laser distance measure. I'd never used one before, and I had no idea how handy these things were. If you are looking for a gift idea, I think this could be a good one.
Laser distance measures come in all sorts of ranges and with various features, but I wanted one that was small, lightweight, and inexpensive. It gives me a 65-foot range in a form that is far smaller and lighter than my tape measure. The best thing about it is how easy it is to use by myself. No more crawling around on the floor hoping my metal tape measure stays put. No need to have someone else there to hold the other end. The amount of time this thing has saved me was the real surprise. I can take a series of accurate measurements in a fraction of the time it would take me to do one with my tape measure.
So far, I have found it most useful in re-arranging a home theater setup. I needed accurate measurements from the seating position to 5 speaker locations and from the seating position to the TV. Not only was it easy to get the initial measurements I needed, but it was even easier to repeat some of them several times as I moved items around the room. Even with a helper, this was a real chore with a tape measure when I had to do it that way.
Although I haven't needed to do this just yet, I'm expecting the range is going to be helpful outside. Suppose I want to know how far a tree is from my house. This thing will tell me in a second. Even if my tape measure was long enough, I'd need help to get an accurate measurement using it.
I'd put this in my "why the hell didn't I buy one of these several years ago" file. I think a laser distance measure could be a decent gift idea, especially if you have someone on your list who lives alone and isn't always going to have someone there to hold the other end of a tape measure.