2021 Gifts for Programmers Guide

Written By John Sonmez

Welcome to our 2021 Gifts for Programmers Guide! Unlike our other articles, this one is not just for our Simple Programmers. 

It is for their friends, family, and loved ones who have a hard time choosing the perfect present for the tech enthusiasts in their life.

Have a programmer who you have to find the perfect gift for? Worry not, as this is your holiday gift guide!

We have scoured the tech lists, our own favorites from the year, and 2021’s must-have holiday gifts, and put together a bunch of options that can fit in your budget and present-buying needs, whatever those might be.

This should help to minimize the stress of the last-minute holiday shopping rush!

Get your programming gifts scooped up and wrapped before others have even begun to think about it!

Books for Programmers

Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual  is the first book John Sonmez published, perfect choice for any programmer in your life that wants to learn how to communicate better with, be more considerate of, and live a more fulfilling life in the world around them.

The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide is for programmers who are looking to expand their careers in the upcoming year. Whether they are looking at a big change, new job, or just trying to improve at their current position, this book has the real-world advice to help them do that.

Just before we all began socially distancing and never leaving our house, we published this one, Remote Work: Get a Job or Make a Career Working From HomeWe wish we hadn't foreshadowed this one, but the guide is relevant for anyone who wants to work remotely, regardless of whether a pandemic is dictating whether they should or not.

This one is "in progress" from  our fledgling publishing company, but it's sure to be a hit for any programmer looking for deeper focus in 2022.

Admit it...you've wondered about this. Especially over the past 20 months. What would you eat and how would you survive if we hit the apocalypse? Zombie or otherwise.

An interesting thing that happens with programmers - they store a ton of information to be used at a moment's notice. Why not ensure some of that knowledge is unusual.

Getting Into It (Under $25)

Mr. Sketch Scented Stix Markers ($8.22) - Consider this the grown-up version of those childhood favorites. The only challenge here is making sure you don’t get ink up your nose while you’re working.

Star Wars The Child Chia Pet ($24.99) - For the Star Wars fan in your life who likes a bit of silliness as well, this Mandalorian “The Child” Chia Pet will give them something to nurture and grow. Pair with Chewbacca ($19.86) for beautiful Chia Pet symmetry.

ECHOGEAR On-Wall Surge Protector with 6 Pivoting AC Outlets ($19.99)  - It’s a wall outlet! It’s a surge protector! It’s a Transformer! This wall device provides 6 pivoting AC outlets with 1080j of surge protection. No need for a hanging surge strip that keeps getting unplugged and kicked about.

Dry Erase Sticky Notes ($16.99) -  Scrum and Kanban workflows started with sticky notes on a whiteboard, so they are a long established tradition in the development arena. But with these sticky notes, you'll also be doing your bit to help save a little more waste in the environment.

Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug ($24.99) - You've heard of smart home accessories, but what about smart outside-the-home accessories? For your tech fiends that want full voice and wireless control over their castle and the surrounding landscape.

Wreck This Journal ($16.99) - We all get frustrated with work sometimes. Now imagine that your entire project has been wrecked for days, simply because there was an errant tag somewhere. You'd want to wreck something too!

KLUTZ Lego Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit ($24.99) - For anyone who loves Lego, this brings that love to a whole new level. The stop-action but almost alive level. 

elago W5 Apple Watch Stand ($14.99) - Anyone over the age of 30 will likely chuckle heartily at this little gift that seems like a joke, but actually serves a useful purpose.

A Little More … ($25-$50)

Bodum 11571-109 Pour Over Coffee Maker ($28) - For the coffee connoisseur who craves that coffeehouse morning pick-me-up, but has gotten used to the work-from-home existence.

Mydethun Moon Lamp ($30) - Know a programmer with their head in the stars and sky? This beautiful moon light brings a small bit of wonder from space straight to their workspace.

BIRDROCK HOME Bamboo Laptop Tray ($40.96) - Sometimes we need to stand up and walk away from the desk...but we still need to get the job done. This next-level laptop tray brings your work right to the couch or even bed.

WOFALA Blanket Hoodie ($29.89) - Ok, I have been told by no less than a half-dozen people how amazing this contraption is. Big and  warm like a blanket, but somehow shaped into a huge hoodie that wraps you in a cozy hug.

Wireless Charger Mouse Pad ($23.99) - Between desk space and the precious battle for USB-ports in our devices, this mousepad pulls double-duty by also charging your phone and tablet devices!

Stephen King Book Cover Collage Throw Blanket ($43.88) - Though I would have nightmares nightly sleeping beneath Cujo and Carrie, a true King fan will find their dreams of bliss surrounded by faves.

The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands ($30.50) - Ever read Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings and tried to follow the journey? This atlas pulls together maps from some of the greatest imaginary lands.

Cable Guys Toddler Groot Device Holder ($25.95) - This. Is. Groot. He will helpfully hold your gaming devices while you grab another snack or need to step away for a few minutes. That just the kind of...tree? Plant? Alien? that he is.

Dammit Doll ($47.29) - I'm not saying that programmers have a lot of pent up frustration and anger. I am saying that staring at lines of symbols and characters for hours on end would make anyone shout "Dammit" and throw a doll at a wall.

 EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder ($39.99) - There are few things as infuriating as mentally working out the solution to a particular coding challenge you've been struggling with...but no where to jot it down. Why not save your thoughts?

30 & 5 Minute Gravity Hourglasses ($49.92) - It's not quite a Pomodoro 25 & 5, but think of all that extra work you'll get in with those 5 extra minutes. And this is certainly a calmer way to track workflow instead of a shrieking alarm buzzer.

DIKAOU LED Flame Speaker ($39.99) - Just look at this thing! It's a wireless & Bluetooth enabled, it's an LED light with flame-like visualizations, and it's a powerful speaker with 5W stereo sound. Perfect for a workspace of mahogany and whisky.

Getting Spendy ($50-$100)

LENIVER LED Spiral Table Lamp ($56.99) - This lamp looks positively ethereal. Curled around a column of empty air, the light somehow bounces within the space and around the lamp. Plus, it has 3 hues and is dimmable, for perfect ergonomics.

LITENERGY A2 Tracing LED Copy Board Light Box ($64.98) - Whether the programmer in your life wants to recreate scenes or sketch industrial designs, this light box will help them to trace various components from established works.

Umbra Triflora Hanging Planter for Window ($55) - As we come into the winter season in the northern hemisphere, some folks might not be getting out and about in nature as much. So why not bring some nature in to them? 

SNAILAX Vibration Massage Seat Cushion with Heat ($51.98) - Wouldn't you like for yourself or someone you love to look this happy and relaxed in a desk chair? This seat cushion not only provides a vibrating massage, but zones of heat as well.

GoCube The Connected Electronic Bluetooth Cube ($99.95) - For many a developer, the Rubik's Cube was among a first of many childhood toys that got them curious about how patterns fit together. This cube is anything but a childhood toy though!

Make Lemonade Analog Zen Mixer Sound Machine ($59.99) - At first I thought this was a generic sound mixing board,  but after I saw it popping up on a few "must-have" lists I fell in love. Imagine mixing your own zen sound machine from a variety of proven tones and sounds. Bliss.

RENPHO Eye Massager with Heat & Bluetooth ($79.99) - Those hours on end that a programmer spends staring at a screen? Those take a toll on an important resource - your eyes and head muscles. Sit back and relax with this eye mask, that includes heat and massage capabilities.

Protocol Punching Bag w Stand ($61.24) - There are a lot of options on here to externally validate those feelings of frustration and angst. But those are real for a craft that can be completely thrown by a misplaced <. A few rounds at this punching bag will get that out, to get back to it.

PhoneSoap 3 ($79.99) - Did you know that our cell phones are some of the dirtiest surfaces in our lives. Whether left on on other surfaces or used after we paw at door handles, just clean your phone!

Victrola Modern Acrylic 2-Speed Bluetooth Turntable ($82.46) - If the programmer in your life likes some of the engineering and how-to of technology as much as they like the code, then give them the gift of music with a super cool view.

LEGO Marvel Infinity Gauntlet ($69.99) - Would you survive the snap? Would you fight to reverse it? Would you squeal with a tiny sound of glee every time you saw this collector's piece on your desk or mantle? Yes. Yes to all of it.

Hamilton Beach Bread Maker Machine ($84.99) - We may or may not still be working at our perfect sourdough starters, but there's a lot more flour available these days - why not keep that homemade bread habit going?

In the Zone ($100-$350)

Mighty Vibe Spotify and Amazon Music Player ($109.99) - One of the few downsides to streaming music giants like Spotify and Amazon is having to listen through your computer or phone's sound system. This wireless speaker delivers the songs and shows, at crystal clear tones.

Tap Strap 2 - Wearable Keyboard, Mouse & Air Gesture Controller ($199.99) - We're not quite at Skynet (yet), but wearable technology keeps getting closer to it. Like this Tap Strap, which can replicate keyboard, mouse, and air gestures without a single one of those devices. 

Home Security Camera Outdoor ($199.99) - If you have the power to connect technologies, why not use the power to connect technologies? Especially if you could protect your home and family?

Nixplay 10.1 inch Smart Digital Photo Frame ($189.99) - More than a simple digital photo frame that scrolls the same 10 vacation pics, this one can store multiple albums - and import via email.

Volans Mid Century Modern Swivel Accent Chair ($169.99) - Maybe you know someone who swings between technology with coding and Mad Men with their décor. If you do, then this might be their new office chair.

Logitech G733 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Headset ($159.99) -  Gaming becomes more and more of an immersive experience with each new game release. This headset has fantastic surround sound, weighs less than 300grams, and integrates with Logitech's G HUB lighting software. 

Mini Golf Pool ($104.00) - Every option for blowing off steam doesn't have to involve throwing things or punching them. A little putt around your own back six can take the edge off too.

Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit ($230) - These tiles make your wall dance to music. Create any design you want, and connect the tiles to an audio source. They'll automatically jam out with you.

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler ($299.98) - Programming isn't all about tech and geekdom. A rugged outdoor cooler - perfect for camping, beach parties, tailgating, and more will serve the perfect someone one of the best engineered coolers out there.

Scrabble, Monopoly, and Clue Vintage Board Game Bookshelf Collection ($119.99) - The Venn Diagram of board games and book lovers tends to have a pretty good overlap. Why not bring those worlds together with these 3 classics, boxed in faux books you can keep on your bookshelf.

Luxury Gifts ($350+)

Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine ($346) - Like a Keurig for cocktails, you just insert the cocktail capsule of your choice, select the strength, and press mix. Even better, it cleans itself and comes with dishwasher-safe parts.

yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop ($499.99) - Since the robot vacuum came to our homes in the past couple decades, life has been happier. With this upgrade from yeedi, you get the vacuuming and the mopping. Plus, you can tell them "TikTok made me buy it."

Bose Home Speaker 500: Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa Voice Control ($378) - Alexa gives us a lot of lifestyle advances, but her sound system is definitely lacking. Until now, in this collaboration with Bose. Now, the sound quality matches the tech and AI power.

Vibe All-in-one Computer Real-time Interactive Whiteboard ($2,997) - This one might be a bit of a reach, but if you know a programmer who dreams of starting the next Facebook, this could help them to connect with overseas workers and teammates who will help them to get there.

And there you have it!

Our top picks for gifts for programmers in 2021. 

(Or, if you are a programmer who wants to drop hints, you can send this post along to folks in your life. Shhh, we won't tell anyone about your crafty shenaniganry!)

If nothing here grabs your fancy, take a spin through some of our older gift guides from recent years: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014.

Hope you are able to find the perfect present to show the programmer in your life how much they mean to you!