You’ve probably been fantasizing about getting amazing gifts this December, like robots with servo-mounted laser pointers and authentic battle damage. It’s time to realize that it’s unlikely that this will happen. Stay calm. You can still get sweet hacky things if you just forward this gift-giving guide to your friends and loved ones.
Join us after the break to see what we want and be sure to let us know what you’ve got your eye on.
Everyone needs a good set of tools, but a depressing number of people lack even the most basic elements of an electronics workshop. Teeth may have served you for years but we highly recommend an adjustable wire stripper (fun fact: if you dress it up with googly eyes it looks like a dinosaur). This pair of flush cutters is honestly the most fulfilling hand tool available, making every hacking session a cathartic series of precise snips. For the ultimate experience consider the ever-useful electronics multitool. You can’t very well make good use of these tools without good visibility, so shed some light on the situation with the humble clamp lamp and its more capable cousin, the magnifying clamp lamp.
If you’re more of a martinis-and-caviar hacker you can spare some cash for fancy kits like those drool-worthy makerbot apparatuses or the succulent-sounding synth kits from PAiA. For a homegrown approach, you could put together simple kits for your own project ideas–a perfect excuse to teach the little ones how to solder!
Nothing beats the narcotic possibilities of powerful general-purpose hardware. For an affordable and pint-sized software dev machine this Dell Mini comes to mind, great for a hackintosh. Does your hacker giftee really want a dog but can’t handle the constant stream of cleanups? Give them a beagleboard and encourage them to build a no-mess robopuppy. If you’re comfortable giving a child’s toy to a grown adult, don’t forget the ever-hackable furby. For a more personalized approach we recommend hacking a dancing santa from the local department store and converting it into a terrifying and festive Santapede gift–win prizes while you’re at it, but you’d better have it done by November 30th!
You can always go the route of gift certificates and let people pick out their own gift, you uncreative buffoon, to juicy sites like Adafruit, Seeed Studios, Sparkfun, Macetech. seeedstudio, littlebirdelectronics, and MakerSHED.
If you have more gift ideas please for goodness sakes share them in the comments! We all need to band together, some of us are really sweating about the holiday season. Whatever hacky loot you end up distributing, don’t forget to include the greatest hack of all: love.