GeekMom 2011 Holiday Gift Guide #6: Practical Yet Awesome Gifts

The sixth in our series of 2011 Holiday Gift Guides covers a variety of gifts that are more practical, yet still completely awesome. In many cases, that’s about the only thread that ties them together. What other gifts do you think are practical yet awesome?

Image: STM Bags

STM bags
Prices vary
Our mobile devices take a beating when we carry them around. For the larger ones, such as our iPads and laptops, good protection is vital. STM Bags are ideal for this purpose. They all contain high density foam which protects devices incredibly well. The bags also have plenty of room for other gadgets or items. STM Bags come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, including sleeves, to best fit your device!

Image: ThinkGeek

Miracle Berry Tablets
$14.99
Tablets made from the Miracle Berry, when dissolved on the tongue, will make sour foods taste sweet. Lemons, limes, grapefruit, rhubarb, and other fruits taste incredible. Just dissolve half a tablet on your tongue, and then proceed to enjoy your previously sour feast. Be sure to have all of your food prepared and at the ready before starting. (Remember that this sour food is still acidic, even if it tastes sweet, so don’t eat too much.) Miracle Berry Tablets are a really fun experience that kids and grown-ups can enjoy together. Keep a chart of what you liked best!

Image: 5.11 Tactical

5.11 Tactical Clothes and Gear
Prices vary
Whether you’re looking for tough clothes or gear for yourself or for someone else in your life, 5.11 Tactical offers pants, shirts, jackets, bags, and other items that are incredibly well-made and reasonably priced. They are also comfortable and look good.

Bee Love Locket image: Brigid Ashwood, by permission

Secret Scents Perfume Lockets
$48
GeekMom’s own Brigid Ashwood offers a new line of solid-perfume lockets with a choice of original images to delight any gift recipient (“Victorian,” “Steampunk,” and “So Cute It Burns” are just some of the categories). Each locket is filled with an all-natural beeswax solid perfume (unscented is also an option, if preferred) and is available in either an antique brass or polished-silver finish.

Image: Amazon.com

360 Degrees LED Light Helmet
$89
This well-constructed bike helmet is designed with an embedded LED light with 360 degree optic fiber to provide extra safety. It has 19 vents to keep wearers cool and a specialized positioning system so it can be easily adjusted. Comes in a range of colors and sizes to suit every skull in the family.

Image: Amazon.com

Lello 4070 Gelato Junior
$215
Looking for a gift to please every member of the family? Here it is. Using your wholesome ingredients, the Gelato Junior takes only about 30 minutes to churn out ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, icy drinks, or gelato. Since it has a built-in compressor, you can turn out multiple flavors of ice cream while making dinner or getting ready for a party. Includes electronic timer, removable bowl, transparent lid, automatic safety system, ice cream scoop, and recipe book. Think of what you’ll save making gelato with your family!

Image: DayBreak with permission

DayBreak Lavender Farm products
$14.95 to $77.80
LoveLight Body Candle $24.95
This unusual gift is made of soy and natural plant oils in a container that looks like a candle. Light the wicks and let a puddle develop, then pour the warm “CandleLotion” into your hands and rub anywhere for healing, softening, sensual benefits.
Three Kings Frankincense, Myrrh & Gold Gift Bar $14.95
This unique, mysteriously-fragrant 7 oz. soap has red, brown, and gold swirls. Crafted only with historically accurate oils.
Sleep Like A Baby Best Rest Set $77.80
A basket filled with softly-scented lavender treats, including AromaBath Stress Melt, Lavender Body Silk lotion, LoveLight Body Candle, and much more.

All products are handmade from ethically-sourced ingredients on the first lavender farm in Ohio’s history.

Image: RoomMates Decals

RoomMates Wall Decals
From $7 to $50
One great gift idea for the kid who changes his/her mind a lot–or for those of us who rent our homes and can’t make permanent changes to the walls–would be a selection from RoomMates’ extensive line of removable wall decals. These decals come in so many styles that any kid can find a favorite, and they’ll have a blast deciding where to put them on their walls. You can find a huge selection (including: space ships, dinosaurs, super heroes, Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, vintage planes, wild horses, and funky flowers), affordably-priced, at Amazon.com.

Image: ThinkGeek.com

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter
$29.99
The Trekkie on your list will absolutely love this pizza cutter! It looks just like the USS Enterprise, comes with a snazzy storage box, and even has “NCC-1701” engraved on the blade. Although it doesn’t light up or make any sounds, that isn’t a problem. The whole family will be saying “Space, the final frontier….” and humming the intro off-key as you circle Planet Pepperoni at the dinner table.

Image: Luxury Lane Soap

Luxury Lane Soaps, Astromech Soap
$4.99
It’s hard to keep kids clean–who knows if they even use the soap? Well, get them this adorable Astromech Soap from Luxury Lane Soaps and they’ll come out of the tub squeaky clean. These environmentally friendly soaps are available in multiple colors and fragrances, and when you purchase the pink astromech 100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Be warned, once you see all the amazing geeky soaps on this site, you’re not going to be able to buy just one!

Image: Quirky

Quirky PowerCurl MacBook Cord Wrap
$14.99
The Quirky PowerCurl MacBook Cord Wrap is the gift every single MacBook owner will thank you for. This cover fits around your MacBook power brick and makes it easy to wrap even the big portion of your cord around the power brick to keep it looking neat and managed. What’s even more interesting is that this (and all other Quirky products) are actually crowd-sourced inventions. That makes it a doubly geeky gift in my mind.

Image © Animagus Apparrel

Chudley Cannons Strip
£40/$65
Ron Weasley’s favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons, are known for their bright orange strip. This top comes in its own kit bag and is personalized with your choice of name and number printed on the back. If the bright orange is a bit much for you, there’s also a burgundy “away” strip available.

Image © Dark Bunny Tees

Ghostbusters Shirt by Dark Bunny Tees
£18
Dark Bunny Tees specializes in shirts bearing obscure references to some of your favorite films. This design is based on one of my favorite films and is brilliantly cryptic. It is also available in a glow-in-the-dark version–what more could you ask for?

Photo: Amazon.com

Banned Books Charm Bracelet
$18-$24
Puzzled at what to get the aspiring English major or librarian on your gift list this season? Keep the spirit of intellectual freedom alive year-round with an American Library Association “I Read Banned Books” charm bracelet. Your huckleberry friend will howl with appreciation–though younger First-Amendment-adherents may prefer the “teen titles” bracelet ($18), instead.

Photo: Peacebomb.com

Project Peacebomb Bracelets
A gift idea for the geek friend who rails against the hegemony of the American military-industrial complex: bracelets made from bombs (that double as contributions toward the ongoing efforts to clear rural Laos of a decade of unexploded cluster bombs). From the mid-60’s to the early 70’s, as the Vietnam War raged, 250 million US bombs were dropped on Laos in order to stop the spread of communism into Indochina. Project Peacebomb is working to turn this “silent” tragedy into a force for positive change by partnering with local Laotian craftsmen, who melt down the shrapnel that exists all over rural Laos and shapes it into jewelry like the bangle bracelets pictured above. Profits from jewelry sales support international advocacy that ends the use of cluster bombing and also finances the safe clearance of unexploded ordinance that still exists throughout Laos–the most heavily-bombed country in history.

Photo: FoundIt.net

FoundIt!
If you’re buying any big-ticket gift items this year, head over to FoundIt! and pick up a little peace of mind, as well. For as little as $10, you can purchase FoundIt! stickers and tags that can be attached to beloved items: electronics, purses…even luggage or pets! If those items are ever lost, the finder can call or text FoundIt! so that a reunion between you and your prodigal object can safely, easily be arranged.

"Swell" Morse Coded Necklace by Coatt. Image: Coatt

Coatt Morse Coded Necklaces
$36.00 and up
Jewelry designer Rebecca Coagan combines the dots and dashes of Morse Code to make words beautiful. The beads can be gold fill, silver, or 14K gold, and they sit on a colored silk cord of your choosing. Pick from one of her word necklaces, like ‘Swell’ pictured here, or order a custom word or name up to 10 characters. Perhaps GeekMoms would like one for each of their GeekKids?

Photo: dB Logic

dB Logic Earphones
$34.95
How often can you find a gift that is fun to give/receive, but also protects your health? The new dB Logic earphones offer fantastic sound quality while guaranteeing to keep sound-wave pressures to under 85 decibels (meeting OSHA standards). These earphones come in fun, funky colors and retail for $34.95. Great for kids and adults, these smart ear buds would be great stocking stuffers or would also make a thoughtful gift for that special teacher or co-worker.

Image: Amazon

Sock Monkey Cap
$6
What better way to keep your kids’ ears warm this winter than with a sock monkey cap? Not only will they stay warm and cozy, they’ll have a built in playmate on the bus ride to school!

Image: Amazon

Pac-Man Bandages
$6
Retro bandages for the win! If you’ve got a kid who’s crazy for bandages, surely these Pac-Man bandages will cure all ills. Not a fan of Pac-Man? Check out bandages that look like pickles (pickles!), crime scene tape, or bacon.

 

Don’t forget to check out our previous GeekMom Gift Guides: #1: Holiday-Themed Gifts, #2: Games, #3: Books, #4: Toys and Activities for Young Kids, and #5: Toys and Activities for Older Kids and Adults.

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Jenny Bristol is an Editor at GeekDad and a founding Director at GeekMom. She is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, homeschooling her two wickedly smart kids, losing herself in history, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.