Christmas shopping is an expensive game. Between the chai lattes, mince pies and festive foot rubs, stretching your remaining change to cover the goodies can be quite a challenge.
Need to bring home great gifts without breaking the bank? From tablets to smart plugs to fitness bands, everything in this list can be yours for less than £50 – and it’s all top notch.
Choose a few to suit your recipients, stick them under the tree and reward your thrifty behaviour by blowing the rest of your budget on a cinnamon-scented spa day. You’ve earned it. Or, rather, spent it.
Fresh 'n Rebel Rockbox Bold S (£50)
From mince pies to advent surprises, the festive period offers yet further proof that good things do indeed come in small packages. Unwrap this diminutive Bluetooth cube come Christmas Day and it won’t buck the trend.
Just 8.5cm square, the second-smallest Rockbox Bold packs a battery good for 12 hours, an in-built microphone for easy seasonal greetings and audio beef that belies its compact form. It’s completely waterproof, too, should you wish to celebrate the unlikely event of snowfall with that sledging soundtrack you’ve been saving since 2010.
Tile Sticker 2-Pack (£35)
There are few things riskier at Christmas than roaming relatives with a passionate dislike for discarded packaging. Leave a box unattended during the big Boxing Day clean-up and it’s just one bin bag away from being lost forever.
Reduce the danger of a refuse mix-up with Tile’s adhesive Bluetooth tracker: attached to your kit, the waterproof puck’s ringer can be activated at 150ft for faster finding. And with a 3-year battery life, you’ll have plenty of time to rummage through even the deepest pile of wrapping paper.
Amazon Echo Flex (£25)
Between tree lights and all sorts of Yuletide tech, wall sockets are at an absolute premium during the festive fortnight. Why waste a precious powerpoint on more neon naffness when you can upgrade it with Alexa?
All the smarts of Amazon’s digital assistant crammed into a package the size of a plug, the Echo Flex can control your smart home kit, respond to voice commands and talk to other Echo devices. Oh, and there’s a USB port on the bottom, so the family will still have a charging spot to squabble over.
Blurams Home Pro (£34)
Still not sure if it’s really Mr Claus who drinks the milk on Christmas Eve? You could rig up an elaborate tinsel trap to apprehend any dairy fiends like a knock-off Kevin McCallister. Or you could point this smart camera at the cookie tray.
With night-vision, face-recognition and a wide-angle lens, it’s sure to catch the semi-skimmed culprit in the act, while two-way audio means you can freak out the festive reprobate like the ghost of Christmas pasture.
Google Nest Mini (£49)
It never hurts to have an extra helper around the house at Christmas, if only to distract uncle Dave from downing the chocolate liqueurs. Thankfully, Google’s dinky domestic aid can do it all: wrapped in a fabric skin fashioned from recycled plastic bottles, the new Nest Mini offers all the good bits of Google Assistant, as well as smart home control, better voice recognition and a beefier speaker than before.
Teach Dave to say ‘Hey, Google’ and, while you might have to suffer through every ’70s playlist known to Spotify, at least there’ll be enough Baileys left for a Chocolatini on Boxing Day.
Bellroy Tech Kit (£49)
Looking for a smart place to stash all the tech accessories Santa so kindly left in your stocking? You could do a solid for the planet and fashion a festive container from crackers, wrapping paper and party hats. Or you could trust Bellroy to do a better job.
More than just a cable tidy, its capacious and cleverly divided Tech Kit is crafted from recycled woven fabric, so you can holster a whole haul of peripherals with a clean eco conscience. As long as you correctly recycle the packaging, that is.
Native Union Smart Hub PD 45W (£50)
It’s the classic Christmas conundrum: you want to enjoy the gadget you just unwrapped, but the instructions say you should charge it fully before use. Does it actually make a difference? That’s one for the MythBusters, but if you’re planning to abide by the paperwork then Native Union’s Smart Hub is the quickest way to hit 100%.
Packing a pair of USB-A ports, the adapter also comes equipped with a USB-C Power Delivery port that can serve up super speedy 30W power, so you’ll be playing with your new tech in no time.
Official Raspberry Pi Keyboard & Mouse (£22)
Besides making an actual double-crust dessert with a seasonal berry filling, going DIY with a Raspberry Pi is one of the most rewarding festive projects around.
Already got a board? Complete your creative setup with this official keyboard and mouse bundle from the creators of the multi-purpose microcomputer. Go grey if you want to play the subtle way or bag the signature red and white version to show your coding colours with Pi pride.