Fearful of festive excess? Spending sensibly doesn’t make you a Scrooge – and Christmas cheer needn’t cost you dear.
No, you can’t buy a Nintendo Switch with your secret stash of chocolate coins, but you can find a whole range of Yuletide treats that’ll cost you less than £100.
From streaming sticks and smart cameras to earphones and telephones, the list below features our pick of the best affordable gadget gifts you can buy right now. Stick one under the tree this Christmas and the smiles will be priceless. Ebenezer who?
Looking for more gift ideas?
Chromecast with Google TV
Google ain’t afraid of no ghost: the search giant’s upgraded plug-in puck crosses all the streams. From Netflix and Prime Video to BT Sport and Disney+, the Google TV interface brings together content from countless streaming services on a single screen. Spoilt for 4K choice? Search with your voice or get personalised recommendations based on your subscriptions and watch history.
Apple HomePod Mini
Bigger than a bauble and styled like a sci-fi candle, Apple’s smallest orb doesn’t emit festive fragrances – but it will punch out your Christmas playlist in 360 degrees. Equipped with Siri and ready to play nice with your smart home, adopt a herd of HomePods for stereo pairing, multi-room audio and to ping Intercom voice messages around the house. Now shipped in a trio of vibrant hues to make your Space Grey sphere seem dull.
BioLite AlpenGlow 250
December isn’t the mildest month for exploring outdoors. If you insist on sleeping alfresco, BioLite’s rechargeable lantern will fool you cosy. Its ChromeReal LEDs are designed to render realistic tones after dark, which means its dimmable Warm White setting should seem almost toasty. Use the integrated hook to suspend it in your tent – or shake it for a fire-like flicker. Good for glow to go, its battery lasts for up to five hours at 250 lumens. Illuminating a campsite shindig? Switch to multicolour mode for a spectrum of vibrant shades.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 40
Candid snaps might seem like a sentimental Christmas treat, but no-one wants their practised gratitude captured in high resolution. Mask the phoney smiles with analogue grain. Fujifilm’s old-school shooter sorts out the exposure, focus and flash by itself, leaving you free to frame up whichever visiting relative looks least pleased with their presents. Pint-sized prints appear 90 seconds after you push the button, with all the deep contrast, warm fuzz and awkward expressions you’d expect.
From Will Ferrell films to shelf-based rhymes, there’s plenty that’s Elfin about Christmas. Add aerial entertainment to that list with Potensic’s pint-sized flyer. Simple to pilot with the partner app, the folding drone shoots 720p video and stays airborne for up to 20 minutes. Which is more than enough time to shred some hedges. It can hover in place and, thanks to a tiny 95g take-off weight, you don’t need a licence to fly it. But be careful when you do: like any excited elf, it’s easily blown off course.
Logitech MX Keys Mini
A flyaway writer’s retreat might be just the thing to inspire your next bestseller. Stick Logitech’s compact keyboard in your carry-on for top typing wherever you travel. Slim, light and good for up to five months on a single charge, the Mini features full-sized keys which are sculpted to suit your fingertips, while its solid metal build reduces the rat-a-tat that would otherwise earn the ire of fellow passengers. Backlighting lets you continue crafting your novella even after the cabin lights are dimmed, plus an emoji shortcut means you’ll easily find the right smiley to celebrate when you get published.
Koble Arc Wireless Charging Desk Lamp
The right lighting is key to productivity. Just ask the illumination manager in Santa’s workshop. Stick this slimline shiner on your desk for glow to help you focus. Equipped with dimmable LEDs, the lamp features three temperature settings to suit the task and time of day. Its flexible head throws shade away from where you’re working, plus there’s a wireless charger built into the base. So your workspace will be free from cables – and your phone fully charged for procrastination.
Silent nights might be alright for some, but if you need tunes to feel the festive spirit, try Sony’s Bluetooth earbuds. Little and lightweight, their sculpted shells should fit as snug as bugs in your lugs. Jingling bells will sound their best thanks to Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine, which restores high-frequencies for more authentic audio. And with 10 hours of battery life (plus another 10 from the charging case), your Yuletide classics playlist will expire long before they do.
Nolii Set Battery
Like energy bars for your blower, power banks deliver boost when you need it most. Unless you forget to fill them. Avoid the drama of double dead cells with this clever charging combo. The low-profile plug simultaneously zaps your smartphone and a 6700mAh backup battery, which sticks magnetically to the base. Heading out? Grab the brick for juice that’s good to go. It features an integrated Lightning cable, plus a USB port for secondary accessories.
Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd gen)
Shopping for an affordable gift to stick on someone’s bedside table? You could buy your sleepy recipient an alarm clock, a digital photo frame, a speaker or even a tiny TV. Or you could buy them an Echo Show 5 – which is all of those things and more. Shipped with Alexa on-board, Amazon’s smallest screen has all the smarts you’d expect, including home control, security monitoring and improved video calling with its new 2MP camera.
Matador Camera Baselayer 2.0
Wrapping up for a winter shoot? Don’t leave your camera without a jacket. Matador’s padded pouch protects DSLR and mirrorless models from the elements. A drawstring bottom means you can easily adjust the size to suit your snapper (and its barrel), while a magnetic closure makes access quick and easy. Heading into a December downpour? Roll the top of the drybag liner tightly shut for IPX6 waterproofing. There’s also a zipper pocket for lens caps, memory cards or tiny snacks.
Google Nest Cam (wired)
It takes staying power to catch Santa in the act. Nod off after a nip of eggnog and he’ll deliver his load without you knowing. Can’t fend off the festive Zs? Use Google’s indoor Nest Cam to record the man in red coming down your chimney. Designed to keep a smarter eye on your abode, the wired watcher works day and night to intelligently detect movement and alert your phone if anything’s occurring. Activity Zones can be configured to cover the fireplace, while a Nest Aware subscription unlocks 30 days of 1080p video event history – so you can figure out if it’s really the elves who keep nicking your cookies.
TwelveSouth HoverBar Duo
Recently unwrapped an iPad? Lucky you. Now try using it while you rustle up Christmas grub, without splattering its Retina display with all sorts of sauces. Helpfully, the HoverBar Duo can keep your kitchen assistant close but out of cranberry’s way. Clip your slate in place and the hinged holder will clutch it where you need it. Its weighted base will stand firm on countertops, while the included clamp can attach to any edge. Tilt your tablet for easy-to-read recipes or go horizontal for an overhead lunch prep livestream. It’s compatible with all kinds of iPads, including the Mini 6.
The smartphone equivalent of a stocking filler, Nokia’s bargain blower is no lump of coal. Built tough enough for clumsy hands, the streamlined starter phone ships with a 6.51in touchscreen and two rear cameras (including a 2MP macro lens for festive close-ups). Two-day battery life should also set you free from plug dependence. And with an Android 11 (Go edition) update on the way, this phone’s not just for Christmas.
Innr Outdoor Flex Light Colour
It’s not easy being the Lord of Light. Sure, your Christmas illuminations have been the talk of the town since 2003, but it’s hard to keep raising the bar. Especially after that giant inflatable reindeer you installed on the roof last year. For a subtler upgrade to your festive decor, loop this four-metre lightstrip around your lawn. Dimmable, wireless and compatible with Google or Alexa via a bridge, its 16.8 million colour options should be enough to impress the neighbours.