10 Practical, Yet Fun, 2020 Holiday Gift Ideas for Coders

It’s the Holiday season again, and if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for that coder in your life, you are probably not alone. Finding great gifts for anyone can be a struggle, but when it’s for someone who thinks in binary, it becomes even more complicated. Do not fear, however, because we’ve created a great list of holiday gift ideas for coders.

In general, gift giving can be stressful. You want to buy presents that people will enjoy, and it can be hard when you’re not that person – hence the popularity of gift cards, but what’s the fun in that! That’s why instead of compiling a list of specific items, we’re giving you some ideas as well as some stores to purchase your gifts from. We believe that when there’s more than one option, you are sure to find one that works.

Many coders enjoy practical gifts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have fun. Therefore, all of our gift ideas are both practical and fun. Ranging from $7 to $2000, these gift ideas are sure to delight programmers of any age. Of course, you can always make your gift even more practical by giving a Slickplan gift certificate, but make it more fun by printing it out and having a twerking robot (available at Think Geek) hand it to them.


Off and On Again T-ShirtWhy it’s practical: you can wear it

Price range: $10-$20

Stores: ThreadScience Tees Etsy shop, Mom Says it’s Cool

T-shirts are an easy gift idea for coders of any age; plus, they’re just plain fun. Many programmers include T-shirts as part of their professional apparel, so, the perfect programmer tee will get plenty of use.

In terms of finding this gift, there’s no shortage of places to buy snarky t-shirts online. You may even be able to find some in retail locations, depending on where you live. The main thing to remember about this gift idea, however, is to buy the correct size. A T-shirt that does not fit correctly will probably never be worn. If you are ordering your shirt online, purchase early because shipping times can vary – especially on custom T-shirts.

Wearable Tech

Programmer WatchWhy it’s practical: it tells time

Price range: $200

Stores: Detomaso

In general, coders love tech. Therefore, the idea of wearable tech is likely a win. Nowadays, wearable tech gifts aren’t too hard to find; however, the most practical wearable tech that’s also fun is a binary watch by Detomaso.  

This German-engineered watch features a genuine leather strap and flashing LED lights (like a computer). This watch may be sci-fi and futuristic, but it is far from a toy. It includes a stainless-steel case, sapphire coated glass, and fine details. This Tecpunk watch ensures that your favorite coder has a beautiful piece of technology that also tells time. It’s available for purchase on the company’s website, but it ships from Germany, so allow plenty of time.

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coder stickerWhy it’s practical: identify your laptop from afar

Price range: Starts at $7

Stores: Redbubble, MakeitStick

When you code, everything can start to look the same — the numbers on the screen, the monitors, the coffee cups. Programmers need a practical way to identify their things from everyone else’s; especially after an all-day work session. Stickers make it easy to find your stuff while adding some personal touches.

While it is true that stickers are not that hard to find, finding the perfect sticker sometimes requires sheer luck. How many tech conferences do you have to attend to find the one sticker worthy of putting on your laptop? That’s why custom stickers are the perfect gift for any coder.

Stocking Stuffers

stocking stuffer pillowsWhy they’re practical: mugs hold coffee, bags hold stuff

Price range: $10 – $60

Stores: RoomCraftMom Says it’s CoolGet Digital

By definition, stocking stuffers are those inexpensive gifts that you add on to make sure everyone has something. They aren’t expected to be practical, and many times, they aren’t even liked. In fact, these small gifts often become the perfect candidates for re-gifting.

The stocking stuffers on this list, however, are practical and fun. You can choose from a variety of programmer stocking stuffers such as household goods, new parent gifts, mugs and bags from many online stores. These fun gifts won’t help them code, but they are pretty useful. Just remember to purchase early to allow for shipping.

Wireless Computer Accessories

wireless mouseWhy their practical: makes it easy to get up from the desk while still working

Price range: $20- $200

Stores: LogitechBest Buy

Every coder has a computer or three; therefore computer accessories should be a no-brainer. However, if you are not a techie, it may be difficult to know which accessories to purchase. Most of the time, your best bet is a wireless computer mouse, USB flash drive or wireless keyboard.

There are many options for all three accessories, but in 2017, the Logitech brand is considered the best. Logitech makes many versions of wireless keyboards and mice that range in battery life and comfort levels. You’ll easily find these gifts online or in local electronics stores such as Best Buy and Fry’s.


smartphone memory cableWhy their practical: for the right person they make life easier

Price range: $15 – $320

Stores: ThinkGeek 

If you’re not a technology lover, you may think that gadgets are merely toys for adults. This can be far from accurate, especially if those gadgets are designed for coders. Gadgets make great gifts, especially some of the ones you’ll find at ThinkGeek.

These small mechanical devices help make life easier for coders – like a puppy proof charging cable. No one likes it when their dog chews through their cables. Or, you could introduce them to a new hobby, such as building cell phones. Sure, you could do without some of these things, but your life may be dramatically improved with them.


Arduino MKR IoT BundleWhy it’s practical: keeps coding skills sharp

Price range: $40-$2000

Stores: Arduino

The mention of this brand brings smiles to many programmer’s faces. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform that lets its users create interactive projects completely from code. The platform includes both boards and software and is designed for coders of any level. Those new to the platform can start with one of their all-in-one kits.

There are many options with Arduino. You can create robots, IoT devices, wearable electronics and even a 3D printer out of Arduino boards and sheer coding prowess. For new coders and students, there are entry-level products that help introduce the product and teach the fundamentals. It is the ultimate do-it-yourself kit for coders.

Robotic Vacuum

iRobot R980Why it’s practical: it cleans up crumbs

Price range: $375 – $800

Stores: Roomba, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohls

Many people dislike cleaning but love a clean space and coders are no different. Unfortunately, however, many tend to live in their office, which leads to crumbs on the floor. In an office building, this may not be a big deal – crumbs magically disappear when they go home at night. However, for coders that work at home, this can make cleaning the office an extra chore, that some unlucky person will have to do. A Roomba vacuum saves the day because it sweeps the floor while they work. It’s also kind of fun to have a robot working alongside you. Roombas have been around for years, but the latest models feature Wi-Fi to control the vacuum from the iRobot app.

Programmable Remotes

Harmony Elite RemoteWhy their practical: it makes relaxing at home easier

Price range: $50 – $350

Stores: Logitech, Amazon, Best Buy

Remote controls make life easier, especially if you have a lot of devices, and chances are, the coder you are shopping for does. Programmable remotes are a thoughtful gift because they give their holder ultimate control over a variety of electronics. They also help organize a home. There are many universal remotes, but not all programmable remotes are created equally. If you are thinking about buying a universal remote for your techie friend, buy them the best. Tech experts rank Logitech’s Harmony remotes as the ultimate programmable remotes on the market. With six models to choose from, you are sure to find one that will make your coder smile.

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Pocket Computer

Ockel Sirius Mini Pocket PCWhy it’s practical: ultimate on the go computing

Price range: $130- $500

Stores: Intel, NewEgg, B&H

What’s better than a computer that fits in your pocket? The answer to that is easy – a computer that fits in your pocket that is viewable on any HDMI-type monitor. Your favorite programmer can run their code anywhere they go, by simply plugging this thumb-drive sized computer into a large screen television. Pair this gift with a wireless mouse and keyboard, and you’ve got the ultimate mobile computer. Now if you are thinking this tiny computer could not possibly be powerful enough to do anything, think again. It’s got an Intel processor, up to 4GB of memory and storage space. It even has a tiny fan to keep it cool. It’s the computer that you keep in your pocket, or on your lanyard that will make any coder instantly cooler.



Jenn Marie

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