Holiday Gift Ideas for 'Govies'

Government Technology attempts to assist last-minute and undecided shoppers during the holiday season.

by / December 20, 2012

The holiday season is here — it’s cold and frosty (even here at Government Technology’s home base in Folsom, Calif.).

By now, you may have unwillingly attended ugly Christmas sweater and white elephant parties, or maybe you’ve been bustling in the kitchen making sweets for cookie exchanges — unless of course you have a cookie-making robot.

But I bet what you’re dreading right now is shopping for a holiday gift because:

  • You procrastinated 
  • You’ve been really busy
  • You’re a horrible gift giver
  • All of the above (unfortunately)
Before you hit the stores to purchase impersonal gift cards for everyone, read GovTech’s holiday gift guide to steer you in the right direction of geeky gadgets and cool techie products. 

Glove Pins

For govies who trek to and fro in wintry weather, Digits conductive gloves will likely be an ally in combating the cold while ensuring that you can still compose text messages or emails. This is a great gift for DIYers who like to tinker with things, because wearers get to convert their own gloves with these silicone fingertip pads that allow them to use their mobile devices. They retail for $11.99, but they’re on sale at various websites, including BestBuy and ThinkGeek, which offer free shipping.

Instagram Merch

A picture is worth a thousand words, so what better way to commemorate all the memories you’ve shared throughout the years with family, friends and colleagues. Instacube is like a digital picture frame on steroids. It pulls all of your Instagram photos onto the cube and is a great gift for those near and far. If you’re an Instagram fan, look out for the SocialMatic cam coming next year.  

iPod 5G

Are you lost in another generation? Maybe it’s time to upgrade your legacy music-listening system — or purchase one for a family member who doesn’t own one. The iPod 5G has a 5 megapixel camera and a 1080 pixel HD camera, and you get to boss Siri around. See how the 5G compares with its counterpart at Apple.


Sphero is not for squares! It's a must-have stocking stuffer for the geeky parent or pet owner. The golf-sized programmable robot (yay!) features 20 apps and allows for augmented reality games. It’s water/drool proof and dog/cat chewable, as shown in the video below. For a little more than a Benjamin, Sphero might be a spherical hero holiday hit.


What technology issues keep you up at night? Although Dr. Google never gets tired of making house calls, govies experiencing sleep loss can monitor their quality of sleep with Zeo. The management system tracks and assesses your sleep to help improve your shuteye. It seems many insomniacs have bought the Sleep Manager Pro, but for $30 more, govies can purchase the Sleep Manager Pro+.


Light plays a significant role in our lives. You might not be a grip, but you can manage your own light with Hue, a programmable light bulb that lets you select the spectrum of color you’d like to experience at home. Hue is Wi-Fi-enabled and can be controlled via an app so users can set the ambience of a room from wherever they are. 

Magic Sing Mic

We realize that government workers don’t usually get to sing on the job, but maybe you have your own garage band or just love to karaoke. The Entertek ET19K Magic Sing Mic Karaoke machine has two wireless microphones and more than 2,000 songs. It operates in a 50-foot range and has a four-star rating on Amazon

Forerunner 305

This is especially for marathon runners, gym-goers and athletes. The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a GPS receiver and heart rate monitor in one. The device has a multisport feature that lets users seamlessly transition between sports without resetting it, as well as track and analyze their workout data, according to Garmin. It could make a great stock stuffer, but might leave a sting in your wallet with a price tag of $200.

Smart Pen

Are you a working professional who take lots of notes? If so, you might want to consider a smart pen. There are plenty on the market like Livescribe’s Sky smart pen, which allows users to record audio and handwritten notes into digital format. The Wi-Fi pen is compatible with Mac and Windows. Storage varies from 2 GB to 8 GB with a price range of $89.95 to $249.95.  

Underwater Digital Camera

If you’re heading to the tropics for an underwater exploration for the holiday, then you might want to consider this 5 megapixel digital camera mask. Dive up to 15 feet to capture photos of sea creatures on the 16 MB device, which also allows videos up to 52 seconds. The cam retails for $190 on Amazon

We hope this holiday gift guide makes your shopping experience a bit easier. Happy holidays from the staff at Government Technology!

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock

Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.