I remember it like it was last Christmas, although it happened many years ago. The gentleman I work with every morning made the mistake of giving his wife a blender for Christmas. I warned him, saying that even if she really wanted one, not to give it to her for the big day. Did he listen? Of course not. He ended up returning it.

To avoid a scenario like that, Consumer Reports (CR) has 9 great gift ideas that almost anyone would love to receive and they just happen to be deeply discounted this month

  • Smartphones - I recently switched to an iPhone and I don't know who I'm more angry with, myself, or Ben's wife Linda, who gave it to me! I absolutely love it, rarely leave it alone and hear it calling my name when I'm away from it.
  • TVs - You have more options than ever and prices have come way down, even on the biggies, so you just need to know what you want and shop.
  • Digital cameras - I know some people would say that you don't need one with the sophisticated cameras in smartphones, but I still love my digital camera. It has so many more options than a phone camera does and I've taken some extraordinary photos with it. You can spend anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands, so again know what you want and do your homework.
  • Headphones - I'm currently in the process of trying to find affordable earbuds for (what else) my iPhone so I can listen to my books while in airports and on planes over the holiday. In-ear, over-ear, on-ear, corded, cordless; the choices are daunting so CR suggests you shop with a retailer that has a good exchange or return policy.
  • Wireless speakers - Bluetooth or wi-fi, in-home or outdoor use? Lots of choices here too, it all depends on your needs and wants, or the person you're buying it for.
  • Fitness Trackers - There are some great models for less than 200 bucks and if you're just starting a fitness routine, that would probably be your best choice, but there are advanced models that give you your heart rate, number of steps, sleep time and more.
  • Smartwatches - Some fitness trackers and smartwatches could be interchangeable, but there are others that have very sophisticated functions. These can go from around $300 to $1,500 depending on brand and capabilities.
  • Cordless drills - Never has the saying "the right tool for the right job" been so important. Heavy duty, general use or light-duty are the three categories you have to choose from, but there are a lot of these on sale right now.
  • Tablets - A great time to buy one and technology in these has greatly improved, especially in the lower-priced models.

If you really want and need something on this list, I hope Santa is good to you. Get more great gift ideas and tips by checking out Consumer Reports.

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