Like all things 2020, Christmas will look different in Marin County homes this year.
With many of us either working from home and/or learning from home, it's more important than ever to have those creature comforts that make life - and one another - more tolerable. So whether it's a new set of headphones to keep the peace or an improved media system to enhance your downtime, I've got a list of some of the most popular gifts for your home here! And do let me know if you have a gadget that I've missed.
1. For the livingroom: Roku Ultra (around $100)
Roku's fancy "Ultra" media streaming device makes life simple. Processing is snappy and the user interface is friendly and intuitive, making it easy to settle in for a night of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube or Twitch without a hitch. This box also comes with a very easy-to-use remote PLUS a pair of headphones that plug right into it for private listening, as well as an ethernet cable input so you can easily stream 4K/HDR content.
2. For the bathroom(s): Amazon Echo Dot (around $25)
She can tell you a joke, the day's weather, give you the day's headlines, connect you to your favorite news station, pandora station and podcast, and help you with your shopping list - she'll even let you know when you have a package on the doorstep! She also integrates with your existing smart home fixtures (like turning lights on and off). Love her!
3. For the bedroom: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (around $130)
Amazon's latest Kindle Paperwhite, technically the 10th generation model, holds thousands of novels, short stories, poems, comics, and PDFs—it's also waterproof, and features multiple colors and storage options with a battery that lasts weeks.
4. For the bedroom or laundryroom: Sonos One SL (around $140)
Sonos has been a leading name in home audio solutions for years, and the Sonos One SL is a testament to that legacy. We loved the One for its clean audio presentation, including crispy trebles and booming bass, as well as how easy it is to set up and interface with existing Sonos speakers in the home. While it's not a take-it-to-the-park speaker, as a home solution it offered better audio than anything we tested, and will definitely impress any music lover you might be shopping for.
5. For the yard: Apple AirPods Pro (around $200)
While they've been on the market for a couple of years, Apple's AirPods Pro are still some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy—especially for iPhone users. This let's you rake the leaves, clean the gutters, and tackle your honey-do list in peace. Did I mention their great noise canceling quality?
6. For the media room: Vizio V-Series 2.1 soundbar (around $120)
TV audio tends to be sub-par. There's nothing too fancy going on here, but it's an easy plug-and-play solution for anyone looking to majorly upgrade their stock TV audio at a reasonable price.
7. For the shared bedroom: Sony WH-1000XM4 (around $300)
Sony's new WH-1000XM4 are simply the best you can buy right now. Not only do these sound awesome, they're packed with the most useful headphone features you can get: awesome noise canceling, wireless/Bluetooth connectivity, and a lightweight, comfortable design that you can wear for hours. If your giftee is serious about listening to music (and nothing else), these pricy cans will make their day.
8. For the home office/afterschool playroom: SteelSeries Arctis 1 Headset (around $50)
If your kid likes playing games on a smartphone, tablet, Nintendo Switch Lite, or whatever—SteelSeries' Arctis 1 gaming headset is an awesome choice. It's compatible with PC, PS4, Nintendo, Xbox, and basically all mobile devices for a very reasonable price, and delivers solid sound, good microphone clarity and plenty of comfort. So you can keep them in your sight but not hear a sound. Ahhhh.
9. For the remote home that needs better WiFi: Google Nest Mesh System (around $280)
A mesh WiFi system is an excellent solution for essentially blanketing your entire home with high-speed WiFi. If you've got WiFi "dead zones," a mesh system might be just what the house needs. This is one of the best on the market, so it doesn't come cheap, but it's an excellent solution for homes that just can't seem to stay connected.
10. For the new 'classroom' - HP VH240a 23.8-inch monitor (around $110)
A lot, a lot of people are engaging remotely now, maybe for the first time, and maybe for the foreseeable future. If one of your giftees is struggling to engage online during this new situation, why not gift them with a flexible, affordable computer monitor? Sometimes, a bigger, higher-contrast screen is all you need to inspire greatness.
11. For luxurious streaming: Apple TV 4K (around $180)
There's a lot of ways to stream content. This marvelously zippy, perfectly polished streaming box is for that giftee who loves binging and wants to do it in style.
12. For the nostalgic old records: Crosley C6 turntable (around $150)
Do you suddenly find yourself with the time to pull out your favorite albums of the 70s-80s, but have nothing to play them on? The ritual of laying a well-loved record on a vinyl player and listening to it as the musicians and producer intended will always be a special experience. This one delivers modern convenience with a classic look and feel.
13. For every kid's bedroom: Puro Labs PuroQuiet Kids' Headphones (around $80)
Made especially for younger kids who need to be extra careful about protecting their ears from excessive noise. That's where these awesome Puro Labs headphones come in: they're tuned not to exceed volumes that would cause damage, while ensuring balanced sound and noise canceling to also deliver beautiful music to those young ears.
14. For the hot tub: Anker SoundCore 2 (around $30)
Two things Marin is known for (1) it's live music and (2) backyard hot tubs! Maybe you'd agree, the only thing better than going out to hear music at your favorite beer joint (which is off the table) is to hear your favorite tunes while soaking! For all of us - a good waterproof Bluetooth speaker might be the perfect gift.
15. For the full house: D-Link DIR-878 (around $100)
This dual-band router combines 2.4 and 5 Ghz WiFi channel speeds. If this is Greek, that's very good. Naturally, performance like this doesn't come cheap, but if your home really needs a boost to its internet juice, this is the router to get.
16. For the house filled with 100 missing phone cords: Yootech wireless charger (around $15)
Quick - how many phone chargers are plugged in to your home's wall outlets right now? And how many are missing? Avoid another argument and buy several of these. In a recent roundup of the best wireless chargers, this Yootech model took the #1 spot, which is great news considering how utterly affordable it is.
17. For the home filled with broken tablets: Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition (around $140)
Do you have kids in the house? You need this and I don't have to tell you why. This tablet took first place in the 'best tablets for kids' roundup. It won't be obsolete any time soon and it won't be added to the gadget graveyard any time soon.
18. For the man of the house, regardless of age: LIFX Z LED light strip (around $90)
For the house that has everything - how about a little flash? This is a seriously cool way to set a mood in a home theater or game room. It's a snap to sync these smart LEDs up with Alexa or Siri, or integrate the LIFX into an existing SmartThings or Nest ecosystem.
19. For groundhog day mornings: Echo Show 5 (around $45)
A great gift for anyone who needs a low-key screen or a better alarm clock. It's a great way to keep in touch with relatives via video chat or to catch up on Hulu or Prime Video content in the background while you're working. It's also perfectly sized for smaller spaces like bedrooms or kitchens, especially if you don't want to spend a couple hundred on a small TV or monitor screen.
20. For the stocking of every member of the house: AmazonBasics HDMI Cable (around $7)
All tv sets, cable box, disc, and computers built in the last decade have an HDMI port to help make viewing experiences a heck of a lot better. As long as their TV is semi-new (i.e. they got it in the last 10 years or so), it should be equipped with an HDMI in port; likewise with cable boxes and disc players.
More than any other time of the year, the Holiday Season requires you love your home. Building a relationship with a Realtor® is an important step toward home ownership. I’ll be ready to help you when the time is right, and am here to answer any questions you have in the meanwhile. Tracy Curtis, Coldwell Banker Realty, 415-910-0599.
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