A Pythonista's Holiday Wish List

A Pythonista's Holiday Wish List

by James Mertz community

It’s that time of year again when everyone is looking to get last minute gifts. Whether you’re a friend of a Python developer or one yourself, I’ve got the perfect wish list if you’re looking to get a little something special. I’ve combed through the interwebs and polled my fellow Real Python authors to find the best presents for Pythonistas.

I’ve broken up these suggestions into five categories:

  • Good causes
  • Learning resources
  • Python swag
  • Hardware
  • Gadgets

Donating to a Good Cause

The greatest gift that anyone can receive is the feeling of giving to someone else. Whether you want to make a donation yourself or make one in someone’s name, here are some great Python related organizations that could use a donation:

  • Python Software Foundation (PSF): the official organization that maintains Python and hosts the Python Conference each year

  • Django Software Foundation (DSF): the official organization that maintains Django, our favorite web app framework

  • PyLadies: an organization dedicated to helping more women become participants and leaders in the Python open-source community

Donating your money isn’t the only thing that you can do to help the Python Community. You can also donate your time as a volunteer.

Python Learning Resources

I think that one of the greatest gifts that can be given is knowledge. Want to get a good read that’s Python related? Check out The Best Python Books for a great collection of Python related books. Maybe you want something a little more interactive? Check out the courses at Real Python!

One of the best ways to learn about Python is to learn from the masters themselves. A ticket to PyCon 2019 would be the greatest learning gift of all: three days of classes, demonstrations, coding challenges, and rubbing shoulders with the people who dream in Python code! This would be the ultimate gift that would keep on giving. You’ll also get swag bags that will last you all year round.

Python Stickers, T-Shirts, and Coffee Mugs… Oh My!

We’re Pythonistas, so why not show off the programming language we love most! I love showing off my love for Python on my laptop.

My Personal Laptop Sporting Python Stickers

Nerdlettering has got your back for all your sticker needs, and if stickers aren’t your thing, then perhaps a sweatshirt or t-shirt might be better. Also don’t forget about that old coffee mug of yours. It could probably use an upgrade as well.

"from coffee import *" Python Coffee Mug

Want something that sports the Real Python logo? They’ve got you covered as well.


With the way that tech is advancing every day, every programmer needs an upgrade of their hardware. This may be because you’re running out of hard drive space, have worn out keyboards, or just want something fun. (Or maybe you want something more advanced. Everyone loves a good challenge right?) This is my recommended hardware to check out this season.

External HDD

Whether you have a massive code base or are running several hundred Docker images, you can quickly run out of space to do all your work. Good thing the cost of hard drive capacity is almost constantly dropping! Plus, with USB 3.0, it’s almost as fast or even faster than an internal hard drive. You can get 2 TB of portable space for less than $60! Need something bigger? For a little more than double the price, you can get 8 TB! I recommend sticking to the name brands like Seagate and Western Digital if you can.

A New Mechanical Keyboard

As developers, we’re using the keyboard 99% of the time we’re on the computer. That means that it’s important to have the right keyboard that feels right for you. Don’t know what to get? The folks over at the MechanicalKeyboards subreddit have created a great guide to all things mechanical keyboards.

Recommending a keyboard is like recommending underwear: you never know how it’s going to feel for anyone else, so I highly recommend that you look at the guide above. But if you want my opinion, the keyboard that I use and think feels the best is the Microsoft Sculpt Ergo Keyboard.

Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard


Let’s face it: there’s nothing like getting into the zone with your favorite music set and crunching away at your codebase. So why not make sure that you get a good set of headphones? I love my Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones and can’t imagine coding without them. When you’re buying headphones, I recommend using this useful guide created by the helpful folks over at the headphones subreddit.

Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 80 LE Black


It’s always fun to have new toys to play with, and us Python developers have a lot to choose from. Here, we’ve collected our favorite gadgets that use Python.

Raspberry Pi

Let’s start off with a little pie—Raspberry Pi that is. There are so many things that you can do with a Raspberry Pi, including the following:

With its starting price of only $35, it’s amazing that you’re getting a multi-core, Bluetooth and WiFi enabled device! I highly recommend getting a kit to get started.

The Raspberry Pi Logo

The Open Source Rover

Speaking of Raspberry Pi, how about creating your own Mars Science Lab! NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), the creators of the Mars Rovers, has created an Open Source replica of the Mars Science Laboratory rover that uses the Raspberry Pi.

This comes with a hefty price tag (~$2,500) and isn’t for the faint of heart as it requires purchasing each part separately and assembling the entire rover. Don’t worry about programming the rover though. That was already done by JPL in Python! If the price and difficulty don’t scare you off, then this is a great gift for anyone wanting to learn about robotics.

NASA's JPL Open Source Rover

Vector and Cozmo Robots From Anki

If making your own robot seems a little daunting, then check out Vector and Cozmo. Vector is “the good robot” who can help out with multiple things such as a kitchen timer, taking a selfie, or telling you what the weather is going to be like. If that’s not enough, there is the Python Software Development Kit (SDK) that enables you to make Vector fully customizable!

If you’re new to programming or want to teach someone about programming robots, then Cozmo’s got you covered. With both a full Python SDK and a more simple option available, this robot is a good choice for the beginner and the seasoned coder.

ANKI's Robot Vector

DJI Drones

A little tired of being stuck on the ground? How about flying? DJI has multiple versions of their drones that you can take flight with either manually or automated using their software. If they don’t have the feature you’re looking for, how about checking out the SDK and doing it yourself! DJI has a lot of drone options available, but I’ve got my eye on the Tello, since it’s on the cheaper end and has an easier-to-use Python Library.

DJI's Drone Tello

Happy Pythonic Holidays

Whatever you decide to get you or your Python developer friends, be sure to enjoy this holiday season and keep on Pythoning! I’m about to push checkout on my Amazon cart now and tell my wife that #PythonMadeMeDoIt.

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About James Mertz

James is a passionate Python developer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab who also writes on the side for Real Python.

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