been wearing. You can’t wear that style every day, but I’m sure it will get people’s attention when sporting them on Christmas day. These usually sell for $70 but they are currently on sale for $56 on Zappos.
Quad Lock bike mount for iPhone
If you have a cyclist in your entourage, this should make for a good gift. This kit for iPhone comes with a mount that attaches to a bike’s handle bar and a case that snaps onto the mount for an incredibly secure fit. What I like the most about this kit is that the case is easy to put on and take off of the iPhone. For someone like me who doesn’t like cases, this is a great solution. But maybe even better, once fitted in the case, you can quickly attach your device to the mount. You can also remove it just as quickly by a press-and-twist motion. The full kit comes with a weather resistant cover to protect your iPhone screen as well if needed. You can get the complete Quad Lock kit from Amazon for $55.
Brought to you by the people who made the Nest learning thermostat, Nest Protect is an intelligent smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Instead of making sounds with obscure meanings, Nest Protect actually talks to you and tells you what’s going on and where. For example, if I am upstairs and it detects smoke downstairs, a voice will let me know on all units inside the house that it has detected smoke in the kitchen. If the alarm starts ringing due to an increased level of danger, I can just wave my hand in front of it, instead of climbing on a chair to push the reset button. On top of that, the Nest Protect looks really sleek. As a matter of fact, it has already been a conversation piece at a recent dinner at my house. Nest Protect is $130.
HiRise for iPhone and iPad mini
I’ve tried my fair share of iPhone stands in the past but I have yet to find one that matches the TwelveSouth HiRise quality and functionality. The HiRise is a stand/charging station originally designed for iPhone and iPad mini, but I found that it works equally well with iPad Air without adjusting anything. The HiRise is one of the very few things you’ll find on my desk, and this is where my iPhone usually sits while I’m working. HiRise for iPhone is available from Amazon for $35.
KaysCase KidBox Cover Case for iPad
I hate cases, but I hate having my iPads scratched or broken even more. Make this a gift for your kid, or consider it a gift to yourself, it works either way. I’ve been using this iPad case for over a year and it has probably saved my iPad 2 (now my two year old daughter’s) dozens of times. Made of safe, non-toxic EVA foam, this lightweight case is perfect for kids. It gives them more to grip, and of course, it protects your iPad from accidental drops. The handle can be moved to turn the case into a stand, making it easier for kids to watch a movie for example. This case is available for all iPad models. They start at $20.
An inexpensive gift that will likely please any smartphone owner is a nice vinyl skin from iCarbons. Made of top quality 3M adhesive vinyls, these skins are perfect not only to give your device some flair, but also to protect if from scratches. Of course, iCarbons isn’t the only company selling vinyl skins, but it’s one of the friendliest ones I’ve had the pleasure to deal with, so recommending them is a no brainer to me. Skins start at $10 and are available for most tech devices you can think of.
Another inexpensive pick on my list is the gift of apps. Prices for apps start at $0.99 (of course there are free ones but you can’t gift these), and in most cases, you can get some really good ones for $4 to $5. Lory actually wrote a quick guide on how to gift applications. Check it out if you’re not sure how to go about it. Additionally, if you can’t find some good apps to gift, make sure to have a peek at our selection of best iPhone apps. There will definitely be something there for everybody’s taste. You don’t have to gift apps. Apple also allows you to gift music, movies, and books.
The problem I have with gift cards is that they put a price tag on your gift, taking a bit of that holiday magic away, but they are otherwise a great gift for just about anybody. Of course, you could get an Apple gift card or an iTunes gift card, but you could just as easily get a Target, Home Despot, or one from virtually any store. I particularly like being surprised with a Starbucks gift card, in case you’re wondering what to get me this year. Gift cards start at $5 from pretty much any major store in the US.
What do you think of my selection of items? If you were to pick anything from this list to gift to someone, what would that be and why?