Tech Holiday Gift Guide

Great last-minute tech gifts for your family that aren't gadgets

Key Points
  • We have some ideas for gifts that will keep your friends occupied all year long.
  • Ideas include subscriptions for more data storage, streaming TV, a music service and more.
  • You can buy these gifts either by the month or annually.
Santa Claus sitting in rocking chair near Christmas Tree at home and watching tv or home theater wearing 3d glasses and holding remote control
HASLOO | iStock | Getty Images Plus

You can buy your friends and family all sorts of gifts for the holidays, including many of the gadgets I've mentioned in previous guides, but sometimes it's nice to give them something they can use a bit differently.

I've found that friends and family have often really appreciated a couple months or even a year of a streaming service, whether it's Hulu for kicking back on the couch and catching up on TV shows or Spotify for listening to music. Here's a look at some of my favorites.


Todd Haselton | CNBC

If you want to take your TV shows on the go, Hulu is your best bet out there. It offers original content, such as Amazon and Netflix, but also content from some of the most watched TV shows on television, including older seasons. There's even a new Hulu Live TV service, in case you just need to watch the latest episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" as it airs.

Price: Starting at $5.99 per month
Buy now: Hulu subscription


Spotify featured on all devices.
Source: Spotify

There are a lot of streaming music services, but Spotify is still my favorite. It's the best at offering mixes that are eerily dead-on to what I want to listen to. It also highlights new music you might like, daily mixes and even various yearly playlists that highlight what you might have liked in your youth (again eerily accurate) and end-of-year playlists showing the music you listened to the most. It's these touches, in addition to offline playback and a fantastic user interface, that make Spotify my top choice. I think your loved ones will enjoy it just as much. Bonus: It's only $4.99 a month for students.

Price: $4.99/month for students | $9.99/month
Buy now: Spotify streaming


Todd Haselton | CNBC

"Stranger Things." "The Crown." "Orange is the New Black." Netflix is chock full of original content in addition to licensed TV shows and movies that, like almost everything else on this list, has quickly become a must-have in most households. It's available on almost every platform, too, from smartphones to Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Prime TV and more, which means you can watch it almost anywhere you go.

Price: From $7.99/month
Buy now: Netflix subscription

Amazon Prime

Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy, California.
Getty Images

Amazon Prime has almost become a necessity for me. It offers free two-day shipping on most of the products I buy, access to Amazon's huge library of music, movies and TV shows, access to a rotating array of Kindle and Audible books and more. It's $99 a year or $10.99 a month and will be valued by everyone from college students to parents. Toss in an Amazon Echo if you really want to wow someone.

Price: $99/year or $10.99/month
Buy now:
Amazon Prime sponsorship

Google Drive storage

Google Drive. Google's answer to cloud data storage on the web, for your home, office, and mobile devices.

Google Drive is my go-to cloud storage solution, since it can be used for anything from photos to documents and more. I love Google Photos, for example, but need more than the default 15GB of storage Google gives me. For $1.99 per month, you can gift someone 100GB of storage on Google Drive, giving them plenty of space for everything from work files to movies and plenty of photos.

Price: From $1.99/month
Buy now: Google Drive Storage


An image from HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Source: HBO

You no longer need to pay for an HBO subscription with your cable TV provider just to take HBO with you. HBO Now — not to be confused with HBO Go, which is available for cable subscribers — costs $15 a month and gives full access to HBO content. Get "Game of Thrones," "Westworld," "Curb your Enthusiasm" and other hit shows on your phone, tablet or streaming TV device.

Price: $14.99/month
Buy now: HBO Now subscription