Do you find yourself scrambling for gift ideas so close to the holidays? We've all been there—coming up with thoughtful gifts that the people on your list will truly appreciate and use throughout the year can be a huge challenge. For us, the right tech can bring your friends and loved ones, tech-savvy or not, a much-needed upgrade in their quality of life.

There is no need to trudge through the pages of Amazon, Target, and Best Buy to find the best affordable tech given the time constraint. We've eliminated the guesswork for you. Even on a budget of under $100, there are plenty of exciting and useful tech gifts to choose from. Here are 12 foolproof ones!

1. An alarm clock with soothing light and built-in Bluetooth

iHome Zenergy Light Alarm Clock, $69.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond

No one likes waking up to a blaring alarm, so a light therapy alarm clock that tries to awaken you with a gradual, sunrise-like increase of light is a nice gift. The iHome Zenergy offers a number of great light alarm features, but it also has a decent Bluetooth speaker built into it, so your giftee can play music, too.

2. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Logitech Wonderboom 2, $94.99, available at Amazon

The Logitech Wonderboom 2 is a small and simple waterproof speaker that has surprisingly big and good sound for its size and price. Super-portable Bluetooth speaker. Clear, crisp, and full sound with big, beautiful bass. It's an ideal gift for friends and family who like to be outside.

3. A smart speaker with Alexa, the most popular virtual assistant

Amazon Echo, $99.99, available at Amazon

The new Echo is an excellent smart speaker and Alexa can answer your giftee's questions, play music, and control smart home devices like lights and TVs. The new fourth-generation model also features an updated design with a spherical shape that fits nicely with most decor.

4. A fitness tracker sans the distractions of a smartwatch

Fitbit Inspire 2, $98.90, available at Amazon

Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to track your giftee's fitness metrics. The tracker has a heart rate monitor that helps improve the accuracy of tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. As an added bonus, buyers also receive a free one-year trial of Fitbit Premium.

5. A Philips Hue smart lighting starter kit

Philips Hue White LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit, $99.99, available at Amazon

Philips Hue smart light bulbs can be controlled using an app or a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Home. You can dim the lights, set them to change at specific times, or turn them off with a voice command using an assistant. The hub included in this starter kit can connect and control your lights without a separate virtual assistant, and the smart button will let you turn the Philip Hue bulbs in your house on and off without any extra wiring.

6. A PopSocket grip for your phone

PopSocket Grip, $8 and up, available at PopSocket

PopSocket Grips stick to the back of your phone and can expand outwards whenever you need a grip or a stand. Use one to take steadier photos, text with a better grip, hold a large device more securely, watch movies, and video chat with ease and comfort. Many cost less than $10 and they come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your recipient's personality. There are even plant-based PopSocket grips that are more environmentally friendly. 

7. A kid-friendly tablet with a year's worth of children's content

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, $59.99, available at Amazon

Kids love tablets, but they can also be destructive fiends when it comes to tech. Luckily, Amazon's Kids Edition of the Fire 7 tablet is here to save the day with its protective case and warranty against accidental damage. The Kids Edition also comes with one year of Amazon Kids, which adds tons of kid-friendly content you can find via Amazon apps like Kindle and Amazon Prime Video.

Fire HD 8, $59.99, available at Amazon

The Fire HD 8 tablet is also a solid option for teens and adults who don't need the extra power of an iPad or Microsoft Surface. The latest Fire HD 8 has a 1,280 x 800-pixel screen, 32GB of storage built in, and room for expansion via a Micro SD card slot.

8. A smart herb garden

Click and Grow Smart Garden 3, $99.95, available at Amazon

With the Click and Grow Smart Garden, your loved one can grow fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, or thyme in a matter of weeks. The garden kit includes LED lights and basil plant pods—once set up, it will automatically water the herbs on a regular basis for two to three weeks.

9. A custom-designed iPhone case filled with familiar photos

Casetify Custom iPhone 12 Case, $45 and up, available at Casetify

Known for its easy-to-use custom design tool, Casetify lets you turn your favorite photos or designs into a custom iPhone case. There are several case styles and dozens of templates, so you can turn your friend's best photos into a unique way to protect their phone. Casetify has a huge selection of cases with designs that you might find more interesting than most cases with simpler single or double-color designs.

10. An instant camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, $69.99, available at Best Buy

Instant cameras are the perfect gift for shutterbugs who wish they'd lived during the age of the Polaroid. Fujifilm's Instax Mini 11 comes in cute colors and takes fun, retro pictures that are printed right after they're taken.

11. A light for better smartphone photography

Lume Cube 2.0, $89.99, available from Lume Cube

Any smartphone shutterbug will love having the Lume Cube 2.0 in their mobile photography kit. The little light helps illuminate the subject of a photo when the lighting is subpar.

12. A temperature-controlled mug

Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug, $99.95, available at Amazon

It seems like everything is high-tech these days and a lot of it seems pointless, but this is not one of those things. Ember's smart mug can keep your loved one's drink at the perfect temperature so they never burn their tongue again. It uses a smart heating coaster and an app to help you decide how hot you want your drink to be every time.

Share this list with your colleagues, friends, and loved ones. Follow The TNS Group on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Cheers to a healthy and happy holiday season!

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