Gifts for fans of technology and science don’t have to break the bank, so here are our recommendations for great gifts on the cheap.
According to a report by e-commerce partner Webloyalty, Irish consumers are set to spend about €1.55bn this Christmas, with an estimated €839.9m reserved for presents. Individually, Webloyalty predicts that Irish gift-buyers will spend an average of €300 on presents.
If you have a long list of people to buy for, this guide for gifts costing at most €50 (and in most cases, far less) just may help you make those euros go further.
Buy Irish with a 3D-printed gift
For something truly personal to slip into a loved one’s stocking, you can order a custom 3D-printed gift from award-winning Irish start-up Love & Robots. Its range of iPhone cases include intricate seaweed, fun dinosaur and cool steampunk designs which you can inscribe with a monogram and print in your choice of colour.
3D-printed iPhone cases, €35 each, Love & Robots
Give the gift of Ireland’s ingenious history
Another Irish gift we’d love to get this Christmas is an Ingenious Ireland gift voucher. A €15 voucher will cover the cost of a Dublin walkabout with these fascinating tour guides, while €50 covers a family of two adults and two children.
On an Ingenious Ireland walking tour, you are guaranteed to learn many interesting tidbits about Ireland’s scientific contributions past and present, and will be bursting to share these tales with others. Better yet, you can package your present with a sampling of Sugru – just one example of a fantastic Irish invention.
If you don’t think you’ll find yourself in the Big Smoke any time for a tour, check out the Ingenious Ireland series of books, compiled by the remarkably knowledgeable Mary Mulvihill.
Fix forgetfulness with smart tags
If you have a forgetful friend or relative, you could help them out with a gift of a smart tag that lets them know where their lost or mislaid items are. You can use these small tags for wallets, keys, handbags and more, and, using an app on your phone, signal when an item has been left behind and pinpoint its location. There are even some on the market that also work in reverse, helping you to locate your phone from the tag.
There are a variety of these products available online and in electronics and mobile stores, and one that comes highly recommended is Trackr Wallet, which costs US$25 when you account for international shipping. The Kensington Proximo Tag is cheaper at €20, but, if ordering online from the source, the price jumps to €35 with shipping.
Make memories that stick from your Instagram pics
Sticky9 offers free worldwide shipping on its square photo magnets, which currently cost less than €10 for a standard-size sheet of nine (prices go up 25pc after 1 December).
The process is easy: simply select your favourite snaps from Facebook or Instagram, or images stored on your phone or desktop, and have them printed as a magnet set. You can also add messages to the prints, or even pick one image to be made into a magnet jigsaw. A simple, personal and inexpensive gift anyone with a magnet-friendly surface can enjoy.
Photo magnets, from €10.99, Sticky9
Google Play gift cards now available in Ireland
If you have an Android user on your Christmas gift list, you’ll be happy to know that Google Play gift cards are now available in Ireland. You can pick up cards for €15, €25 and €50 at Tesco, An Post, Argos, Musgraves, Power City, Homebase and Xtra-Vision, and other retailers will join the list in the coming weeks.
Do take note of the fine print, though, as Google Play gift cards can only be used to purchase apps, books, movies and games from Google Play or make in-app purchases; they are not valid for hardware purchases or app subscriptions.
Give tangled earbuds a helping hand with Curvyman
The Curvyman Cord Supervisor is a cute little invention that solves the problem of tangled earphones. Anyone with a pair of earbuds will be familiar with the pain of detangling the cord after some time spent in your pocket or bag, but with Curvyman taking care of them, there’ll be no more knots.
Curvyman Cord Supervisor, US$3.39, Nite Ize
A gift that takes selfies to a new level
Selfies are the photo format du jour and with a selfie stick, your giftee won’t have to over-exert himself or herself to get it just right. There are some with telescopic arms for added reach to fit more heads in the shot – something Ellen DeGeneres could have done with at the Oscars – and others are Bluetooth-enabled so you can trigger the shutter from the handle.
Selfie stick for smartphones and cameras, €29.95, Avanca
Carphone Warehouse is stocking selfie sticks for €20, while you can pick up a Bluetooth version from Vodafone for €25.
Keep them warm with touchscreen gloves
Baby, it’s cold outside, and gloved hands simply weren’t made for smartphone operation. Granted, some smartphones have enabled greater touch sensitivity to overcome this usability problem, but a simple solution for every touchscreen device is a pair of inexpensive touchscreen gloves, which you can pick up just about anywhere at this time of year. Try Penneys for a bargain, but shop around for a better range of styles.
Touch Screen Gloves, stg£14.95, Proporta
A Christmas gift with more power
With many of us now tethered to devices most of the day, keeping things charged up has become a priority of modern living. For times when there isn’t an outlet to hand, a portable power bank can be your saviour – and parents giving this gift to kids will have a comeback for the old ‘my battery died’ excuse.
Blautel 4-OK Power Bank, €14.99, Vodafone.ie
Main Christmas stocking image by Thalang Itsalanggura via Shutterstock