Welcome to TechCrunch's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide! Need more gift ideas? Take a look at our Gift Guide Hub.
Whoops. You goofed up. It seemed like you had plenty of time before Christmas was here, and now there are four days left, and all the shops are narrow and you have (mostly) missed the shipping window.
That's okay! We've all been there.
We've compiled a list of things we think are great, but that should still get started, whether online or in a local store.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
The Kindle Oasis ($ 250 on Amazon) is a real real good e-book reader. It's light, the battery lasts forever, and as a very welcome bonus it's water resistant ̵
In addition, as one of Amazon's flagships, they keep it heavily stocked on all their freight centers … meaning even on Friday before Christmas, you should be able to swing the same day.
Your favorite books, sent straight to your e-book reader
(Photo Credit: Andrzej Wojcicki from Getty Images)
Oh, they've already got a Kindle? Use it! Send them your favorite book (s) by 2018. Amazon makes it easy to have an e-book delivered as a gift; You can either send a code to yourself as you pop in a card or send it directly to its inbox.
Chromecast or Fire TV
Chromecast has found its way on our gift guides for three years, and now for good reason: it's just excellent. Connect it to any TV and you can now send content from most of your smartphone's popular apps (Netflix / Hulu / HBO / Spotify / etc.) With the touch of a button. No remote control is required because your phone is the remote control. The standard HD model goes for $ 35, while the 4K-friendly model supports the price up to $ 60 – but both models will be available on your local targets, best buyer, etc.
(If your gift builder is about Alexa Amazon $ 35 Four TV 4K stick is also a super-solid media streamer – and the remote has Alexa built!)
You forgot to get them something for Christmas, so why not get them something for the next few months? A card explaining what's on the way with an ETA on first delivery, and bam, you're set and no one knows you completely forgot Christmas.
And there are so many options now! Friend got a green thumb? Succulent Studios supplies two standing plants each month for around $ 16.50. Sweet tooth? Japan Crate (pictured above) airdrops all sorts of fun / whacky treats with prices from $ 12- $ 35 a month. LootCrate brings the nerdy goods. TryTheWorld is approaching their inner food.
Gift certificate for services they already use
Does your friend see Office on Netflix on loop? Have they never Spotify turned off? Why not subsidize the habits for them for a few months? Gift certificates are usually the classic "Eh, I didn't know what to get you, so buy your own thing" gift – but in this case you save the money you know they come
] A very long charging cable for the phone
No one has enough charging cables for the phone. I probably have 30 cord lines, and I still find myself digging around for sometime a week. Meanwhile, most people use the cable that comes with the phone, which is usually hilarious and begins to throw in about 30 seconds.
Anker's PowerLine + II cables are awesome especially for the price; $ 10 – $ 20 gets you a 10-ft cable to let your friend actually use the phone comfortably while it charges. The insulation is braided, which in addition to looks fancy, also means it is super tough. I have used one to well over a year now and it still looks brand new. They have options for which port the phone can use, be it lightning, microUSB or USB-C.
Is it the most touching gift? No! But it is suuuuper convenient and they will probably use it all the time.
A massive (or intentionally small!) Battery pack
The phone screens are getting bigger. Phone processors get faster and more power hungry.
Phone batteries, meanwhile, barely keep up. I do not know many people, at this time, who can come through a whole day without worrying about the phone's battery at least once. Why not take the stress away?
If they tend to carry a large bag or backpack, consider something like Anker PowerCore ($ 55). With a 20,000mAh battery inside, it will melt up pretty much any phone several times before the battery itself needs charging. If they tend to wear smaller bags (or just pockets), the PowerCore + Mini ($ 20) is about the size of a lipstick tube. It's only 3.350mAh, but that's enough to get most phones back to almost 100 percent. In emergencies, batteries like this can save your life.
Your favorite keys
Know that someone gets a new phone for Christmas? Why not help them upload it? Think of all your favorite games / games in 2018 and send them over as gifts.
Apple makes it easy to send certain iOS apps / games as gifts, provided you know the recipient's email address. If your friend is on Android, it's a little harder – you'll just buy them a Google Play gift card and write your recommendations on a card.
Do you have a friend who always loses his keys? Or can you never find their wallet?
Tiles are small Bluetooth-powered widgets that you bind to everything you tend to abuse. When that thing misses, you just pop in the app and ping it. If it's close, it's getting rid of. If it's not nearby – as I said, if you left it at a restaurant – it goes into the "Community Search" mode; If someone using the Tile app is going to pass by and discover it, it will ping you with its exact location.
This year, Tile launched a new model that solves one of the product's only pain points: battery replacement. While previous models lasted a year before you had to replace it, the new Tile Mates ($ 60 for 4) uses the user-replaceable CR1632 batteries.
If your friend is a coder / builder / tinker, give them a Raspberry Pi like giving an artist a large, beautiful, clean canvas. It is a surprisingly powerful itty-bitty computer, capable of running an infinite number of DIY projects. It can be a media server! Or the brain of a self-propelled RC car! Or the conductor of the Christmas Lights Symphony!
There are many options for Raspberry Pi – from the small but powerful Pi Zero W (~ $ 10) to one of many clones. If you are not sure which one is right, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B ($ 35) is probably a sure bet; It is powerful and flexible but still small and cheap.
If you somehow haven't seen one of them out in the wild, a fast breakdown: PopSockets ($ 10) is collapsible grips that stick to your devices (phones, tablets, e readers, etc.) and make them easier to hold for extended periods. Slide the PopSocket between two fingers and the device holds a lot. PopSocket pops up (hence the name) when in use, but folds into itself and becomes super slim when it's time to go back in your pocket.
I wasn't super sold at these things first; I was completely satisfied with just keeping my phone the usual way, thank you very much.
Then I put one to my Kindle … and well, it changed the way I read. I read more often and I read everywhere . Kindle is very light, but can be hard to keep for several hours at the end. PopSocket does so that Kindle basically just floats with my hand. It took about a day before I ordered another for my phone.
They are easy to find at Target or Best Buy, with many places dedicating the whole time to them. They have thousands of different looks (plus Marvel, Star Wars licensed stuff, etc.), so you should be able to find one that fits your friend's style.
Smart plugs are a perfect first dip in the smart home water. They allow you to use the phone to switch lamps and other myriad non-connected devices you have come across in the house. They are super easy to set up – disconnect the lamp, insert smart plug, reconnect the lamp via the smart plug, and connect to the Wi-Fi.
I've used a bunch of different plugs, but my current favorite is the Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug (~ $ 25). It's easy to install and stable enough to be more or less set and forget.
If you hear "board games" and only painful memories of hours-long monopoly and scrabble fights fill your mind, you are in tune. Board games have gone through a fantastic revolution over the last decade or so, and some recent games are just incredible . You can join together to escape a sinking island on Forbidden Island, tear your brain with Anomia or spend weeks (seriously!) Who save the world with Pandemic: Legacy.
Need help finding the right game? Most major cities have a dedicated board game store, and I have never been to one where the staff were not eager to help. We also have a list of some of our favorites for both 2018 and 2017.