How to Pick the Perfect Christmas and New Year Gift for Your Favorite Techie: A No-Fail Guide

By: Valerii Haidarzhy, 20 Dec 2023
9   min read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

“Really excited about the idea of unwrapping the Alif Semiconductor AK-E7-AIML-A6 Development Kit for my personal tech collection!”

© Alex Nikitenko, CEO, Sirin Software.

Hey everyone! So, New Year’s is around the corner, and let me tell you, Picking out a gift for a software developer or an embedded engineer is like untangling headphones that have been in your pocket for a week – a true test of patience and skill. Yes, we’re in that territory of ‘mission: highly impossible’!

Think about it – picking out the perfect holiday gift is tough even for our non-IT friends and family, whose likes we know like the back of our hand. Yet, we still find ourselves wandering in stores, scratching our heads. But for the IT crowd? That’s a whole other game. These tech geniuses are busy crafting code and digital wonders all day. To us, they might sometimes seem like mysterious introverts, lost in a world of algorithms and systems – a realm where our usual gifting strategies just don’t seem to cut it. But don’t worry, we’re in this together – let’s dive into finding that perfect gift for them

Tech Gadgets

“My dream gift? Definitely a GoPro Camera to capture all the action!”

© Vitalii Samoilenko, Head of Business Development, Sirin Software.


“A GVDA GD300 soldering iron kit would be the perfect addition to my family toolkit.”

© Leila Tubilska, HR Manager, Sirin Software.


“I’d be thrilled to get a SIGLENT SDS1202X-E – an oscilloscope that’s just top-notch for my projects.”

© Dmitrii Savinkin, Embedded Engineer, Sirin Software.

First off, you might think about getting them a new gadget, right? But trust me, that’s a risky move. It’s like buying a chef a new knife – it better be the right one, or it’s going straight into the ‘miscellaneous’ drawer, also known as the tech graveyard. And if you’re brave enough to venture into tech gadgets, think about something like a high-resolution monitor or noise-canceling headphones. These are a gateway to a universe where every pixel is perfect, and the only sound is the clickety-clack of a productive day. 

And the same goes for a smartwatch or any tech accessory. In our case, these aren’t just fashion statements – they’re like sidekicks for the modern tech warrior. When choosing a smartwatch, consider compatibility – does it play nice with their other devices? Battery life is key, too – you don’t want their wrist sidekick conking out midday. And let’s talk functionality – a smartwatch that tracks health stats, manages notifications, and even controls smart home devices? That’s like gifting a personal assistant who lives on their wrist, and this assistant should be handy. 

And tech accessories, oh, the possibilities! They range from practical to ‘I didn’t know I needed this until now.’ Think along the lines of a high-quality, durable backpack with a built-in USB charging port – it’s like their personal supply station on the go. Or wireless earbuds that cancel out the world so they can focus on whatever they do in peace. These gifts say, ‘I get you, and I respect your lifestyle.’ But here’s a pro tip: If you really want to impress, gift them something that automates a mundane task. Like a robotic vacuum cleaner. ‘It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency!’ they’ll say as they watch it with a gleam in their eye, programming it to navigate like a Mars Rover in their living room.


“Oh, it would be amazing to dive into ‘Simplified Robust Adaptive Detection and Beamforming for Wireless Communications’ – just the book I need!”

© Maksym Diatel, Embedded Engineer, Sirin Software.

Now, books? Sure, if you want to see that polite ‘Oh, you shouldn’t have… really, you shouldn’t have’ smile. But how about online course subscriptions or the latest books on new technologies and programming languages? Imagine gifting them the keys to a library where every book is a treasure trove of knowledge on Python, JavaScript, or the latest in AI. It’s like giving a wizard a new spellbook. And not just any spellbook, but one where every page turn reveals new secrets of the digital realm. Think of a book on advanced algorithms as their Excalibur, or a subscription to a cutting-edge tech course as their personal Hogwarts letter. 

Input Devices

Then there’s the classic – a coffee mug with a witty programming joke. But let’s be honest, they’ve got enough mugs to host a programmer’s tea party. If their mug collection were a code, it’d be in need of some serious refactoring. So, why not shift gears and go for a high-quality mechanical keyboard and ergonomic mouse? Every click and click is a symphony of productivity and comfort. It’s like giving their fingers a first-class seat on a luxury flight. Imagine their desk transforming into a command center, with a keyboard so responsive, that it feels like their thoughts are teleporting onto the screen. And an ergonomic mouse, as a trusty steed for their digital battles. Together, they could be companions on the epic quest of their everyday tasks. And unlike the umpteenth coffee mug, these gifts won’t just be collecting dust or serving as a makeshift pen holder.


Oh, and never, I repeat, never get them clothing with tech references. Last year, I gave my engineer friend a shirt that said, ‘I turn coffee into code.’ He wore it once, and now his grandma believes he is a barista. But, if you’re set on gifting clothing, make sure it aligns with their style. It’s like choosing a cover for a superhero – it has to be just right. And if you’re going custom print, think unique, think niche. Avoid anything that’s made its rounds on memes or social networks. You don’t want your gift to be the equivalent of showing up to a party playing that boring to everyone last year’s summer hit. It should be so unique, so them, that they’d wear it like a badge of honor, not shove it to the back of their closet where only dust bunnies would admire it.

Dev Kits and Smart Home Devices

“I’m really hoping to unwrap an M5stack dial this year, that cool ESP32-S3 Smart Rotary Knob with a touch screen!”

© Nikita Provatorov, Embedded Engineer, Sirin Software.

Then there’s the idea of giving them something simple and cool, but let’s not just go for the usual stuff like plants or everyday gadgets. How about a really awesome development kit that’s right up their alley? You might think, ‘Hey, isn’t this the stuff they already play with at work?’ Sure, but think about giving them something super cool, like the latest NVIDIA Jetson for AI stuff or a fancy IoT platform. These are way more than your basic Raspberry Pi kits; think of them as the supercars of the dev kit world. It’s like saying, ‘I get how smart you are with tech, and here’s something that’s really fun, not just more work.’ But just a heads up, these kits aren’t cheap. You might want to think of something else if you’re not looking to spend a lot. Because, giving a tech whiz a basic kit is like trying to wow a chef with microwave noodles.

The same goes for smart home devices. Hold on before you pick the first cool gadget you see. For a developer, a ‘smart device’ is a new toy to play with and make even smarter. Pick something that really stands out and adds some zing to their tech collection. Picture them saying, ‘Hey, I just made my smart kettle change the temperature based on how much coffee I drink!’ It’s like welcoming a new member to their tech family, one they can brag about because they’ve tweaked it to do cool stuff.


And now, let’s talk about subscription services. You might think about gifting a service full of tech and coding documentaries. But how about we change it up? After a whole day of tech talk, they might just want something totally different. Go for a streaming service with all kinds of shows – from crazy sci-fi to feel-good movies. It’s all about giving them a break into a world where the biggest headache is guessing who’s the bad guy, not fixing code bugs. The best gift shows you understand they need some chill time away from all the tech talk.


You might think about gifting them a nice vacation. But how do you coax a software engineer away from their beloved setup? It’s like convincing a wizard to go on a holiday without his wand. ‘What do you mean, no Wi-Fi? How will I survive?’ So, if you’re thinking of vacation, remember that not everyone dreams of a remote cabin in the woods. Imagine their horror at the thought of a place where the only ‘streaming’ involves actual rivers. You need to make sure this vacation fits their comfort zone. Some might love the idea of disconnecting from the digital world and embracing nature, where the only tweets come from actual birds. But others? They’ll want at least a hint of civilization, like a place where they can check their email without having to climb a tree for a signal. It’s about finding that sweet spot where they can relax but not feel like they’ve been teleported to the Stone Age.

Software & Office Equipment

And speaking of relaxation, let’s talk about ergonomic office equipment. An ergonomic chair or a standing desk can be a game-changer. It’s like giving them a royal throne or a watchtower from which they can oversee their coding kingdom in supreme comfort. Think of it as providing them with the ultimate command center, where every task is a quest they can tackle without getting a backache.

Then there’s gaming. Sure, a new game sounds like a great idea. ‘Here’s the latest RPG, now go slay some dragons!’ But, if you want to hit the jackpot, consider software licenses or premium versions of their favorite tools. It’s like handing them the Infinity Gauntlet of the programming world – with each software, they gain a new superpower. But remember, this isn’t about just any software – it’s about giving them the right and exact tools to create digital masterpieces. It’s the difference between gifting a box of crayons and a set of professional art supplies. For a developer, the right software is a portal to a world of unlimited creative possibilities.

PC Upgrade

“What I’d love is a computer upgrade, especially a more powerful processor and extra RAM.”

© Dmytro Buslov, Python Developer, Sirin Software.

Or, you could always fall back on the universal gift for programmers: more RAM. Because, let’s face it, you can never have too much RAM… unless it’s the wrong type. And trying to understand RAM specifications is like trying to read a foreign menu without pictures. But there’s a catch. You’ve got to know their PC setup like the back of your hand. Not all RAM is created equal, and what works for one system might be like putting diesel in a petrol car for another. And remember, not everyone is team Intel – you might be dealing with a Mac, where upgrading isn’t just a matter of plug and play. It’s more like performing surgery with a blindfold.

And why stop here? If you’re feeling particularly generous, think about a new high-performance graphics card. But brace yourself because a good GPU can cost a fortune. You want to make sure you get the right one, or it’s like gifting a pair of left-footed shoes – impressive, but not quite usable. It’s a high-stakes tech gamble where you need to know not just the game, but also the player. So, gifting an upgrade is not just about buying a piece of hardware. You need to be part detective, part tech guru, and maybe a little bit psychic. But get it right, and you’ll be the hero of their digital realm.

Some Thoughts

So what do you get them? Well, here’s a revolutionary idea – ask them! It sounds simple, but sometimes the best approach is the direct one. Asking them outright can be a wonderful way to show that you care about their preferences and interests. It’s like saying, ‘I want to get this right because you matter to me.’ It’s acknowledging that their happiness is your priority. In a world where everyone is busy, taking the time to ask and listen is a rare treasure. This approach works wonders, especially when they have specific technical tastes or when you’re totally out of ideas. Imagine the look of genuine appreciation when they receive something they’ve been eyeing for months, something they’re truly passionate about. That’s a moment worth more than gold.

But at the end of the day, remember that the best gift you can give is your love and attention.

While gadgets and gizmos have their place, they are fleeting joys. The memories you create together, the laughs you share, the support you provide – these are the gifts that truly stand the test of time. They’re what we cherish when we look back, the stories we tell, the experiences that shape us. So, this Christmas and New Year, along with whatever gift you choose, remember to wrap it with a generous dose of love and attention. Because, in the end, that’s what really counts.

So there you have it! Gifting for developers and engineers – is definitely a quest through tech gadgets, ergonomic luxuries, and the occasional quirky item. But with these tips and some luck, you might become the ultimate gift-giver. Or, you know, just stick with the rubber duck. Why? It listens and never, ever argues back – unlike their code! Plus, it’s the only colleague that agrees with all their decisions.

Thank you, you’ve been a fantastic audience throughout this year! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and good luck with your gift hunting!

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