15 awesome gifts for your awesome Mom and Dad

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15 awesome gifts for your awesome Mom and Dad

Welcome to the 2017 TechCrunch Holiday Gift Guide! We check out a lot of really cool stuff here at TechCrunch, so we figured we ought to put that experience to good use and help you get your holiday shopping done quickly. This is our first guide of the year, but we’ll have many more rolling out over the coming weeks… so check back often!

It’s that time again! It’s time to sit down, bust out the wallet and figure out what the heck you’re getting your parents for Christmas.

This year we focused on the practical — the things they’ll still be using next December. No gimmicks, no junk — just solid, useful gifts that Mom and/or Dad will be thrilled to get.

Tap that right arrow to get started, or, if you’re on mobile, just scroll.


To help them unwind: the Kindle Oasis

Reading in the bath is great (don’t @ me). Accidentally frying your expensive gadget because you have soapy fingers is not. With that in mind, AMAZON FINALLY MADE A WATERPROOF KINDLE. It’s just as good as any other Kindle, with the massive added perk of not breaking forever if it takes an unexpected dip.

At $250, it’s pretty expensive for an e-reader… but it’s also one of the best e-readers we’ve ever checked out.



If your parents are the type to prefer good ol’ ink on paper over books that need to be charged, check out Book of the Month.

Each month they highlight five books — your parents pick one, and it’ll arrive on their doorstep a few days later. Don’t like any of them? You can skip that month.

Subscription boxes are all kinds of trendy right now, but these folks have been around since 1926.

Three-month plans go for $45, while year-long plans are around $150.


To help them stay online on-the-go…

External battery packs have gotten big, affordable and really, really good. If your parents don’t already have one (each!), it’s time.

Try to find one that has both traditional USB (for flexibility regardless of which phone they have) and USB-C (for future proofing, even if they’re not using USB-C yet).

I’m a fan of this $60 Anker PowerCore battery with USB, USB-C and enough juice to recharge even the beefiest phones 4 or 5 times before it’s empty.


And to keep them from getting stranded…

Oh, and get them one of these for their car(s), too. It’s like the last one, but with a special trick: It can charge their phone if they find themselves without juice… but it’ll also jump their car’s battery. Charge it up and stick it in the trunk. It could be a literal life saver.

The pictured model is the Powerall PBJS16000R (catchy name!) and is currently going for about $75 on Amazon.


To help them get things done

With Apple, Google and Amazon all battling in this space, voice assistants are getting better each and every day.

If your parents are cool with the idea of having something like this in the house, now’s the time to pick one up.

Just make sure to pick the right one for their needs. If they’re all about Amazon, the Echo (or Echo Dot) is probably best. If they’re more wrapped up in the Google ecosystem, though, the Google Home (or Google Home Mini) plays a bit friendlier with Big G’s other devices, like the Chromecast.

(Apple is working on something like this with HomePod — unfortunately, it’s been delayed until 2018 so won’t be ready in time for the holidays.)


To help them start making their home a bit smarter

Meanwhile, if your parents have been considering making their house a little smarter, these iHome plugs are a helluva good first step.

Plug an existing lamp into it, get it connected to Wi-Fi, and bam: you’ve got a lamp that you can control from across the world (or, if you tie it into something like the previously suggested Echo or Google Home, a lamp you can turn off with your voice without getting out of bed).


To keep'em warm

In pretty much every couple I’ve ever met, half of the pair is always cold. In the case of me and my wife, for example, that’d be me.

VentureHeat jackets have a built-in heater, powered by a hidden USB battery pack (like one of the ones we recommended earlier!).

They don’t get crazy hot, but they definitely keep things warmer than a standard jacket would. It’s like having a little portable heating pad strapped to you. If one of your parents is always just a little chilly when everyone else is fine: problem solved.

The jackets start at around $200, but remember to factor in $40 or $50 bucks for a USB battery (not included.)


To keep them from having to pause the movie just because someone wants to sell them a knife set

Getting up and answering the door just because some stranger knocked feels like a dying idea (if only because it seems like the only people who come knocking unexpectedly nowadays are people trying to sell you solar panels).

Smart doorbells, like the Ring Pro, let your parents answer the door wherever they are… even when they’re not home, thanks to the built-in camera/speakerphone.

As an added bonus: these things are easy enough to setup that you can probably have it up and running a few minutes after it’s unwrapped, rather than having it be another gift you find sitting in the box in a year.

(Nest is also working on a smart doorbell, but it won’t be available until 2018.)



Alternatively: if your parents wouldn’t be up to the idea of being the house with the space doorbell just yet, Ring’s floodlight cam brings the same front door view in a package that’s a bit less obvious — it replaces the front porch motion light they likely already have with one with a camera built in.

Like the doorbell, the $250 floodlight cam is built to be quickly swapped right in place of existing hardware.


To help them keep track of their stuff

Your parents, like most adults in 2017, probably have way too many damned things to keep track of. Tile makes it easier.

It’s a lil’ box you stick onto anything you find yourself hunting for as you head out the door — your keys, your wallet, whatever. When said object goes missing, you just pop open the mobile/tablet app, send out a ping and the Tile starts beeping away until you track it down.

Earlier this year, Tile started shipping a new model called the Tile Sport that doubles the range, beefs up durability and improves the looks. You can get a single one for $35, or a 4-pack for $100.


To help them get what they need all year

If you already have Amazon Prime, you probably don’t need an explanation as to why it’s a wonderful gift. Being able to summon just about any product to your front porch within a day or two feels like sorcery.

The included perks like Prime Video (Amazon’s Netflix competitor), Prime Music and the Kindle eBook Lending Library are just icing on the cake.

A year of prime will set you back $99, unless you manage to get it during a sale. And if they already have Prime? Buy them another year of it. They’ll appreciate it year round.


Because iPad

On the spendier side of the spectrum: unless mom and dad are all about that Android life, the iPad is sort of a no brainer.

It does everything, and it does it well. It won’t randomly send your bank credentials across the world because someone tried to download a free copy of solitaire. Plus it gives you an excuse to FaceTime with your parents more, which we should all probably be doing. iPads start at around $329 if you’re looking at the smaller ones, but can go upwards of $800 when you get to the crazy huge iPad Pro.


To keep them entertained…

Even with 4K TVs and booming home surround systems, there’s still something wonderful about going to a movie theater. Not so wonderful: the price.

If your parents are into movies, consider MoviePass. $10 a month per person gets them up to one flick a day at around 4,000 locations. If they go to at least one movie a month, it pretty much pays for itself.

(MoviePass also just introduced a $7 per month plan, but it requires a one-year commitment.)


To keep them entertained… at home

Speaking of entertainment: if they’re not already set up with a good way to get videos from Netflix/Hulu/etc. onto their TV, get ’em a Chromecast.

There’s a reason this thing has been on our gift guides pretty much every year since they were released: they’re great, affordable and continue to be rock solid year after year. They use their phone as a remote, just tapping a little Chromecast icon built into most major streaming apps when it’s time to send it to the TV.

(Meanwhile, get them set up on Movies Anywhere so they can stream [most] videos from their iTunes/Amazon/Google Play libraries from one universal collection to the Chromecast without any technological voodoo.)


To keep them entertained… on the cheap

Need a year-round gift but don’t have a lot of cash to spare?

If you have a Spotify premium account and your parents don’t, drop the extra $5 a month to get a family plan.

You’ll be able to grant them both their own accounts with their own music libraries/playlists/etc, and you’ll have two extra slots for any siblings who might feel left out of the mix.