2021 was not the dumpster fire of 2020, but it was still pretty weird. We navigated returning to varying degrees of normalcy—though it turns out “normal” is now an archaic term. The way things used to be has changed, brand-new challenges have arisen, and we’ve found that some pandemic-related adaptations are here to stay. For many of us, that means still working remotely for at least part of our workweek.
So with three words in mind—work, remote, and weird—here’s your 2021 year-end gift guide.
Gifts You Should Have Been Thinking of Even Before the Pandemic
1. Blue-light blockers
Prominently emitting from screens, blue light is terrible for your eyes and may affect your sleep. Blue-blocking lenses have come a long way since the infomercials of years past. Plus, every purchase from DIFF helps someone in need: Fashionable blue light blocking glasses.
2. Tech-neck treatment
The next best thing to a live-in masseuse. Try this cervical traction neck pillow with magnetic therapy once, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
3. Laptop level-up
If you find yourself in need of the previous device, chances are strong you could use one of these, too. A laptop stand will get your screen to a more ergonomic height; go even further with an external keyboard and trackpad.
4. Desktop whiteboard
Want to clean up your IRL desktop and free it from post-its and scraps of paper? This desktop whiteboard may fit the bill.
5. Fast-charge wireless docking station
Wireless power just like Tesla envisioned all those years ago? This sleek docking station will help you stay organized and supercharged.
Gifts Just Right for the Remote Worker
1. Bluetooth speaker
Hey, laptop speakers are better than they used to be, but they’re still laptop speakers. Plus, this bluetooth speaker will let you keep tabs on the meeting from…alternative locations in your home.
2. Camera blockers
An analogue solution to a digital problem. Whether you’re improving security or just really need to make sure no one sees you in what you’re wearing right now, these cute camera blockers are a little crafty, a little fun, super cheap, and very effective.
3. Temperature control smart mug
Never neglect another cup of coffee again! This app-controlled mug will keep your drink warm as long as you need it to.
4. Water-bottle reminders
Now that you handled the coffee problem, are you getting enough water? This water bottle will remind you to drink throughout the day.
5. Smart moves
One of the least expensive options on the market at about $47, this smart watch has many of the features of its competitors—including letting you know when it’s time to get up and move.
6. Under-desk treadmill
No excuses. When your watch tells you to get up and move, do it—no matter how frightful the weather outside. This under-desk treadmill stores easily and makes it simple to get in your steps.
7. Good scents
Until they implement smellevision on Zoom, you don’t need to worry about scent-sensitive coworkers. With offerings from indie perfumer Sucreabeille, you can smell like whatever you want: Combustible Lemons, a Cup of Ambition, or even That’s What She Said.
Gifts for the In-person Worker
1. Commuter tech organizer
If it’s been a while, you may be off your commuting game. This monogrammed clutch or the more masculine tech folio are sleek tech organizers so you’ll always be able to find your essentials.
2. Rugged AirPod case
Protect your AirPods with this durable case. Bonus: personalize it and you’ll never get yours mixed up with someone else’s.
3. Eco-friendly lunchware
Upgrade lunch. Choose from a great assortment of eco-friendly bags, containers, and utensils.
4. Treats for feets
From the parking lot or the train station to the office water cooler, your feet do the heavy lifting. Treat them well with socks from Bombas. For every pair you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need.
5. Conversation starters
Lots of us experienced some social skill degradation in the lockdown. Get to know your teammates better with more meaningful conversations. These icebreaker cards will spark deeper talk.
Gifts for Downtime, Home or Away
1. Not your average puzzle
Whether you keep yours in the living room, take it to a friend’s house, or throw it on the breakroom table, sometimes the very enjoyable, very physical act of working on a puzzle is exactly the respite your brain needs. These puzzles are handmade in America out of wood and contain specially shaped pieces that will make you happy. Promise!
2. Bird feeders
Feeding the birds helps out your feathered friends, gives you something nice to watch outside your window, and supports a locally owned business.
3. Hunt a Killer
Do what now? If you love a good mystery, click this link.