Shopping for techie friends is the worst, so maybe you shouldn’t even bother trying to pander to their most obvious interest. Instead of fighting that battle and second guessing what tech they might like or already own, get them something they wouldn’t buy themselves.
Techies are people who can also enjoy non-tech things. Even better, if they find themselves a bit burnt out with tech these days, they might be glad for a non-tech gift. Here are eight gift ideas that are either completely non-tech, or simply tech-adjacent.
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Etsy has more than handmade mugs and knitted sweaters—it’s a tech art goldmine with a great collection of high-quality customizable accessories. Your friend or family member might already have all the tech they want, and Etsy is a great place to find accessories that they might not have found themselves, like a custom charging station, headphone stand, or hand-finished palm rest for their expensive keyboard. There are thousands of choices, so consider spending your time browsing through Etsy’s tech accessories page to see what you like.
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Get them a real, old-school traditional wristwatch. It’s potentially expensive, depending on what you want, but a watch doesn’t have to be for daily wear, and the person can wear it with whatever matching clothes they own.
Watches come in a huge variety of styles and pricing, so you’ll have to do a bit of digging. Casio’s A168WG-9 watch is a great 80s callback for the retro techie in your life. If you have a $200 budget, you can look at Citizen’s Eco-Drive Corso watch for a classic, timeless look for men or women. You’ll also find many options from Timex, Fossil, and Citizen in under $200.
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There’s a good chance your person is into coffee, and that’s easier to shop for than tech. If they have a coffee machine at home (or if they make pour-overs), get them a coffee subscription. It’s a gift that keeps on giving for the whole year.
There are many options, but as it stands right now, Trade is the best overall choice. They partner with more than 450 roasters in the US, with wide-ranging coffees from indie suppliers. Their gift plan is flexible, so you can choose between two bags, all the way to 24 (you pay in advance). The receiver fills out a quiz that will gauge their tastes, and Trade will start to deliver coffees customized just for them.
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Throw a curveball. Board games bring people together and will help someone spend time away from screens and their fancy technology. And there are plenty of options. You can stay with the classic strategy games like Catan and 7 Wonders, or you can gift funny card games like Joking Hazard. You can also look at Board Game Geek’s list of best board games, and check out our list of the best non-traditional games to get started.
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LEGO sets get better (and harder) each year, and there are a lot of new complex sets to choose from if you can afford them. LEGO has collaborations with Star Wars, Disney, NASA, and more. There are even The Office-themed LEGO sets. You can visit LELO’s page dedicated to adult sets and find something that your person might enjoy building and showing off.
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If your techie person doesn’t own a multi-tool, consider getting them a Leatherman Wave Plus. At $100, it’s on the expensive side, but it does come with a 25-year warranty. It has 18 different tools, including pliers, replaceable wire cutters, wire strippers, knives, saw, spring-action scissors, rulers, a can opener, bottle opener, files, and screwdrivers. No matter what tech, electrical, or home-improvement problem your person runs into, your gift will be there to help.
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Maybe you won’t gift them tech, but you can help them carry it. If they don’t have a great backpack or messenger bag, this is your chance to improve their lives with something like Peek’s Everday Backpack. It’s designed for photographers (with multiple inserts for cameras and lenses), but is also widely regarded as one of the best laptop backpacks in the world. If a backpack isn’t their style, look at their Everyday Messenger bag.
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You don’t need to gift someone a whole new computer or desk. Consider one of these smaller gifts that can add to their tech aesthetic:
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