6 Cool Hi-Tech, Low-Budget Holiday Gifts

holiday gifts

The gift-giving season is upon us and while once upon a time that would mean plying your loved ones with wooly jumpers, winter slippers, monogrammed toweling robes, or, if you’re really idea-challenged, ties, pens, or books. But, thankfully, times have changed! Now, gift-giving is all about trading the coolest gadgets, games, or services. If you’re in despair, as you eye your precarious bank balance, here are some cool gadgets that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Tile Pro – the gadget everyone should have

If you’re old enough to drive or own a mobile, you’ll probably spend more time than you have looked for two things – your keys and your phone. And no blaming your age (“I forget everything these days”), this ailment applies to all of us. So, if you’ve wished a thousand times that you could phone your keys or whistle for your phone, the Tile Pro is designed with you in mind.

The small, square-shaped device attaches to your key ring and uses a mobile app so that you can ping the device, which sets off a loud sound from up to 300 feet away. If you can’t find your phone, just double press the button on the Pro and it will ring — even if it’s on silent! The gadget costs just $35 on Amazon.

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Google Home Hub – smart home gadgets 101

This is the perfect gift for those who are new to the world of smart home gadgets. Google’s Home Hub features a smart speaker with a screen. You can watch YouTube videos (cooking instructions while you try new recipes – and the hub is voice-controlled so especially useful in the kitchen), see the weather, or use it to display your favorite snaps (goodbye framed pictures and photo albums on coffee tables). Available at Google for $149.

Harry Potter Coding Kit – start ‘em programming young!

Kano’s cool Harry Potter Coding Kit is the perfect STEM gift for kids, letting them program and assemble their very own wand whilst embarking upon challenges set in the Potterverse (fandom slang for the fictional universe depicted in the Harry Potter series, in case you were wondering). The ultimate gift for fans of all things Potter. Yours at Amazon for $80.

Fujifilm Instax Mini – time-travel never got better

A lot of things from yesteryear have made a comeback from our favorite 80s songs (just listen to most TikTok/ Musical.ly song bytes) to denim jackets and vinyl records. Now you can add an instant film to that list. The go-to company for the best instant cameras is Fujifilm, especially the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic that takes the popular and easy-to-find Instax film made by Fujifilm (of course). It’s beginner-friendly but does have features for more “pro” instant photographers, like a double exposure mode for some really creative results. Get it on Amazon for $120.

Chromecast Audio – streamlined stereo streaming (huh?)

For just $35 from Google, you can revive your old stereo — the one you love that gave you years of great audio, but is now well, compatible with nothing. All is not lost. The Google Chromecast Audio transfers your stereo into a cool gadget compatible with newfangled streaming tech. You no longer have to plug your phone into the auxiliary port and run up and down every time you want to change songs. Just plug the Chromecast into said stereo aux port, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and in no time you’ll be slinging audio to your beloved speakers using almost any app on your phone.

Monoprice Sous Vide – channeling your inner chi

What gift list would be complete without something to hone those chef skills? No, we’re not suggesting buying mom yet another cookbook (again adding insult to injury), but to join the legions of Sous Vide cooking enthusiasts. Sous Vide cooking involves placing food in a plastic bag, dunking it in water and then heating the water around it. The outcome? Far better meals than traditional cooking can turn out. One of the best models is the Monoprice Sous Vide – an 800W immersion cooker that looks ultra-cool with its digital LED touch screen. Also, super easy to clean and a cool $80 on Amazon.

So, there it is. In an age where you can get more movies than you can watch for just a few dollars a month, a real computer for $25, and a smartphone for just $4, there’s no reason why the gift-giving season should cause sleepless nights or grey hairs!

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