From: goood stuff

Holiday Gift Guide

For: developers

About this Guide

What's going on here?

I built this gift guide mostly to have a laugh and expecting to make absolutely no money from it. But, I still put in some affiliate links. If you click on a gift link in this guide and make a purchase, some of what you spend might end up in my bank account. If this guide defies all the odds and actually makes some money, I'll donate all the earnings to The Trevor Project. And since it would be rude to donate $0.07 to a charity, I'll throw in a couple money bags myself just to save us all the embarrassment.

Even if you don't buy anything off of this gift guide, please consider donating anything you can. For convenience, here's a donation link through PayPal I've set up. Or, you can donate directly to The Trevor Project

Some backstory

When I joined The New York Times as a developer in 2017 my very first project was building their Holiday Gift Guide website. I think at the time I was one of very few frontend focused developers working on it, but the Holiday Gift Guide had a whole team of developers, designers, product managers and editors dedicated to getting it shipped in time for the post-Thanksgiving gift-buying season.

A few years, teams, roles, and jobs later I opened up The New York Times 2023 Holiday Gift Guide and was in awe by how playful and fun this new guide was. I was struck by a wave of FOMO and felt a pang of nostalgia and decided that the world needed yet another Holiday Gift Guide. But instead of a beatifully designed and elegantly curated guide that demanded months of dedication and hard work from an entire team of people, it was going to be whatever I could build in about 5 days worth of sitting in front of the TV after dinner. So, I bought the least terrible domain name I could think of, broke every rule of good web development, and this "not too shabby for a few hours of chaotic coding" monstrosity was born.

Filter by categories
Filter by categories
Lightbulb with colorful lights and the product box in the background

Nanoleaf Smart Light Bulb

Yes, I was bamboozled by aesthetic desk setup YouTube into tricking out my house and office with color changing light bulbs. I don't even care about the color changing feature, but these come with that if your dev is into that sort of thing. Really what I love is that I can yell at Siri from my bed to "Turn off all the lights." Remember, devs are lazy. It's apparently what makes us good at our jobs. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

$15 from Amazon
Split keyboard with colorful shining keycaps

Moonlander Mark I Keyboard

By far the best mechanical keyboard I've ever owned. It's ergonomic to save my poor wrists from the horrors of coding 8 hours a days, highly customizeable, and so clicky clacky I've been getting complaints from my neighbors for years. Great for keyboard hobbyists or anyone that can sink hours into creating their perfect keyboard layout and shortcut commands.

$365 from ZSA
A slim and low-profile split keyboard with colorful shining keycaps

Voyager Keyboard

I wish I hadn't created this gift guide. I wish I'd never had to visit the ZSA website to look up the Moonlander keyboard that I already own, only to be met with ZSA's newest ergonomic mechanical keyboard offering. I wish I didn't have to buy this keyboard so that I could have a second, dedicated keyboard for travel and coffee shop days.

$365 from ZSA
A set of 17 keycaps in earth tones with cute illustrations on them

Cozy Keycaps

I have coveted everything from Maisy Leigh's YouTube channel for years. So when I found out she now has her own shop of products she designs and creates I nearly flipped my desk. Everything in her shop is perfect for devs that love the cozy or cute aesthetic, and these keycaps are especially great for any dev that's into customizing mechanical keyboards.

$20 from Osume x Maisy Leigh
Grey computer mouse

Logitech MX Master 3s

Another gadget that can be endlessly customized with shortcuts and different settings. I challenge you to find a mouse with a more satisfying and buttery smooth scroll wheel. It's a true feat of engineering.

$100 from Amazon
Wood-top adjustable height standing desk with white legs

Sway Standing Desk

I own this standing desk and it's the most beautiful thing in my office besides my cat, Artemis. But, all standing desks essentially do the same thing so if this one's out of your price range or not to your dev's liking then do a quick Google search and find one that you think your beloved dev will enjoy. Make sure it has an automatic motor and can save height settings. Remember, us developers are notoriously lazy.

$1400 from Ergonofis
Black insulated water bottle with a rubberized grip in the top half

Contigo Insulated Thermos

I can safely say that I literally never drank water until I bought one of these Contigo insulated water bottles. Now, I'm a hydrated queen. I actually stopped in the middle of writing this sentence so that I could go refill it. Please note: if you gift this to your dev they will find all other drinking vessels inferior. One time, I left this water bottle at a friend's house and I swear I didn't drink any water for 2 days. It just wasn't worth it without this guy.

$18 from Amazon
Black espresso machine

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

Before this machine came into my life I was just like every other millenial; not able to buy a house or pay off my student loans because I was spending $7 plus tip every day on my fancy oat milk lattes. Now, thanks to the Breville Bambino, I can make my own lattes in the home that I bought with all the money I saved. This little coffee machine helped me add yet another massive debt to my life that I'll never be able to pay off no matter how much guacamole I decline at Chipotle.

$500 from Amazon
Coffee bean grinder

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

If you think you can get away with a cheaper coffee grinder to go with your new Breville Bambino Plus Espresso machine, then you are absolutely correct. But this one let's you control the grind size and grind time, so your dev can really lean into being a true coffee snob.

$200 from Amazon
Pizza oven with someone inserting a pizze using a pizza peel

Ooni Karu 12 Pizza Over

Truly one of the best gifts I've ever received. If you want a gift for your dev that's also basically a gift for yourself, this is it. It's practically a law that gifting one of these pizza ovens means that you get free, homemade pizza for life. Trust me. I've made about 1,409 pizzas this year and only 483 of them were for me.

$300 from Amazon
Top down pixel art video game featuring a farmhouse and some crops

Stardew Valley

I can't tell you how many hours I've put into my Stardew Valley farm. The coziest, cutest, most fun farming simulator created since Harvest Moon. I think the pixel art design will bring back a lot of fond memories of when we used to blow into the N64 cartridge or fight with our sister for a turn with the GameBoy. At least it does for me. And in the end, this gift guide is all about me anyway.

$15 from several vendors
The text 'Factorio' with the mechanisms and gears of the videogram as the background


I've been told this game makes you a better developer because the game mechanisms and problem solving scenarios are so similar to software engineering. All I know is if you gift this to your dev you will never see them again. All they'll do is play Factorio. All they'll talk about is playing Factorio. They'll never stop trying to get you to download and play Factorio. This game is a blessing and a curse. You've been warned.

$35 from Steam
Army green backpack with multiple zippers on the front pannel

Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe

Some people will claim that every backpack essentially does the same job, so there's no point in going with the more expensive ones. But a dev knows better. We know that a padded laptop compartment with easy access zipper can make or break your TSA security line experience. Without a breathable back panel and padded straps you may as well be carrying a sweaty torture device. I've had this backpack for years, and it's built so well it'll be my cat Artie's inheritance one day.

$159 from Timbuk2
Small multicolor circular floor pillow

Handwoven Moroccan Meditation Cushion

I'd like to start off by saying that I had no idea this pillow was so expensive until creating this gift guide, and I've also never sat on it. As soon as my partner came home with this pillow, I immediately set it on top of my desk so that our cat, Artemis could use it as a bed during our workday (Artie and I clock in and out around the same time). She loved it so much that we ended up buying her a second pillow so that she could keep one in the living room too. So, I guess what I'm saying is this would make a great gift for your dev's cat. Artie gives it two thumb toe beans up.

$140 from Apartment F
Pink tin cookie box with a clear window displaying cookies, cake pops, other treats

Milk Bar Sampler

I usually send out this gift box of sweet treats as gifts to friends across the country. But a couple years ago, I bought one for myself and brought it with me to my family Christmas celebration. That ended up being a huge mistake because these treats are so good that I had to share them with everyone else. We didn't used to call the Milk Bar cake a "crack pie" for nothing.

$60 from Milkbar
A metalic ring with green light sensors on the inner band

Oura Smart Ring

I don't personally know many devs that are super into fitness and exercise (they exist, I just haven't met many of them IRL). I myself have never loved the fitness watches or smart wearable devices because they're pretty much exclusively marketed to triathletes and Ironman competitors. That's why I bought and love my Oura ring. Its primary purpose is tracking my sleep, body temperature, and overall health. It reminds me that sitting down in front of the computer all day is the equivalent of smoking 34 packs of cigarettes a day and sends condescending notifications to tell me when to get up and move. And most importantly, the accompanying app is beautifully designed and intuitive. Because the only thing worse than not taking care of your health is having to use an app that has a terrible user experience.

$299 from Oura
Four tall machines of black, red, white, and aquamarine color with a water bottle inserted in the middle

Drinkmate Sparkling Water Maker

Remember when we used to have to go into the office every day? We had to sit in traffic for hours a week. And choose between picking up our kids from school on time or staying late to make that meeting that definitely could have been an email. Only one thing made all of that worth it: an office fridge fully stocked with pamplemouse La Croix. If your dev needs an excuse to leave their desk 15 times a day like they used to back in the good ol' days, this is the perfect gift for them.

$85 from Amazon
Metalic laptop stand in the folded position standing upright

Foldable Laptop Stand

You ever see those weirdos at the coffee shop that look like they've made the public space their permanent home office? They set up a full keyboard, have a specialized travel mouse, spread out at a 4-person table even though they're alone and the coffee shop is packed. Well, I'm that weirdo. And this laptop stand is essential to my coffeeshop office set up. It weighs nothing, folds up to the size of a notebook and tucks away easily. If coffeeshops had reliable wifi, I'd never leave.

$59 from Amazon
A woman in workout clothes walking on a treadmill. In the background a treadmill with multiple phases of being folded

Foldable Walking Treadmill

Before I bought this treadmill I rarely exercised during the day. I know what you're thinking: You never used to drink water and you never exercised? Yes. My health was barely holding on by a thread. It's basically a running joke now that devs are overworked, burnt out, and have the constitutions of a sickly victorian ghost child. This compact treadmill makes it easy for me to get my 10k steps in and start taking care of myself the way I always should have. But more importantly, I now have a way to passive aggressively shame my coworkers about their own sedentary lifestyles whenever I join a meeting while walking.

$500 from Amazon
Laptop lap desk with a laptop, phone, and mouse resting on top of it

Lap Desk

You're probably thinking that I use this lap desk to work after hours from the comfort of my couch. But you're wrong. You don't know me. I may work hard, but I play hard too. Specifically, I play Factorio from my couch and use the lap desk for my wireless keyboard and mouse. It's a huge upgrade from the cardboard box that I used before finding this at Bed, Bath & Beyond (R.I.P).

$32 from Amazon
CGI version of a box with the NYT logo on the side and a bow on top shuffling through different gift wrap of the box in the style of NYT Games, Cooking app, and news.

NYT Gift Subscription

The New York Times is perhaps my best subscription service. I use their Cooking app every day when I have a mild panic attack at the notion of trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. AGAIN. I'm not enough of a smarty pants to play the crossword myself, but I get a little ego boost any time I can help my partner answer an obscure reference to technology or video game history topics. The New York Times has something to offer everyone and provides different price points and products to choose from depending on what your dev might like.

$75 from The New York Times