Purchasing gifts for a loved one is often difficult, especially when expectations are high. So, gentlemen - if you’re struggling to find the perfect present for a significant other, please let me share a story about one of my most “memorable” gifts.
Back in 2001, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I had our 1st real Christmas together. Although it was technically our second time celebrating the holiday, I didn’t really count the first. Since we had only started dating weeks beforehand, I didn’t anticipate much. But after a whole year together, I was curious to see how well he knew me. Apparently not as well as I had hoped.
To be fair, I did receive two gifts that day. The first was a beautiful green necklace. (Thankfully, it did not come attached to a Benny Bear.) And while I appreciated the tasteful choice in jewelry, the item was unfortunately not the thing I remember most about that December 25. It was a completely random selection still waiting in the wings: the ice crusher.
An ice crusher that my boyfriend/husband saw in Pottery Barn and thought was “cool” and “very pretty.” (Granted - the Metrokane Ice-O-Matic did have a nice art deco design.) An ice crusher I didn’t know I needed. An ice crusher my husband’s coworker told him NOT to buy. (She said it wasn’t exactly a “romantic” choice.) An ice crusher that said “crush my heart” and “ice queen” all at the same time. An ice crusher that up until last night (when I reminded my spouse of its existence), hadn’t seen the light of day in years.
So in case you missed the lessons from my cautionary tale, let me list them out for you:
- “Pretty” things don’t necessarily make good gifts.
- Don’t ever buy your loved one something YOU want.
- Products that require manual labor should never be given, unless it’s something they requested.
- If you ask another woman for a second opinion, please heed her advice.
- Read our Holiday Gift Guide, and let us help you.
Sure, Netflix has come to the Xbox 360, but if you want streaming access to the Netflix service and don’t own a game console, this is your cheapest barrier to entry. Definitely a great gift for movie buffs, the Roku Netflix player is able to stream over 12,000 movies and television shows from the Netflix Watch Instantly catalogue. The set-top box currently outputs at 480p (DVD quality), but we know that high definition streaming is on the way. The box is tiny, so it takes up barely any space, and setup takes just a couple of minutes - very simple. Of course, a Netflix subscription is required, but once you have that, everything else is a piece of cake.
Read More | Roku
Yeah, we know, the Time Capsule is a router and backup device. Not that exciting, right? Well, not all gifts are meant to spur excitement - this one is practical and functional. If you know someone who owns a Mac, and doesn’t take advantage of Time Machine, then they need a Time Capsule - especially if they use a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The Time Machine sports either a 500GB or 1TB hard drive, and is a combination wired/wireless network attached storage device. Even better, it doubles as an 802.11n/g router as well. The 500GB Time Capsule sells for $299, while the 1TB version will run you $499.
Read More | Apple Time Capsule
We’ve been messing with our T-Mobile G1 for a few days now, in preparation for a full review, but we are confident enough in the device to list it here in our Holiday Gift Guide. The T-Mobile G1 is the first phone on the market that features Google’s Android OS. Along with the Google love, the G1 features 3G speeds, a physical QWERTY keyboard, and a 3 megapixel camera. The software itself features all the goodness you’d expect from Google, meaning integration with Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and Google Maps with the super-cool Street View Compass mode. There’s also a store that allows you to download apps, games, and the like. If you want to get someone a smartphone, and they are on T-Mobile, this is the one to get. You can pick it up from T-Mobile for $179.
Read More | T-Mobile G1
If you want to pick up a camera for your loved one that is as much a fashion statement as it is a photography device, you’ve gotta consider the fashionista-friendly Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T700. It’s not all about the looks, though, because this camera packs in a bunch of features. Like what? How about anti-blink and Smile Shutter technology? It also features a 3.5-inch ultra-high resolution touchscreen display, shoots at up to 10.1 megapixels, and includes 4GB of internal memory. It also includes the Picture Motion Browser software package, but seriously, who’s gonna use that? The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T700 retails for $399.99, but on Amazon we were able to find substantial discounts, depending on which color you were interested in:
- Grey DSC-T700 for $339.99
- Pink DSC-T700 for $366.47
- Silver DSC-T700 for $375.64
- Red DSC-T700 for $375.64
There’s also a gold version, but we didn’t include that one since there was no discount available on it. Definitely a good gift for the woman in your life.
If you got a do-it-yourselfer who is also into photography, we think we’ve found something that you might want to get them for the holidays. The Unibind Photobook Creator features about twelve new holiday-themed covers for their photo-binding system, each available for between $4-8 each. The actual Unibind System itself allows one to create a nice hardcover photo book, and includes layout software, a thermal binding machine, and a 3mm linen hardcover, with windowed front. The finished product looks nice and professional.
Read More | Photobook Creator
If you are looking for a great gift for the coffee fan in your life that isn’t terribly expensive, you should consider the Hamilton Beach Ensemble 12-Cup. This is a product that might make even those who have switched to lattes give drip coffee another look. Don’t let the shiny exterior and low price fool you - the Ensemble 12-Cup hits you with rich, smooth brew. It it also compatible with an optional water filter, which costs $10, for those who want to make sure their water is clean. It’s available in both black and red. These retail for $49.99, but you can find them cheaper by shopping around.
Read More | Hamilton Beach Ensemble on Amazon
Many were anticipating that the short and stubby iPod nano would be a disappointment when the rumors of the device were running rampant. Once Steve Jobs introduced it, all fears were quelled. Just get one into your hands, and you will no longer be a skeptic. The 2-inch screen obviously isn’t the best for watching full-length movies, but for music videos and the like, it’s worthy. If you are all about the audio, the nano holds up to 8 GB worth of data. It’s thin (0.3 inches), the screen is fantastic, and the battery lasts for 26 hours. Just stay away from Cover Flow on this one - it’s sluggish.
Read More | Apple iPod nano
Dyson promises that it’s DC17 Animal will never tip over, thanks to it’s low center of gravity. Of course, that isn’t all that this powerhouse of a vacuum boasts, as this beast is said to offer the most powerful suction on the vacuum cleaner market. Debris is sifted through it’s three nested chambers, and the air that is expelled contains about 150 times less bacteria and mold spores than our normal, everyday air - not other vacuum expelled air, we mean air in general!
After being featured on 30 Rock, many were wondering if this thing was the real deal. Turns out, it is. The Black & Decker Infrawave Speed Oven is smaller than your average microwave, but also packs a lot more power. The Infrawave Oven uses infrared light to cook food, using two heating elements that cycle on and off. The cycling uses various wavelengths, allowing it to roast, broil, or bake in just about half the time it would take to do it in your traditional gas or electric oven. Sure, it can toast your bread and heat your frozen pizza - but the Infrawave Oven can even cook bone-in meats. Oh, and unlike your microwave, it heats everything in your food, not just the water. That spells out juicy, evenly-heated grub.
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