As with most things in my life, my taste in the items I love is eclectic. My interests are widely varied, and of course my list reflects that.
From technology to movies, I can love the simple things such as a smart outlet to a TV I can only dream of owning. Most of what is on this list I own or use (minus that blasted TV), and are things that I feel improve life in some small way, or simply put a smile on my face.
Money is No Object
Samsung UN88KS9810 Curved 88-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV
Go big or go home is my motto. If you’re going to jump into a new TV. And if someone wants a curved TV with 4K SUHD support, than this 88-inch monster from Samsung is the way to go.
As with all technologies, the price will come down for similar sets in the coming years, but it always costs more when you want to be cutting edge.
Gifts Under $2,000
$729 to $1129
I won’t deny that when the iPad Pro was first announced I thought it sounded a bit silly. Then after I had a chance to use it, I was hooked.
For years I was never seen without a notepad in my shoulder bag. The problem with them was going back and finding notes if you had a follow-up briefing. Now I have them all categorized, easy to find and I’m up and running at the drop of a hat. Add in the stunning screen and every app, movie or game looks fantastic. Yes, they’re expensive, but I have a difficult time going back to a normal iPad after even a bit of time.
Gifts Under $500
Bose QuietComfort 25
When it comes to audio equipment, I tend to stay out of the fray. It’s a quick way to start an argument as everyone has their favorite brand for different reasons. For me, it’s Bose.
Say what you will, but I love my QuietComfort 25 headset, and it goes with me everywhere. The built-in microphone is also fairly impressive and has allowed me to appear on multiple radio shows even in the noisy conditions of the CES show floor without issue.
From the physcial comfort to the noise cancelling technology, anyone who receives these as a gift will be quite happy.
Gifts Under $250
Blue Raspberry Microphone
If you need to podcast while on the go, or just want a better quality microphone for your video calls halfway across the world, the Raspberry from Blu Microphones makes a great traveling companion.
Built-in mics, no matter what the device, tend to be tinny and not very robust in their quality. A small mic you can easily add to your travel gear is an excellent gift for anyone no matter what their line of work.
Roku has launched another top of the line device, and it’s another hit.
For anyone that doesn’t have a streaming device yet, or they take their Netflix streaming very seriously, the Roku Ultra is going to be a favorite this holiday season. If you want to go slightly cheaper – and still get a great device – the Roku Premiere+ is just $99 and it only misses out really on the digital optical audio port for soundbars.
With either of these devices, the recipient of the gift will be getting a great device.
Gifts Under $100
It might seem odd to give a membership as a gift to a service that allows people to get things they purchase that much faster, but there is so much more to Prime.
Not only will they get free two-day shipping, but they will also get access to over 1 million free songs to stream, movie and TV show streaming, unlimited photo storage and free books they can “borrow” from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The service is so much more about shipping now, and it actually can be a useful service to just about anyone.
The unlimited two-day shipping doesn’t hurt, of course.
Lone Wolf and Cub (The Criterion Collection)
Consisting of six films, the Lone Wolf and Cub series is just pure enjoyment. It has had many releases in the West over the years and you may know it as Shogun Assassin or Baby Cart Assassin, but trust me, you have no idea how good it is until you see the original.
Here’s the official synopsis from Criterion.
The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and a seemingly infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child.
True. Every word of it. While the list price is almost $100, you can easily find it for $80, and anyone you give it to will love you for it.
Gifts Under $50
All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation)
The Echo is an amazing device, and the All-New Echo Dot just puts it in an upgraded, compact design that lets you easily use it anywhere in your home.
From music to controlling smart devices, the Echo easily integrates into your life in a number of different ways, and once it does, you don’t like the idea of not having it around. After I ended up using it extensively in my home, I bought one for my office. The biggest draw back to having an Echo? They become addictive to use, and any one you gift one of them to will probably feel the same.
TP-LINK Smart Plug
Did you just buy someone the Echo Dot? Did someone buy one for you? Why not pick up a TP-LINK Smart Plug for whomever has an Echo and let them extend the capabilities of their new digital assistant that much more. There is something oddly satisfying about saying “Alexa, turn tree on,” and seeing your Christmas tree come to life.
It’s a First World device to be sure, but having the ability to turn outlets in hard to reach places on and off with just your voice is a pleasure.