The holidays are a complicated time, but they don’t need to be. In fact, there are dozens of practical, affordable gifts you can give that are sleek, cool, and useful. The holidays are a great opportunity to load up a friend with household gadgets that he or she will actually use for years—or you can sneak in a common-sense treat for yourself, since you’ve earned the right to make your life a bit easier.
Here are the ten best household gadgets and appliances worth giving away for Christmas 2012.
Keurig Coffee Makers – When you’re slogging in the morning or in the middle of the day, there’s nothing quite as welcome as a cup of coffee. And if you can opt for real brewed coffee instead of some hot water poured over tarry black powder, all the better. Keurig coffee makers make perfect cups of coffee at home or at work, and it can also brew up some mean tea and hot chocolate.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – Samsung’s Android-based tablet features a ten-inch screen, 2 gigs of RAM, a 1.4 GHz quad-core processer, and an “S-Pen” that allows for particularly delicate drawing and note-taking. It also has an SD card slot, a convenience that the iPad lacks. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a great tablet to pass around the house for reading digital books, watching movies, doing work, and playing games. Even the Queen of England has one.
Vitamix Blender – Vitamix blenders are hardy, easy to use, and beloved across the restaurant industry. If you have a friend who adores convenience, there are even self-cleaning units to be bought.
Homz Hanging Sweater Dryer – This hanging sweater dryer isn’t really a gadget, but it’s still a clever and inexpensive way of saving money on your energy bill. The dryer has three tiers that lets you dry your heavy sweaters quickly and without the need for heat. It can be used to dry other articles of clothing, too. We won’t tell.
Bissell Lift-Off Deep-Cleaning System – Giving a rug a necessary deep-cleaning probably isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, which is why it pays to give a good friend the Lift-Off deep cleaning system from Bissell. This two-in-one appliance leaves rugs fresh and removes spots. It’s easy to use, and it’s portable.
Nest Self-Learning Thermostat – Nobody wants to think about how much it costs to heat their home, but saving money is always a good conversation-starter. The Nest self-learning thermostat actually gets a feel for the temperature you typically like to keep your house at, and at what time of the day. You can even control your house’s temperature from your phone. Nest is easy to install, and can save you up to 20% on your annual heating bill.
Sodastream – Hooray for pop. Double-hooray for keeping bottles and cans out of landfills. SodaStream lets fizzy drink enthusiasts make their own delicious beverages with a fraction of the amount of sugar and caffeine that’s in a can of Coke or Pepsi. Check out its new Sodastream Source model to see just how far the technology has come in terms of both ease of use and industrial design.
Food Savor Vacuum Sealer – Anyone who’s looking to reduce their food budget and their waistline will appreciate the Food Savor Vaccuum Sealer, which makes it easy to freeze and store meals for future use without having to worry about the frosty zap of freezer burn.
Solio Classic2 Battery Pack and Charger – The Solio Classic2 lets you charge pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere by harnessing the power of the sun. When you don’t have a place to plug in your electronics, this solar charger may wind up being your best pal.
Nostalgia Electrics Ice Cream Maker – Ice cream is a runaway favorite at dessert time, but the stuff you buy at the store tends to be filled with all kinds of weird ingredients (except for cream). Nostalgia Electrics’ ice cream maker churns all the ingredients for you the old-fashioned way.