Anker PowerPort III Nano charger
If your friends are traveling this holiday season, a good-quality iPhone charger will be a much appreciated gift. This Anker charger is small enough that you can easily lug it around and is capable of fast charging some of the latest iPhone models – including the iPhone 13 lineup.
8BitDo SN30 Pro
Whether your giftee games primarily on a Nintendo Switch, PC, or smartphone, they’ll need a solid controller. 8BitDo’s SN30 Pro is tough to beat, both in terms of price and functionality. It stacks up to pricier models for less.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1
Not everything has to live on the ‘gram. With Fujifilm’s colorful Square SQ1, you can capture and print square portraits of your cat, friends, or anything your heart desires in a matter of minutes. The one-touch selfie mode and mirror just gives it a 21st-century twist on the classic Polaroid cameras your mom grew up with.
Nintendo Switch OLED
The latest version of the Nintendo Switch is also the greatest. The OLED model brings a larger, brighter screen to Nintendo’s latest handheld, as well as 64GB of built-in storage and a wired LAN port for the dock. Any gamer that has suffered through this past year will likely tell you how owning a Switch helped them retain their sanity, making this handheld an excellent upgrade for current Switch owners and newcomers alike.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
The first entry in novelist Marlon James’ Dark Star trilogy is not always an easy read. Yet, while his vision of a fictionalized Africa can be unsettling and visceral, it’s also utterly beguiling, an imaginative story that owes as much to African mythology and religion as it does the fantasy epics that came before it.
Apple iPad Mini (2021)
The latest iPad Mini is the most powerful and feature-packed version yet. It has an elegant design, a fast processor, and might end up being your loved one’s favorite gadget.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your home office has some greenery to keep the mood up. Snake plants are an excellent choice for budding plant enthusiasts, namely because they’re relatively easy to keep alive if you’re not the green thumb type.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 is the new version for which Surface fans have been waiting a long time. It combines a refreshed design with a fast, 120Hz variable refresh rate screen and a new stylus. It’s the ideal 2-in-1 computer.
Essentially Groundhog Day by way of Quentin Tarantino, Deathloop is the latest hit from Bethesda game studios. It pairs a flashy, ’70s-inspired aesthetic with unique time-loop mechanics that have players learning from their mistakes and trying new paths with each new playthrough.
Price: $23 to $40
Logitech C920S Pro HD
The Logitech C920S Pro HD is a webcam that’s practically become synonymous with the new work-from-home ecosystem. This no-nonsense webcam takes up very little space and simply needs to be plugged into an available USB port to work. Plus, the webcam’s 1080p, 30fps capture speed means it can even give some built-in laptop cameras a run for their money.
Puffin beverage vest
Arguably functional but definitely adorable, the Puffin beverage vest might be the cutest koozie we’ve ever seen. This beverage accessory is available in a variety of colors and styles, including flannels, parkas, and life vests.
Aukey Basix 10,000mAh power bank
Where we’re going, we don’t need cables. Everyone should own a power bank, and the Aukey Basix wireless charging model is one of the most versatile, allowing you prop up your device while wirelessly charging it.
Loved ones with iPhones will appreciate receiving AirTags as gifts while they travel this holiday season. You can clip the ultra wideband-ready Bluetooth tracker to your suitcase, backpack, keys, and other accessories and easily keep track of their locations on your smartphone. Note, however, you’ll need to buy a separate AirTag loop accessory to attach the AirTag to anything.
Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder
We admit the Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder isn’t silent, per se. However, multiple The Hamden Journal staffers can attest that it is one of the quieter and more efficient coffee grinders we’ve come across, a no-frills model that consistently produces even grounds without waking up the whole household in the morning. The sizable, stainless-steel grinding bowl is also dishwasher safe, rendering cleanup a breeze.
Take a double dose of nostalgia with the RD-D2 Tamagotchi. Your very own droid counterpart to clean, play with, and love. Help R2 learn new skills and unlock mini-games to play. Sometimes the real epic saga is the friend you make along the way.
There’s a reason these headphones appear on numerous “best headphones” lists across the internet. These wireless headphones from Sony provide amazing sound quality, the ability to pair simultaneously with multiple devices, and industry-leading noise cancellation. These features and the ability to last for up to 30 hours on a single charge make these headphones well worth the sizeable investment.
Sonos’ smallest speaker, the Roam, is a worthy addition in dad’s repertoire of gadgets. It’s a Bluetooth-ready speaker for on-the-go adventures, and it supports Wi-Fi connectivity, so it can fit right into a larger array of Sonos speakers.
Price: $179 to $180
Black Diamond Wiz Headlamp
Stop having your kid carry around a flashlight with their hands and strap one to their head instead. This simple LED headlamp can be attached to a head, an arm, or wherever really. But the Black Diamond Wiz headlamp is a great, kid-friendly solution for illumination when a conventional flashlight simply won’t do.
Gale Force 9 Dune board game
The new Dune movie has finally arrived — err, half of it anyway — and if you’re looking for a way to further experience Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, there’s Gale Force Nine’s Dune. The 2019 version modernizes the 40-year-old strategy game, but you’ll still encounter plenty of deal-making and backstabbing as your faction vies for control of the most precious resource in the universe: spice.
The The Hamden Journal retro wordmark shirt
The Hamden Journal merch is back, baby! Celebrate the recent 10th birthday of your favorite website with this retro-styled cotton shirt. The The Hamden Journal spends each day exploring the crossroads of tech and culture, and this shirt is right at the intersection of comfort and style.
GoPro Hero10 Black
For loved ones who are more adventurous, GoPro’s latest action cam, the GoPro Hero10 Black, is a gift they’ll appreciate. It’s a versatile camera, one that’s even able to record underwater footage. What’s more, the 2021 version features a new processor that lets the camera shoot in higher frame rates while rendering it possible to upload videos to the cloud as you charge.
2021 Apple iMac
Apple’s redesigned 2021 iMac makes a great gift for those looking for a computer. It’s sleek and stylish and comes equipped with Apple’s blazing-fast M1 processor, as well as a good camera, keyboard, mouse, trackpad, display, speaker system, and microphones.
Kiriko Classic Bandana
Proving that bandanas come in more than just paisley, Kiriko’s classic bandana comes in a wide variety of styles and prints that are classy as hell. With bandanas that look — and feel — this good, you’ll be finding new excuses to wear one every day.
HP Spectre X360 14
We once called the HP Spectre X360 14 the best 2-in-1 you can buy, and we stand by that statement. This beautiful touchscreen laptop offers amazing battery life and a brilliant display, and while these features certainly don’t come cheap, the flexible laptop is well worth the investment.
Purist insulated mug
We know: there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a water bottle. Thankfully, Purist Collective’s bottles stand out in a couple of key areas. Not only are they vacuum-sealed and double-walled, but they feature interchangeable lids and a glass interior, meaning they’ll shed that bitter coffee taste when washed.
Lego Space Shuttle Discovery set
If recent releases have taught us anything, it’s that Lego thrives on nostalgia. The new Space Shuttle Discovery set, built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle launch, is a 2,354-piece marvel, complete with a small-scale Hubble Space Telescope and two stands for displaying your creation once assembled. Needless to say, it blows that Lego coup your dad had as a kid out of the water.
iPhone 13 Pro
The iPhone 13 Pro has the best camera for capturing stills and video, and its triple-camera array offers a plethora of options for a beginning YouTube or TikTok creator.
Dart Zone MK-3
The Dart Zone MK-3 scoffs at Nerf “blasters” and their “safety precautions.” This SMG-style dart gun features options for semi or fully automatic fire and even comes with different calibers of ammunition. Powered by a pair of AA batteries, the MK-3 puts so much foam down range that it even comes packaged with safety goggles.
Instant Pot Duo
If you’ve ever seen a recipe and thought, “How do I make this with relative ease and without dirtying a ton of cookware?” the Instant Pot is your answer. This six-quart model — which can function as a rice cooker, pressure cooker, and other tabletop appliances — is the gift that keeps on giving, and you and everyone you know should have one.
Price: $89 to $90
WD Black SN850 SSD (500GB)
If you haven’t invested in an M.2 SSD yet, it’s about time you did. The WD Black SN850 is one of the better options on the market, and its price reduction has made it far more accessible. M.2 SSDs are the easiest way to expand the storage on your PC and can even be added to your PlayStation 5, provided the model you purchase comes with a heatsink.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership
Nintendo’s Switch Online service recently added Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games to its offering (for an extra cost), and even better, it released modernized controllers to make playing them feel just like you remember them back in the day.
Pokémon Celebration Express Electric Model Train
You’ll not regret all the “PikaCHOO CHOO” puns this holiday season with the fully functional, Pokémon Celebration Express Electric Model Train by Lionel. Celebrate Pokémon’s 25th birthday by taking Pikachu, Eevee, Mew, and Snorlax from Kanto to Galar and beyond. This train set includes the locomotive, tracks, terminal station, and smoke effects to get this express line up and running — you can even control it via an app.
Panic’s forthcoming Playdate isn’t your typical handheld. It doesn’t feature an OLED display or a high-end processor, though it does offer plenty of charm and an inch-long crank that slots into the side for gaming. The developer claims that new black-and-white titles will launch weekly as mystery drops, and though there’s still a lot we don’t know, our hands-on impressions left us ready for more.
Sculpd Pottery Kit
There is something undeniably attractive about making something with your hands in a world of increasingly intangible goods. The Sculpd Pottery Kit dares you to channel your inner Patrick Swayze with this easy DIY kit. Handling a lump of terra cotta is always a good time, even if you end up with a bad piece of modern art.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
If your loved ones are Android users, Samsung’s newest Galaxy Z Flip 3 phone is the perfect gift. The high-end phone folds in half, is water resistant, and boasts a bright OLED screen that’s absolutely great for watching videos.
The Electric State
Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag knows how to create the most inviting sci-fi dystopias. The ones on display in The Electric State, his excellent 2018 book, are hauntingly beautiful, centered around a runaway teenager and her robot companion as they flee across an alternative version of the American West lost to drought and war. Consider it a futuristic travelogue steeped in a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Nite Ize Flashflight Light Up Disc
The end of daylight saving time means shorter days and, for some, less time to practice Ultimate Frisbee in the park. If you want to toss a disc after the Sun goes down, however, Nite Ize offers an array of durable, brilliant LED discs that are just as visible at night as they are during the day. Plus, they make great dog toys.
Price: $19 to $22
Areaware Large Gradient Puzzle
The past year has made puzzle masters out of many of us, but who’s to say the trend can’t continue moving forward? Areaware’s clean, gradient puzzle represents a good middle ground for those looking for a challenge. The 1,000-piece jigsaw starts off relatively easy but becomes more challenging at the edges where the differences in hue become all but indistinguishable.
Whiskey Peaks Mt. Fuji set
Whiskey glasses are a gifting staple, and Whiskey Peaks makes some of the most unique. Each 11.5-ounce glass is handblown and features a raised topographic impression of Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak. It’s a subtle reminder to get outside for those who’ve spent the better part of the last two years indoors.
Ilse Supernova Coffee
Everyone deserves a damn fine cup of coffee every so often, and Ilse — a specialty roaster out of Stamford, Connecticut — delivers exactly that. Many of its blends are sweet and subtle, whether sourced from Ethiopia or Honduras, with the seasonal Supernova blend representing that balance roaster Lucas Smith seems to strike so well.
Loog Mini Electric
Kids have a knack for thrashing expensive gear, which is why Loog’s attractive line of miniature guitars is a godsend for myriad reasons. The company’s three-string electric guitar is about the size of a standard ukulele and features an integrated amp and speaker, along with flashcards and an accompanying app so your kid can rip through T-Swift’s catalog in no time.
Apple Watch Series 7
Loved ones who are trying to keep tabs on their health will appreciate receiving the best smartwatch on the market. The latest Apple wearable also features a larger display, faster charging, and IP6X dust resistance. The screen even comes with a new miniature keyboard, and the watch itself comes in a wide variety of colors and configurations that typically start at $399.
Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic
The Lite-Brite is a dazzling toy that encourages kids to embrace their creativity. Children can create mesmerizing artwork on a screen with bulbs that literally light it up. The set comes with color glow pegs and six templates with various designs kids can use.
Stop opening your Amazon packages with a pen like a scrub and invest in this keychain tool from Gerber. You’ll never be without something to poke, prod, pry, or slice something open when the need arises.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug
This adapter is a quick and simple way to add smart home connectivity to any device that uses a wall outlet. The TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug can pair with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to toggle power states with simple voice commands.
Sharper Image Word Clock
It doesn’t tell time, it spells it out for you. This LED clock from Sharper Image is a clever little conversation piece available in matte black or wood grain. Perhaps the best feature of this clock, however, is that it uses a USB-C port for power, making it easy to hook up without a dedicated outlet.
Price: $25 to $41
Regardless of your feelings on raw fish, Sushi Go! is an adorable card game for anyone who’s played Uno to death and needs something with a little more character. Sushi Go! has players pass around decks of adorable chibi-style tempura, maki, and other sushi staples in an attempt to make the most delicious bento box.
Apple’s ball-sized HomePod Mini is an essential tool for anyone who has an iPhone and a goal of converting their abode into a smart home. With it, you can summon Siri to play music, answer questions, and control your HomeKit-compatible devices.
Tile Mate (2022)
The now-ubiquitous tracking device, the Tile Mate is a fantastic way to keep tabs on anything within 200 feet. This tiny Bluetooth tracker can be secured to just about anything, ensuring that your most important items never go missing.
Music Genius Playing Cards
Music lovers will love this classic set of playing cards, with musicians like Freddie Mercury, Beyonce, Prince, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Bjork, and more. The set even splits up genres into four suits: pop; rock; folk and country; and soul, blues, and R&B.
Price: $10 to $11
Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod
The cutest little tripod, the Pixi from Manfrotto gives you a stable shooting platform, whether it’s stationary or mobile. This featherweight tripod can easily fit in your back pocket and can even be adapted for use with smartphones.
Price: $23 to $25
Animal Crossing x Monopoly
Perhaps the most wholesome evolution of this capitalism-driven franchise, the adorable veneer of Animal Crossing might just be enough to prevent any board flipping tantrums when you land on Boardwalk for the eighth time. Animal Crossing Monopoly replaces all the properties with adorable fruit, fossils, and bugs. Even the classic tokens have been replaced by chunky Animal Crossing personas.
Comfyable slim protective laptop sleeve
A classy sleeve for any 13- to 16-inch laptop, this slim, waterproof, faux-leather cover comes in a variety of colors. The inside lining is also covered in microfiber to prevent scuffs and scratches, making it a great accessory for anyone who wants to add a little professional flair to their laptop.
NYT Crossword subscription
For the truly classic gamer in your life, it’s tough to beat a subscription to New York Times Games. Not only do you gain access to more than 10,000 of the legendary New York Times crossword puzzles for just $40 a year, but you can play several other fun and devious logic games. While it’s tough to beat the rainy day appeal of the classic crossword, our personal favorite has been “the mini,” which had several The Hamden Journal staffers and their partners racing each other every day to see who could finish first.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K gives your loved ones access to more than a million movies and TV episodes from major streaming services in 4K Ultra HD. It also offers support for Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10 Plus, as well as the ability to search and launch content with your voice, thanks to its Alexa-powered voice remote.
Logitech K380 Bluetooth keyboard for Mac
Mac users embedded in the Apple ecosystem might find this compact keyboard from Logitech to be useful, which is identical to the standard K380 but sports a macOS-specific layout. It’s also compatible with iOS and iPadOS, comes in two colors (off-white and rose), and features circular keys that are a joy to type on.
SpaceTime Coordinates art print
Using NASA’s data, SpaceTime Coordinates creates a picture of what space looked like the moment you were born, got married, or whatever other special occasion you choose. These pictures can be delivered as digital files starting at $29 but also as posters, shirts, hoodies, necklaces, home decor products, and more at various price points.
Shure MV7 Podcasting Microphone
The Shure MV7 is the younger, more versatile, USB-capable sibling to the legendary SM-7b that you see used on all the biggest podcasts.
Price: $219 to $220
This Is Fine Dog Funko Pop
Your desk should have the occasional tchotchke to keep your sanity, and there’s no better way to laugh in the face of stress than with KC Green’s “This is fine” dog.
Gaiatop space heater
At first glance, Gaiatop’s ceramic space heater doesn’t seem all that capable given its small stature. Nonetheless, if your giftee is someone who tends to throw on an oversized parka while working from home, this retro-looking device can kick out a surprising amount of heat or function as fan, if needed. It even automatically shuts off when tipped over — a common occurrence if you have pets.
2021 MacBook Pro
Apple’s new M1 Pro processor and conventional ports with MagSafe have finally returned the MacBook Pro to form, especially for content creators who need portable horsepower.
Fender Mustang LT25 amplifier
For the at-home guitarist who doesn’t want to spend a fortune on pedals and other audio equipment, the Mustang LT25 digital amp offers some fun tones and effects to color your sound, along with a USB interface that allows you to easily record on a computer.
Mooas Cube Timer
The Mooas Cube Timer is a simple, fun way to help keep yourself more on task. All you need to do is drop in a couple of AAA batteries, flip it to the desired time interval, and allow it to count down the next 10, 20, 30, or 60 minutes.
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S Plus
Elgato’s higher-end capture card connects to your PC or Mac for streaming console gameplay to Twitch or YouTube. It can also enable webcam use with most mirrorless cameras.
Price: $198 to $200
Apple AirPods Pro
There’s a reason why many The Hamden Journal writers and editors use these iconic wireless earbuds while working from home and commuting. The AirPods Pro offer excellent sound and noise cancellation, as well as deep integration with iOS and a transparency mode that lets ambient sounds in.
Price: $179 to $250
TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller
With TriggerPoint’s Grid foam roller, you can give your muscles a deep tissue massage, helping them recover after a strenuous workout. It’s designed to specifically target muscles in your upper and lower back, upper and lower legs, and hips. You can also choose from a variety of subtle and vibrant colors, including pink, orange, black, and mint.
Price: $30 to $40
Wooden etched tweet
Forever enshrine a viral moment that brings you or your giftee joy, and make it a beautiful desk accessory that will (hopefully) be less fleeting than the late-night thoughts Elon Musk sends into the Twittersphere when the sun goes down.
Ergodriven Topo standing desk mat
Standing desks can be the best, but you need to relieve the pressure on your feet if you intend to stand upright for hours on end. Thankfully, the Topo mat is comfy and provides you with ideal positions to stand in, encouraging some small but vital movement.
Price: $69 to $99
Nanoleaf Elements Wood Look Hexagons Smarter Kit
Creative and fun smart lighting when they’re on; elegant wood accents when they’re not. Nanoleaf’s natural-looking panels are one of the most unique pieces of wall decor you can get if you’re looking to dress up your space and add your own touch.
Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 18
The The Hamden Journal‘s Becca Farsace loves the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 18 backpack and thinks it could be a good fit for anyone in need of a comfy companion that offers plenty of room for a laptop, camera, lenses, and other various gadgets.
Bote Breeze Aero SUP
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has seen a meteoric rise in recent years, partly because it’s a soothing, low-stakes affair and a good form of exercise. And if you’re tight on space, inflatable SUPs like Bote’s budget-friendly Breeze Aero make the sport even more convenient by allowing you to stow a durable, full-size board in your closet or trunk when the water is better suited for skating.
Price: $584 to $649
Audio Technica LP120XUSB
It’s easy enough to find a record player, but for a high-quality model that doesn’t cost a ton, check out Audio Technica’s LP120XUSB turntable. Your giftee can use it, of course, to play records through whatever speaker system they might have, but its USB connectivity also lets them digitize their aging, fragile collection of vinyl.
Joyce Chen carbon steel wok
As techies know, it’s great to have the right cable when you need it. Likewise, it’s just as ideal to have the right kind of pan for whatever you’re cooking up. If you’re making a stir fry or deep-frying some food, Joyce Chen’s carbon steel wok is an affordable kitchen gadget worth getting.
Wowstick electric screwdriver
This electric screwdriver from the Wowstick is just the kind of thing that’ll likely make the dad in your life wish they’d had it earlier in life, and thankfully, it’s not too pricey.
For odd jobs in, around, or outside of the house, everyone could use a Leatherman multitool. After all, it’s no fun to be stuck without the right tool for the job, so let’s just not let that happen in the first place, okay?
Price: $30 to $40
2021 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon’s latest Kindle Paperwhite e-reader might be a perfect fit for a anyone who can’t get enough reading time in. The 2021 model features a USB-C charging port, better battery life, and a bigger, 6.8-inch screen that makes text easier to see.
Twelve South AirFly Duo
Bluetooth audio transmitters can be finicky, but one of the best is Twelve South’s AirFly Duo. It has a rechargeable battery with USB-C charging, and it can plug into any device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack. It supports pairing up to two sets of Bluetooth headphones, too, making in-flight entertainment much easier to listen to.
BioLite FirePit Plus
Built-in fire pits can be hard to come by, which is why the totable build of BioLite’s FirePit Plus is so convenient. The device’s clever design and battery-powered fans also allow it to emit less smoke than your standard fire pit, regardless of whether you’re burning charcoal or deadfall.
The Disney Bundle
People contain multitudes, and thus, cannot be satisfied by just one streaming service. If your friend or family member is not already overwhelmed with subscriptions, the Disney Bundle is a go-to offer that packages Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus in a single service.
UE Wonderboom 2
Nobody should be without a solid Bluetooth speaker, and the UE Wonderboom 2 is an excellent option. This waterproof, orb-shaped speaker is remarkably loud, can last up to 13 hours on a single charge, and can pair with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
Price: $92 to $100
Herman Miller Aeron chair
Herman Miller’s Aeron is the longstanding, ergonomic desk chair of choice for many a working professional. It’s pricey, but the mesh backing and seat will keep you cool during the summer months or times when you run hot. It happens to the best of us.
Peloton Exercise Bike
Peloton’s indoor bicycles were all the rage during the early days of the pandemic, and they remain popular for good reason. The Peloton Bike offers an intense cardio workout from the comfort of your home, where you can access both live and on-demand classes on a 22-inch, Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen. These classes also come with opportunities to compete with others, making it a fun fitness gift for those willing to splurge.
Chemex glass coffee maker
For many, coffee is a necessity if there ever was one. Thankfully, Chemex’s glass pour-over carafe is capable of churning out six cups of balanced, flavorful coffee in a single go. It’s even included in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. How’s that for classic?
VanMoof S3 electric bike
VanMoof’s latest, pedal-assisted e-bike is both better and cheaper than prior models, and it sports a sleek and elevated design that doesn’t scream “e-bike” at first glance. It can also hit a top speed of 20 miles per hour with its four-speed electronic gear shifter, helping make it one of the best e-bikes you can buy.
Asus Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop
Easily our favorite gaming laptop of the year, the Asus Zephyrus is a 15-inch laptop that pairs an RTX 3070 graphics card with a Ryzen 9 CPU for unmatched gaming performance in its class.
Stagg EKG Electric Kettle
You don’t need to spend much to get a decent electric water kettle. But if you, or whoever you’re buying for, has exquisite taste in both gadget design and in hot beverages, Stagg’s luxe EKG Electric Kettle might be a solid match.
Samsung The Frame (55-inch)
The Frame is a sight to behold. Sure, its 120Hz refresh rate looks silky-smooth at 4K resolution, but it’s the clever design that truly helps it stand out. Samsung’s TV can double as home decor, displaying gorgeous artwork when it’s not in use.
Price: $1,198 to $1,200
Turtle Beach Battle Buds
These unique earbuds from Turtle Beach are some of the only earbuds that come with their own boom mic. Because they use a 3.5mm audio jack, the Battle Buds are also compatible with any console, and they come packaged with a number of ear tips to ensure a comfortable fit.
Oculus Quest 2
For a long time, the Oculus Quest 2 was the closest many of us got to going outside. While we’re spending a little more time outdoors now, this standalone headset is still one of the best ways to experience VR. The Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t require external sensors or even a standalone console like other headsets — everything is self-contained — making it feel like a truly futuristic device.
Razer DeathAdder Essential
On the surface, this parsed-down version of Razer’s storied DeathAdder gaming mouse is virtually indistinguishable from its more expensive counterparts, and it shares the same curved, snakelike chassis and responsive buttons as other models. The only true difference is the 6,400 DPI sensor, which is less sensitive than Razer’s cutting-edge mice but is still extremely capable. This mouse is a great way to upgrade your gaming setup without spending a ton of cash.
A long-standing top dog of BoardGameGeek, Root is a game that’s best described as something like Game of Thrones meets Disney’s Robin Hood — yes, the one with the animals. The game has you leading factions of woodland creatures portrayed by equally adorable wooden figures. The world of Root is also brought to life thanks to remarkably evocative board art and illustrations. We understand that gathering friends for board games right now isn’t particularly easy, but if you can manage it, Root won’t disappoint.
Ikea Symfonisk picture frame
Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame lets you fill your home office with your favorite jams without sacrificing precious desk space. The Sonos-connected smart speaker comes in two styles, both of which are pseudo-incognito, yet it still manages to deliver the excellent sound for which Sonos is known.
Bombas ankle socks
Nothing tops comfort, whether you’re out and about or just getting cozy at home. And while the holidays are often referred to as sweater weather, you can’t forget about comfy sock weather. The Bombas ankle socks bring the right combination of warmth, flexibility, and durability, complete with extra arch support.
Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series
The perfect primer to get you up to speed on the world of Cowboy Bebop before diving into the live-action Netflix series, this four-disc collection of the classic anime is arguably the best way to experience the animated series. The collection contains both language tracks in 5.1 surround, as well as commentary tracks and interviews with the original voice cast. The entire series has been upscaled to 1080p but is still only viewable in a 4:3 aspect ratio, so don’t freak out if you’re greeted by a black void on either side of your 55-inch TV.
The Drunken Botanist
Author Amy Stewart knows a thing or two about plants — and alcohol, for that matter. Her fun and informative sixth book examines some of the most common alcoholic staples throughout the world through a horticultural lens, delving into the natural ingredients that make drinks like the Manhattan, well, a Manhattan. It even includes 50-odd cocktail recipes, making it a great gift for the self-proclaimed mixologist in your life.
8BitDo Pro 2 controller
If you’re looking for another Switch Pro controller but don’t want to buy Nintendo’s first-party model, the 8BitDo Pro 2 controller is a fantastic choice. This controller has roughly all the same features as the Nintendo Pro controller but costs roughly $20 less. While this controller can pair with more devices via Bluetooth, it can’t turn on your Switch remotely and lacks Amiibo support. Even with those small omissions, our review still wholeheartedly recommends this gamepad for Switch enthusiasts.
Price: $48 to $50
The Theragun Mini is a powerful yet quiet massager that offers relief for your muscles wherever you go, given it’s small enough to carry around. It comes in two colors – black and red – and is a great gift for those who are either very active or simply in need of some R&R.
Price: $199 to $200
Kubb yard game
An outdoor game that’s equal parts cricket and lawn bowling, Kubb is undeniably eccentric; the perfect alternative for anyone who has played too many games of cornhole. If flinging small bits of wood at bigger bits of wood until to you knock them down sounds like a good time, then we recommend Kubb.
Price: $49 to $50
Biking with earbuds in can be dangerous, especially if you’re using a noise-canceling model designed to drown out sound. Open-ear headphones are a great solution, however, with the AfterShokz Aeropex being some of the best you can get. The bone-conduction headphones offer decent sound quality and eight hours of playback, not to mention a waterproof exterior for when your ride gets a little wet.
Mario Party Superstars
Mario Party is one of the easiest ways to settle a grudge out of court. Mario Party Superstars expands the field of honor with a fun collection of over 100 mini-games featuring Nintendo’s iconic mascot and cast of characters. The latest version of this storied franchise brings back five classic boards from the N64 and GameCube era, and it allows for online play as well.
Price: $55 to $60
Xreart Game Boy Color
E-waste, unsurprisingly, poses a threat to both our planet and our health, which is why Xreart’s custom frames are such a welcome breath of fresh air. The company takes aging, disassembled devices and turns them into intricate works of art, laying out the electronic innards in lab-like fashion within a square, 32-inch frame. Our favorite? Nintendo’s OG Game Boy Color from 1998.
Google Chromecast with Google TV
Sifting through the ever-expanding list of streaming services to find something to watch can be a lot to take in. Luckily, Google’s latest Chromecast features a fantastic interface that’s an ace when it comes to aggregating content. The terrific streaming device checks the rest of the boxes, too, with support for 4K content, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and access to all the mainstay streaming services.
Price: $39 to $40
Field Notes: National Park Series (three-pack)
Field Notes are as basic as it gets, which is precisely the point. The pocket-sized memo pads are a great way to jot down passing thoughts, to-do lists, and other bits of info on the go, saving your giftee from having to fumble for their notes app when time is of the essence.
Price: $15 to $16
Amazon Smart Thermostat
Just because something is affordable doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Amazon’s Smart Thermostat is a great case in point. It’s the cheapest smart thermostat you can buy, yet it still touts support for Alexa and a clean, modern aesthetic. It can even automatically adjust your home’s temperature based on whether you’re home, away, or sleeping, keeping you comfortable while saving you money in the process.