Ask’s Top Ten Gifts for Christmas 2020

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Without a doubt, 2020 has been a long year. (Perhaps the longest on record.) Now, with the year coming to a close and a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. However, like everything else, the holiday season has changed as a result of the pandemic. We can’t safely travel or gather in person, and the types of gifts we want reflect how we’ve been living our lives this past year. With this in mind, we’ve combed through our favorite gift guides and product roundups in order to make a definitive list of 2020 must-haves — even if you’re just treating yourself this Christmas.

1. Fitbit Charge 4

During a year that seemed to revolve around staying close to home, it’s been difficult to prioritize movement and exercise. That’s probably why so many people invested in fitness trackers — after all, those on-wrist reminders to get some steps in and stretch were key to working at home comfortably. Of course, there are plenty of Fitbits to choose from depending upon your needs and lifestyle, but our favorite is the Fitbit Charge 4.

Photo Courtesy: Fitbit

Dubbed the company’s "most advanced" tracker, the Charge 4 strikes a great balance between fitness tech and smartwatch. While it may not boast all of the bells and whistles of an Apple Watch, it has enough to keep you engaged and on top of your health and fitness goals. This model features 24/7 heart rate tracking, in-depth sleep tracking and a seven-day battery life — meaning you can get a week’s worth of insight out of a single charge.

2. Hatch Restore

Without a doubt, 2020 has messed with our sleep patterns. Maybe you had bouts of anxiety-induced insomnia — or maybe you just couldn’t strike that healthy work-life balance when working from home? Whatever the case, sometimes you just need help falling asleep and an extra nudge in the morning to stay on task. And that’s where sound machines and wake-up lights come in handy.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

Our favorite for creating a healthy sleep routine? The Hatch Restore, which is a sound machine, smart light and sunrise alarm all in one. Controlled with ease via a smartphone app, the Hatch Restore can be programmed with personalized sleep-wake routines. During the dark winter months, nothing beats Hatch’s Sunrise Alarm Clock, a digital alarm that simulates a sunrise by gradually brightening your room with what feels like natural light. Thanks to the gadget's soft-glow light and library of soothing sounds, it’s also the perfect reading companion when you’re winding down before bed.

3. Oculus Quest 2

In some ways, finding (healthy) escapes via the world of entertainment is what got us through the monotony of 2020. But there’s only so much TV one can stream and so many books one can read before even those activities start to feel less-than-thrilling. That’s why the new-and-improved Oculus Quest 2, an advanced all-in-one virtual reality headset, makes the perfect gift this year.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

By definition, it’s an escape — to a different reality. And, let’s be honest, it’ll be infinitely easier to get your hands on a VR headset than a PlayStation 5 this Christmas. Although the VR craze kicked off a few years ago, the tech has really improved, and developers are finally making standout titles for the platform, as opposed to glorified tech demos and mini-games. Of all the VR headsets on the market, the Oculus Quest 2 is perhaps the most user-friendly entry point, partly because it doesn’t require a PC tether and partly because of its solid battery life and robust library of games.

4. Bose SleepBuds II

If you couldn’t tell, we’re really tired this year. But even a perpetual state of 2020 fatigue doesn’t mean sleep comes easily, especially if your home is plagued by aggravating house sounds or rowdy neighbors. For this reason, the Bose SleepBuds II are a worthwhile investment. As you might expect, these earbuds not only play tunes, but hide those nighttime disruptions thanks to their impressive noise-masking capabilities.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

Unlike other Bose noise-canceling headphones, these are comfortable for the duration of your nap, and, even if you toss and turn the night away, these SleepBuds will stay snug and secure. These little in-ear sleep machines are also quite reliable: One charge gives them up to 10 hours of battery life and you can create personalized alarms and download favorite sounds from Bose’s extensive library using the Bose Sleep app. The bottom line: you’ll never have to count sheep again!

5. Solo Stove Ranger Stainless Steel Portable Fire Pit

Looking to gather outside safely all year? Well, you’re going to need a way to keep warm. While some folks might opt for a patio heater, we suggest something a little more versatile, like a portable fire pit. And, luckily, functional fire pit meets quality camping stove thanks to the Solo Stove Ranger Fire Pit. For starters, this lightweight stainless steel unit is highly portable, meaning you can bring it between campsites or from your backyard to a friend’s patio with ease.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

The preassembled Ranger makes your job easy from beginning to end: Toss on some chunk wood and, afterward, the ultra-efficient burn just leaves you with some ultra-fine ash, meaning cleanup is a cinch. With an airflow-friendly double-wall design, the Ranger creates a burst of hot air over the fire, adding to the flame’s intensity without making things too smokey. Best of all, you can turn s’mores-making into a wintertime activity — and who doesn’t love that?

6. Sony WH-1000XM3 Over-Ear Headphones

If you’re looking for quality headphones to use during your waking hours, look no further than the Sony WH-1000XM3 model. Without a doubt, these are our favorite overall wireless over-ear headphones. This model offers effective noise reduction, even in the loudest of scenarios, and the sound quality is on par with competitors like Bose, but for a better price.

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With an impressive 30-hour battery life, these headphones make sure you can attend to all of your music, gaming and streaming needs without hitting pause too often. Foldable and lightweight, these headphones also make the perfect travel companions, so when we get back to commuting to work and traveling for fun, they’ll prove to be a worthy investment. In a world where Apple’s latest over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max, are taking heat for breaking the bank, why not turn to these gems from Sony?

7. Fellow Raven Stovetop Tea Kettle

If you’re familiar with our coffee lovers’ gift guide, then you’ll likely remember just how much we raved about Fellow’s pour-over-friendly electric kettle (left). Unfortunately, that Stagg model is hard to come by this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without a hot water-heating appliance. Tea lovers rejoice: The Fellow Raven Stovetop Tea Kettle (right), which comes complete with a steeper, takes that same top-notch quality and optimizes the experience for herbal brews.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

The main differences here? The Raven’s design looks more like a traditional carafe and its integrated tea filter allows for both precision heating and steeping. Since it’s an all-in-one solution, you can commit to decluttering your stovetop and drawers while experimenting with making the perfect green, black, oolong, white and herbal teas. With a sleek, minimalist design, Fellow’s products make lovely gifts and the perfect "treat yourself" buys.

8. Ooni Karu Outdoor Wood-Fired and Gas-Powered Pizza Oven

The holidays are perfect for buying those semi-unreasonable things you’d normally never get yourself because you don’t "need" them. After all, Christmas is a time for treats — and there’s no better treat than the taste of fresh, perfectly cooked oven-baked pizza. Best of all, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to get that perfect pie. (Well, you’ll have to step outside, but you know what we mean.)

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

Perfect for any backyard space, the Ooni Karu Outdoor Pizza Oven is perhaps the most popular option on the market for pizza aficionados. Load the oven with wood or charcoal (or use the oven’s gas burner attachment) and the nifty, multi-fuel appliance will cook stone-baked pizza in just 60 seconds. We’re serious — thanks to its Flame Keeper technology, the Ooni Karu can maintain an impressive 932 degree Fahrenheit. So, forget delivery. This easy-to-use oven will have you mastering the art of pizza-making in record time!

9. Blue Light-Filtering Glasses from Felix Gray

By now, you’ve likely heard a commercial for blue light-filtering glasses on your favorite podcast. While most of our blue light exposure comes from daylight — and helps us regulate our circadian rhythms and foster alertness and cognitive function — too much of anything can be harmful. And another big source of blue light is screens — phones, TVs, computers. You know, all of the things bringing you joy this year.

Photo Courtesy: @felixgrays/Twitter

Although these human-made devices don’t emit massive amounts of blue light, excessive screen time, especially at night, can mess with your health by suppressing melatonin secretion and impacting those circadian rhythms. Needless to say, investing in blue light-filtering specs, like a fashionable pair of Felix Gray glasses, can do wonders for your day-to-day well-being. Felix Gray claims their lenses curb eye strain, headaches and sleep disruption, and, unlike their competitors, these frames double as high-quality statement pieces.

10. OMORC Air Fryer

The pandemic has really brought us some interesting cooking-related trends this year. From all of that banana bread-baking and talk of sourdough starters in March to an uptick in Instant Pot-based meals later on. So, what's the latest 2020 trend that’ll make your mouth water and help you deck out your kitchen? Air frying.

Photo Courtesy: Ali Majdfar/Moment/Getty Images; Amazon

Snagging one of these appliances, like the OMORC Air Fryer, can open up a world of new foodie opportunities. From frying meat — this thing can hold a whole chicken! — to fries and veggies, an air fryer like this one does it all. And the best part? It’s completely oil-free, which means the food is a bit healthier than traditional fried eats, though you won't be sacrificing that great taste either. This 6-quart cooker is dishwasher safe and wallet-friendly, making it a great investment for amateur cooks and foodies alike.

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