Great Gifts In Small Packages: Eight Great Compact Gifts For This Holiday Season

Participating in several white elephant exchanges when I was young taught me a very important life lesson: while it may be tempting to grab the biggest present in the room, with the brightest bow and the prettiest wrapping paper, chances are that package contains the ugliest punch bowl you’ve ever seen, or a big jug of windshield wiper fluid. Over time I’ve come to learn that, in a sometimes very literal sense, it’s the little packages that contain the most special gifts. So this holiday season, if you’re stumped for what to get your special someone – think small!

VuPoint iPhone Photo Printer

VuPoint iPhone Photo Printer

Now that most smartphones come equipped with high-resolution cameras and digital zoom, point and shoot digital cameras are becoming a thing of the past. Instead, if you’ve got a shutterbug on your gift list, consider getting them an iPhone Photo Printer to go with their fancy phone. This compact cube acts as a charging dock and allows you to print photos directly from your iphone (or ipod or ipad) onto high-quality waterproof photo paper, up to 4″x6″, no uploading or outsourcing needed to get beautiful physical prints of your favorite pictures. Each Replacement Cartridge can print up to 36 standard sized photos, or up to 360 thumb-sized photos (like those from the digital photo booths at the mall). It’s both fun to watch and much faster than waiting for Walgreens.

Bushnell Backtrack Point-3 GPS Digital Compass

Bushnell Backtrack Point-3 GPS Digital Compass

I’m seriously considering getting one of these Bushnell Backtrack GPS keychains for my directionally impaired mother. It’s a really nifty device – you turn it on, program in your current location, and then no matter how far you wander it will accurately guide you back to exactly the spot you left. It stores up to three locations (the slightly smaller but less rugged Point Five model can store five and has a weather display), works as a standard compass, and attaches easily to any keyring to ensure that you’re always able to find your way home – whether you’re lost in the mountains or just misplaced your car. Great for outdoorsey types or the absentminded.

Pacsafe SlingSafe 100 Sling Purse

Pacsafe SlingSafe 100 Sling Purse

Have someone on your gift list that does a lot of traveling? Especially if they spend a lot of time in big cities or abroad, an Anti Theft Travel Bag is a great way to keep your favorite tourist safe. Anti theft bags come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs, but the important features you want to look for are steel wire reinforced straps and steel mesh reinforced sides, which make the entire bag slash-proof. Locking pockets are nice, too, and this particular bag has a strap that can attach to a stationary object (like the arm of your chair while you’re at a restaurant), and a little hole to string your earbuds through so you can listen to music with your mp3 player in a secure, locked pocket. An excellent all around theft deterrent that could end up paying off in a big way!

Handpresso Wild

Handpresso Wild

Know someone who loves espresso but doesn’t have the room or budget for a full sized espresso machine? This Espresso Hand Press is a totally manual, hassle free device that brews single shots of espresso in minutes. All you need is a few pumps to build up pressure, boiling water, and an easy serving espresso (ESE) pod, and you’ll have a barista quality shot with a thick, rich crema. Because it uses disposable packets of grounds, cleanup is a snap, and it’s small enough to stow easily, which makes it a perfect gift for caffeine starved college students or campers who want a strong cup o’ joe on the go.

Klipsch Image S4i In Ear Headset

Klipsch Image S4i In Ear Headset

These days, with so many gadgets that have music playing capabilities, a pair of earbuds or other compact headphones makes a great stocking stuffer for just about anyone on your list. But these high performance Kipsch Image S4i sound cancelling headphones should probably be reserved for someone high up on your “nice” list. They’re about the best in-ear headphones on the market right now, hugely outclassing all other offerings in the less-than-$100 range (and many more expensive ones, too), and even come with an in-line microphone, call answer button, and volume controls, which makes them unbeatable for an iPhone user.

Silk Velvet Infinity Loop

Silk Velvet Infinity Loop

I’m told that loop scarves are “in” this season, but trends or no trends, this Silk Velvet Scarf is something just about any lady would be overjoyed to find under the tree. Made of real silk velvet, it’s about as soft as soft gets, cushy, smooth, and warm – and the burnished copper, red, russet, and gold hues will look lovely paired with just about any outfit.

Vinturi Red Wine Aerator

Vinturi Red Wine Aerator

A frequent staple of wine tasting establishments, vineyards, and even some restaurants, this Red Wine Aerator is a great gift for your favorite oenophile. What it does, essentially, is separates the wine as you pour it, filling it with tiny bubbles of air and “opening” it much faster and more thoroughly than traditionally decanting or simply letting the wine breathe, and dramatically improving the flavor and profile of any wine that’s run through it. Just pour through the top and directly into your glass and immediately taste the difference. Makes a great party trick, too – comparing the same wine side by side before and after aeration.

Zagg ZAGGmate Aluminum Case with Wireless Keyboard for iPad

Zagg ZAGGmate Aluminum Case with Wireless Keyboard for iPad

iPads and other tablets are becoming more and more prominent among everyday users, but their lack of a physical keyboard can be a real bummer. If you know someone that loves their ipad but still lugs around a laptop or netbook for typing, this iPad Keyboard Case is sure to make their day. Part protective aluminum shield for the touch screen, part wireless bluetooth keyboard, it’s ultra compact and incredibly functional. Snap it on one side to stow, or lay it flat and place an iPad either portrait or landscape wise in the center seam for instant laptop functionality on your tablet, with no extra bulky weight to carry around (click through if you’re having trouble imagining it!). Great way to help your favorite technophile get streamlined.

What are a few of your favorite holiday gifts this season? Do you agree that sometimes the best things come in small packages, or do you always go for the biggest box?

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