UPDATED NOVEMBER 18, 2017 Grandparents are first on holiday lists to land a gift card or monthly food subscription ticked next to their names. (And seriously, dump the handmade mug idea already.) Instead, think more tech (yes, really) — gift ideas that make a grandparent's life easier, and stay up to speed in your life.
Echo Spot will let grandparents video chat with grandkids — for free
The latest Amazon device, Echo Spot, is small but still connects to Alexa like it's big brother Echo. For grandparents, the video chat feature is going to be alluring. Like the Echo Show, the $130 Echo Spot supports video calling between devices — while also linking to smart devices around the home. The gadget doesn't start shipping until December 19, tight for the holiday season, but Amazon's almost like Santa — and likely to make sure early buyers get their device on time.
Luggage that practically checks itself in
Flying can be an exhausting experience today — but Raden smart luggage may be just the gift to encourage grandparents to start traveling. With two sizes, the $295 A22 carry-on and the $395 A28 checked bag, Raden's luggage all have chargers built-in, can be weighed via its handle and have a sensor that pairs with the smartphone app — no one will ever mistakenly walk off with their bag again. Plus there's free shipping and returns currently on the site — which might take the sting off baggage fees next time you fly. (Available on Amazon.)
Fire TV now supports 4K Ultra HD.
Amazon Fire TV is an easy gift idea for grandparents — a device that could not be simpler to install and delivers their Netflix, Hulu plus of course Amazon content directly into their TV — and no, you don't need Amazon Prime to use the device. (Although Prime does open up more content.) The new upgrade features support for 4K Ultra HD and integrates with Alexa. Just $69.99 — and we expect that the price will drop as the holidays get closer.
Let your grandparents enjoy their time hanging with you — and get something else to do the cleaning for them. And we have the perfect item in mind: the iRobot Roomba 980. Sure it's $900 — but it connects via Wi-Fi, you can get Alexa and Google Assistant to order the vacuum around and you can set up virtual walls the keep the cleaner out of certain rooms. Plus, iRobot is currently offering $100 off the device and free shipping. Boom: check grandma or grandpa off the list. (You're welcome.) And if you're looking for other gift ideas to help grandparents around the home, consider checking out our Holiday Gift Ideas for Aspiring Couch Potatoes)
Quit searching for keys
Fumbling for the keys? Why not take this worry away from grandparents who have better things to do. (Call you for instance?) August smart locks start at just $149 (the Pro version, pictured above is $229) and unlock doors instantly as long as your smartphone is paired to the device. Yes, this gadget requires a bit of work to install — but now you have a reason to visit. (Available on Amazon.)
Have grandparents who hit the cruise lines often? Nest Cam IQ indoor camera may be a better bet than the neighbor who checks on the house. At $299 (with free shipping,) the indoor security camera keeps an eye on what's happening in the home, and for an additional $10 a month, the Nest Aware feature will also send alerts if movement is detected in certain areas, while storing video for up to 10 days. (And yes, you can even use the camera to make sure everyone is safe as well.) Available on Amazon.
Smart mattress that knows when to wake you up in the morning.
A good night's sleep is one of those elusive gifts no one can give — or can they? The Eight mattress is embedded (ahem) with smart technology, connecting not only to a smartphone, but to Amazon Alexa, Nest and Philips Hue devices. One side of the mattress can be warm, the other cool, and a smart alarm wakes you up when it senses you're starting to stir. Note: this gift is a pricey one — a full size mattress starts at $699, but monthly pricing is available and the site is currently offering a 10 percent discount on all its mattresses. (Maybe this is a gift for you too.) Available on Amazon.
Let loved ones see who is at the door before they answer.
Getting a glimpse of who is outside your home — before you answer the door — is not only a smart decision, but a safe one. Ring Video Doorbell 2 lets you check who is ringing the bell from inside the home — or anywhere your app-connected smartphone is. For grandparents who like to travel, this means they can make it seem like they're home, even if they're not. At $199, the device also has optional monthly service which includes storing video for up to 30 days. (Available on Amazon.)
Pain relief that works from the skin, in.
Medical devices don't always scream holiday gift, but Quell is a bit different — a wearable that's no bigger than a fitness device, but can help ease nerve pain. FDA-cleared, the cuff is worn on the calf (so no one needs to see it) and works by sending pulses to nerves. A starter kit is just $249, and clinical trials have seen an affect on arthritis and even residual pain from shingles. Okay, it's not a holiday sweater. But then again — it's not a holiday sweater. (On sale at Amazon.)
Lyric can be set remotely so you always come home to a warm house.
Keeping a home toasty in the winter time is important — as is saving money on utility bills. Grandparents may truly appreciate the $199 Lyric Round, a Wi-Fi thermostat that can be set via smartphone or from the device, and can maintain an even temperature in their house. When they leave to visit you, they can even dial the heating down and make sure they're not wasting energy. (Available on Amazon.)