Christmas is a time for giving. That is, giving up any hope of having any coins left in your piggy bank come Boxing Day. But if you cap your spending, there are some amazing -- and afforfable -- tech gifts to be had for friends, family and the office 'secret Santa' weirdo you want to spend the bare minimum on.
I've rounded up a festive list of great pressie ideas if you're not feeling flush, to save you trawling the web for thrifty gifts. To prove you can buy great gadgets for affordable prices, here are 10 stunningly cool ideas for tech heads that all limbo under the £25 bar.
The Mu by Made in Mind
Price: £25 from Firebox.
We're big fans of the good old British plug here at CNET UK as you'll know if you've read our Plug versus Plug slugfest. While the British three-pinned wonder is undoubtedly king of the socket fillers, its shape can be unwieldy, especially when attached to tiny USB cables to power mobile phones or tablet computers.
The Mu gets around this flaw as it's a plug that folds up into a compact shape, featuring a built-in USB port for charging your devices. It measures only 1.4cm thick when retracted.
Tiltpod by Gomite
Price: £13 from Tesco.
Fiendishly clever, the Gomite Tiltpod is the smallest micro tripod for a camera that you're likely to come across. In fact, it's so wee that it can be carried around tied to your camera's wrist strap. The Tiltpod allows you to accurately position your camera for long-exposure low-light shots or self-timer group photos.
There are just two parts to it -- a small magnetic metal base and a nickel-plated pivot ball that attaches to the tripod socket on the camera's base. The ball pivot is held magnetically to the base creating a tiny tripod. There's also a version available that's designed to work with the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Harmony 200 Remote by Logitech
Price: £20 from Currys.
The Logitech Harmony 200 is a universal remote control that can be programmed to take charge of up to three devices. It's much easier than other universal remotes to program. You just plug it into a PC or Mac via USB, tell the Logitech software the make and model number of the AV kit you want it to control and the software does all the configuration for you.
As the software connects to a massive database covering over 225,000 devices, it's likely to have the remote codes for even obscure bits of kits.
360° Portable Capsule Speaker by Veho
Price: £12 from Firebox.
The speakers built into most phones are as weedy as an untended garden, so if you value music, the last thing you want to do is blast your tunes out of them. What you need is a compact speaker system so you don't have to resort to wielding an 80s-style ghetto blaster on your shoulder.
Step up the 360° from Veho. This speaker measures just 5cm by 3.5cm when folded up, but expands upwards to create a larger chamber for pumping out bigger sounds. It connects to any mobile phone or MP3 player with a standard headphone jack and the internal rechargeable battery is good for around 7 hours of playback.
Etip Gloves by The North Face
Price: £23 from E-Outdoor.
With the wintery Crimbo chill in the air and your mittens stringed to your sleeves, smart phone and tablet fans will quickly be faced with a hardware incompatibility issue -- those capacitive touchscreens won't respond to your woollen jabs.
Slip on the Etip gloves from The North Face, however, and the special material on the index finger allows you to control touchscreen devices without exposing your digits to the elements. You can answer calls, change tracks or tap out emails on the go, while still keeping your hands snug.
eco 2 bag by Pakuma
Price: £17 from Laptopbags.
Laptop bags can be overly bulky and slightly cumbersome to carry around, which is why a laptop sleeve is often a better idea. They're much more compact, as they're designed to fit snugly around a laptop, while also offering some protection against bumps and knocks.
As its name suggests, the eco 2 bag is more environmentally friendly than most. The tough outer casing and inner lining is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. Even the foam padding and retail packaging is made entirely from recycled materials. The eco 2 bag is available in 10, 13.3, 15.4 and 15.6-inch sizes, so there's a sleeve to fit most styles of laptops that are used on the go.
iPhone 4 case by ReCover
Price: £13 from Firebox.
If you're thinking of buying someone an iPhone case for Christmas to help them stand out from the crowd, Firebox has three funky retro cases to choose from -- an old-school calculator, a Nintendo NES-style gamepad and a vintage Leica rangefinder camera.
They're all insanely cool, but they don't just look good -- the tough, hard plastic design also helps keep the iPhone they're clipped to safe from bumps and scratches.
Angry Birds Plush Toys by Rovio
Price: £6 from Toys R Us.
If you own an iPhone or Android handset and don't have Angry Birds loaded onto it, you're in a tiny minority. The game is so addictive that it's become the biggest-selling mobile phone game of all time and has even made the transition to consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3.
These soft and cuddly recreations of the in-game characters are an ideal gift for any Angry Birds addicts you may know. They even have built-in sound effects so they can be chucked about at home to recreate that in-game vibe.
Stowaway Credit Card Case by Incipio
Price: £12 from Orange.
Some day we'll all be paying for stuff using contactless technology on our mobile phones, but until that day arrives, we're lumbered with carrying around cash and a credit card. If pocket space is at a premium, the Stowaway case removes the need to carry a wallet, as this iPhone 4/4S case has a secure compartment into which you can slide a credit card and some banknotes.
It's ideal for those of you who like to travel light. The case has a shock-absorbing silicone core so it protects your phone too.
iamaKey by LaCie
Price: £16 from Pixmania.
You can get USB keys in all shapes and sizes, from Star Wars-themed designs to credit card-sized options. My favourite has to be this key-shaped one from LaCie, mainly because it's such a simple, practical and elegant design.
Plenty of other people seem to agree as it picked up a gold gong in the International Design Excellence Awards and also happens to be a Red Dot design award winner too. It's available in two capacities, 8GB and 16GB. With memory keys, bigger is always better so I'd advise you opt for the latter.