Yesterday, I got a call from a frantic woman who had no idea what to get for her nieces for stocking stuffers. Sure, little kids are always easy, but once they hit that pre-pubescent stage where ‘kid toys’ don’t cut it, it can sometimes be incredibly hard to find the perfect gift. I’ve been asked by several people to point out a few of my favorite tech stocking stuffers, and give people some ideas on great, practical items to round out their gift giving. Please be advised….these items mentioned below are ones I’ve actually bought, used, and recommend to others- which is really important (not ‘bought at a discount in exchange for a positive review’ or anything either). In this day and age, our Facebook and Google feeds are pushing products that the seller paid to endorse…and in many cases, those cheap products from foreign manufacturers get horrible reviews and probably don’t even work if they’re meant to work with electronic devices like cell phones or tablets, so it’s important to read credible reviews from people you know and trust before purchasing. Regardless, here are a few last minute gifts I strongly suggest picking up for those “special” people in your lives:
Dual USB Charger: The more devices we have, the more we need to plug in. Did you think they could ever perfect the small white little USB charger that plugs into the wall? They did….they gave it 2 USB ports, allowing you to charge two devices at once. It’s a necessity….right up there with food and water….(ok, but for some of us it is). This little friend from Aukey is wonderful….he actually helps charge your devices quicker, AND lets you charge two at a time through one slim plug. Grab a few….one for your laptop bag, one for that kitchen counter charging station, and anywhere else you want to eliminate clutter.
Longer & Stronger iPhone Cables: If you have a smartphone or tablet, you know how dirty or dingy and delicate those cables from the manufacturer can be. When I first saw people making reinforced braided iPhone cables, I quickly purchased them up, and to this date- and several brands later- I’m still using all of them. Do your friends and family a favor and gift them some braided smartphone cables. The key is to make sure they are Apple MFI Certified (quality parts that are verified to work with Apple products and not be counterfeit). Here’s the ones I like: Amazon Basics, Anker.
Bluetooth Speaker: I’ve had a little portable, bluetooth speaker since they first came out. Then, last year, I noticed it would no longer charge and was out of warranty because the internal parts broke. I searched high and low, tried several (and I mean TONS) of brand and non-brand name devices, and stumbled across this Anker SoundCore Sport XL. Sure, it’s portable, waterproof, and durable, but more importantly, it sounds really full- with a built-in subwoofer- and works like a charm. I couldn’t be happier with the purchase, and it comes with me on beach vacations and more.
Sleeping Headphones: I bought these Cozy Phones over the summer, and loved them so much, I just bought a pair for my daughter to use on car trips. They’re comfortable, fit like an ear warmer headband, and have little headphone speakers built inside so you can listen to music as you drift off to sleep. They’re well made, have a super-long cord, and make listening to sleep-inducing stories or meditations a breeze. Check out their adorable Kid ones, or the new Bluetooth ones!
Battery Packs: It’s inevitable….you’re running out the door, and you realize your phone or tablet has no charge. Prepare for such natural disasters by having a battery pack in your briefcase, car, or purse so you can quickly recharge on the go. They’re cheap, effective, and always a good backup plan to have. Like I mentioned above, steer clear of the super cheap models (from the Dollar Store or Five Below), as they tend to have an incredibly small battery, and might not even give a phone a whole charge. Purchasing a larger one can often times charge iPads or tablets as well, and require a recharge less often, but also take up more space, and cost more money. I have been a fan of these Anker ones (for those wanting a more battery life), and their slimmer model here to keep in my purse. Don’t attempt a day trip to a zoo, museum, or theme park without one!
Touchscreen Gloves: This might seem like a no-brainer, but this time of year, gloves are always nice. In the last few years, many gloves are coming out with ‘touchscreen fingertips’, or different fabric on the fingertip to make it so you can still use your smartphone. This is a novel idea, but I’ve noticed some work better than others. The neoprene-type gloves seem to work the best- because they’re slim fitting and have a good fabric on the pointer fingertips. Knitted or cotton options don’t work as well, and often take several tries, and I’m not a fan of those funky open fingertip gloves because your fingers still get cold and chapped. I have both the Isotoner gloves, and the Head gloves (which are at Costco), and found them both equally good.
Hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas to help make the gift giving frenzy less stressful. I would LOVE to have you comment below about other tech gifts you have or think are a great gift for others!