I started writing these little Christmas gift idea blogs back in 2013 with the intention of publishing one every year. I did a pretty good job maintaining my tradition right up until 2015, then I completely forgot about the idea. I think it was a good idea, so I’m going to restart this yearly habit!

These gift ideas aren’t just for geeks, but I’m going to do my best to steer towards the geekier side of things. If someone has a hobby or a very specific interest, it is usually best to avoid giving a gift related to that hobby unless you know of something very specific that this person would want.

You could buy the nicest, most expensive mechanical keyboard for a keyboard geek, but if the keyboard you chose uses Cherry MX Blue switches and they prefer Brown switches, they’ll be forced to feign delight over a gift they won’t be able to use!

Don’t buy a keyboard for a keyboard geek. Don’t buy a knife for a knife geek. Don’t buy a quadcopter for a quadcopter geek. Don’t buy a camera for a photography geek. Unless you know exactly what to get, they will probably be disappointed!

My best gift giving advice would be to ignore my ideas completely. Think about things that you use regularly that you couldn’t live without. That’s why the Swiss Army CyberTool is always on my gift giving list. I’ve been using mine regularly for 20 years, and I don’t know what I’d do without it!

Victorinox CyberTool 34 ($93)

That said, we may as well start off with the Victorinox Cybertool 34. There are so many multitools to choose from. Many people prefer the Gerber or Leatherman multitools. These tools are built around a big, sturdy set of pliers. These are fine tools, but I think they are more suitable for folks that do heavier duty work than most geeks I know. I own a nice Gerber tool, but I never use it.

If your friend is like me, they’re taking apart electronics, building computers, or opening packages from Amazon. The Swiss Army CyberTools are a much better fit for us.

I don’t use the knife all that often. The accessory that sets the CyberTool apart from other multitools is its bit driver and bit storage system. I use the various screwdriver bits in my CyberTool much more often than I use any other feature. The CyberTool has a storage unit that comes loaded with three double-sided bits, plus there’s an additional bit that lives in the driver.

If you’re working on computer hardware, the driver you need is probably available. In fact, the empty bit driver is precisely the correct size for tightening motherboard standoffs.

The other tools are exactly what you’d expect to find in a Swiss Army Knife: scissors, pliers, and knives.

I have the Victorinox CyberTool 34. They’ve sold larger versions with USB flash drives and other tools, but I think those are too large. If they made a CyberTool that was just a bit driver and scissors, but left out the knives, I would buy one in a heartbeat. The CyberTool 34 is as compact as you can get while still having the most useful tools!

The CyberTool may be outside of your budget. There are plenty of other multitools that would make great gifts. Some are small enough to fit on your keychain, and those are pretty awesome. I used to have something similar to this Swiss Tech Multitool, but I lost it a long time ago. That’s a great value at $8.99.

A Mechanical Keyboard ($40 to $300 and beyond)

This is actually a tough gift idea to give advice on, but I’m going to try anyway. Like I said earlier, if your friend is already a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, you should probably skip this one. Unless you’ve heard them talking about a particular keyboard they wish they had, you’ll probably get this wrong.

Every computer geek uses a keyboard. Some geeks might be mobile, though, and they’re stuck using the keyboard on their laptop. If your friend already has a keyboard on their desk, though, and you know it is a cheap membrane keyboard that came with the Dell or HP computer, then a mechanical keyboard might be a great gift. A complicated gift, but still great.

There are expensive ergonomic keyboards like the Ergodox EZ keyboard. These are awesome split keyboards that start somewhere around $300. A more traditional, high-end mechanical keyboard might be something like the Razer BlackWidow Elite for $125. I own an older BlackWidow, and they are fine keyboards.

Maybe you think they’d prefer a smaller keyboard. My nephew loves his Anne Pro 2 keyboard. They’re around $100. I am not a fan, though. I don’t need a number pad, but I would miss the arrow and function keys that the Anne Pro 2 lacks.

I’m currently using an inexpensive compact keyboard called the E-Element Z-88. It is a bit larger than the Anne Pro 2, mostly due to the extra row of arrow keys at the top. This model uses clones of the Cherry MX Blue switches, has RGB lights, and costs $43.

There’s a $20 mechanical keyboard with Blue switches that I posted a while back, but it is current out of stock.

Many of these keyboards are available with a choice of different Cherry-style switches. I could dedicate an entire post to talking about key switches, but I will keep this brief. If you think they’ll enjoy clickety clackety noisy switches, go with Cherry MX Blue switches. If you’re not sure, you should probably go with Brown switches. The Brown switches have a tactile feel, but they don’t make the loud sounds of the Blue switches.

This is one of my favorite gift ideas. It is something the recipient will use every day, and options are available everywhere between $20 to much more than $400.

Bodum double-wall mugs ($20 for two)

We bought a set of four Bodum Pavina 12-oz mugs about five years ago. Due to a soapy and slippery mishap in the sink while I was cleaning one, we are currently only in possession of three of these mugs. I use them almost every day, and they are easily my favorite coffee mug.

They look awesome. They feel great. They keep your coffee warm without heating up your hands. That last part is a feature if you sip your coffee like I do, but it might be disappointing if you expect your mug to keep your hands warm!

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Coffee? Coffee! #coffee #coffeeholic #coffeeroaster #latte

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The only reason I don’t use these mugs every single day is that they are difficult to photograph. I regularly post a tweet of my coffee, and the reflective glass surface makes photography difficult! Sure, it shows off the foam on my latte, but it will also reflect my brightly colored shirt, my monitors, and my office lighting.

I can vouch for the quality of the Bodum glasses. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but I’m partial to the Bodum Pavina. There are other brands of double-wall glasses on Amazon, but I haven’t tried any of them.

My wife drinks a lot of hot tea. These mugs also work fine for tea, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. I don’t know why you wouldn’t just drink coffee, but who am I to judge?!

Beginner’s coffee roasting setup

I started roasting my own coffee beans six months ago. It was so much easier than I expected it to be, and I wish I started sooner.

I order all my green coffee beans from Sweet Maria’s. Many delicious beans are around $6 per pound. These come out as good or better than roasted coffee beans that I’ve paid $20 for just a 12-oz bag.

Sweet Maria’s sells a starter kit. You get a popcorn popper with a 4-pound sampler pack of green coffee beans for around $30 shipped. It is a fantastic deal, tastes amazing, and it is a lot of fun.

I’ve even roasted Guatemala Gesha beans. These beans cost about $50 per pound from a reputable roaster, but a pound of green beans from Sweet Maria’s was only $15.50. If you want to upgrade your gift, throwing a bag of Gesha beans into your order would be awesome.

So far, my favorite bean from Sweet Maria’s is the Ethiopia Guji Shakiso. Like most beans from Sweet Maria’s, the Guji beans are less than $7 per pound.

In about 15 minutes, you can roast about enough coffee for nearly three Aeropresses worth of coffee.

A subscription to Craft Coffee (use code pat1245 for 15% off)

Maybe your friend enjoys coffee, but you don’t think they’d enjoy futzing around with the roasting process. I enjoy roasting, but it probably isn’t for everyone!

I’ve been a fan of Craft Coffee for a long time. In fact, until I started roasting this year, I had been drinking almost nothing but Craft Coffee for the past five years.

I haven’t paid for coffee from Craft Coffee in a long, long time. They have a referral program. If you use my code (pat1245), you will get 15% off your order and I will receive a free bag of coffee. Just enough of you fine folks have been using my coupon code over the years to keep me drinking free coffee. I have yet to hear anyone complain and tell me that I steered them in the wrong direction!

Craft Coffee’s goal is to provide you with a fresh replacement for your daily coffee. Their subscription service has beans starting at $12.99 per 12-oz bag to single-origin roasts at $19.99 per bag. You can also subscribe to a three coffee sampler pack for $24.99.

I started my Craft Coffee journey when my friend Brian gave me a 6-month subscription as a gift. It was a fantastic gift idea.

Beginner’s FPV quadcopter setup

A few years ago, we gave my nephew a full FPV miniquad setup for Christmas. It was a really cool gift, but I couldn’t have given him something like this if I wasn’t already experienced and knowledgeable. This year, Emax has done a good job of making FPV flying accessible to anyone regardless of their experience level.

You can buy the Emax Tinyhawk Ready-to-Fly kit for $165. It has everything you need to enjoy the FPV quadcopter experience: goggles, a controller, a charger, a battery, and an indoor FPV quadcopter. Throw in some extra batteries for about $20, and you and your friend will have hours of fun.

The TinyHawk kit is a great way to dip your toe into the world of FPV. You’ll outgrow the controller and the goggles, but even though I have thousands of dollars worth of gear in my drone backpack, I still fly this same TinyHawk around the house. It is great for rainy or cold days!

FPV quadcopters scratch several itches that geeks tend to have. Flying FPV is a lot like playing a video game, except in real life. Building and flying racing drones has a lot of overlap with PC building and sports cars. It is a lot of fun, and a fantastic hobby!

I think this is the best endorsement of the TinyHawk that I can give. My friends and I all own indoor TinyHawks and TinyHawk Freestyles. This year, I sent a TinyHawk and TinyHawk Freestyle to my nephew for Christmas. The TinyHawk Freestyle is a fast, relatively safe upgrade path to take when you’ve outgrown your indoor TinyHawk.

An alternative to the TinyHawk

I’m going to preface this by telling you that you get what you pay for. The TinyHawk kit is worth every penny, but that might be more than you’re looking to spend. Even so, maybe this looks interesting, and you want to give the gift of a fun radio-controller flying machine.

This is very different than the TinyHawk, but you can get the Eachine E010 for around $20. The Eachine E010 costs a little less from China, and a little more from Amazon. The prices are close, but you get extra batteries when you order from Banggood. Shipping from China is really, really, really slow!

This isn’t an FPV drone. It has no camera. It is a toy, but it is a fun toy.

The Eachine E010 was recently on sale for $15 in a package that comes with the drone, a controller, three batteries, and a charger. It goes on sale regularly.

How about a first-person view car?!

The Emax Interceptor FPV car didn’t even exist when I wrote this post last week. I haven’t gotten to try it yet, but I’m excited about it. I’ve been watching lots of videos about it, and it looks like so much fun.

The Interceptor comes with everything you need to start driving for $95: the car, FPV goggles, a controller, a battery, and a charger. If you already have goggles, you can get just the car, controller, and battery for $56. The video transmission setup is the same signal I use on all my high-end FPV miniquads, and the goggles are the same model that ship with Emax’s TinyHawk kit.

I’m excited about this, because the Interceptor will let us introduce FPV to a younger audience. Driving an FPV car will be fun, especially with friends, and if you can get used to racing a car in FPV, you’ll have an easier time learning to fly!

Conclusion

I hope I did a reasonable job of choosing gift ideas this year. I didn’t intend for three of my suggestions to be coffee related, but those are some of my favorite gift ideas, so they’re all staying on the list. Can we just pretend the double-wall mugs are for tea instead of coffee?

I feel like I’ve covered a wide range of price points. We have keyboards, mugs, and coffee in the $20 range. We have a quadcopter, multitool, and keyboards in the $100 to $200 range and beyond. I think I did alright!

What do you think? Have I made some good choices? Do you have better suggestions? Let us know in the comments, or stop by [the Butter, What?! Discord server][bwd] to chat with me about it!