It's my favourite time of year — mass consumption of food, gifts, and alcoholic beverages.
I've put together a whole lot of tech gift guides over the years, and I thought I'd share some products I have on my radar this year — with just a touch of snark.
Read at your own will.
For your friend, the insomniac
I tend to listen to true crime when I can't sleep, but for fellow insomniacs looking for something a little less sinister, my interest is piqued by Spoke.
Spoke is a subscription relaxation app where each soothing "episode" features music and spoken word by some of the UK's best producers and rising artists — who have been trained by neuroscientists, psychologists and therapists.
It includes guided lyricism, advice, Lo-fi beats, breath work, hip-hop music production, rap, ambient world sounds, healing frequencies, binaural beats, 8D sounds, ASMR, alpha waves and Solfeggio frequencies.
The company describes it as "a moment of calm to encourage relaxation, create headspace and boost confidence."
For the boss ten years younger than you
Boothic (Greece) is a portable photo booth stand that, when combined with the corresponding app, is used to create portrait-style, Instagram-ready videos with HD resolution.
Users can select between normal video or Augmented Reality modes and choose from over 50 special effects.
Great fun for use in after-work drinks, and you can keep a file on your colleague's embarrassing antics.
For the person who always comments on your lunch or offers diet advice.
People who judge others on what they eat are usually most concerned about their own plates. This product is going to leave them wondering no more.
FoodMarble (Ireland) has developed a small but powerful breath test device that together with a smartphone app helps you figure out what food is best for you. FoodMarble recently revealed its second-generation device AIRE 2.
Using the device, anyone suffering from ongoing digestive issues such as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and IBS can use this pocket-size device at home to measure and monitor their digestion in real-time by measuring both hydrogen and methane levels to help better manage their digestive health.
The person who always tells you you'll never know true love until you have a child
Shopping for children is not always easy, but here's something that's fun for the whole family. FABA (Italy) combines smart toys and dedicated published audio content for children aged 10 and below.
The company has raised €3.7 million in funding.
FABA (Italy) educates and entertains without the need for screens: it plays stories, nursery rhymes, songs and educational content suitable for various age groups, animated by over 100 Sound Characters in the catalogue.
Invite the child to play it loud and proud and on repeat every Sunday morning as early as possible.
Then lie in bed and smile.
Also, a shout out to Young Planet (UK), a free app used by over 130,000 parents to find and give no-longer-used children's things.
I can imagine the musical instruments will be handy for the children of the next family friend who asks you why you don't have children.
For the frustrated foodie who lives open tins of sardines in the fridge
It's time to take a step up from growing herbs on your window sill. The bug factory (UK) has developed a living mealworm farm that can produce a continuous supply of sustainable and nutritious mealworms via the breeding kit.
While the company asserts that the mealworms are ideal for poultry, wild birds, reptiles and fishing, they are also high in protein and essential vitamins. The EU Commission approved using yellow mealworms as human food in 2021.
The ultimate in farm-to-plate!
If you're looking for more gift ideas, I'd encourage you to check out the sustainable online marketplace El Green Mall, and if you're in Germany, download the Yolla app, and get some Turkish and Arabic delicacies.
Lead image: Boothic. Photo: uncredited.