By Casey Liss
Holiday Gifts 2016

We’re in November, which means it’s time to start stressing thinking about holiday gifts.

As with last year, here’s some things I like that are at various price points. You may find someone in your life that may enjoy one or more of these.

As a gift to me, links here are affiliate links where possible. Some of the below I did not pay for, but can say with an honest heart I absolutely would, had I not gotten the item for free.

Under $10

Apple has discounted USB-C peripherals until the end of the year. Though you may not know anyone getting a shiny new MacBook Pro, it’s likely someone you know will eventually be getting one. For those, they may like a USB-C → USB Adapter.

Or, perhaps, you may wish to pick up a Lightning to Headphone Jack Adapter. Surely you can’t have too many of these lying around.

Under $20

Most of us need a little extra juice for our phones or tablets at some time or another. I recently picked up an Aukey battery pack that has a neat trick up its sleeve: you charge the battery via a standard Lightning port. That means the same cord that you can use to go from the battery → iPhone can also be used to go from a USB charger → the Aukey battery pack. Super convenient.

Also in this price range is one of my favorite fast casual board games. Forbidden Island is a super fun game for 2-4 players that can be played in around half an hour. It’s cooperative, so all the players either fail or they win, but they do so together. It’s easy to learn, super fun, and as challenging as you want it to be.

Under $30

I’ve nearly ruined my wife’s computer (twice) by spilling water on it while recording a podcast. A dear friend took it upon himself to get me a Mighty Mug to use to hold water while I record. I’m deeply indebted to him, as he’s surely saved many pieces of electronics from my clumsiness.

Since that gift, Mighty Mug has expanded their line, and my actual recommendation is for their Double Old Fashioned cups. These are the perfect size for a vodka on the rocks, as I like, or the liquid from a wrung out bar rag, if that’s your thing. These cups are very hard to tip over, which is doubly useful once you’ve drained them once or twice.

Under $40

Another board game, Ticket to Ride is a second favorite of mine. It is reasonably easy to explain, reasonably fast, and very fun. Unlike Forbidden Island it is competitive, but unlike more traditional games like Monopoly, it’s not easy to actively mess with your opponents. Thus, Ticket to Ride is competitive without being aggressive.

Under $50

My friends at Studio Neat have been working on a product for what feels like forever now. They sent me a very early test model a long time ago, and I love this thing. It’s finally for sale now.

The Canopy is a fancy carrying case for the Magic Keyboard (more on that below). I like taking my iMac’s Keyboard with me when I travel for more than a day or two with only my iPad Mini. It allows me to quickly fire off emails, write blog posts, or otherwise get things done. The Canopy is the perfect carrying case for the Magic Keyboard. It’s simple, pretty, and light.

NOTE: Holiday shipping for the Canopy isn’t guaranteed.

Under $75

Speaking of Studio Neat, their Material Dock is really lovely. It’s a charging stand for your iPhone and, if you have one, your Apple Watch as well. I was given a iPhone & Watch Material Dock for testing, and I immediately fell in love. The Material Dock is made of solid walnut, and some really lovely cork backing for your devices.

Note that the Material Dock requires but does not include Apple cables, so you may wish to include one of those those as well.

Under $100

As previously mentioned, I love the Apple Magic Keyboard. This keyboard is my favorite keyboard that I’ve ever used. The key travel and responsiveness are exactly what I want, and I genuinely smile at least once a day because of this keyboard.

Since it’s Bluetooth, it works with not only Macs, but also iOS devices, and presumably PCs as well. Like the Aukey battery, it charges via Lightning, which you only need to do once every couple months.

Under $200

I was recently given a set of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium bone conduction headphones. While not terribly great for music—they’re quite tinny—they are perfect for podcasts. The Trekz are also sweat/dust resistant, and fit snugly on the head, so they’re great for working out, or just being mobile doing chores. Plus, they’re Bluetooth, so there’s no wires to worry about.

Because they work via bone conduction, that leaves your ears open to be able to hear the noises around you. I love using these headphones when I’m on a walk with Declan, or like this very moment, when he’s sleeping, and I need to be able to hear the baby monitor. Very neat stuff.