These gadget gifts will satisfy both the weird and wonderful people.
Jennifer Jolly for USA Today
I’m a huge fan of unique gifts. Both to give and receive. These are the kinds of off-the-wall wonders filled with inside jokes and just enough innuendo to hit the hilarity target every time. Mega strange or just strangely thoughtful, here some of the best wacky gifts I’ve run across this year – perfect for that friend or family member who truly appreciates originality.
If Jesus had been born in 2016, the nativity scenes in everyone’s front yards might look a little something like this: Latte in hand, Mary shows off her high cheek bones with her best duck face while flashing the peace sign. Joseph rocks a man bun in a denim and khaki’s and takes a holy selfie. Three wise men ride in on Segways. They’ve come bearing Amazon boxes, of course. Nearby, an organic cow chomps away on gluten-free food. Controversial? Likely. Hilarious? Obviously. No matter what, everyone will be talking about this Modern Nativity set (
$129.99). Update: $99.
THE GEEK AWAKENS
These Chewbacca slippers ($29.99) are officially Star Wars licensed (Photo: Think Geek)
Perfect for the mega geek in your life, these Chewbacca slippers ($29.99) are officially Star Wars licensed, and actually have built-in Wookiee roars, so a trip down the hallway effortlessly turns into a hilarious Chewbacca romp. Everyone loves fluffy footwear, and these have just enough added nerdy goodness to be worth a place under your tree, even if you’re really just gifting them to yourself.
THE ULTIMATE UMBRELLA
The Panorella ($135.00) (Photo: Alexandre Duret-Lutz “Landing at Saint Maarten”)
Yes, I’m actually recommending you put an umbrella on your Christmas shopping list, and no, I haven’t had too much egg nog (yet). The Panorella ($135.00) keeps your head dry, sure, but it’ll also transport you to your own personal patch of sky, wherever you might want that to be. You can actually customize the inside of this durable, double-layer umbrella with whatever 360-degree panoramic photo you choose. Want to give your friend the gift of a gorgeous, sunny sky whenever it’s raining? This is as close as you can get.
BIG ‘OL YETI FEET
These fluffy yeti slippers ($29.99) are super comfortable and serve a great purpose too. (Photo: Smoko)
I don’t care how goofy these things look, these fluffy yeti slippers ($29.99) are super comfortable and serve a great purpose too. Not only are they off-the-wall slippers, they actually plug into a USB port and turn into heated foot warmers. Perfect for the person in your life who is chronically chilly, and the big furry clogs are always good for a chuckle or two. The best part? They’re a one-size-fits-most design, so you don’t have to go digging through your friend’s closet to find their shoe size.
This cutesy coin bandit ($29.95) lives inside his little faux cardboard box. (Photo: Panda Bank)
We all have a friend or relative who is just not all that great when it comes to saving money — um, hello, that’s me… — but it’s so hard to resist feeding this adorable little panda spare change that saving a buck or two every day gets fun. This cutesy coin bandit ($29.95) lives inside his little faux cardboard box and waits for you to drop a coin onto a little pressure disk. When you do, he peeks outside and steals the coin away. You’ll giggle and your quarter will be saved for a rainy day.
GRANDMA’S PERFECT PETS
Hasbro’s Joy For All Companion Pets (starting at $99) (Photo: Hasbro)
This one is just for grandma and grandpa; Hasbro — yep, the super popular toymaker — invented a way for older men and women to enjoy the joys of pet companionship without the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities of actually caring for a real life dog or cat. They’re called Joy For All Companion Pets (starting at $99), and they’re just plain awesome. With built-in sensors and interactive elements, they feel and sound just like the real deal, and respond to attention just the same. They’re the perfect no-fuss companion for anyone who can’t shoulder the weight of full litter boxes and hyperactive puppies.
A HISTORIC GIFT
Geno 2.0 Next Generation kit ($149.99) is one of the most comprehensive on the market. (Photo: Helix)
How many times have you heard a friend or relative talk about how they’d love to see their own results for one of those DNA testing kits, and then brush it off as an unwarranted expense? That’s a golden gift idea on a silver platter, and Geno 2.0 Next Generation kit ($149.99) is one of the most comprehensive on the market. A small saliva sample unlocks an entire world of information, like the unique migratory story of your ancestors, where they lived and how they migrated. You’ll be giving someone the gift of getting to know themselves like never before, and that’s a guaranteed hit.
A UNICORN JUST FOR YOU
Little unicorn light ($16.99) that fills my heart with joy. (Photo: Smoko)
I don’t know what it is about this adorable little unicorn light ($16.99) that fills my heart with joy, but I’m going to bet it’ll put a smile on your face, too. It’s a simple little ambient light that puts off a very soft, soothing glow no matter how dark your room happens to be. Inside is a long-lasting LED bulb that will give you no-fuss light for years to come, and Uni comes in four different colors, so it’ll look great on pretty much any bedside table or dresser. There’s even a mega-huge version ($99.99), just in case you need to bask in rainbow-light throughout your entire living room.
THE DARK SIDE OF RICE
Star Wars “Chop Sabers” ($19.99) (Photo: Think Geek)
No self-respecting geek would turn down a plate of Asian cuisine if it’s being served alongside a set of these too-cool Star Wars “Chop Sabers” ($19.99). They’re chopsticks designed to look just like the iconic lightsabers wielded by characters in the movies, and they actually light up, too. Your biggest decision will be whether or not the nerd on your Christmas shopping list favors the light or dark side, since you have to choose between Luke’s blue saber and Darth Vader’s evil red sword.
LIVING IN A BUBBLE?
This inflatable bubble tent ($980.00) (Photo: Inflatable bubble tent)
People all over the world pay big bucks to stay in quirky bubble hotels, and now you can buy a bubble-tastic bedroom online. This inflatable bubble tent ($980.00) is a real moonshot gift that will put a dent in your bank account and a look of utter shock and delight on the face of whoever unwraps it. It’s a big, roomy bubble with plenty of room for both sleeping and kicking back and enjoying the great outdoors, even when it’s raining. Plus, you can sleep under the stars while keeping the bugs out, which is an awesome camping combo.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY’s digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferJolly.
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