Wondering what to buy your loved ones this holiday season? Me too, but to help get the ideas flowing, I created a list of products that I’ve used, personally own or still want. To help, I broke them down into various price points, providing ideas for all sorts of budgets. Here’s what I think you should pick up.
Money is no object
I had a chance to test drive the Volvo S90 earlier this year. It’s the perfect mix of high-tech and luxury, with a quick pickup, an incredibly comfortable cabin, autopilot features, first-class safety and gorgeous Thor headlights. It’s the second car developed by Volvo, following the XC90, with an “all new” design, and that means everything has been completely tweaked.
You’ll find a large touchscreen display inside for accessing maps, music, apps and even syncing up with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The seats will hug your kidneys and support your back, leaving you feeling refreshed after long trips. Even the speakers are made to sound like you’re sitting in a symphony hall.
If I could buy any reasonable car right now, the S90 would be it.
Gift under $2,000
I’ve been using a Surface Book for the past few weeks and it is, by far, my favorite computer of the past several years. Sure, the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is out, but this has a full touchscreen display, Windows 10 Anniversary, support for the Microsoft Pen and a stunning metal design. It’s my current go-to machine for road trips, since it gives me the power I need for work (including an SD card slot) in addition to good battery life and a sharp display.
When I’m ready to kick back, I can detach the screen and put it in a movie-viewing mode. It also doubles as a tablet, in case you want to leave the keyboard behind. A $2,000 budget is enough to get you a Core i5 model with a 256GB hard drive and 8GB of RAM and a dedicated GPU.
Gift under $500
Bose QC35 headphones
These are my go-to headphones for travel. They offer incredible battery life–more than enough to last an entire flight–and Bluetooth connectivity with up to two devices at once. That means I can easily switch between audio on my computer and my smartphone.
They fold up into an included protective case, which is great for travel and stowing in a bag. But most importantly, they offer excellent active noise cancellation, which means you won’t hear crying babies or the plane’s loud engines as you doze off mid-flight.
Gifts under $250
Marlondo Leather Simple Briefcase
I stumbled across Marlondo Leather by chance while looking for a new leather bag. It’s a fantastic company with great service, but more importantly, the bags are awesome. I have a couple, but the Marlondo Simple Briefcase is the more affordable of the two, priced just a hair under $200.
It’s lightweight and provides enough space for a laptop, a newspaper and some cables. It’s my go-to bag for most meetings. It’s rugged, too, with nickel-plated brass hardware and a thick strap. Protip: You can find slightly scratched bags on the site that are nearly perfect and save some good dough.
This one is just a hair above the $250 budget, at $289.99, but it’s such a great product I had to include it. Plus, Amazon typically has some pretty good sales around the holidays, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it drop below that price.
In any case, it’s the best eReader on the market with an incredibly slim design, a leather case that doubles as an added battery, even backlighting and sharp text. I’ve cruised through plenty of books on the Kindle Oasis, I promise you’ll love it.
Gifts under $100
Logitech MX Master
This is a gift I actually don’t yet own. It’s the defacto Bluetooth mouse, though, often loved for its comfort, good battery life and beautiful design. Mice can be boring, but this one has that rare ability to add a lick of luxury to any desk, and anyone who sees it will know you take comfort seriously. You’ll get good battery life, accuracy that’s good enough for photo editing and gaming, and the ability to track anywhere, even on glass.
I’m a huge Roku fan. I own a few Roku-enabled TVs, a Roku Express stick and the Roku 2. The Roku Premiere+ is next on my list, though I don’t yet have a 4K TV.
Still, as we noted in our review, the interface is snappy thanks to the beefy processor, it supports HDR video, has a point-anywhere remote with a headphone jack and more. Plus, Roku’s software always helps you find the cheapest way to watch content. Gotta love it.
Gifts under $50
Moleskine notebooks have been famous in writing circles for years, thanks to their size, elastic strap and durability. You can get cheaper notebooks with a similar design, sure, but I always prefer the way my pen glides across the paper of a Moleskine.
Plus, the company sells some really cool designs from time to time. There’s currently a limited edition Thelonious Monk Blue Note Moleskine for sale, but previous exclsuives have included everything from Marvel to Pac-man and The Beatles.
All-new Echo Dot
I purchased the Amazon Echo when it first came out and have since added the Echo Dot and all-new Echo Dot. The all-new model is much cheaper than the other options but performs admirably well.
It still has its own speaker and Alexa listens just as well as she does on the Echo, which costs about three times as much. Use it for controlling your smart home, checking the weather, playing the latest podcast or jamming out to Spotify. The Echo Dot rules.