Almost every one of us has the same problem every year…finding the right gift for that hard-to-buy-for person, the one who loves to have all the latest gadgets. This year he or she likely wants a Fitbit Blaze, an OLED 65” TV, an Apple Watch, the latest GoPro camera or maybe even a drone!

These tech-crazed folks are not a new thing; they have been around for a very long time. We thought it might be fun to look back in time at some of the most sought after “techy gifts of old” that tech-crazed folks had on their lists back in the day:

Pocket Calculator – Once small chips were available and used minimal power, the portable calculator became a big gift for those who liked the latest gadgets. The “Canon Pocketronic” was an early entry in this field, but likely the “Texas Instrument SR10” (SR was for slide rule, cute huh?) was in lots of stockings in the 1970’s.

Phone Answering Machine – Santa doesn’t even answer his own calls these days because he got started with an answering device way back in 1971. That is when PhoneMate introduced the first commercially viable answering machine. The Model 400 weighed 10 pounds, screened calls and held 20 messages on a reel-to-reel tape.

Wireless Portable Communications – Today we text, snapchat, IM, hangout, etc. But in the 1980’s, the way the office got a hold of you was to “page” or “beep” you. A good number of business managers “gifted” their employees with a pager—the most popular being the “Motorola Bravo.” We do not think many considered it a gift though. 😉

The Commodore 64 – Santa delivered more of these computers than any other model according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Somewhere around 15 million of them were likely under a tree from 1982 through its discontinuance in 1994.

GPS Navigation for Cars – Oldsmobile introduced their “GuideStar System” with the 1995 Oldsmobile 88. It was 2D and pretty limited in terms of features and points of interest. In 2000, the federal government made a more accurate GPS signal available for civilian use; and in 2002, portable GPS navigation came to the masses with the “Navigator” by Tom-Tom. Santa delivered a lot of those in the early 2000’s!

Handheld Organizers – It is quaint to think now about organizers like the “Palm Pilot” and compare what they could do versus a smartphone of today. But during the holidays from 1997 through 2000, that was the “IT” tech gadget. Santa also delivered lots of AAA batteries with those and the accompanying sync station!

That is just a smattering of the top tech gadget gifts of old…and we did not even cover the Litton microwave oven, Black and Decker cordless tools, First Alert smoke detectors, Nintendo Game Boy or Sony Trinitron TV! Hope you find what you want under your tree this season!

First published in our December 2016 IT Radix Resource newsletter