The Techwalla 2016 Holiday Tech & Gadget Gift Guide

Back when we were kids, the most sophisticated tech toy you might want for the holidays would be a game of Simon. Or perhaps a Tamagotchi. These days, tech permeates our lives so thoroughly that it's hard to find a gift that doesn't have some tech in it. After all, did you know you can get a Bluetooth-enabled water bottle (spoiler alert: no one really needs this), or a sound-activated, light-up necktie (another spoiler: this is incredibly goofy)?

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How to make sense of the options? Well, we rounded up 200 of the coolest tech gift ideas around, and broke them down into categories for every kind of person on your gift list. So, with no further ado, browse our gift guide and buy yourself something nice. If you have any money left over, buy something for your spouse, too.

1. Gadgets For Your Spouse Designed to Make His or Her Life Just a Little Better

What does it take to de-stress your wife or hubby? How about a Logitech Harmony 650 universal remote control, which makes it easy to control all the devices in your home theater with a single handheld gadget?

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If that doesn't work, have no fear, because we rounded up 16 other options in Gadget Gifts That'll Make Your Partner's Life Unexpectedly Better--like a soothing planetarium projector for your bathroom, a scissor-inspiured pizza cutter, waterproof notepad for the shower, and many more.

See more in: 16 Gadget Gifts That'll Make Your Partner's Life Unexpectedly Better

2. Toys and projects for kids with a scientific mind

It's one thing to try to lure a reluctant child towards an interest in science and technology--but quite another iof your kid is already dreaming of being an astronaut, engineer, or doctor.

The good news is that toy makers are way ahead of you--there's a wealth of riches when it comes to finding toys designed to nurture a scientific mind. Like check out Gravity Maze, an addictive logic game lets kids use logic and planning to create a path for a marble to fall to reach its target.

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And there are so many other possibilities in The 13 Smartest Gifts for That Budding Scientist. We've got games and projects that teach kids the rudiments of programming. There's a microscope kit. And even na Barbie set intended to encourage girls to learn STEM basics.

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3. Inexpensive but geeky gifts for grade schoolers

While we're on the subject of kids, here's a list that proves you don't need to spend a lot of money to get stuff they'll love. Like this $30 wall light, which looks like Thor's hammer has smashed thorugh the drywall (you can also get Cap's shield, Spiderman's hand, and more).

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Be sure to browse The 21 Geekiest Gifts for Your Grade Schoolers (under $30) for a lot more gift ideas, all of which cost, well, under $30.

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4. Tech toys designed specifically for girls

Most parents want to encourage their girls to explore topics like math, science... you know, the STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) fields. That's why we are so happy that companies like GoldieBlox exist--it's a company that designs products specifically to "empower girls to build their confidence, dreams and ultimately, their futures" through STEM.

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We love Invention Mansion, an elaborate toy house with secret spots, a trap door, a zipline, balconies, bridges, levers and linkages. It comes with over 350 pieces, and a full-color booklet of starter ideas.

You can read more about it and four other tech toys at The Top 5 Tech Toys For Your Geeky Girl.

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5. Gifts for Men Who Still Play with Toys

Enough about the kids. If you're shopping for a guy who loves toys and gadgets, well, this is the right list for you. We found flying toys--like the Bionic Bird drone and the PowerUp 3.0 motorized paper airplane (controlled by smartphone!).

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There are also subscription boxes, a simple electronic drum kit, a robot R2-D2, and so much more. It's a great time for a tech-addicted guy to be alive. See everything at 15 Gifts for Men Who Still Play with Toys.

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6. Tech for the Guy Who Would Normally Expect a Tie

But look, we get it: Not every guy likes gadgets. Bit if your dad is usually perfectly happy with a tie or socks, why not shake things up by introducing him to a gadget that makes sense in his Luddite-like world?

Like a "smart" tool, for example--every handman loves DeWalt tools, and they've got a line of smart tools that do all sorts of cool things when connected to a smartphone.

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Or how about a laser guided razor (it's worth checking out, trust us), or some high-tech golf gear? See all 6 options at Gadget Gifts for the Tech-Averse Guy You Know.

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7. Gadgets for your pet. Okay, they're really for you. But you know what we mean.

Pet tech is a hot category right now; there are a slew of gadgets that can really improve the life of your pet and increase your own peace of mind.

Take the Petzi Treat Cam, for example, a pet-focused webcam that you can use to spy on your pets when you're at work. Even better, it has a microphone and speaker so you can chat with them, and it dispenses treats long distance.

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We also found diggie fitness bands, GPS trackers, robo-litterboxes, and more. Read about all our pet gift ideas at 14 Woofworthy Gifts for your Pets (That are Really for You).

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8. Tech Straight Out of 'Stranger Things'

Did your family obsessively watch Stranger Things? Then someone you know might be thrilled to get a gift insprired by the show. That's right, give someone a gift that looks like it stepped right out of 1983.

Where to start? How about a set of authentic walkie-talkies? Or an SLR like the one Jonathan used to spy on the pool party? No, how about this?

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It's a Casio CA53W-1 Calculator Watch, which is very, very similar to the one Mike wore in the show's 1983 setting. All of these gadgets are retro-tastic and sure to delight anyone who loved the show. Whether they lived through the 80s or are just experiecing them vacariously. See all of our picks at 11 Stranger Things-Inspired Tech Gifts.

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9. Superpowered Gifts for the Superhero Obsessed

Maybe no one in your family is keen on "Stranger Things"--but that doesn't mean they don't like other geeky shows. If you know a Batman, Superman, Captain America, or Ironman fan, you're not alone. We've rounded up all sorts of cool toys for them, like the ludicrously awesome Captain America Shielf Waffle Maker.

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This is a gift that just begs you to say: Ask not what your waffle maker can do for you, but what you can do for your waffle maker.

But that's just scratching the surface. We also found a Wonder Woman Lego Clock, Ironman Bluetooth speaker, Punisher headphones, and many more. Be sure to browse all 16 Superpowered Gifts for the Superhero Obsessed.

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10. Subscription Boxes That Deliver Geeky Goodness Every Month

What's better than a gift that keeps on giving? If you give someone a subscription box, they get more awesome stuff each and every month (well, for as long as you pay for it).

Take Kiwi Crate, for example, which includes an art, science, or engineering project each month, designed for kids 5-8.

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But the great news is that there are a slew of geeky subscription boxes out there that appeal to all sorts of interests--pop culture boxes, DIY boxes, science projects, art, and more. See them at 16 Geeky Subscription Boxes to Satisfy Every Obsession in Your Family.

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11. Kitchen Toys for the Foodie in Your Life

Kitchen toys: Some people hate those single-use gadgets as the bane of an elegantly organized kitchen, while others really dig the simplicity they offer, making it easy to do tasks in the kitchen that are challenging to do with ordinary kitchen equipment.

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If you know someone in the latter category, why not give them a Drop Scale--a smart countertop scale that works with your phone or tablet. It lets you complete recipes by weight (even liquid measures and oddball items like ice cubes) and the display on your mobile devices tells you exactly how much of each item to add.

And that's just one gift idea. Over in 13 Kitchen Toys for Foodies and Chefs You Know, we also have a self-heating butter knife (really!), a clever garlic chopper, a rapid meat thawing tray, and more.

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12. Kitchen Toys That Make Delicious Desserts

Now we're in dangerous territory--the dozen gift ideas in this article have the potenial to wreck the diet of everyone in your house. Our personal favorite is the soft serve ice cream maker from Cuisinart, which not only makes fresh home-made ice cream, but dispenses it in soft serve form. Look! It even holds sprinkles!

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And that's just for starters. We rounded up a mini-donut maker, cotton candy machine, old-fashioned popcorn popper, and much much delicious more. See them all at 12 Super Fun Dessert-Making Gadgets Your Kids Will Love.

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13. High-tech beauty aids for the woman in your life

This roundup is really aimed at the guys out there--especially ones who are clueless when it comes to buying the right gift for the lady in their life. Perfume and makeup kits are fraught with danger for oh so many reasons, but these gadgets are sure to be appreciated.

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Like the SimpleHuman Sensor Mirror Pro. This is no mere wide-view mirror; it works with an app that lets you capture the lighting in a specific location--like the office--and replicate it using the mirror's lights. That way she can always see what she'll look like where she wants to be. What an age we live in.

And there are 7 other awesome beauty gadgets as well in 8 High-Tech Gifts for Beauty Lovers, like high tech curling irons, hair straigheners, makeup crushes, and more.

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14. Toys from your childhood that are now basically from the future

If you're anything like us, you enjoy giving your yound ones the same kinds of toys you played with as a kid. "I loved a rock tied to a stick when I was a kid... Junior will love it too!"

You might be surprised to find that a lot of the toys you had as a kid are still around, sort of. But they've grown up, gone to college, gotten computerized, and now are available to delight your kids with science that didn't even exist in 1990.

Like Monopoly. Maybe this is low-hanging fruit, but the classic board gamne is both the same as it ever was and almost unrecognizable at the same time. The bank is electronic now, and you get a debit card to swipe to conduct transactrions.

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We also found a computerized Furby, a high-tech Easy Bake Oven, and over a dozen more stunning artifacts from your childhood in 16 Toys from Your Childhood That are Now Basically from the Future, ready to be given to your own kids to start the cycle anew.

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15. Gadgets and Gifts for Your Favorite Music Lover

Last, but certainly not least, there are all the music fans on your list. Sure, you could give them an iTunes gift card (or an Amazon gift card, for that matter). Or a subscription to Spotify.

But they already probably have access to all the music they want. So think outside the box and give them a Audio Beanie, which as the name implies, is a stylish cap that has integrated earbuds (you can get both a wired and Bluetooth wireless version, depending upon your taste).

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If you want a gift that's somewhat less hat-like, then how about some awesome speakers, a Chromecast Audio, or even a speaker showerhead? See all 18 of our musical gift recommendations at 18 Gadgets and Gifts for Your Favorite Music Lover.

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