Imagine it's 1929. The biggest technology advancements include the car radio, the first appearance of public phone booths, and the steady growth of the airplane industry. The must-have holiday gift that year? The yo-yo.

Fast-forward about nine decades later and cars are becoming increasingly connected, air-travel is expanding into space, and phone booths went the way of the dinosaur. And the must-have holiday gift this year? Some experts are predicting an AI robot will be on the top of many lists (more on that below). 

The pace at which technology has evolved in such a relatively short amount of time is remarkable--and every year it only seems to increase, especially around the holidays. This is the time of year when we find out the latest gift-giving trends and which products will start to fly off the shelves. My personal prediction is that some of the coolest gifts to give this year will bridge the gap between our digital and physical worlds.

So, whether you're shopping for the kids, parents, grandparents, or work colleagues, one of these digital gift ideas will be sure to add a wow-factor to the holiday season.     

Cryptocurrency is exploding by leaps and bounds these days. But if you're thinking about jumping on the trend and investing in digital currency, you need to be safe about it. Most investors store their cryptocurrency in an online wallet or cloud service, which, unfortunately, makes it susceptible to hackers. This is where the Ledger Nano S comes into play. I was given this as a gift and it's one of the coolest things I've ever received. It allows you to safely store your digital coins in an offline "wallet" that looks and feels like a flash drive. This handy device can store Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it can store other types of digital currencies as well. While this device might not make the best gift for everyone on your list, any tech-savvy person is sure to be excited to receive this.   

Wireless earbuds

When they first released the iPhone 7, Apple garnered some initial backlash about their wireless earbuds. However, this no longer seems to be the case. I've heard many positive reviews about wireless earbuds from colleagues--and it's not just the Apple AirPod they've been raving about. Bose makes noise-canceling wireless earbuds, while Google's Pixel Buds offer real-time translation for over 100 languages. No matter which option you choose, these tangle-free headphones are a great gift to give.  

NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices

For anyone who is tired of either paying monthly for cloud storage services or wants an easily accessible location for all of their digital files--movies, photos, documents, etc.--then a NAS device is a necessity. This device allows you to set up your own networking system and makes a great gift for small business owners, entrepreneurs, or families. The company My Cloud offers products for both home and business.

This gift is fantastic for anyone who wants to go paperless for good. Using a FriXion gel pen, you can write on the pages of this notebook and easily upload what you write to the cloud storage service of their choice. You can then erase every page of the notebook by putting the whole thing in the microwave. Co-workers, employees, or students could really benefit from this gift.

Digital kitchen gadgets

The internet of things is taking over the kitchen. Two particularly cool digital kitchen gadgets that you might want to give someone this holiday season include:

  • Mellow
    Remotely poach an egg, steam salmon, or cook a steak with this smart sous vide slow cooker.

  • Crock-Pot - Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo
    This slow cooker can be controlled via an app so users can adjust and change cooking temperatures and times from their phone.

This robot is a mini supercomputer and AI assistant that loves to play games. The more you interact with Cozmo, the more it evolves and gets to know you. You can also program new interactions for this robot, which makes it a great learning opportunity as well as a toy.

Go hands-free with this navigation system that can project maps, calls, texts, and even music through your windshield. This is a great gift for anyone with a long commute.  

Final word

The gifts that will make a big impression this holiday season are the ones that will make life easier for us to navigate between our physical and digital worlds.

Use the above list as a starting point for holiday shopping, but if you want to fall down the rabbit hole of potential ground-breaking digital gifts and gadgets, then I recommend checking out Amazon's Launchpad. This incubator is filled with interesting startups and crowdfunded products that could revolutionize life as we now know it. And who knows--maybe one of these products will make life in 2029 as radically different as 1929 seems to us today.