9 Excellent Back-Up Gifts For All The People You’ll Undoubtedly Forget

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9 Excellent Back-Up Gifts For All The People You’ll Undoubtedly Forget

Every year it’s the same. You shop, you cross name after name off of your list, only to be handed a perfectly wrapped present by that one person you never expected to exchange gifts with. You’re empty-handed, palms sweating, with nothing to offer in return.

It would put a damper on any happy holiday. So this year, take a different route.

We’ve rounded up nine gifts that are sure to be a hit (no matter the recipient) without breaking the bank. Stock up on a few of these and don’t sweat it this holiday season. And if you gotta keep a few of them at the end? Bonus gifts to you, from you!


Google Chromecast

The Google Chromecast offers some of the best value in the market when it comes to a set top box. Users can access apps like HBO Go, HBO Now, Netflix and Hulu, from their smartphone and easily stream that content direct to the TV. The Chromecast is super simple to set up — plug it into the HDMI port in the TV and connect to your home Wifi through the app. There are still plenty of folks out there who haven’t yet experienced the joy of throwing content from their phone to their TV, and you should probably be the one to show them the light.

Price: $35


Lightning/Micro USB Cords

Nobody, and I mean nobody, has too many charging cables for their phone. Stock up on a few of these, wrap them, and just wait. For all the kinda-sorta friends that try to re-gift you this year, you will be ready. Just make sure you’re giving them the right cable type for their phone (a subtle mark on the wrapping paper to differentiate helps there.)

Price: $19 through Apple, $7 if you go with the totally solid Amazon Basics alternatives


Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera

It’s almost impossible to take a bad picture with this camera, unless you completely ignore the recommendation to shoot subjects within a few feet. In other words, this isn’t for those landscape masterpieces, but rather for making memories with friends or family that you can hold onto with your hands, pin to the fridge, or use as a bookmark. It’s on the more expensive side for this list, but it’s a good one to have in hand when someone surprises you with a trip to Europe.

Price: $70


Misfit Flash

Misfit, the company behind wearables like the Shine, is here for you this holiday season with something a bit more affordable. The Misfit Flash costs just $29 and does everything from tracking your steps to tracking your sleep. It also tracks calories burned and can go into cycling and swimming mode, if that’s your jam. Plus, Misfit recently debuted the Link app that lets you pair your device with your phone to control various apps on your phone and a number of IoT devices in the home. Coming in seven different colors, this one is an easy crowd pleaser.

Price: $29


Big Ol' USB Backup Batteries

Seriously — everyone needs more power for their devices. Buying someone one of those strap-on battery cases is risky; you might get the wrong model, they might not like the look, etc. But external batteries? They’ll love you, and think of you fondly every time you keep them from having a dead phone. And since they charge over USB, it doesn’t really matter what kind of device they have.

Two companies have sprung up recently selling excellent batteries with massive capacities for crazy low prices: Aukey and Anker.

Price: $15 for Aukey’s 12000mAh battery, $50 for Anker’s 15,000mAh battery. (More mAh = more juice per charge)


Smartphone Projector

This is admittedly hipster and a little gimmicky, but also one of the more clever gifts on the list. The Smartphone Projector is a little kit full of cardboard and glass that isn’t terribly easy to assemble (perhaps this might be good for someone who loves puzzles). That said, the end product is a fun way to create a big-screen experience with a smartphone and a $30 kit. Note: The room has to be very dark for the Smartphone Projector to work.

Price: $28


Moment Wide Lens

With the introduction of the smartphone, photography has gone fully mainstream. Still, there are pro or almost-pro photographers out there who would love the convenience of shooting with their smartphone, but it just doesn’t get the job done. That’s where Moment’s Wide Angle Lens comes into play. For $99, the Moment Wide Lens is compatible with almost any smartphone and will add 2x the landscape to a shot without any weird fish-eye effect. The company also offers a tele lens and a macro lens at the same price.

Price: $99



Almost everyone has earbuds, whether they are standard Apple earpod fare or something a bit more intense, but very few people have stylish earbuds. Woodbuds, with noise-isolating design and relatively good sound for the price, come in a number of colors paired with wood, and include a flat-panel cord. The downside: they don’t include a mic to talk on the phone. That said, they’re more of an accessory than a primary set of headphones, making them an easy go-to gift for just about anyone.

Price: $45.70



We all know someone who just can’t seem to keep track of anything, whether it’s their glasses or their keys or their bikes. The Tile looks to change all that. You can buy the Tile as a single, in a pack of four, eight or twelve, and after downloading the app, one never has to worry about lost property again. Via Bluetooth, Tile lets you track items to which you have attached a tile from the comfort and convenience of your smartphone. A single Tile costs $25 and the prices are significantly reduced the more you order at once.

Price: $25

Some gifts in this guide are available on Amazon:

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