Gift Guide 2014
Unique Gifts For the Whole Family
December 10, 2014 by Mark Dye
Whether your family is big or small, your friends high- or low-tech, or your budget tight or flexible, there are plenty of great gifts out there for everyone on your list.
Let’s be honest: the holidays are primarily about the kids. That’s a good thing, too, as the only limit to what you can get is your budget.
There are the typical toys (Barbie dolls, LEGO®) but how about something unique like a solar photography kit? Using the same principles as it did when it first came out in the 1840s, this contains all you need for a fun and simple project. For those who want their kids to do a bit of learning while they have fun, Mindware has a huge selection of items that cover everything from electronics to physics to art. Then there is Ollie (pictured above), an app controlled robot that can do a large number of tricks.
If your kid (young or old) is more into video games, this is a good year for it as prices on consoles are down and the number of games is up. Family friendly titles include Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and Skylanders, two games that feature “add on” characters you can buy and play in-game, which gives these games a lot of replay value. For the older kids, the new Halo Master Chief Collection features re-mastered versions from the ground breaking franchise—just note that it’s only on Xbox One.
Looking for something a bit more old school? This set of handmade dominoes is fun and looks great, while Mancala is a game that has stood the test of time and can teach math skills. And let’s not forget the college kids—this special utensil for eating Ramen noodles is just the thing.
Giving things for the bath or kitchen are always popular. For the former, The Bathory adds a twist by letting you create your own bath soak, including a custom label. For the latter, a defrosting tray gives you a quick and safe way to defrost meat, while an adjustable rolling pin would be perfect for those who love to bake.
If she’s more into unique jewelry or creations, searching around Etsy.com can provide you with countless one-of-a-kind and handmade items. (As a bonus, you’ll be supporting individual artisans and small business owners.) And, as usual, Uncommon Goods has some truly original items, such as this unique pendant you can personalize with specific longitude and latitude coordinates.
Some women are more geeky than girly—and for them, you have to check out Her Universe. Started by Ashely Eckstein (wife of former Major League Baseball player David Eckstein and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon series) the website has everything a true geek could enjoy, and all of it is designed specifically for women. It covers all manner of fandoms, from Star Wars to Star Trek to Doctor Who, and all budgets are welcome.
Beards have come back in a big way, as have ways to care for them. One very highly rated product is the Beard Pack by Uncommon Goods (a fantastic site, if you haven’t noticed) that contains Beard Oil, Whisker Wash, and Mustache Wax. For those who have to be clean shaven thanks to military regulations, they also offer a Men’s Military Field Grooming Set that comes with soap, shampoo, and shaving cream—all in an ammo storage box.
If the man in your life appreciates good drink, the Whiskey Wedge can keep his bourbon, scotch or other drink cold without watering it down. (It’s also less expensive than whiskey stones.) Is something spicier more his style? Then this do-it-yourself hot sauce kit lets him dial up the temperature as hot as he wants.
The tech savvy have all manner of options, some of which are more affordable than others. One inexpensive and handy item is the Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo jump drive. It’s designed to help you back up files from your Android phone and make it easier to transfer data between your phone and computer.
No matter the budget or the personality you’re buying for this holiday, giving something a little different can make a big difference in the size of smile you see on the receiving end of your holiday cheer.