Ah, the wonders of technology. From harnessing solar power to exploring Mars, mankind continuously proves itself capable of achieving the imagination’s wildest ideas.
But not all of us are out there using tech to solve the world’s biggest problems. (We’re watching you, Elon Musk.) For those of us who marvel at the wonders of FaceTime (I mean you, Grandma Kay) or are endlessly entertained by a banana-shaped Bluetooth phone (guilty), tech is a way for us to revel in ease or delight in absurdly unnecessary—but undeniably delightful—things.
The following gadgets are a trove of ingenuity, from a smart cocktail machine to a charging mouse pad. Shop for yourself, your friends, or the random cousin whose name you drew in the holiday gift exchange.
Embrace your inner control freak
There’s nothing like the first, piping-hot sip of coffee. Pure bliss! Contentment, at last! Then, sip by sip, the feeling slips away from us as the temperature declines. Don’t let “room temperature” ruin your morning cuppa; this mug lets you pick the exact temperature (between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit) of your morning brew, and keeps it hot and ready for up to 80 minutes.
Turn your apartment into a farm
Live from the land even if you have no land to your name! This smart garden takes up about as much space as a bookcase, but grows you fresh greens straight from Mother Nature herself all year long. Equipped with grow lights, an automatic watering system, and a companion app, it will grow basil, lettuce, and tomato with basically no intervention from an irresponsible human like you (caprese salad, here we come). Now you’ll go to Trader Joe’s just because you want to, not because you need to.
Be your own lab rat
If you’re still waiting for the powers of your healing crystals to kick in (I’m looking at you, Yellow Jasper), try something a little more proactive when it comes to helping you maintain mindfulness and practice good habits. The Pavlok 3 Pro tracks your steps, sleep, and activity and uses vibrations and tiny electronic shocks to help change your behavior for the better. Now that’s a good boy! Featured on Shark Tank, the device is described by happy reviewers as the “perfect tool for ADHD,” with buyers applauding its improvements in their productivity, concentration, and ability to wake up in the morning, and one retrained user candidly declares, “it hurts but it’s worth it.”
Clean your nasty phone
Maybe it’s a result of living through a series of health-related major historical events, but it’s more apparent than ever that human beings are all filthy and we don’t wash our hands nearly enough. Since our phones are becoming an extension of our hands (evolution, duh) we need to clean those babies too. Don’t settle for just a plain ol’ Lysol wipe, try cleaning up in this zappy germ-killing chamber.
…And charge it in style
Instead of the frayed-ass charger you’ve got on a three-foot cable you’re futilely trying to stretch to your nightstand, why not charge your iPhone and AirPods simultaneously on Courant’s Mag:2 charger? This mid-century modern wireless charger with leather detailing magnetically holds your phone up (also great for watching The White Lotus in bed) and offers a pedestal with charging light for your earbuds.
The greatest love of all
Is there anything more precious than good sleep? If you say yes, you’re lying. Casper’s Glow Light is a self-dimming light with a low profile and minimalist design that’s looks as if it’s ripped straight out of Dieter Rams’ dreams. Give the gift of Glow and your sweetheart will be dreaming up ways to thank you for it.
It’s like having a pocket dad
I have never once opened my car’s manual to solve a problem (and never will), and I know I’m not the only one who has taken this sacred vow at the intersection of laziness and stubbornness. Install this Bluetooth-powered gizmo into your car in seconds, and then when your “check engine” light comes on (or something else freaky happens), it translates confusing car hieroglyphics into regular English to diagnose the problem through an app on your phone, potentially saving you loads of time and money. One five-star reviewer writes that it’s “better at diagnostics than my local repair shop.”
For the friend who should be fired for texting all day
Ah, the office. The place where you go to the bathroom just to check your phone. The makers of this phone-charging mouse pad empower you to work with your phone right out in the open. Your boss won’t even notice.
Ready for the robot uprising
If (and when) robot bartenders eventually become sentient and turns on humanity, the worst it can do is overserve you. Until that alcohol-infused apocalypse, this magic machine, called the Bartesian, serves as a kind of Keurig-style bartender, instantly making you dozens of different drinks. Read our full review of the Bartesian here.
Too good for a PBR?
So, cracking a cold one and sipping from its aluminum form doesn’t do it for you? This growler turns any store-bought beer into a heady, draft pour right in your own home. Say goodbye to putting on pants and going to the bar.
The gift you wanted in your skater phase
If only Hot Topic had sold these when you still had enough physical coordination to skateboard without hurting your back! Reconnect with your jaded, emo heart with this Bluetooth-enabled, music-playing beanie. It’s best for playing Dashboard Confessional and My Chemical Romance deep cuts (you know, if you’re anything like us).
If you’re still in 7th grade
Forget friendship bracelets. You’re not really best friends if you haven’t exchanged friendship lamps! When you’re feeling blue and missing your bestie, touch your lamp and their lamp will light up with a different hue. Sure, you could just call them to say hello, but where’s the fun in that?
Because if you don’t love Baby Yoda, you’re a sociopath
Baby Yoda has ascended to puppy status. Every living human thinks it's cute, and if you’re the exception to this rule, you won’t admit it out of your fear of being ostracized by society. With that in mind, we know that no one really needs a Baby Yoda-shaped portable speaker, but—let’s be honest—once you can gift this baby-sized speaker to literally anyone, they will have to thank you (you know, on principle).
If you want to pretend you’re in the CIA
Suspicious if your significant other is lying to you about eating the last Klondike bar (among other things)? Settle it over a harmless game night with this lie detector test game that *gently* shocks your finger if caught. Gotta teach ‘em somehow.
Pretend your fingers are lasers
Why shoot webs like Spiderman when you can shoot beams of light from your hands? Use them for late outdoor activities, trying to find your dropped AirPods for the millionth time, or when you feel like having your own personal lightsaber.
Sunglasses cooler than you
Since when did Ray-Ban sunglasses go high-tech on us? These babies don’t just make you look like James Dean; they also allow you to record videos, take photos, and accept phone calls like à la James Bond.
Toast your limbs
Get things moving and grooving with this heated percussion massager. Even if the most you move throughout the day is getting up to make lunch, everyone deserves a bit of luxury.
And, don’t forget your eyes
Unlike your grandpa, you’re not sleeping you’re literally just resting your eyes.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be letting the robots take over.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals?Sign up for our newsletter.