It’s that time of the year. Christmas decorations are being put up, bags of salt are being bought (if you live somewhere cold and snowy, of course), and holiday presents are being purchased.
If you’re not a psycho like me who already has everyone’s gifts planned out – and mostly purchased – you should start thinking about what you’re going to be putting under your tree, or handing out over holiday dinners and get togethers.
Shopping is hard. We’ve covered gift-giving for the gamer in your life pretty extensively, but if you’re not going to be gifting video games, there are other media solutions. Let’s look at prices, best gifts for this year, and even what you should do if you are truly without gift ideas.
Don’t feel bad – it’s a weird year all around, why would Christmas be any different?!
Gifts for Media and Tech Lovers Under $30
You can ball on a budget, don’t worry. Giving gifts isn’t always about the money you spend on them, but the time and thought you put into it.
My biggest game-changer gift this year is a charging dock for phones. I realized how amazing they were when my dock for my car stopped working. My husband replaced it with one that plugs in and charges when I put my phone on it, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
You can get a good quality dock for your loved ones for under $30. If they travel a lot, consider getting one for their car. Otherwise, a dock to charge their phone – and their smartwatch, if they have one! – for a nightstand is practical, useful, and thoughtful.
In that vein, I also recommend an extra-long phone cord. Everyone should have 10-feet of charging cable to lay on their bed and rage-scroll social media, while also charging their battery. These are cheap, make great stocking stuffers, and really do improve your quality of life!
Just make sure you get one for their specific phone.
An Amazon Smartplug is an awesome, relatively cheap gift that your receiver will be able to use for years to come. There’s nothing cooler than naming your living room lights to The Batsignal, and telling your Echo to turn off the batsignal when you leave. Not that… you know, I’ve done that, or anything.
A shower Bluetooth speaker is a great gift to help someone you love start their day right. These speakers aren’t amazing quality, but remember – they’re in the shower, they don’t have to be. It’s like the old shower radios, with a new twist. Bonus points if you include a playlist of your own favorite shower tunes, or a podcast to start their day right.
Uncommon Goods has 100 movies scratch-off poster for just $15 plus shipping, and it’s a great gift to give a movie lover – or budding movie lover. As you watch the movies on the list, you scratch off the panel to reveal an iconic movie or line. Write a note about your favorite must-see movies on the poster to get them started.
Finally, a popcorn maker is a fun and movie-friendly gift for those who miss movie theater popcorn. (Remember when we went to theaters?) Amazon has literally hundreds of choices for any price range – you can get a sweet foldable silicone microwave one for just $9, or a pretty decent hot air popper for under $25.
Consider adding popcorn salt, unpopped corn kernels, and powdered cheese for a complete package – all can be nabbed at the dollar store on the cheap!
Gifts for Media and Tech Lovers, $30-$60
Alright, our budget is moving up a little bit. If you’ve got a bit more money to play with this Christmas, that’s great – let’s talk about what all you can gift.
My highest recommendation is The Criterion Collection series of Blu-rays and DVDs. Don’t spend full price on these, though! Barnes & Noble regularly has half-off sales on selection Criterion movies, and you can often find them discounted on Amazon. My recommendation is to go with either a favorite movie you know they don’t have, or your favorite movie.
Add a note in the card about why you love the movie, why you think they will, and some talking points to keep in mind, so you can bond over it after they have seen it.
If your gift receiver is on-the-go a lot, consider a portable charging brick to keep with them. Avoid those cheap ones you latch to your keychains – they really, really don’t work well. Instead, look for one with a high “mAh”, which signifies how much juice it holds. The higher that number, the more charge they’ll get before having to plug it in.
One of my favorite thoughtful gifts to give couples in this price range is movie basket gift sets. I’ll put a favorite movie of mine or theirs, or a new release I got on sale, in a basket. Then, I usually hit TJ Maxx’s snack and candy section – you can find ‘nice’ and ‘pricey’ treats for a lot less than you’d normally pay.
I’ll pick up a few of those, a soft blanket for a couch, and some hot cocoa mix (or I’ll make my own!). I put them all together with a blanket and call it date night gift basket.
If you’re considering upping your budget, you could also do this same gift basket, but with a Chromecast (about $35) or a FireTV Stick (anywhere from $25-$60). Bring the cost of the goods inside the basket down by adding homemade cookies, homemade cookie mix with instructions, or dollar-store movie-theater snacks like Raisinets or Milk Duds!
If you’re willing to wait for a sale, an Amazon Kindle is a great choice for someone who loves to read and is on the go! The Kindle’s have improved a lot since their first generation, and you can snag a great one on sale for $60 or less before the holiday really starts.
Gifts for Media and Tech Lovers, $60-$100
Alright, if your budget is moving up a little bit more, there are some more options, obviously. Don’t discount anything previous to this – you can always combine two smaller, cheaper gifts to give to someone! But if you’ve got more money to play around with, here are our top buys.
Wireless earbuds are still the hottest product on the market. AirPods are over your price range at this level, but they aren’t the cheapest – or the best – option.
For the money, I like Sennheiser, Edifier, and Earfun brands. When looking at earbuds, consider how long they will last between charges, if they charge within their carrying case, and if they are water-resistant – a big deal if someone wants to use them while working out, or walking in the rain.
The Bose SoundLink Micro is under $100 on sale, and produces some of the best sound from a small, waterproof speaker you’ll find. There are lots of other small, Bluetooth enabled speakers, and they’re a great gift to give someone who loves listening to music or podcasts. The UE Wonderboom 2 is also a great speaker choice.
A smartwatch isn’t out of your price range in this budget, but be careful not to go with the cheapest option. The Amazfit Bib is a great choice at around $70, and features water resistance, heart rate tracking, and a shockingly long battery life for the price. The Fitbit Inspire 2 is also just under $100, and a great option.
If your gift recipient somehow doesn’t have an Amazon Echo yet, this is a great chance to get them. The Echo Dot with Clock is just $60, or the fully reworked Echo – which is an orb, not a tower – is $100. The Echo Show is also $75 and comes with a screen. They’re great for listening to music, asking silly questions, setting reminders and alarms, and more.
I have three – no, really!
If your intended already has an Alexa or a Google Home, consider getting them some smart accessories instead. A few Smart Bulbs that are controlled by their smart speakers of choice is a great gift, and will make anyone feel like their living in the future.
Gifts for Media and Tech Lovers, $100-$200
Budget? Pshaw. “Budget” is more like it. If this is your budget category, we’ve got some great suggests that are sure to make any tech or media lover happy.
If your intended owns their own home, give them the gift of security. No, this isn’t an ad for a home security system. The Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro, coming in at just under $200, is a nifty addition to any home. It’s a smart lock that lets you use your fingerprint or a personal code to get into your home, instead of dragging out your keys. It’s great for… well, pretty much anyone.
Within this budget, you can get a really impressive smartwatch as well. I recommend the Fitbit Versa 2, which can be paired with Apple, Android, or Windows phones, has a 4 day battery life, and works with Amazon Alexa – it’s already built in.
The Apple 4k TV streaming device is a pretty great update for any home entertainment system. Coming in at just under $180, this gives literally limitless hours of streaming enjoyment, from Apple TV, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more.
If your recipient is a fan of art and tech, a drawing tablet is an awesome addition. These can range from $80 for a Wacom one, all the way to $200 for one with a display and battery-free pen. Do your research to make sure it has all the feature they will need, for you’ll get the most bang for your buck with brands like Wacom, XP-Pen, and HUION.
If you’re looking for something for someone who listens to a lot of music or plays a lot of video games, but lives in a busy or loud area, check out some wireless over ear headsets. Beats makes some great choices, but so do Sennheiser and Edifier.
Gifts for Media and Tech Lovers, Ballers Edition
You laugh in the face of budgets. Gift giving in your love language and you’ll be darned if anyone will tell you otherwise. If you’re really unconcerned about the price and you’re trying to show your affection through goods, I have you covered.
A portable touchscreen monitor is a very cool gift in a time where a lot of us are working from home with limited space. The SideTrak runs about $350, but it will plug into their laptop or PC and function as a portable, mobile monitor. The touchscreen makes it great for all sorts of applications, including video and picture editing, and they can easily fold it up and take it on the go.
While we talked about video game consoles in our Video Game Gift Guide, it bears repeating – purchasing the latest and greatest console is certain to be a hit… if you can find them. Both the PS5 and the new Xbox console are difficult to find, but I do not recommend purchasing through a reseller. Scalping is not cool.
A new TV is a great purchase, and you don’t have to blow crazy amounts of money to get a great one now, either. Do your research, and be wary of Black Friday too-good-to-be-true sales – often these products are made just for the sale, and aren’t as high of quality, even with their name brand.
4K is the way to go, and take into consideration where the television will go… believe it or not, there is such a thing as too big. Viewing angle is also important, so keep these factors in mind!
A tablet is a great and thoughtful gift that almost everyone could use. The Apple iPads are a good choice for those who prefer Apple devices, but for Android users, Samsung and Lenovo make great choices.
If you’re looking for a techy gift for an outdoor enthusiast, a high quality drone with a GoPro is a great purchase! While it is on the pricey side, you’re gifting hours of entertainment and a brand new hobby. Who doesn’t want to fly a drone around the neighborhood and get those amazing views?!