Low Tech Gifts for all the Luddites in Your Life

By Tom Pritchard on at

Not everyone likes technology. Whether they're the kind of person that just doesn't get it, and refuses to learn, one of those annoying 'phones r bad' types, or someone else entirely. The problem is that tech makes a wonderful gift, assuming you find something reasonably priced, and these folks just make life harder.

So to help you out we've come up with some ideas to let you gift these luddites something nice and thoughtful while also keeping in line with their anti-tech lifestyle.

Calligraphy and Letter Sets

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Living life off the electronic grid means communication is a bit tricker, and a lot slower. No texting, emailing, social media, or whatever else may have been on the cards if you used a phone or laptop. So you have to stick to the good old-fashioned letter, and if you're going to that effort you might as well go all the way.

So get your luddite giftee something to make their letters look nice. Fancy paper, envelopes, calligraphy pens and ink for that extra touch. Hell, maybe even a wax seal so they don't have to lick all those envelopes. Because let's face it, licking envelopes sucks.

A Landline

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You can't really live without access to some sort of phone, and even some Amish communities have a community phone that can be used for all those times when phones are necessary. So get them a brand new landline to stick in their hallway, because shockingly they do still make them. Hell they even show them off at all the big tech shows, so there's clearly plenty of demand. Plus the older it looks, the better.

And if you're feeling really generous grab them a special phone table and stool to keep the thing on.

A Filofax

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You need a place to store your contact information, whatever form it may take. Most people keep it in their phones nowadays, but the luddite isn't one of those people. Instead they need somewhere to write it all down, and where better than a good old fashioned Filofax? It's organised, it's literally designed for this purpose, and they do still make them.

Plus these things are also calendars, assuming you buy the right one, which is just an added bonus. It's like a smartphone from a time before people even considered smartphones could be a thing.

A Photo Album

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Google Photos? iCloud? No thanks, this is someone who likes to keep their memories physical and not at the whims of a cloud storage company. Real nostalgia comes from a physical photo album with pages, and having to organise and label everything yourself. After all you can't trust AI, not after watching the latest terminator movie.

But hey, they sell photo albums all over the place, and there are lots of options (big and small) to choose from.

Binoculars

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One of the common complaints from the elder generations is that everyone is too busy staring at their phones to appreciate the world around them. So with a nice pair of binoculars your luddite friend can do the exact opposite, and see just about everything going on around them.

There will be no shortage of stuff to look at, and if someone gets angry and accuses your friend of being a pervert then that's their problem.

Retro Music Players

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Record players, Walkmans and portable tape players, CD players, take your pick. And yes, portable CD players count as retro now, because the 90s ended 20 years ago.

Just as long as it doesn't use digital files you're probably good to go.

A Miniature Loom/Knitting Stuff

Photo by Ursula Castillo on Unsplash

You know what's really time consuming, but also quite good from an environmental/human rights perspective? Making your own clothes, and it doesn't get any more low-tech than this. Looms were hi-tech back in the days before the industrial revolution, but these days they're woefully antiquated. Same for knitting, really, but that's a bit more quaint.

And this way they'll be producing their own clothes that weren't made in a sweatshop or shipped from Asia in a giant polluting cargo ship, which goes for something.

Home Breweries

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Not necessarily for the luddites of the world, but it's still a useful gift nonetheless. Not that there's anything particularly technologically challenging where getting drunk is concerned. But since it's still very low-tech, and makes quite a good gift, it works for this list.

Assuming your friend isn't lazy like my brother, who still hasn't used the brew-your-own cider kit I got him for Christmas three years ago.

Books

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

You can't beat a book when keeping things low-tech is at stake, with no Kindles, audiobooks, or any other modern alternatives to paper and ink. Nothing beats holding an actual book, or proudly displaying them on your shelves, right?

Your only issue is picking something they actually like. If you're not sure, there's always the option of getting them a book token. Yep, those are still a thing and they're not just for schoolkids.

A Big Ass Jigsaw/Board Games

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Video games and television rot your brain, right? But people have to be entertained when they're not reading paper books and writing fancy letters to everyone. So get them some good old-fashioned brain-stimulating stuff. A big jigsaw, or classic board games they can play without the use of technology.

Just make sure to get the old version, and not that new-fangled Monopoly that has an AI banker.

Hipster Style LED Lightbulbs

Image: Amazon

Some people have a strange fascination with old-style lightbulbs, like those people that think Brexit will mean they'll get their 'proper' lightbulbs back. Hate to break it to any of these people, though, old-style lightbulbs are quite terrible. But you can get a piece of the past back with old-fashioned looking bulbs that have been souped up by LED technology.

Alright it's not totally low-tech, but everyone has lights, and considering these are regular bulbs that don't try to connect to the internet or smartphones they 100% count. Not all light is equal, but bulbs that give more light while using less power should something we can all agree to enjoy. Just make sure to get them the ones with the right connector.

Featured image by Clark Young on Unsplash