Struggling to think of a gift for your Apple-obsessed friend? From quirky stocking fillers to high-tech Mac accessories, here’s our list of top Christmas gifts for friends, family, co-workers, or maybe even something for yourself, if you feel like you deserve a treat after all that Christmas shopping!
1. New Mac Candle ($24)
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to purchasing new Macs for your nearest and dearest this Christmas, then why not get them the next best thing?
This scented candle promises to deliver that distinctive ‘new Mac’ smell, at a fraction of the cost of a real Mac, so at least the recipient can close their eyes, take a deep breath and imagine you’ve given them a new Mac.
And if you’re struggling to pinpoint what that distinctive ‘new Mac’ smell is, then according to this candle’s product description it’s a mixture of mint, peach, basil, lavender, mandarin and sage.
2. A Mac Decal (Prices vary, but usually come in at under £5.00)
Decals are a relatively inexpensive way of adding some personality to a Mac – plus, if you’re purchasing a gift for a particularly accident-prone friend, then a well-placed decal is a fantastic way of hiding cosmetic damage, such as dents or scratches in their Mac’s casing.
A quick Google search will turn up hundreds of decals, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding the perfect decal for the person you have in mind.
3. A keyboard cover (Prices vary, but typically between £10-£20)
Keyboard covers have a practical use – they help keep your keys clean and can even make your keyboard last longer – but they’re also a great way of injecting some personality into your Mac, making them the perfect gift for anyone who isn’t a huge fan of Apple’s less-is-more design.
You may even be able to find a keyboard cover that’ll help make the recipient’s life a little easier, for example if you know someone who uses Photoshop for either work or play, then how about this colourful cover featuring all the Photoshop hotkeys?
4. A Mac Skin (typically between £20-30 for a vinyl skin)
Know someone who likes to make a statement with their tech? Then they might appreciate a skin that transforms their Mac into a whole new – and much more colourful – laptop.
There’s a huge range of skins out there, so you’re sure to find something that’s perfect for the person you have in mind – whether they prefer classic and understated, or something more eye-catching!
Skins are typically printed onto vinyl so they won’t add any extra bulk or weight to your Mac, but occasionally you’ll find a skin that takes the form of a protective plastic casing – ideal if you’re looking for a gift for a particularly clumsy friend!
5. An iMac lamp (£119.28)
Looking for the perfect gift for someone who likes to make a statement with their interior design? Or maybe you know someone who’s a big fan of the upcycling trend?
This lamp made from an old iMac would make the perfect addition to a desk or home office.
6. A Hekseskudd keyboard tray ($159.00-$179.00)
A Hekseskudd is a great present for any Mac lover who also has a soft spot for fine craftsmanship, as each keyboard tray is made from a single piece of hand-selected, FCS certified North American black walnut that’s smoothed and refined, and oiled and waxed to deliver what Hekseskudd describes as a “luxuriously detailed and beautiful sculpted” accessory. Clearly, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill keyboard tray!
If you do want to treat someone to one of these trays, then just bear in mind that most items are made to order, so you can expect to wait around two weeks for your order to ship.
7. Orée Artisan Wooden Keyboard (€129.00 )
If you know someone who has a soft spot for that artisan look but you aren’t sure whether a wooden keyboard tray is quite right for them, then how about getting them a wooden keyboard instead?
Orée keyboards are crafted from a single piece of wood, so each one has a unique pattern of veins and spirals. The letters and symbols are carved straight into the wood, and for an additional cost you can also have a personalised message engraved into the keyboard.
And, if you feel like a wooden keyboard isn’t quite the romantic Christmas gift you had in mind, then you can always order the Romance Edition, where your initials and the initials of your special someone will be hand lacquered into the keyboard.
7. Anker 4 Port USB hub ($14.99)
What do you buy for the person who seems to already have every Mac accessory under the sun? Somewhere to plug those accessories in, of course!
Your typical Mac isn’t exactly blessed when it comes to USB ports, but Anker’s 4 port USB hub provides a quick and easy way of transforming each individual port on your Mac into 4 USB ports.
If this still doesn’t sound like enough ports for your gadget-loving friend, then Anker produce a range of USB hubs, right up to a massive 14 USB port hub that’ll guarantee you never have to unplug your mouse in order to attach your external speakers again!
8. Rain Design mStand (£49.95)
Macs are designed to be versatile – they’re compact enough to throw in a bag and use on the go, but if you set your Mac up on your desk then it can also serve as a powerful home computer.
If you know someone who uses their Mac as their home computer, then you can save them from the pain of neck and backache this Christmas by gifting them a stand that’ll put their laptop at the perfect height when they’re sitting at their desk or table.
The mStand’s simple-but-effective design is sure to be a hit with Mac owners who are big fans of the sleek, understated look that’s pretty much become Apple’s trademark, while the tilted design cleverly tips the Mac’s screen, trackpad and keyboard downwards and towards you, putting everything at the perfect angle.
9. Mac-themed coasters (£18.00)
These fun, Mac-themed coasters would make the perfect gift for a friend who loves to flaunt their obsession with all things Apple, or anyone who appreciates gifts that are a little bit out of the norm!
Each set of coasters consists of 6 designs featuring all those classic Mac keys we all know and love, including command, option, control and fn.
10. Twelve South PlugBug World Travel Charger (£39.95)
Do you know someone who loves to travel? Then help them travel light with this 10-watt USB wall charger that enables you to charge your Apple devices virtually anywhere in the world.
The PlugBug is a single charger that comes with five snap-on plugs that are compatible with most electrical outlets, including the outlets you’ll find in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Continental Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand.
Even when you aren’t jetting off across the globe, a PlugBug still comes in handy as it allows you to charge two devices simultaneously from a single power outlet, making it perfect for all those situations where power outlets are in short supply, for example in busy offices, at conferences, or in your local coffee shop.
11. Betterspot: A Smart VPN Router (pre-order for $275, currently estimated to ship in January 2017)
First, a disclaimer: this product isn’t available yet, but it’s such a unique idea that you may want to consider pre-ordering it for a friend or family member who doesn’t mind waiting for their gift.
At some point, we’ve all experienced being unable to access content because of geographical restrictions – YouTube alone is pretty notorious for this! Maybe you’re travelling abroad and are unable to access the content or services you’d typically be able to enjoy at home, or maybe you feel like you’re being prevented from accessing certain content unfairly due to local restrictions.
One popular solution is to use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network extends across a public network or Internet, and allows users to bypass geographically-restricted content by masking their IP address and location. Since VPNs encrypt your Internet traffic, they also offer an additional layer of security – something that’s particularly important if you regularly use insecure networks, such as public Wi-Fi at hotels or cafes.
Betterspot is a smart VPN router that, once connected to your regular router, provides VPN functionality across all the devices that are connected to this network, including macOS and iOS devices, but also across Windows, Linux and Android devices, too.
If you have a particular location in mind, then Betterspot also has servers located across the globe, and you can choose exactly which server you connect to – perfect if you want to stream content that’s only available in a particular country.
12. Magic Trackpad 2 (£129.00)
One of the more practical gifts on our list, the Magic Trackpad 2 is essentially a standalone version of the Force Touch trackpad that comes built into modern MacBooks. This would be a great gift for someone who owns an older model of Mac, as it’s a way of bringing Force Touch functionality to older machines, but it’s also ideal for anyone who’s struggling with their Mac’s smaller, built-in trackpad.
The Magic Trackpad 2 features an edge-to-edge glass surface that provides plenty of room to use Apple’s entire repertoire of gestures. It’s also equipped with four pressure-sensitive sensors so users can perform a range of gestures by pressing on the trackpad with varying degrees of force.
13. BatteryBox ($219.99)
This Christmas, why not give the gift of freedom from the power outlet?
There’s nothing quite as annoying as running low on battery, particularly when you’re out and about and don’t have easy access to a power outlet – or maybe there is a power outlet nearby, but you forgot to bring your charger.
Portable batteries are great for ensuring you never run out of battery again. One popular portable battery is BatteryBox, which features a 24AWG cable for powering your Mac, and a USB port for charging USB devices such as smartphones and tablets.
BatteryBox is little different from your typical portable battery, as instead of charging your laptop, it powers it, so your Mac stays at the same percentage of charge. This may seem like a strange choice, but this approach minimises the number of charge cycles your Mac goes through, which puts less strain on its internal battery and should increase its longevity as a result. Since BatteryBox powers your Mac directly, it also means that no energy is lost by sending power to the Mac’s internal battery first.