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10 Tech Christmas gifts for your favorite engineer

December 21, 2014

Susan Rambo-December 21, 2014

Yes it’s the obligatory holiday tech gift list for people who don’t know what to buy an engineer for that special end of year celebration: Christmas, Hannakah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice or what have you.  Here’s a list of last-minute suggestions from real engineers.

Every year, almost all web sites, including EE Times, publish a holiday list for the Christmas shopping season. This seasonal tradition equates to page views for websites, just as surely as it means dollars to retail business. Editors, like any retail outlet, have trouble just saying “no.” The best examples of this genre actually help the reader find a good gift. The worst, however beautifully written, garner comments like:

“Did you guys actually ask any engineers what they _want_ for Christmas?”

Another wrote:

"Apparently it's joke although a lame one. All engineers read like little children waiting for a nice surprise only to get a disappointment. Really geeky presents: -- hey hon, look at that cool domain name -- "electric-melon.org" -- easy with that laser pointer, darling, it was upgraded. - a van graaf generator (hey , a spare !) - a sterling engine (Shiny!) Of course these things are mostly useless just like Xmas present should be. If they would be really useful an engineer would already had them."

Well said, engineer, well said. There's no fooling an engineer.

But engineers, please have pity on loved ones buying gifts for you. They might not understand your engineering mindset. It's a tall order, and as the engineer above wrote, if something is really useful, an engineer would already have it. That by default means you're going to get a dumb gift. Just face it.

But remember also engineering is about fun and engineers are in touch with their inner child, as this one explained: "I am an engineer -- yes, but grown up -- never. That is why I became an engineer so that I would never have to grow up. The greatest thing is that I get to disguise it as real work, but secretly it is my play time." Of course, a grownup engineer won't whine and cry if he or she doesn't get what he or she wants. (Or will he?) Just remember your engineer's sense of fun and curiosity.

Here is our list from engineers about what they want for the holidays, some of which you definitely can whip up into a decent present at the last minute:

1. 3D printer
The 3D printer -- it's all the rage this year. Many engineers we spoke with, especially those with a backlog of DIY projects, wanted one. (And what engineer doesn't have a backlog of engineering tinkering projects?) Our panel of engineers suggest:

To read and see more Christmas gift possibilities, go to "10 tech gifts to buy your engineer for Christmas."

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