2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Home

Gifts like these might not be the most romantic if you’re buying for your wife or girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cool stuff that will put a smile on their face. Products for the home can be just as desirable if you focus on items with great design or that make someone’s life a lot easier, and if you stick to those simple guidelines, you’ll make whoever is on the receiving end very happy.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Fire Pit from Lowe’s and allen + roth

This isn’t something you can easily put under the tree, but if you’re looking for a creative gift that you and your spouse or girlfriend can enjoy together, a fire pit in your backyard offers a great opportunity. As we explained in a recent post, a fire pit is pretty easy to build and you can find everything you need at Lowe’s using materials from allen + roth. The key here is that this is a project you can do with someone else or with the entire family, which makes it even more memorable. So if you’re looking for a unique gift idea and a fun project, this may be perfect for you.


Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System


Following the failed experiment of the Keurig Vue, the company has brought back its beloved K-Cups for their new line of Keurig 2.0 systems, albeit with a slight catch: the machines use a “revolutionary” brewing technology designed to read the RFID-coded lid on each K-Cup to ensure the perfect beverage every time. Of course, what the company fails to mention is that these codes are essentially their version of DRM in that you can only use authentic or officially licensed K-Cups manufactured after January 1, 2014. So if you prefer generic brands or brew your own coffee in a resuable pod, the company’s message seems to be, “Tough luck.” (For what it’s worth, there are numerous hacks already available online, and for those with a surplus of outdated K-Cups in your pantry, Keurig has offered to swap out those packs for new ones by contacting customer service.) Of course, that won’t bother Keurig loyalists one bit, because they’ll still find plenty to love about the Keurig 2.0 – particularly the ability to brew a 4-cup carafe using special K-Carafe packs with the same speed and ease of a single serving. The K550 model also includes an extra-large 80-ounce water reservoir (with hot water on demand), an auto-brew option so your coffee’s ready to go in the morning, a strength control setting and a customizable night light.

Dyson DC59 Motorhead

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a new Dyson to talk about, even if the DC59 Motorhead is basically the exact same vacuum as the DC59 Animal (hence the identical model number) under the hood. It has the V6 digital motor with three times the suction of any other cordless vacuum, the longer battery life and the improved trigger, but there’s a reason for the name change, and it has to do with the cleaning head. In addition to a longer and wider head more like Dyson’s upright models, the DC59 Motorhead features a direct-drive motor in the cleaning head that provides power directly to the brush bar, enabling 75% more power than its predecessor and driving the nylon bristles deeper into the carpet to remove ground-in dirt. Granted, that’s not a big enough upgrade to justify switching to the Motorhead if you already own the Animal, but for those still clinging on to their old DC35 Digital Slim, or who haven’t yet jumped aboard the Dyson bandwagon, the DC59 Motorhead is an excellent vacuum for any job around house.


BLACK & DECKER Extra-Wide Convection Oven


It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an Iron Chef – it’s always nice to have a convection oven at your disposal, particularly because they don’t cost as much to operate and won’t heat up your house when they’re running, which can be a total drag during the summertime. This stainless steel convection oven from BLACK & DECKER is an excellent addition to any kitchen, featuring four different cooking functions (Bake, Broil, Toast and Keep Warm), a dedicated toast timer for easy shade selection and three rack positions. While it’s not as fancy as other models, it makes up for the lack of any bells and whistles with an extra-wide interior that’s large enough to accommodate a 9” x 13” baking pan or 12” pizza, which practically makes your traditional oven redundant. Not everyone will get as much use out of this convection oven as some, but it’s a pretty safe bet for bachelors, college students and apartment dwellers.

Cuisinart CastLite Cookware


Does the chef in your family desperately need to upgrade their cookware? Then look no further than Cuisinart’s new CastLife line, a collection of lightweight cast iron pots and pans that weigh up to 50% less than traditional cast iron without sacrificing quality or durability. Cast iron is excellent for cooking, but it can be awfully cumbersome when trying to whip up a quick meal in the kitchen, so any difference in weight is much appreciated, especially when it’s as noticeably lighter as it is here. Featuring a classic cast iron construction for even heating and superior heat retention, the collection also boasts Dupont Platinum Non-Stick Coating, cool-grip stainless steel handles and a porcelain enamel exterior that’s available in red or blue. While it would have been nice if the CastLife line offered a few other products like smaller saucepans, it has just about everything you need – including fry pans in three different sizes (8”, 10” and 12”), a square grill pan, an open stir fry pan, a Dutch oven and a chef’s pan – to prepare a five-star meal in the comfort of your own home.

Sumo Reloaded

Sumo is known for its cool beanbags, and now they have a new product that offers comfort and versatility on the go. The Reloaded adjusts into a number of positions to suit your needs and packs away in its matching carry case for convenient transport or storage. It’s perfect for the beach, your local swimming pool and on your next camping trip. And at home, you can lounge in the Reloaded as you comfortably watch your favorite movies, surf the net or play video games. It’s also great for overnight guests, as it discreetly folds away when not in use. Check it out along with other cool products at Sumolounge.com.


OCD Chef Cutting Board


Are you looking for a gift for the OCD person on your list? Everyone who does any cooking in the kitchen needs a cutting board, but a cutting board with precise measurements embedded on the surface will help everyone, and will really make your OCD friend or relative happy. The OCD Chef Cutting Board from ThinkGeek is made from strong, sturdy and naturally antibacterial Beachwood and is precisely 9.1 inches wide, 11.8 inches long and 0.5 inches thick. Even a laidback and casual cook will appreciate this cutting board with embedded measurements, and the cook obsessed with measurements and perfection now has another tool to help prepare the perfect meal.

AcuRite Pro Color Digital Weather Station


In this day and age, your local weather forecast is always just a click away, but for wannabe meteorologists that dream of having their very own 24/7 Weather Channel, this digital weather station from AcuRite provides all the data you could ever want. It’s all done using a patent-pending wireless outdoor sensor that features five different technologies in one easy-to-mount unit: thermometer, hygrometer, wind speed anemometer, wind direction vane and a self-emptying rainfall collector cup. The sensor then sends this information to the color LCD display inside your house to create an accurate weather forecast along with readings for indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity, wind speed/direction, wind chill, dew point, heat index and barometric pressure. You can also program custom alarms that will alert you when weather conditions change, view a multi-variable history chart for the last 12-hour time period, and remotely access the data through a smartphone app or internet browser. The 330-foot wireless range on the sensor is more than adequate, although we’d suggest placing it as close to your house as possible for best results, while the weather resistant construction means that it can handle even the toughest storms.