Your Best 2012 Holiday Tech Gifts!

by on November 19, 2012 · 42 comments

The holiday season is upon us, dear readers! That’s right, it’s time once again for the annual Wonder of Tech Holiday Gift List. In a tradition that dates back to 2011, I compile the most fun and functional tech gifts for your loved ones. Whether your budget is tiny or unlimited, you’re sure to find a tech gift that’s perfect for techies and non-techies alike!

Cordies

It’s a rule of tech that the more devices you have, the more cords you have. Keeping them them getting tangled can be a challenge, but a nifty invention called Cordies can solve that problem.

Cordies can keep your charge cords, headphone cords and USB cords from becoming a knotted mess on your desk. Available in pink, white, blue and charcoal, these handy holders don’t take up much space as they keep you organized.

Cordies are available from Quirky for $9.99.

Pi Mount

Shaped like the Greek letter Π, this mount will keep your mobile device off of the floor or kitchen counter as you are charging it. The Pi Mount snaps onto a square plug (not included) and then cradles your phone above the plug to (hopefully) protect it from danger.

The official name of the product implies that it can only be used for the iPhone 4S, but I have two of these mounts and have used them for Android, Windows Phone 8, Kindle Fire, iPod Touch and other mobile devices as well as my iPhone 4S. The opening is about 5/8″ or 14.9mm wide so you can nestle your phone in the Pi Mount even if you keep it in a case.

The Pi Mount Cell Phone Holder for Apple iPhone 4S is available from Wireless Emporium for $12.99.

Domain Names

Give your friends and family a domain name with their personal names. They may not need it now, but someday they may be very grateful to you for securing theirname.com. Your kids might use their domain name for a school project, for a fun website, or to direct to their Facebook or Tumblr page. If they ever start a business, having a domain name with their name may make searching for them much easier. Someday when they are in the job market, they can direct their domain name to their LinkedIn account.

Domain names start at $15 per year from Hover.com.

Like and Dislike Stamps

For Facebook fans, check out Like and Dislike stamps to express your feelings in real life. If you ever wish you could vote thumbs up or thumbs down when you’re not on Facebook, these stamps may come in very handy.

You may get so spoiled by these stamps that you’ll crave a Dislike button on Facebook even more than you do already.

The Like and Dislike stamps come as a pair for $15.89 from Firebox.

Revive Solar External Battery Pack

Charging electronic devices took on new importance with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy last month. Whether you’re on a camping trip or waiting for power to be restored, you can use this solar charger to juice up your devices. The Revive Solar External Battery Pack can be charged by the sun or by plugging it into an electrical outlet.

This battery pack has a USB port and can charge your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android device, Kindle and other devices. It’s about the size of an iPhone so you can take it with you wherever you think you’ll need a charge.

The Revive Solar External Battery Pack is available from Amazon for $27.99.

Toast Hand Warmers

If the person who controls the thermostat in your office likes to keep your temperatures bit frosty, check out these handy hand warmers. Although this toast cannot be considered tasty, it can keep your digits toasty warm as you try to type.

Toasty Hand Warmers

Much more useful than actual slices of toasted bread, these hand warmers plug into any USB port and have controllers so you can adjust the heat to your hands. USB Toast Hand Warmers are available for $31.99 from ThinkGeek.

iCade Mini

If you want to turn your iPhone into an arcade gaming machine, check out the iCade Mini. This accessory works with the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, as well as the iPod Touch 4th generation. The iCade works with over 150 iCade-approved games in the iTunes App Store.

The iCade Mini is available for $49.99 from ThinkGeek.

Makey Makey

The Makey Makey may be the coolest tech ever invented. This invention kit turns any object into a keyboard, mouse or video game controller. You have to watch this video to see it in action:

No coding is required. If you can attach a clip to an object and plug a cord into a USB port, you can turn ordinary objects into keys. I have a Makey Makey and will be doing a full review in the future, but if you’re looking for a unique gift for a budding inventor, check out the Makey Makey.

The Mackey Mackey is $49.99 from ThinkGeek.

One Direction Zappar Boxed Set

If you have tweens on your holiday shopping list, check out the One Direction Zappar Boxed Set, including a CD, picture book stickers, a T-shirt and wristband. Zappar technology makes the picture book come to life. Using the free Zappar app, One Direction fans, a/k/a Directioners, can play their favorite songs and see exclusive videos in the book.

The One Direction Zappar Boxed Set is available for $59.99 from the One Direction Official Store.

Bluetooth Gloves

If you want to keep your hands warm in the winter while talking on the phone, check out these Bluetooth gloves. These gloves have a speaker in the thumb and a microphone in the little finger, and sync with any Bluetooth-enabled phone (it doesn’t have to be a smartphone) to turn your hand into a telephone receiver.

These gloves give a new meaning to “talk to the hand.” Guaranteed to be a conversation starter, these Bluetooth gloves are available for pre-order from Firebox for $79.39 for delivery in 2013.

Xbox 360 with Kinect/Dance Central 3

If your family likes to have fun, check out Xbox 360 with Kinect. This video game console is unlike any other in that it uses your body as the controller, getting you up off of the couch so you’re exercising as you play.

We first discovered Kinect when my 16 year old daughter and I saw a display outside a Microsoft store in our local mall. The next thing we knew, we were dancing to “Moves Like Jagger” in the game Dance Central 3 in the middle of the mall. We were having so much fun that my daughter neglected to notice that she was dancing in the middle of a shopping mall with her mother.


Since we brought it home, we’ve used the Kinect with friends and family from ages 8 to 85. Fun has been had by all as we play, dance and giggle. Is there a better way to exercise?

For a full review of Dance Central 3, check out Dance Central 3 Review for the Xbox 360 Kinect at Dragon Blogger. Included in the review by Mitra Faridian is a video of her demonstrating her dance moves, which makes her almost as brave as my teenage daughter, who has been known to dance with her mother in the middle of a shopping mall.

Xbox 360 with Kinect starts at $269.00, Dance Central 3 is $49.96, both from Amazon.

Lytro Camera

The Lytro camera breaks the mold of traditional cameras by letting you change focus and perspective after the pictures are taken. This unconventional camera analyzes the data of light to allow the viewer to manipulate 3D pictures from different angles.

Move your cursor over the image to see how the focus and perspective change.

More sample images can be found in the Lytro Gallery.

The camera design is equally unique, looking more like a kaleidoscope than a camera.

The Lytro camera comes in seven colors and is available for $399 for 8 GB and $499 for 16 GB from Target.

Flying Car

If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic, well then you’ve fantasized about a flying car.  Good news, your dreams have come true.

The Flying Car has been invented by MIT students who must have been stuck in traffic at some point in their lives. This street-legal car converts to an airplane within seconds, allowing you to drive to an airport and fly away in the same vehicle.

This year put Flying Car on your wish list and forget worrying about traffic. Flying Car is available from Hammacher Schlemmer for $350,000. Yes, it’s expensive, but think of how much money you’ll save on airport parking!

Pilot’s License not included.

Bottom Line

You don’t have to be a techie to want tech gifts for the holidays.

Did you discover any tech gifts you’ll be putting on your wish list? Which tech gifts are you giving this holiday season? Have you ever wanted a flying car? Let us know in the Comments section below!

*Gift image by Vincent van der Pas

** Lytro Camera image by Greg Tokarki

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jayme Soulati November 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

What no comments to this amazing round up? I score! You are one #RockHot woman, Carolyn! Love you and love what you do!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hi Jayme, Lol, yes, you are first to comment today. I am sure someone will comment about their favorite tech gift so loved ones can know what to get them!

Thanks for stopping by and being first to comment, Jayme!
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Adrienne
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

OMG Carolyn, these are awesome! Yeah, even I loved them.

People could have a blast with that like and dislike stamp. You know, for putting it on the back of your bills when you pay them and yes. For those of us who don’t pay everything online. lol…

That Makey Makey is just genius. I swear, people are just too darn smart these days aren’t they! That’s just brilliant on their part.

As always, Carolyn to the rescue with some of the coolest tech gifts out there. Thank you Carolyn!!!

~Adrienne
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Hi Adrienne, Great idea to use the Like and Dislike stamps for paying bills. You could even use them when you pay your taxes and put Like on your tax return!

Yes, the Makey Makey is so very cool. I love all the ways they use it in the video. I need to come up with some clever ways to use it for my review!
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CarolB
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Ohhh I want several of these – think somebody might give me the flying car?

Yes, tech on both my boys’ list, as well as mine. iPods, iPads are the highest “wants” here. However, after reading your post, I now have several more items to add to my list.
Thanks for sharing – you gave me some great ideas that I don’t think I would have found otherwise.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hi Carol, Yes, many tech gift lists include tablets, iPods, Kindles, etc. but I wanted to showcase some cool tech gifts you might not discover elsewhere.

I hope you get everything on your wish list, including the flying car, Carol!
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Harleena Singh
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Awesome Carolyn!

This is such a wonderful collection of tech gifts anyone would value and treasure for these holiday season, and in fact all year through. :-)

I am just bookmarking it to forward it to my daughters and a few tech friends, who would appreciate and perhaps love these as much as I do too. I think the Makey Makey is wonderful and so is the Cordie, simple and something all of us need all the time. Ah…and if someone can afford that Flying car, what a treat for them!

Thanks for sharing this treasure with all of us. :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Hi Harleena, yes, even people who aren’t techies need to keep cords straight these days. And the Makey Makey is great as a tool or a toy. I look forward to hearing about Wonder of Tech readers flying around the globe in their cars! :-bd
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Hajra
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I absolutely love this article! The cordies are the best. I am writing this while I see a tangled mess of laptop charger, mobile charger, headsets and many more wires I don’t recognize!

Though I think most of us can take brilliant ideas from here – every body loves a tech gift!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Thank you, Hajra. This may be the most fun I have writing an article each year. I get to shop for tech, then write about it. My ultimate fun!

You’re right, Hajra, everybody loves a tech gift. In fact, I found so many great tech gifts that I have my Valentine’s Day tech gift article half-way done.
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Donna Merrill November 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Hi Carolyn,

What fun! I have purchased the blue tooth gloves for my daughter and she loves them. I must say that those Like and Dislike Stamps are something I would love to carry around with me and stamp on people’s foreheads he he he! I always think that in real life “if only I had a delete button or a dislike button for that person standing in front of me on line.”

I could just imagine some of my friends using those hand warmers at the office. The other gifts are great.

Thanks for the suggested shopping gifts. I have a few in mind for the older kids.

Donna
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Hi Donna, That’s cool your daughter has the Bluetooth gloves. I think those are so cool that I would be disappointed when the weather got warm.

Those toast hand warmers look great. Some offices and homes are quite chilly so these warmers could make life a lot more comfortable.

I love your idea of stamping people’s foreheads. Imagine how proud they would be to go around town with a Like stamp on their foreheads. It’s like having an official Donna Merrill Seal of Approval! :-bd
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Jerry November 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

What is that 85 year old geezer doing trying to dance? It looks like fun.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Hi Jerry, Well, that 85 year old is no geezer. He demonstrated how he earned his nickname “Twinkle Toes”! (*)
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Krishna Parmar November 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Nice article you have posted here, just loved it! And I liked the concept the of Flying cars very much, thinking if its really possible or its just like for fun :-)

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Hi Krishna, the flying car is very real. It is for sale from a famous retailer here in the US. I don’t know how many they will sell, but it’s very cool tech!

Praveen Rajarao November 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

hahaha….Talk to the hand…i loved that…also the list is very impressive, just like every year :-) you always come up with the latest and the best.

The Pi Mount and Cordies seem to be of interest to me, i should really think of clearing up some mess on my table with those.

Thanks for sharing.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hi Praveen, yes, I have the Pi Mount to stay organized and to get the devices off of the kitchen counter. One spill and we could wipe out a couple of phones. Now we don’t have to worry about spills, at least for our phones!
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Sylviane Nuccio November 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Carol,

Some cool gifts here. I was not aware that there was a flying car except in an old French comic movie that I’ve seen a few times.

I kinda like this strange looking camera and what it does and the cordies. Simple but great idea to keep all those cords in nice order.

Thanks for your list and will share :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Hi Sylviane, I was just able to embed a sample Lytro camera image so you can see how the image works. This is such amazing technology that I marvel at what can be done with that camera.

I agree, the flying car seems like fiction. The future seems closer than ever!
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Manickam Vijayabanu November 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Thanks Carolyn.

Nice collection of tech geek stuffs. I like Bluetooth Gloves and Pi mount. Gloves concept looks cool and should be useful for this winter. Also the pi mount price looks attractive and useful tool as well.

Thanks for sharing the info.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Hi Manickam, Yes, I like those Bluetooth gloves as well. If you’re going to keep your hands warm in the winter, why not be able to use the gloves as a telephone receiver?

I have two of the Pi Mounts and find they’re very handy to keep our family phones off of the kitchen counter and away from spills.
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
November 20, 2012 at 2:22 am

Wow, you certainly find the right tech gifts. I am planning shopping some tech gifts this year, and especially the iPad mini for my wife, but I am thinking about some for my kids as well. I might buy a Nintendo 3DS (not sure what it’s called, but I believe it’s similar to that name).

Now, I might have to buy the like/dislike stamps for myself :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Hi Jens, I’m sure your wife will be thrilled with her iPad Mini. And I’m sure those Like and Dislike stamps will come in very handy for you.

The Nintendo 3DS review was the first guest post I had at The Wonder of Tech when I first started this blog: http://www.wonderoftech.com/nintendo-3ds-davids-review/

I don’t know if the Kinect is sold in Norway, but if it is, you should definitely take a look at it. That is so much fun for everyone in the family!
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Theodore Nwangene November 20, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hi Carolyn,
I love the line-up, what a tremendous put up. I love the flying car and the idea of the branded domain name.

You rock dear, keep it up.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Hi Theodore, Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot coming from you! I hope you get everything on your tech wish list this holiday season. :-)
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Sneha November 21, 2012 at 5:15 am

Hi Carolyn,

Amazing list..!!!

I liked them all but the toast warmers are really very cute. I am definitely gonna have them soon.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Hi Sneha, Yes, those toast warmers are adorable and functional too! Each hand temperature is individually controlled so that you can maximize your comfort.

Enjoy your toast, Sneha!
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Carol Lynn
Twitter:
November 21, 2012 at 11:49 am

Flying car? Yes, please! I can only imagine the mess that would make of the neighborhood :-)

This is a great roundup and a really fun list for people looking to find some unique holiday gifts. The Makey Makey cracked me up. I imagine you could be very creative with that. Love the cat one. I can imagine that being a great gift for a techy kid and maybe a nightmare for their parents, lol… honey, why is there playdo in the keyboard???

And if someone wants to drop that phone charger in my stocking, I won’t complain…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Hi Carol, Yes, that flying car is very cool, but I think you are supposed to take off and land at an airport. There is a video on YouTube of the car driving around neighborhoods, but the video is pretty boring because the driver drives around neighborhoods for a very, very long time.

Wow, that’s a great idea. I imagine you could trick people with the Makey Makey. You could turn something into a key and people would think they’re just touching an object. The next thing they know, something could happen, like a video could play with their names.

That phone charger looks very handy. I wouldn’t mind finding that in my stocking either! The price is very reasonable. Kim Castleberry was the one who told me about that charger.
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Mayura
Twitter:
November 22, 2012 at 4:48 am

Hi Carolyn,

Nice collection dear :-) Like and dislike stamps are cool… It’s wonderful to see how companies being innovative with technology ;-) Especially Flying Car, Solar Battery Pack and Bluetooth Gloves…

I’ve been dreaming of flying cars ;-) lol… But now it’s true…

Cheers…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi Mayura, Yes, it certainly seems as if the the future is here. I wonder when we will see the first flying car being driven on the roads. Perhaps when the price comes down. Maybe in the future everyone will have a flying car and we will have to explain to our grandchildren about the olden days when cars didn’t fly?
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Mayura
Twitter:
November 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

Absolutely dear ;-) I can imagine it RIGHT NOW… But for that, everyone needs to know how to fly a car (Not limited to aricrafts, right?). I think there will be a set of rules and safety measures too.

No need of costy flight arrangements to fly around the World ;-) That’d be awesome.

Cheers…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

You’re right, Mayura, these are really airplanes that you can drive. You still need both a pilot’s license and a driver’s license. You need to follow rules in the air as well as on the road. But I still think it’s a very cool invention! :-bd
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Mike Maynard
Twitter:
November 24, 2012 at 8:12 am

Hi Carolyn,

The Lytro camera looks weird. The flying car would suit me, I hate traffic jams, but don’t like heights either. I have gel hand warmers. I used one the other day when my fingers were going numb out in Moorcroft Wood. I like the like and dislike stamps; I could stamp dislike on Firebox! Imagine doing your mail with those. Mine would be all dislikes, except for the 10% voucher I received this morning.

I used a picture from your Flickr stream that I edited a lot for today’s blog. I think it’s a little artistic!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 24, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hi Mike, Yes, the Lytro camera looks weird but what do you think of the pictures? Aren’t they cool? Manipulating the pictures after they are taken is amazing, in my own humble opinion. :-)
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Josh November 26, 2012 at 3:28 am

Hi Carolyn,

I am saving up for the flying car. It looks like a great way to avoid traffic and lord knows we have plenty of it here. ;-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Hi Josh, That’s great you’re saving up for the flying car. When you get one, be sure to share a picture of you in it, either in the air or on the road! :-bd
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James November 27, 2012 at 12:53 am

Thanks for detailing all the tech gadgets that can be gifted.I was quite amazed to read about the bluetooth gloves and i was not aware of such a gadget.I don’t know whether i will gift it or not but i will surely buy the gloves for me soon.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hi James, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, those Bluetooth gloves are very cool. I can imagine liking these so much that I would dread the warm weather when I couldn’t use them any more. I hope you enjoy your gloves, James!
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erwin December 3, 2012 at 3:38 am

For my holiday gift I really want to get a set of Xbox. The others don’t concern me too much. Overall they are the best gits that you can give to someone you care.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Hi Erwin, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You’re right, the best gift of all is showing that you care. :-)
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