Christmas is mere days away, and you're still trying to figure out what to buy your in-law who has everything. We've all been there. It's stressful, seems impossible, and practically sucks the holiday cheer right out of you.
Well stop being a Grinch and check out our last-minute buying guide. We've rounded up a few tips and some relatively cheap gadget ideas, all of which should help you to finally cross names off your list and finish with the shopping already.
And with all that off you're plate, you'll be free to actually relax and enjoy the holiday. Good luck!
Everyone has a smartphone. Everyone. So, when attempting to assume what a friend or loved one might want, just look at accessories for the one thing they carry around most often: smartphones. Accessories can include everything from cases and attachments to app-enabled hardware.
A quality smartphone case is the best present. You never want to spend the money on them, but getting one - especially if it's super nice or really sturdy or perfect for your personality - is like winning the jackpot. Keep that in mind, in general, when Christmas shopping for loved ones.
You can find smartphone cases at all your local electronics stores or on Amazon. Check out a few of our guides below for some specific ideas:
Let's be honest: smartphone cameras are just not as good as the powerhouses made by Canon or Nikon or Sony, mostly because smartphone cameras and their stock camera apps lack fine controls and other professional things.
People who want to take their photo and video-recording skills to the next level should consider attachments that reveal their smartphone camera’s true potential. You can get everything from tripod mounting systems to creative lens add-ons.
A website called Photojojo sells a tonne of different camera attachments at a variety of different price points. You could get your friend a bike mount for their Android phone, for instance, or a telephoto lens for their iPhone. The possibilities are endless...and addicting.
And if you need a smartphone camera attachment within a day or two, check out Amazon. Prime offers two-day or one-day shipping.
An app-enabled accessory is basically any device that works with/requires a mobile app.
The Apple Store, both in-store and online, is one of the best places to go in order to find these types of accessories for iPhone and iPad. You could get a Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo for $159.95 or a Silverlit Interactive Bluetooth Remote Control LaFerrari car for $79.95.
Apart from the Apple Store, places like Best Buy, Walmart, and Target also so app-enabled accessories in their Toys and Electronics departments. Amazon also has a dedicated hub just for app-enabled accessories, and many of the gadgets work with both iOS and Android devices.
Finding a gadget or electronic for less than $175 is almost impossible. Almost being the key word. Wearables and fitness trackers are hugely popular at the moment, and lucky for you, some of them fall under the $175 price point. Christmas sales are causing prices drops too.
On Amazon right now you can get a Samsung Gear Fitness Tracker and Smartwatch for $159, a Misfit Shine Activity and Sleep Monitor for $76, a Jawbone Up 24 wristband for $114, a Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band for $75, a Withings Pulse O2 Activity Wristband for $99, etc.
Much of the stuff on Amazon is only on-sale for a limited time, so you better hurry. If you're okay with spending a little bit more, check out our Best Wearables for 2014 guide. Many of the gadgets we included are pricy, but they'll undoubtedly make any loved one super happy (and fit).
Man, this is a broad category.
Smart devices applies to anything that is, well, internet-connected or designed to work together over the same local network. With the Internet of Things trend being very on-trend this year, and likely next year, one of these devices would be a good investment gift for a friend.
We said "investment" because smart devices are a bit tricky and pricey. Once you start buying from one company or for one platform, you're usually locked into that ecosystem. You wouldn't buy your friend an Elgato Avea bulb if they already have fancy Philips Hue lights, right?
Thus, in order to get one of these gadgets, you'll need to do a little research and find out what exactly your friend or loved one prefers. If they don't even know what you're talking about, get them something cheap and user-friendly...like Quirky devices.
Quirky and General Electric recently unveiled seven new smart devices, and each of them are under $100 and capable of automating your home. The two companies previously produced a range of niche smart devices including the Aros smart air conditioner.
Quirky+GE devices are not only internet-connected and enable home automation but are also considered app-enabled. You can use the Quirky+GE Wink app, for instance, to wirelessly communicate with, control, and monitor any Quirky+GE smart devices.
You can find Quirky+GE devices widely available at Home Depot in the US, as well as online.
Just like most everyone owns a smartphone, most everyone also likes to watch television and movies. A safe Christmas gift would therefore have something to do with streaming, and there are plenty of choices out there.
You could start small and buy a gift card to iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon Instant Video. You could also get your friend addicted to binge-watching by getting them a Netflix subscription. All of these options will allow you to give a practical-yet-fun gift without breaking the bank.
If you want to give something more tangible, consider a streaming device. The cheapest options include streaming sticks, like Google Chromecast for $35 or Amazon Fire Stick for $39, while the more expensive options include an Amazon Fire TV for $79 and Apple TV for $99.
And if you really love your friend, get them both a gift card and a streaming device. With a subscription to Netflix and an Apple TV, for instance, they'll be all set to go and ready to stream their favourite Christmas movies come 25 December.
Also, like many of the things mentioned in this guide, you can find gift cards and streaming devices at many local electronics stores.
With the Xbox One and PS4 breaking all records for console sales and just about every family household in the UK having a tablet device of some description, gaming has permeated every walk of life - sometimes obviously, sometimes not so.
Kids and adults have plenty of choice when they want to sit down and play a game these days, whether it be on a dedicated console, tablet, smartphone or even Smart TV. However, what about the younger children?
Not only do they need games that offer age appropriate content, preferably with some form of learning along the way, but they need to be able to play the games mostly unaided too. It's actually harder to find appropriate games for toddlers and those slightly older.
But we've managed to track down some that we think you'll be happy to leave in the hands of your child on Christmas morning:
Rush over to your local department or electronics store to get these now. You can also buy some of them with one-day shipping via Amazon Prime.
And finally, in an attempt to help you find the best and most affordable Christmas presents this year, we've scoured the web and selected 34 of the nerdiest gadgets, toys, and gag gifts you can buy online. Seriously.
Want to get your film-buff brother a Superman urn? We got you covered. Or maybe your old-school boyfriend would love a USB pet rock? Believe it or not, there are tonnes of partially-useless-yet-totally-fun things you can consider.
And they're all super geeky and under £150.
Oh, and if you want geeky wrapping paper for that geeky gift you bought, check here.