Last time out, I talked about a smart stocking for men, framing the idea around my difficult-to-buy-for dad. Today, I’m going to focus around the woman for your life. I don’t have as much of a dramatic back story this time. My wife is the easiest person in the world to buy for but I’ll admit that my mom isn’t as easy and sometimes I do have to interpret what she’s looking for. Still, here are a few stocking stuffer ideas for the woman in your life.
As far as I can remember, my mom has kept a pretty close eye on what she’s been eating and how active she is. Working in a school office, she’s constantly on the move from class to class with deliveries or preparing and coordinating different events. This year, she’s moved to a brand new middle school which means there’s more work than ever for her to do. I’d like to get her a fitness tracker that she can sync with her iPhone, but like me, she hates wearing watches and probably wouldn’t like most wearables.
We all know about the usual run of visible wrist wearable fitness trackers out there. However, there’s another, much more discrete type of fitness tracker too. If you know that the person you’re buying for hates things like wristwatches but enjoys jewelry, Misfit has an answer for you. Check out the Misfit Shine Fitness Tracker with Bloom Necklace. It’s basically a wearable built into a necklace. You’ll be able to track everything 24 hours a day, inside the water and out. The whole setup is waterproof up to 50 metres, so it can even be used as a swim tracker. Outside of that, you can track all of your daily walking, running and other sport activities and it even includes sleep tracking. Since it is a smaller unit, it runs on replaceable batteries which you purchase twice a year. There’s no need for long charge cables or lengthy overnight charges.
Smart LED Candles
My mom still really likes to light her home from time to time in candlelight, especially around dinner. I know she’s probably felt a lack of candlelight love since we’ve been coming over for dinners with an actively playful toddler. These Playbulb Smart LED candles by Mipow (also available in 3 packs) are just the thing. Not only will she be able to enjoy the feel of candlelight again for her dinners that involve us, but they’re pretty safe for my daughter to hold and touch without worry of burn. Using the Playbulb app, your gift recipient will be able to set millions of different colour combinations to display in. Following dinner, you can even blow them out like you would have a real candle! As with the Misfit Shine, this runs on batteries as well, providing around 240 hours of usage off 3 AA batteries. Check out a review we did at Plug In earlier this fall for all of the MiPow products, including the candles.
Bite-sized lighting automation
My mom just replaced most of the lighting in her home and in doing so, I noticed she stayed a bit old school with some of her floor lamps on those plug-in analog timers. She got a bit insulted (I think) when I told her it was my grandma’s technology but got over it pretty quickly when I gave her my Belkin WeMo Regular WiFi Switch and Motion Detector Switch.
One of the reasons I gave it to her was that I started getting flashbacks to earlier life. I can’t tell you how many times I used to sit with my grandmother in her living room talking or watching TV and the lights would go off because the timers were set that way. I’d rather not re-live those facepalming evenings again, so I set my mom’s living room lamps so that she could have full control both home and away and she’s really happy with them. It’s pretty simple to set up as long as there’s a wireless network to attach it to and the WeMo user interface is pretty simplistic so it won’t need a tech savvy person to figure it all out either.
The Philips Hue Lighting kits might be for some of the more tech savvy parents out there but I like to keep it simple with mine. I probably shouldn’t make fun of her in a public blog but the most complicated thing I think I’ve seen my mom ever do is figure out how to FaceTime our out of town family. So while the Hue is a no go, something like BeeWi’s light bulbs definitely are. It screws into a standard socket, requires about 30 seconds of setup through Bluetooth and the smart app and it’s ready to go. It can set up in over 16 million colours. While she probably won’t have an ongoing need for about 15,999,999 of them, other features (like on-demand dimming) will come in handy for things like dinner or movie time. If she sets them up in her bedroom, BeeWi has gradual lighting settings to get her eyes used to the light rather than blaring them at full blast when she turns the switch on.
Ok, let’s stretch our imaginations a little bit for this one. Chances are the boxes for these things won’t fit in a stocking, but the gear themselves is small enough to. Play along with me here!
If I had to pick one smarthome product over everything else to get someone for their home, it would be a smart thermostat. Naturally, there will be some difficulties and nuances in picking a smart thermostat (mainly voltage compatibility) but here’s a guide on finding the right one that fits your home’s needs. It may be because of the number of windows/natural light in her home, but mom’s house can get cold. Really cold. In fact, I found a really good artist’s rendition of what her home feels like in the winter:
Mom doesn’t have a smart thermostat yet but when she goes looking for one (or I end up getting one for her,) it will likely be a Nest Learning Thermostat. She’s going to need something that hooks up to a basic 2 wire furnace and can interface with some of the other smarthome products I will continue to recommend for her and her husband’s house as they sink more into the idea that they can control parts of their home with their phones.
The last stocking-sized thing I can see being of great use to mom is a Home Security Camera. The Withings IP Camera with Air Quality Sensors is the best one I know of for her current needs. She doesn’t have a baby monitor (nor would she need one since my daughter takes one nap a week there) so it could stand in as one of those for grandma visit days. She does have a small dog though and he’s battled a couple of health issues. Having a camera like this offering a wide-eyed view of his living space (mostly the kitchen and TV area) will allow her to keep an eye on him from time to time to see that he’s ok. She can receive smartphone alerts if anything is out of the ordinary. In fact, a couple of our bloggers have put this feature to use already. Shelly used a Withings camera to confirm that her dog was stealing goodies off the kitchen table and Brad used an IP Camera to keep an eye on his dog’s recovery after injury.
There’s a good start on picking up some smart gifts to stuff a loved one’s stocking this Holidays. Please continue to check back for more gift blogs from the Plug In team as the season progresses!