Gearburn’s guide to geeky Christmas gifts under $50


Everyone loves Christmas, or at least the festive season if you don’t celebrate that particular holiday. Unfortunately it’s also the time of year when we end up being particularly broke. If you’re not one of the lucky few who receives an end of year bonus, then you need to allocate a large portion of your salary to buying gifts for your loved ones, along with the inevitable entertainment budget means that January for most of us is an unpleasant month.

We’re here to help. You can still find great, thoughtful gifts for your friends and family for a reasonable expense, or in this case under US$50.


One of my absolute favourite things to buy both for myself and for family members are Stickygrams. I have a lot of family living internationally, and this is an ideal gift for those who perhaps don’t get to see things like your kids on a regular basis. Stickygram takes your Instagram photos and turns them into fridge magnets, meaning you can have all those photos of food and people’s feet on your fridge. What’s even better is that this is rather inexpensive. A sheet of 9 magnets is US$14.99 and they ship anywhere in the world for free. Yes, really.

If for some reason you don’t have a fridge or perhaps just don’t want it cluttered up with photos, Stickygram also makes select models of phone and tablet cases, which sell for US$34.99 and US$44.99 respectively, also with free worldwide shipping.

Pantone iPad case

Sticking with accessories, I reckon that the Pantone iPad cases for US$40 is one of the most stylish you can get. If you have any designer friends who, like me, love Pantone colours, then this is a beautiful, and not too expensive gift.

Aeropress Coffee Maker

Thanks to creamsuppliestv for this hands-on

For the coffee lover in your family, the Aeropress Coffee Maker almost hits the upper limit of the budget at US$49. It gives you the option of making the perfect coffee brew in either the traditional or inverted method. Completely dishwasher safe and by all reports it makes excellent coffee.

Food Dehydrator

There’s also the Biltong King and Food Dehydrator for US$430. Although not a personal favourite, I know plenty of people who enjoy making their own biltong and dried fruit, so this seemed like a clever option to me. It’s easy to assemble (or so they say!), and comes with eight drying hooks so you can dry multiple dried goods at one time.


While you’re sadly unlikely to find a new console game in your price range, one of the big advantages of being a PC gamer, is that the games are considerably cheaper to buy. In fact you can pick up Batman Arkham Origins or Battlefield 4 for around US$45.

I love Lego. And I love Star Wars. This means that a Star Wars Darth Vader Desk Lamp isn’t just for the kids in your family, it’s for the nerds like me as well. Actually I might buy it, it will go nicely with my Stormtrooper torch for US$45.


Another nice, inexpensive gift for the movie buffs are BluRay DVD’s. I have an ever-expanding BluRay collection, and I have a number of friends who have Man of Steel on their wishlist. You can buy this title as well as a number of other great ones all for somewhere in the region of US$15.

Remote controlled helicopter

I know a number of people who love remote control gadgets, and this is a nice alternative to the remote control car. The Helicopter F307 has an on-board gyroscope and although the flying time isn’t wonderful (only about 10 minutes), it does charge quickly and easily via transmitter or USB, which is pretty handy. You can also find this little gem for US$27.

Gift cards

Lastly, if your recipient is the kind of person who would rather accumulate experiences as opposed to things, then you could always give a gift experience instead. There are a number of sites that cater to this, but Gift Experience (adventures in South Africa) even explicitly caters for the “under US$50” option.

If you’re not bound to cash sales, then a good option of course is always to shop around online, You’ll be able to hunt down some great deals. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make people feel loved and appreciated.



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