Shoppers are getting ready to spend billions to shower family, friends and even neighbors with a bit of holiday love. That means our elves have been scouring the Internet and store shelves for items you might not have considered.
Here, you'll find some moderately priced gift ideas for the big kids and the little kids in your life. Some even benefit charitable causes.
We've provided hints in instances where they are hard to find.
Dropcam is a wi-fi video monitoring camera that’s easy to set up so you can check in via iOS, Android or computer on your house, your pets or whatever matters from afar, any time. Offers 8X zoom, 130-degree view field and two-way voice communication for $199. Dropcam.com.
The new Sbyke is a hybrid bike-scooter with a unique rear-steer system that's made for both kids and adults. The P20 version is $249.
Feel like the kids might be too young to have a cellphone but want to keep in touch? Motorola’s widely available MG160A Talkabout® two-way radio has a range of up to 16 miles, $29.99.
Audio-Technica has a range of turntables that put those old phonograph records back in play. The AT-LP60-USB makes it simple to listen to 33-1/3 or 45 RPM records or turn them into digital media files. MSRP is $145.
ThinkFun’s Word-A-Round™ game gets high marks from Good Housekeeping and American Mensa, among others. Words are in a circle and you have to be fast to figure out where they begin and end. Not as easy as it sounds. Two or more players, 10 to adult, $12.95.
The littles might not care, but Mom, Dad and older tech-loving kids will like the AM Mist Anti-Schmutz All-in-One Screen Cleaner, about $13 from getclean.am. It has solution packed inside a microfiber case that wipes dirt and oils off delicate tech surfaces.
Turn a favorite smartphone photo into a real keepsake with SnapBox, printed on stretched canvas and mounted on knot-free wood with a black enamel finish. Hang them or put them on a ledge or table. Prices range from $13.29 to $36.99, Snapboxez.com.
Medical alert bracelets that look great, are designed by celebrities, with proceeds going to their charities, include Sjogren’s Foundation, a children’s hospital and the fight against breast cancer. Designers include Mayim Bialik for Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, $29.95, at Hopepaige.com.
Necklaces and earrings and other items pay for the education of children at the Daisy Academy School in Bukura, Kenya, and suicide prevention in Uganda. Made by native artisans. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org, $20 a set.
Turquoise Thai bracelet was made in a project to help protect girls from exploitation. Worldvision.org, $40.
Rae Dunn’s ceramic pear measuring cup set is part decoration, part practical and really clever. Cost seems to depend on the color, $32 and up.
Puzzle Trivet/Drink coaster is made from bamboo. It's a fun take on a practical gift, $19.99, Overstock.com.
With a Zippo stainless steel wallet, he won’t have to worry about wireless identity theft because it has a radio frequency shield. Thin and lightweight, it also has a flexible polymer body so it’s comfortable and easy to use. Six credit card slots, an ID window and a money pocket. Zippo.com, amazon.com and ThingsRemembered.com, $49.95.
You never know when you’ll need a USB drive, so put it on your key ring and keep it with you. The LaCie Petite Key is waterproof to 100 meters, scratch resistant and available in three sizes: 8GB, 16GB and 32GB. It runs from about $15-$30, depending on size.
The “Daddy” tie speaks for itself. It’s pure printed silk nicely presented in a keepsake box that says “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy,” $29.95 from daddyscrubs.com.
Beautiful box set of 100 contemporary design postcards, curated by the Textile Arts Center of New York City, $19.95, Papress.com.
Lush Cosmetic’s Charity Pot hand and body lotion, made from Fair Trade and organic cocoa, vegan. Proceeds benefit environmental and humanitarian causes, $29.95. Also from Lush, you can wrap your gifts in Knot-Wrap scarves for $6.95 each, and that becomes its own gift.
Dove of peace pin and earrings: 4k gold-plated pewter, with sterling silver earring posts. Pin is $55, earrings, $45, inspired by art at Smithsonian, available at museum store.
If your kid loves taking selfies, this iPhone Selfie remote will at least provide a different angle. Wireless shutter control for iPhones and iPads. MSRP $25.
Snowball plug-and-play USB microphone by Blue Microphones for PC or Mac on any recording program. You can chat, podcast or assemble the team to chat or record band practice. With an add-on, you can get it to work with iPad, too. Amazon.com, $69.99
The “What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar” game is marketed as a task of “minor skill and major will,” for teenagers and adults who form two- or three-person teams to tackle some of the several hundred direct challenges. The game is a bit silly and a bit challenging, which adds up to a lot of fun. MSRP is $24.99, available at both specialty game stores and superstores.
Give music a touch of whimsy with Sakar’s portable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle speakers. Pick Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo or Raphael. Great sound. Connects to iPhone, iPad, iPod or MP3. MSRP $35, Sears and Toys ’R’ Us.
Chloe's Closet: Outdoor Explorer DVD is the latest fanciful dress-up adventure that has captured the imagination of little girls. MSRP $9.99.
Turn your iPad into an interactive learning toy with Tiggly. Suite of apps and shapes fit easily in a child’s hand and work with sensors to interact with the screen. Boost creativity, interaction and vocabulary. Nordstrom and in Apple stores, $29.99.
Zing’s Z-Tek Bow uses bungee cords to send those soft-foam arrows and suction cup darts flying. Amazon.com, toy stores, age 8-plus, $24.99.
Kids may be happier wearing a helmet they customized themselves. iWipeout Dry Erase Helmets are certified safety protection for roller sports, ages 3-11, $29.99. iWipeout.com, stores.
Pop open the Go! Can by Ebexcalibur and find a 1:56 scale remote control version of a BMW X6™, a Mini Cooper™ or a Nissan 350Z™. Requires batteries. Around $15.
Pom-Pom Puppies is the latest in this award-winning Klutz kid-craft series. Besides the book of instructions, get yarn, a pom-pom maker, comb, glue, foam and felt features and punch-out accessories to create the most popular breeds of dogs. Ages 8-plus, written by April Chorba, $19.99.
Smart Balance Bikes by Smart Gear are pedal free and without training wheels so a child develops balance and motor skills that will make learning to ride a traditional bike a snap later. With new balance control, they can lift their feet and cruise. Also good as a therapy training tool. Made from birch with inflatable rubber tires, foam handle bar grips, cushioned seat and a carry handle, for 2 years to 60 pounds. $89-$99. Smartgeartoys.com.
ThinkFun’s Roll & Play™ is a first game for toddlers. They can toss the cube and see which side faces up, then identify colors and perform a simple designated task. Playtime helps teach patterns and the concept of rules in a fun way; 18 months and older, $19.99.