A selection of great tech and non-tech gifts aimed at the tinkerer, the creative, and the kid in all of us.
The holidays can be, without a doubt, one of the most stressful times of the year. People can be picky when it comes to gifts, wishlists can grow long, and time has a way of slipping between our fingers before we even notice the sudden lack of eggnog on store shelves. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
We at The Verge believe that gift-giving shouldn’t be all that tough — that is, so long as you have the right cheat sheet. That’s why our ace team of writers and editors has compiled a treasure trove of clever gift ideas spanning multiple price points and personal tastes, from budget-friendly tabletop games and streaming devices to luxury laptops you can easily upgrade. Some are our go-to tech recs, the beloved gadgets and gizmos our staff relies on daily, while others are aimed at those analog enthusiasts who can be hard to please.
Whether you’re shopping for your mom, dad, a friend, or Fido, we’ve got enough ideas to satiate all the loved ones on your holiday wishlist.
Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box
Don’t let the Onn’s rock-bottom pricing fool you — Walmart’s new Google TV box is an absolute steal at just $20. It may lack support for higher-end specs like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, but the inexpensive streaming device still touts built-in casting, Google Assistant integration, and the same content-forward interface we love on Google’s 4K-ready Chromecast.
Amazon Echo Pop
With its semicircular shape and vibrant colors, Amazon’s latest smart speaker can make any room pop. The tiny speaker is nearly as capable as other Echo devices, so you can use it to play music and podcasts, control various smart home gadgets, and carry out other Alexa-enabled tasks. It even works as an Eero mesh Wi-Fi extender, just like Amazon’s newest Echo Dot.
Lego Piranha Plant
Over the last few years, Lego has launched a slew of clever botanical sets for adults that can add a touch of color to any room with absolutely no maintenance. The Lego Super Mario Piranha Plant is kind of like that, only it’s a posable 540-piece replica of one of Mario’s iconic baddies instead of a Welsh poppy or your run-of-the-mill larkspur.
If you can’t decide on a present, do your giftee a favor and just buy the last-gen iPad. The versatile gadget can function as an ad hoc TV, e-reader, notebook, and even a canvas, letting your loved one entertain themselves in a number of different ways. The 2021 model is also significantly cheaper than Apple’s 10th-gen iPad, so you won’t feel as nervous gifting it to your kids.
Tidying up is always a lot easier with a robot vacuum, but it’s nearly effortless with the Roborock S8. Not only does the handy robovac clean carpets well, but it’s also capable of lifting its own mop, allowing it to tackle your entire home in a single go. It also boasts AI-powered obstacle avoidance and dual rubber roller brushes, making it a good upgrade from the prior model.
Blink Video Doorbell
You can help your loved ones protect their packages from would-be porch pirates with the Blink Video Doorbell. The battery-powered buzzer doesn’t require any ongoing fees and nails the basics, with support for motion-activated recording and alerts, night vision, two-way audio, and Amazon Alexa.
Black & Decker Furbuster
High-end robovacs with auto-empty docks and AI obstacle avoidance are great and all, but sometimes a classic handheld is all you need. Black & Decker’s rechargeable Furbuster is a great option for picking up fur, dirt, and other debris, especially since it offers a surprising amount of suction and an extra-long crevice tool for hitting those hard-to-reach areas.
Apple’s AirTags are becoming ubiquitous as a set of keys — and for good reason. The handy ultra wideband item trackers are our go-to recommendation for Apple users thanks to their user-replaceable batteries and ability to tap into Apple’s extensive Find My network, which lets you and up to five others keep tabs on whatever belongings you can’t afford to live without.
Baboon to the Moon Fannypack
You don’t need to lug around a full-on backpack if all you plan to carry with you is ChapStick, a phone, and a few other everyday essentials. Thankfully, there are space-saving alternatives like the Baboon to the Moon Fannypack, which offers three liters of space and comes in a colorful, spill-proof design that’s as unmistakable as it is durable.
GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro Controller
GuliKit’s KingKong 2 Pro Controller looks a lot like Nintendo’s Pro controller, but its Hall effect sticks are drift-proof for better long-term reliability — something that’s especially handy for those that play their Nintendo Switch while docked. The gamepad offers a comfy rubberized grip as well, and you can even rearrange the face buttons into an Xbox layout for playing on PC.
There’s something special about gifting an analog game like Kendama in the age of Fortnite — even more so when you consider that the Japanese toy has changed little since it was first developed hundreds of years ago. The cup-and-ball game remains easy to learn but difficult to master, too, making it a good fit for anyone looking to hone a skill over time.
Amazfit Band 7
The number of premium features the Amazfit Band 7 offers for the price is kind of mind-boggling. For less than $50, you get a quality fitness tracker that nails the essentials while boasting abnormal heart rate notifications, stress tracking, and a nice OLED display. Add in 18 days of battery life and it’s easy to see why it’s such a steal.
If you’re looking for a tech-free way to entertain friends or family while huddling for warmth indoors, board games like Evolution are perfect. The card-based strategy game rewinds time, pitting players against one another and forcing them to adapt to an ever-changing ecosystem in which hungry predators loom and resources are always at a premium.
Belkin BoostCharge Pro with MagSafe
Why get any old boring charger when you can get one that also doubles as a kickstand? Belkin’s BoostCharge Pro with MagSafe can quickly supply MagSafe-compatible iPhones with up to 15W of power. Best of all, it can take advantage of iOS 17’s StandBy mode, letting you turn your phone into a desk-friendly calendar, clock, or photo frame.
Magnetic Poetry Kit (Original Edition)
You don’t necessarily need to be a logophile to enjoy the Magnetic Poetry Kit — just use your imagination! The Original Kit includes more than 300 magnetic word tiles that you can use to conjure up poems, stories, or even song lyrics, making it an entertaining gift for the entire family or whoever happens upon your refrigerator.
Succulents can spruce up any home or office with minimal effort, making them a good gift for both existing plant lovers and anyone who feels like they lack a green thumb. That’s because they’re (relatively) easy to care for and grow, so your giftee won’t need to babysit them as much as they would, say, an orchid or a fiddle-leaf fig.
Beats Studio Buds Plus
The Beats Studio Buds Plus sound terrific and sport a slick semitranslucent design, making them a feast for both the eyes and ears. The wireless ear candies — err, earbuds — are also great at tuning out noise and work with Apple and Android devices, so you can tap into Apple’s Find My network or the Google equivalent.
American Prometheus is the book that inspired Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film Oppenheimer — you know, the movie that played opposite Barbie and had little pink in it. The influential biography tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s rise and fall, encompassing his incredible feats and the moral fallout of becoming the “father of the atomic bomb.”
Dart Zone Max Outlaw
Ah yes, the thrill of reloading in battle — a foam dart battle, that is. The Dart Zone Covert Ops Max Outlaw is a six-shot, revolver-style blaster that can fire half-size darts from up to 125 feet away. The kicker is its hammer-action loading mechanism, which makes it incredibly satisfying to use.
Hoto electric screwdriver
Hoto’s electric screwdriver is the perfect around-the-house tool for a frequent tinkerer or a weekend warrior building some Ikea furniture. Its simple design makes it compact enough to keep nearby for small to medium-size projects, so your giftee doesn’t have to bust out the big tools unless they need some serious torque.
Meross Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini (two-pack)
Want to add some smarts to your home without spending a fortune on a so-called “connected” appliance? Meross’ compact Wi-Fi plugs can turn traditional lamps, fans, coffee makers, and other gadgets into smart ones, so your giftee can use their voice to turn off the holiday lights at night and wake up to a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning.
Kasa Smart Plug (two-pack)
Want to add some smarts to your home without spending a fortune on a so-called “connected” appliance? Kasa’s compact smart plugs can turn traditional lamps, fans, coffee makers, and other gadgets into smart ones, so your giftee can use their voice to turn off the holiday lights at night and wake up to a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning.
Sonos Era 100
Sonos’ latest entry-level speaker puts out some big sound despite its small stature. The compact smart speaker is a great starter if you’re looking to build a multiroom Sonos setup, and since it supports both Bluetooth and line-in audio via a USB-C adapter, you can even use it to play vinyl from a turntable located across the home.
Nintendo Switch Lite (Isabelle’s Aloha Edition)
Isabelle’s Aloha Edition of the Switch Lite is quite possibly Nintendo’s most charming Switch to date, one that takes the handheld’s regular coral color and adds a decorative leaf design. The Animal Crossing theme only runs skin deep, however, as it’s still the same non-dockable console with a 5.5-inch touchscreen and built-in hardware controls as the original.
XPower A-2 electric air duster
Dust sucks. It clogs your PC’s ventilation, makes your desk space look ugly, and it gets everywhere. An electric air duster can blow off all that dust and clean things up lickety-split. XPower’s A-2 even comes with attachments to get in hard-to-reach spots. Just be sure to run a vacuum or air purifier alongside it to capture that pesky dust.
Ikea Skadis pegboard
A simple wall-mounted pegboard like Ikea’s Skadis can do wonders to keep your desk space organized and lively. It can be a utilitarian storage space for stowing tools and hobby stuff or an aesthetic decoration that lets you suspend plants, cute mini posters, and cards. The world is your oyster when you can hang some cool stuff from it.
Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp
Most phones offer a flashlight function, but we’d argue nothing beats a dedicated headlamp when you need some light for an extended period of time. Black Diamond’s rechargeable Astro 300 is a solid option that offers a commendable 300 lumens of brightness, IPX4 waterproofing, and the ability to run on AAA batteries in a pinch, so you never have to worry about keeping things charged.
What is a photo? Tee
What even is a photo anymore? That was a hotly contested question we once asked Nilay Patel and the hosts of The Vergecast, our weekly podcast series. We’re still not entirely sure we have the answer, but we do have a cotton T-shirt that immortalizes the Great Debate with some truly eye-catching graphics (no pun intended).
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones
Bose’s latest flagship headphones offer some of the best comfort and noise cancellation around, with an excellent transparency mode for when it’s time to let the outside world back in. They may have a high price, but the QuietComfort Ultra Headphones make a great gift for a frequent traveler or commuter who really enjoys their music.
TWSBI Vac700R Iris Fountain Pen
Fancy-schmancy fountain pens can get very expensive, but the special Iris edition of TWSBI’s Vac700R is a fancy-looking one that writes exceptionally well and is actually affordable. The vacuum filler-type pen has a clear design for showcasing your ink of choice, and the rainbow-colored titanium finish looks unique on every model.
Echo Show 8 (third-gen)
The latest Echo Show 8 offers a lot for a single eight-inch device. It can be a digital assistant, helping your giftee set alarms or reminders as well as a digital photo frame and video-calling device. The new model even supports Thread and Zigbee connectivity, allowing them to control nearly any smart home device in existence.
EWA The New MagOne
There are plenty of PopSockets alternatives out there, but we’ve found EWA’s The New MagOne to offer the perfect blend of form and function. It’s a relatively thin accessory with a built-in kickstand and a loop for your finger, yet it’s also compatible with Apple’s MagSafe tech so you don’t have to worry about tossing it on an iPhone charger.
The Hoptimist is part toy, part desk ornament, all kitsch. The simple, spring-loaded figurine is cast from the same plastic as Lego bricks and was created by Danish cabinetmaker Hans Gustav Ehrenreich to spread joy during the late 1960s, which is what the colorful character continues to do more than 50 years later.
8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard
8BitDo’s Retro Mechanical Keyboard blends two kinds of nostalgia: a love for the original NES and old, noisy keyboards. It’s satisfying to type on (if your environment is okay with the volume of its clicky switches), it looks fantastic, and its hot-swappable nature makes it a gateway to a larger keyboard hobby. Plus, its oversized A and B buttons are some of the coolest macro buttons we’ve ever laid eyes on.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a kitchen sink of a flagship phone. It’s got all the specs, all the cameras, and all the build quality to be expected from a high-end phone in 2023. Samsung throws just about everything into the Ultra (even a stylus), resulting in one of the biggest and best Android phones you can buy.
Graza “Sizzle” Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is a key ingredient in many a Mediterranean dish, from pasta and pesto to hummus and even salad. Graza’s “Sizzle” Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made using 100 percent single-varietal Picual olives from Spain; however, unlike most olive oils available in the US, it’s sold in a nifty squeeze bottle that makes it far more convenient to cook with.
Kindle Paperwhite (2021)
When it’s freezing outside, nothing beats a hot bath and a good book. With its IPX8 waterproofing and monthslong battery life, the latest Kindle Paperwhite makes relaxing in the tub for hours on end even more relaxing. And thanks to the e-reader’s sharp 300ppi display and adjustable backlighting, you can even dim the lights to really set the vibe.
Google Pixel Watch 2
Few Android watches can rival the Google Pixel Watch 2. The second-gen stunner offers all-day battery life and faster charging than the original model, along with better health and fitness tracking. It also features irregular heart rhythm alerts and nightly SpO2 right out the gate as well as automatic workout tracking for seven activity types.
Fender Play (annual subscription)
Have a loved one who saw the Eras Tour and is now an aspiring guitarist? Fender Play can help beginner and intermediate players build core skills and techniques through thousands of bite-size video tutorials, allowing them to learn everything from basic chord structures and theory to how to fingerpick with the best of them.
13-inch MacBook Air (2022)
It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for a college student, a working professional, or even a retired parent, Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air should appease all three. The newer M2 model is a speedy laptop with all-day battery life and perks like MagSafe charging; it’s also powerful enough to handle some light editing in Photoshop, in addition to most everyday tasks.
Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet
Did you know a woman published the first computer program back in the Victorian ages? In Broad Band, Claire Evans pays tribute to the female pioneers behind the development of the internet. She also shares their stories, painting a picture of real women with their own fair share of flaws, pain, and failures, who changed the world regardless.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
For those who long for the halcyon days of flip phones, let us introduce you to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. The 6.7-inch Android phone flips shut like many of the most memorable phones from the ‘90s, except it also includes modern touches like a dual-camera setup, IPX8 water resistance, and a 3.4-inch front cover screen.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
2023 may have been a huge year for video games, but there’s no arguing that one of the biggest (and best) to come out this year was Tears of the Kingdom. The Nintendo Switch title blends the open world of Hyrule with a unique crafting mechanic that provides an infinite number of ways to solve puzzles, fight monsters, and get from A to B.
Paperage lined journal notebooks (three-pack)
Even in a digital age, handwriting has its benefits. It adds a personal touch to letters, promotes mindfulness by slowing down our thoughts, and even helps us retain information better. Paperage’s lined leather notebooks come in multiple colors with a pocket and stickers, allowing your giftee to put pen to paper with a little style.
8BitDo Retro Receiver for PS1, PS2
Psh. Who needs a Resident Evil 4 remake when you can play the original title on the PlayStation 2 with a modern wireless controller? 8BitDo’s latest adapter allows you to connect Sony’s DualSense controller and a host of other newer gamepads with either the PS1 or PS2, giving you a more convenient way to revisit the classics.
Dash Mini Waffle Maker
Eggo waffles are overrated. Luckily, it’s not tough to whip up the Belgium classic from scratch with a single-serve waffle maker like the Dash Mini. The nonstick appliance lets you create pillowy waffles in a matter of minutes, whether you want them to come in the shape of a four-inch circle, a rabbit, a pineapple, or a variety of other adorable objects.
Topo Designs Accessory Bag
A good catchall bag can be as clutch as, well, a clutch. Topo Designs’ ultra-durable accessory bags come in three convenient sizes that make them perfect for stowing earbuds, charging cables, and a host of other small items. Plus, they’re available in an array of two-tone designs, allowing you to add a splash of color to any packing kit.
Meta Quest 3
Meta’s Quest 3 makes big strides in the comfort and performance departments, with much-improved displays and snappier performance than the Quest 2. It’s the best standalone VR headset you can buy for someone right now, and it’s capable of playing fitness games like Supernatural as well as AAA VR experiences like Resident Evil 4 and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Nexus.
D&D Starter Set: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle
We get it. There are few tabletop roleplaying games as daunting to pick up as Dungeons & Dragons. Fortunately, Dragons of Stormwreck Isle, the latest boxed starter set, provides five premade characters, a rulebook, a set of dice, and everything your giftee might need to embark on their first journey into the Forgotten Realms. Now, all they need are some adventurers to experience it with.
Case-Mate Fuel Brites USB C Charger
The transparent tech renaissance is upon us, bringing with it see-through earbuds, handhelds, and other electronics. Case-Mate’s foldable Fuel Brite is one of the more recent examples to take a cue from the vibrant iMacs and N64 controllers of the late ’90s, one that lets you charge your phone, tablet, and other gadgets via a single 30W USB-C port on the front.
REI Co-op Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt
The dream of the ’90s is alive at REI, apparently. The co-op’s handsome Wallace Lake Flannel is a hardy button-up that’s available in an assortment of retro-inspired patterns for both men and women, all of which exude lumberjack chic without ever requiring you to pick up a splitting maul and put in the work.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (three-month subscription)
Gifting someone a few months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate grants them access to hundreds of quality titles across Xbox and PC — including Starfield, the latest Forza Motorsport, and some of the biggest games of the year. There are also surprise hits like Lies of P and indie works of art like Cocoon, making it quite the curated collection of games.
Magna-Tiles Jungle Animals (25-piece set)
It’s a proven fact that everything is more fun with magnets. Don’t believe us? Just ask any four-year-old child — or any of us children at heart. Magna-Tiles’ jungle-themed set unites two things most kids love: animals and magnets. How do they work? Who knows? Nor do we think anyone is going to care when there’s a magnetic sloth this adorable involved.
Logitech G Pro X Superlight 2
Logitech’s G Pro X Superlight 2 may have a super long name, but it’s super short on heft, weighing in at just 60 grams. The newer mouse is designed for esports-level gaming performance, but its svelte looks and USB-C charging mean it can do the full-time job thing by day and land those perfect no-scopes in Counter-Strike 2 by night.
Loki: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
MCU movie fatigue may be a very real thing for many of us, but Loki remains a high point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The six-episode Disney Plus series, which stars Tom Hiddleston as the titular antihero, is quite different from the usual superhero formula thanks to its unique set design and characters — not to mention its fun time paradoxes.
Adrian the Cassette Player Squishmallow (8-inch)
Furbies might be making a comeback — or trying to, at least — but Squishmallows still reign supreme. The bulbous, wide-eyed plushies are a lot easier to come by than they were during the pandemic, yet they’re just as cute as when they first launched. Plus, there are more than 1,000 characters to choose from, from Pikachu to house plants.
AirPods Pro (second-gen) with USB-C
There’s no real competition. For iPhone owners, the AirPods Pro are easily the best wireless earbuds on the market. They boast some useful Apple-only features as a result of their deep iOS integration, including extensive Find My support along with terrific noise cancellation and sound. The latest model comes with a USB-C charging case, too, just in case the Lightning port isn’t your jam.
FunKey S retro gaming console
The FunKey is possibly the coolest, most darling handheld ever made. It’s a keychain-size console reminiscent of the Game Boy Advance SP that plays emulated retro games. Its built-in screen measures a mere 1.54 inches, so it may be more of a tinkerer’s novelty than something to play Super Mario World to completion on, but if you could, why wouldn’t you?
Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses
You could always gift a set of regular sunglasses, though we have a feeling they’d pale in comparison to the recently launched Ray-Ban Meta. The unique smart glasses don’t just protect your eyes but allow you to capture photos and video, take phone calls, and even livestream your everyday adventures directly to Facebook or Instagram.
Pokémon Carry Case Playset
Backpacks for children are universally cute, sure, but each and every one of them would be infinitely cooler if they opened into a Pokémon playset. This plastic backpack does just that, unfolding to reveal a hidden cave oasis and field for small two-inch plastic Pokémon to play or battle in.
Victrola Stream Onyx Turntable
Analog meets digital with the help of Victrola’s Stream Onyx. The two-speed, belt-driven turntable is one of the few certified for Works with Sonos, which allows you to wirelessly play vinyl records through your entire Sonos system without the need for any extra equipment. Just throw on the wax, drop the needle, and let those vintage Stevie Wonder tracks wash over you.
If you thought Nutribullets were convenient, get a load of the Cruz’s battery-powered BlenderCap. The portable, 500W USB-C blender can screw onto most wide-mouth bottles — including those from Hydro Flask, Nalgene, and Yeti — allowing you to churn ice cream, frozen fruit, and other delectable goodies while at home or on the go.
Mega Showcase Microsoft Xbox 360 Collector Building Set
The Xbox 360 was a hallmark console that ushered in a new era of HD graphics and online play. Now, you can enshrine your fondness for the 18-year-old console with this building set by Mega. The 1,342-piece model recreates the uniquely shaped console itself, its wireless gamepad, and even the physical case for Halo 3.
Framework Laptop 13
Have you ever wished you could upgrade your laptop with new internal components like a desktop PC? The 13-inch Framework Laptop has a bit of the MacBook look, but it’s configurable with either Intel or AMD chips and can be easily upgraded or changed later. You can even customize the expansion ports to your liking, freeing you from the throes of #donglelife.
Shadows in the Forest
Shadows in the Forest is a cute tabletop game you can play in the dark, a la flashlight tag. Anywhere from two to seven players can join in on this asymmetrical game, which is easy enough to play for the whole family. One player uses the lantern to search for the other players’ Shadowling characters, encouraging the group to work together.
Hark the herald EU singing, glory to the USB-C! Apple’s iPhone 15 is a collection of trickle-down upgrades from last year’s iPhone 14 Pro, but the biggest change is that it uses a USB-C port instead of Lightning. We can’t guarantee you’ll ever know peace if you’re a house fiercely divided by iOS and Android, but at least you can now all use the same chargers.
The humble buff is not the most exciting present in the world, but if your giftee is the outdoorsy type, they make for great stocking stuffers. The quick-drying neckwear can be worn in a variety of ways and offers both warmth and UV protection, which makes it incredibly handy from sea to summit.
Belkin BoostCharge Plus (10,000mAh)
Few things induce more anxiety than a phone dying when you’re nowhere near a charger. Fortunately, Belkin’s pocketable BoostCharge Plus features a 10,000mAh capacity and can provide your gadgets with up to 23W of power on the go, regardless of whether they require a USB-C charging cable or one of Apple’s proprietary Lightning connectors.
LG Ultragear 27GR95QE-B monitor
Modern OLED TVs are a feast for the eyes thanks to their exceptional color, deep black levels, and terrific viewing angles. And now, thanks to the LG’s newer 27GR95QE-B, you can get all of that in a reasonably sized monitor with fast 240Hz refresh that keeps up with speedy, twitch-response games.
Keith Haring Colorful Chess Set
When a board game has been around for as long as chess, style updates aren’t just inevitable, they’re welcome. MoMA’s gorgeous Keith Haring-inspired set features colorful humans, barking dogs, and other iconographic pieces adapted from some of the artist’s most famous works, all lacquered and offset by Haring’s trademark black outlines.
Gaia GPS Premium (annual subscription)
Gaia offers some of the best topo maps available, though you won’t be able to take advantage of them as easily in the backcountry without paying. A Gaia GPS Premium subscription lets you create routes and record your various outdoor activities in a similar fashion as the free version, except you’ll also be able to download them all for offline use.
Slice Safety Cutter
Here at The Verge, the Slice Safety Cutter is one of those “TikTok made me buy it” gadgets. The tiny, finger-friendly ceramic blade is great for tearing through paper packaging tape and cutting plastic wrapping, and it comes with a built-in magnet and key ring hole for easy storage when it’s not in use.