Last-minute Executive Gift Guide

Time equals money in business, and so chances are, you weren’t prepared to stand in long lines on Black Friday just to get a “deal.” And Cyber Monday? It’s business as usual for most executives, mica smart braceletso I bet you missed that too.

Have no fear. According to Monica Lorfing, owner of Executive Baskets, a corporate gift service that has been serving Houston for 26 years, you’re not late to the game if you’re just getting started.

“People will start doing their personal shopping after Thanksgiving and then around the second week of December, they realize, ‘Oh, I need to do something for my corporate clients.’ Then we get slammed,” she says.

Executive Baskets typically sells two to three thousand gift baskets each year during the holiday season, with most people going for wine baskets and munchie baskets that range from around $25 to hundreds of dollars. The advantage of gift baskets, of course, is that they typically have a variety of items that can be enjoyed not just by the individual receiving it, but by other co-workers as well.
But what if you want to step it up a bit and go all out for a top client or colleague? Or perhaps you want some cool tech ideas for your own wish list? We looked at the 2015 technology landscape and teamed up with The High-Tech Texan Michael Garfield for suggestions on what to get the gadget-loving person this year.

Headphones
“Headphones have been big for several years,” says Michael. “What’s new this year is that many of them have microphones built-in, so say you’re wearing them while you’re working out, you can listen to music and then switch over to a phone call.” There are a number of options when it comes to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones, with Bose as the brand leader.

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Wearable Technology
From smart watches to Google glasses, wearable technology is all the rage in the gadget craze. There is a lot of hype around the Apple Watch, but if you want a smart watch that looks less like a gadget and more like a stylish high-end men’s wrist watch, Michael’s gift pick is Huawei, which retails for around $350. Although the brand is new and less familiar, it has had solid reviews and was chosen by Gizmag as its smart watch of the year for 2015.

Another popular piece of wearable technology is Fitbit, a smart wristband designed to help people keep track of their health and fitness goals. This is a great option for someone you know is into fitness, but be careful about an inadvertent message you might be send by giving it to a less-than-buff business acquaintance. The last thing you want to dole out with your holiday gift is a dose of insecurity.

How about if you’re buying for woman? This year’s newest and hottest product for high-tech fashionistas is the MICA smart bracelet from Intel. Designed in partnership with Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York, this 18k gold-plated piece of jewelry serves as a perfect accessory for any outfit but still packs a powerful technology punch, integrating full smart-phone functionality into a small panel visible on the inside wrist.

OTT (Over the Top) TV Streaming Media Players
It used to be cool to have Netflix, but now people want more streaming options from the same device and media players make tech savvy, yet affordable, gifts.  While Apple TV and Google Chromecast offer the ability to sync content directly from mobile devices to the TV, a good stand-alone option is the popular Roku line. Roku devices range from $40 for a Streaming Stick to $99 for the Roku 3, which C/NET cited as the best video streamer in its price class due to its voice search capabilities. There is now also a Roku 4, which is able to go beyond HD to Ultra High Definition capabilities, at a price tag of $130.

Stocking Stuffers
Best stocking stuffer? Skip the cell-phone battery backup chargers. “Those things are a dime a dozen these days,” says Michael. “They’re almost like razorblades. I have a whole drawer full of them from trade shows.” A better idea is Tile – a tiny Bluetooth tracker and app that finds everyday items. “It’s for people who lose things,” says Michael. But don’t we all have those items that always seem to “walk off” on their own? Your phone, keys and wallet are just a few examples. It can even be used as a security device to keep track of your laptop or your bike. Priced at $25 or less, with discounts for multiple units, this is a great all-around office gift that anyone could appreciate.

From Last-minute to On-time
Whatever you choose for gifts this year, it’s OK to procrastinate but don’t wait too late. Postal services are already working around the clock to ensure that holiday deliveries are made on schedule, but make sure to check shipping deadlines, which are posted on most online portals such as Amazon.com. If you’re ordering local, such as gift baskets, Monica suggests placing orders by December 21.  That said, even the very busiest execs can sometimes squeeze under the wire. “We have people ordering up until the 23rd and wanting their gifts delivered Christmas Eve,” Monica say. “We’re just like Santa. We never stop. We deliver all the way up to the very end.”

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