The Christmas shopping season is in full swing and the malls are already overcrowded with people frantically trying to match the right gift to the right recipient. And while you may assume that you need to take out a second mortgage in order to afford a fancy new gadgety toy for the techie person on your nice list — those $1,000 smartphones are no joke — the truth is you can find some great stocking stuffers for less than fifty bucks.

WeMo Mini Smart Plug

Welcome to the future. Getting into the smart home and Internet of Things thing doesn’t need to be expensive. I’ve been a fan of the Belkin WeMo family of products for some time already, but the WeMo Mini is easily my favorite of the bunch. They’ve designed it such that it doesn’t block the power outlet above or below, which just makes a lot more sense.

Just like all the other smart things, the WeMo Mini can be easily controlled by way of the WeMo mobile app for Android or iOS. You can start simply with just turning it on or off, which is perfectly handy for everything from lamps to coffee makers, but you can also establish all sorts of rules (and tap into IFTTT if you want) to truly automate your smart home.

The Belkin WeMo Mini is available online for $35.

Roku Express Streaming Media Player

There are numerous reasons why so many people prefer to use a Roku device to handle all their streaming media needs. You can control the whole thing through the Roku mobile app, which is especially useful for typing out names and titles without relying on those clunky on-screen keyboards with arrow keys. With Roku, you can also search across multiple platforms to find exactly the entertainment you want.

One of the most affordable options in this space is the Roku Express, which was recently updated to provide five times the horsepower. The experience is buttery smooth and you’ve got easy access to everything from Netflix to Pandora to even the Pokemon Channel.

The Roku Express (2017) is small in size and price, but big on features. It sells for $29.99.

Google Home Mini Smart Speaker

Hey Google. What are some of the best stocking stuffers this year?

Easily one of my favorite gadgets of 2017, the Google Home Mini makes this whole smart voice assistant thing far more affordable and accessible than ever before. Yes, there’s also the Echo Dot from Amazon, but I’d argue that the aesthetics of this smart speaker are superior and the natural integration with Google services makes it a big win in my books.

The Google Home Mini is on sale for $29 until December 31, after which it’ll revert back to the regular price of $49.

Tunai Firefly Bluetooth Adapter

This might not exactly be the sexiest item on this list of stocking stuffers, but it could be among the most useful. I think of the Tunai Firefly as a very specific kind of stop-gap measure for a person with a particular kind of car. It could also be applicable around the home too.

The idea is that it can plug into any standard 3.5mm audio jack, drawing power from an available USB port. From there, it’ll connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device (namely your smartphone or tablet) to stream audio wirelessly back to that 3.5mm audio jack. It’s kind of brilliant in its simplicity and it has made it so much easier for me to listen to Google Play Music in my car.

The Tunai Firefly is offered in a few different bundles with different cables and adapters. It typically lists for about $35, give or take.

Neewer Portable Folding Mini Tripod


Do you have an aspiring photographer, videographer or social media influencer on your holiday shopping list? The Neewer Portable Folding Mini Tripod (M225+CK30) is so much more functional than a regular selfie stick, because it also works as a tripod, complete with a convenient ballhead for ease of adjustment too.

This is perfect for setting up those group photos when you’re at the office Christmas party or for setting up those vlog shots where you casually stroll in from out of frame. It’s very well built, especially for the price, and it comes in a few different colors to boot.

The Neewer Mini Tripod sells for about $35 on Amazon.

Amazon Gift Cards

I know. Some people will tell you that this is just an easy cop-out, but sometimes it’s easier to just buy a gift card. Part of the reason why I would recommend giving an Amazon gift card is that it’s more versatile. If the recipient can’t find what they want on Amazon (which really means they’re not looking hard enough), he or she can still use it toward a different gift card, like for Starbucks or Sephora or Southwest Airlines or somewhere else that doesn’t start with an S.

With Amazon gift cards, you can choose between an eGift, print at home or a physical card in the mail. The first two options are especially awesome on December 24 when you’ve totally forgotten to buy something and all the stores are already closed. And if you check the “Movers & Shakers” section, you’ll find some non-Amazon gift cards with a discount off their face value. I’ve seen everything from 15% off iTunes to 20% off Panera Bread. Your mileage may vary, of course.

All It Needs Is a Little Love

Sure. We’d love to buy a new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or an Alienware gaming laptop or a fancy Fuji mirrorless camera for the special techie in our lives, but we don’t all have $1,000+ to spend on everyone on our list either. Hopefully these sub-$50 gift ideas will at least give you a good place to start looking for something a little more reasonably priced. Because it’s the thought that counts, right?

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