Non-cliché gifts for programmers under $25
Welcome to The Modern Coder’s 2022 holiday gift guide!
I have beef with these “gifts for programmers” lists - they’re horribly cliché. Binary code socks, circuit board keychains - who actually wants that stuff.
Presented below are high-quality gifts that programmers actually want. I’ve either used these items personally, recommended them to others, or have friends who love them. Without further ado…
Non-cliché gifts for programmers, software engineers, and coders under $25
This may seem like a weird gift, but most USB cables are rigid, long, and annoying to wrangle. I’ve found this cable to be beautifully flexible, and great for travel. Besides travel, short/flexible cables come in handy more often than you think for DIY projects, or cable management in tight spaces. Give this one a try.
I can’t tell you how many uses I’ve found for these little carabiners, everytime I’m at REI grab a few more. Unlike regular carabiners that only have a single latch, these have two so they can remain attached to their anchor point while attaching/detaching. Clip a reusable grocery bag to your belt. Attach a water bottle to a backpack. Anchor a bluetooth speaker to your bike. Uses are literally endless, and I’m sure your gift recipient will love these.
Music is an integral part of many programmers’s daily routines, and many software engineers invest in quality headphones. Naturally those headphones need a place to live and this quality, all-metal headphone holder does the trick.
If your gift recipient is also a console gamer, or has multiple pairs of headphones, you might want to pick up one of the many other headphone hanger options - all of which are high quality metal.
Everyone needs a bag for something, and with more and more cities banning plastic bags, or charging a fee for paper, reusable grocery bags are a hot commodity. This one collapses into a tiny stuff sack, and has a shoulder sling for more comfortable transportation. It’s made of recycled materials and packs down to palm-sized nugget.
Believe it or not, programmers still use physical paper for quick notes. Especially for quick architecture diagrams, or UI mockups, paper reins supreme. A quality notebook is a timeless gift. I’ve had at least 5 of these notebooks in various sizes over the years.
If this one is too large, why not a pocket-sized version.
My wife and I use this speaker mostly for biking. We clip it onto our backpacks (convieniently using a dual-sided carabiner from earlier in this guide), and off we go. Plus it’s half-off for Black Friday right now (only $25 when it usually goes for $50).
This insulated mug will keep drinks warm for a surprisingly long time. I’m actually impressed at how long. Plus it has a lid for travel and comes in a bunch of colors.
If you think a travel thermos is more their style, Hydro Flask has one I recommend as well.
Class up your recipient’s desk. Not only is leather a quality material that will patina well over time, this one comes in a couple different styles - including Pebble Black if black is their thing. Pair this with a solid wood keyboard wrist rest for an awesome double gift.
If you’re looking for something slightly cheaper, they do have an option without the cork backing for $18.
Some of the links above are affiliate links which means, at no extra cost to you, I will make a small commission if you click them and make a qualifying purchase. Thanks for checking out my guide!