December 5, 2014

Affordable Gadgets That Won’t End Up in the Junk Drawer the Day After Christmas

By Alexis G.

We've all been there. Mom, Grandma, or Auntie Em hit up the dollar store to grab you some last-minute gifts, which you chuck into the junk drawer with a flinch of guilt the day after Christmas because you feel bad throwing them away. These gifts fall under the category of useless items that seem great when you open them on Christmas day, but eventually get thrown out. Face it, your junk drawer is getting full and the thrill of that kitschy coffee mug warmer only lasts so long. Who cares how cool your Chewbacca USB drive looks? And how many times are you really going to cool up those whiskey stones before you get that whiskey down your gullet?

We’ve compiled a list of affordable gadgets that are not only cool on Christmas day, but are so cool that whoever you’re gifting them to won’t even realize they needed them in the first place.

WARNING: The following gadgets may mesmerize and hypnotize you into keeping them for yourself.

1. Chromecast – this little device plugs into your TV so you can stream music, TV shows, movies, and more through various applications, including Netflix and YouTube. The best part is that it runs around $30. Move over Roku and who needs cable?

2. Stainless Steel Smoker Box – this little steel box will infuse your grilled food with that smoky flavor you crave. Just add some wood chips and place the steel box under your grill grates. It runs from $17 to $20.

3. Smartphone Lens – Since there’s no app for a better zoom, this external lens for your smartphone can upgrade zoom and photo quality. They are sold at many price ranges, but you can find one for around $15.

4. ROCCAT LUA Gaming Mouse – This gaming mouse is great for any gamer friend. There are buttons and features they didn’t even know they needed!

5. Propane Gauge – How frustrating is it when you go to barbecue on the grill and realize that your propane is out? Brookstone carries an affordable propane gauge ($24.99) that will keep your grill from getting nob whiplash.

6. Jar Opener – You may think this gift is lame and tacky, but when you can’t open a jar and no one is around, then what are you going to do? Restoration Hardware sells a jar opener that is simple and classy at only $7.99.

7. Powercurl Mini – Ever travel with all your chargers, headphones, and USB chords tangling up in your bag? Here is a brilliant solution. The Powercurl Mini, sold at Best Buy for $4.99, hold your earbuds and other electronic accessories.

So there you have it. Now, there is no excuse to run to your nearest 99-cent store to stock up on cheap gifts. And for all my fellow junk drawer junkies, whose chip clips and extensions cords are protruding out onto the floor, pay it forward and share this with your family, friends, and Auntie Em who comes in from Tallahassee.

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