Let’s face it: Sometimes finding gifts for your favorite people can be a head-scratcher. But for those of you who drew the coder for this year’s Secret Santa, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled some of the best gifts that any coder probably might like, if they’re in the holiday spirit.
Scroogled Gear: For those who are against Google, Microsoft has launched a campaign called Scroogled. They are selling shirts, coffee mugs, hats, etc. with sayings like “Keep Calm while We Steal Your Data.”
Tablet Socks: Bundle your tablet up for the winter with these cute knitted tablet socks from Denmark, made from 100% Egyptian cotton. For the user who wants their tablet to feel festive too, in a soft, snuggly sleeve of tiny… well they kind of look like Pac-Man ghosts.
Minecraft Light-Up Torch: Who needs a flashlight when you can illuminate dark corridors with an authentic Minecraft wall torch? You don’t even have to dig for the wood and charcoal to make it. Don’t actually try to light it though; it runs on AAAs.
8-Bit LED Holiday Wreath: Deck the halls in old-school gaming icons. Light up your house with a gloriously pixelated array of Super Nintendo controllers, 1-Up mushrooms, Pac-Man fruit, Tetris blocks and more. Evergreen and holly ain’t got nothin’ on this.
Oculus Rift: Okay, so maybe only the developer kit is currently available to order, but an IOU to preorder the groundbreaking virtual reality headset is by far one of the best gifts to get a coder this holiday season. It’s 360 degrees of pure, immersive awesome.
The Hollow-Core Connect IT Tablet Desk: This gadget-charging compartmental desk is a marvel of modern ergonomics. It has charging compartments for tablets, phones and laptops, plus USB, phone and Internet ports. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, this workstation takes the term “plugged in” to a whole new level.
Google Chromecast: A streaming dongle that leaves cheap video adapters and HDMI cables in the dust. This device is gaining more apps and compatibility by the day, with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and HBO GO already supported. It’s a bargain at only $35.
iPad Foosball Table: Foosball is the best table game there is. There is no debate. Now, with a tablet app and attachable handles, it’s portable too. The box comes with eight functional two-axis control bars, a USB charging and sync cable, a realistic gaming table with folding legs, and optional adhesive pads to secure the iPad when the game gets intense. Not to mention instant replay to humiliate the gift recipient with that last goal you scored. It’s the holiday gift that keeps on giving.
Binary Watch: A watch worthy of your high-tech world. The Samui Moon Binary watch displays time using binary code. Its steel band features the base-2 number system used by computers.
Simple Coder Tee: A simple t-shirt that only those who code will get. Who can’t use a comfortable tee under $30 that is sure to start up some conversation?
BeeWi Smart Toys: BeeWi, a European connected smart toy company, is making its Bluetooth-connected car, helicopter and robot toys purchasable in the U.S. this holiday season. These smart toys ship standard with iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 apps, so you can control mini robots, steer mini cars and fly mini helicopters from the comfort of your smartphone.
Realm of Racket: Programming for a living can wear out your brain. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise it on the weekends with simple programming tasks. Instead of working in your native language, however, spend your off time working in a language that isn’t useful, as Zedd Shaw recommended. Not to say that Racket isn’t useful, but if your day job is in Java, it might be a nice departure to learn a simple, fun language you’ll never have to use for work.
Mad Catz R.A.T. or M.O.U.S. Gaming Mice: You know that developer on your list addicted to first-person shooters and League of Legends? Their mouse is their tool, their weapon, the bat for their eSports Babe Ruth. So don’t mess around when it comes to getting them a gaming accessory. Mad Catz’s gaming mice are formidable-looking rodentia, capable of disarming a bad guy at 300 virtual yards with the flick of a wrist.
Bitcoin: Instead of buying your nephews, nieces or grandchildren bonds, get with the here-and-now and buy them the world’s most volatile currency! As Bitcoin is backed by math, it should appeal to the engineer in you to ponder the potential savings your family members could garner from stashing away a single Bitcoin. And because Bitcoin is a mathematical currency, you can actually buy a Bitcoin, then print it out on a piece of paper to keep it from being vulnerable to online theft.
nVidia Shield: Instead of laying out your hard earned currency to buy someone in your family the hottest new gaming console (for which there will be precisely four games available as you read this), why not buy that geeky loved one an nVidia Shield, the portable gaming console based on Android? With a built-in real console-style controller, this is a serious gaming machine, and with some tweaking, you can make it emulate any old game console you please.