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Some technology gifts are easy, inexpensive
Gifts for the technology lover do not have to be confusing or expensive, and there are many options that can help fill in spaces under the tree without breaking the bank.
My mother referred to these smaller items as “filler” presents. If we woke up Christmas morning to find a shiny bicycle beside the tree, we knew that every other present underneath the tree would be socks and underwear.
If you find yourself in need of similar “filler” presents for the techies in your life, I have some suggestions with approximate prices, and some of these items are just as practical as socks and underwear.
Holidays usually mean travel time, and more and more tots are toting their portable DVD players, gaming consoles and more. Parents can minimize volume (and frayed nerves) in the car by giving the kids headphones. Consider purchasing volume-limiting headphones that protect tiny eardrums from sound pressure. Companies like Kidz Gear, Griffith Technology and Loud Enough provide kid-friendly earphones for $20 or less.
Backing up electronic documents is always important. Why not do it in style with a Yoda 4GB Star Wars flash drive for around $15? For the more cosmopolitan techie, consider the chrome LaCie 8GB iamaKey keychain flash drive for $22.
Recordable books are a favorite this year. Grandparents and parents use them to record their voices as they read stories to their children. At $30 a book, this can become an expensive gift if there are several children on the “nice list.” Consider a digital recorder that allows you to record up to 500 hours of your children’s favorite books or family stories. Digital recorders cost about $50. Be sure to buy the one that can connect directly to your computer so you can record stories and e-mail them to friends and relatives.
With electronics comes the need to recharge and recharge often. Consider an android car charger for around $10 to $15. If you are a fan of all things Apple (iPod, iTouch, iPad), consider the Belkin Car Micro Charger for $20. The Duracell Rechargeable Instant USB Charger can instantly extend the life of your phone by three hours and costs about $25. This device can be recharged over and over again by connecting it to a laptop. For the outdoor enthusiast, consider a solar recharger, such as the ReVive Series Solar Pack ($30), Solar ($40) or Solio ($65).
Other options to consider are the iHome rechargeable mini stereo speakers ($35) or the iHome Stereo LED color-changing speaker ($50).
Among my personal favorites this year are iPad Etch-a-Sketch protective cases ($40), LEGO-lookalike USB Memory Brick thumb drives ($30), floppy disk sticky notes ($10) and comic books downloaded straight to the iPad ($5). If you know what an Etch-a-Sketch, LEGO and floppy disk are, consider giving those to friends who are the same age as or older than you. These items are considered vintage, and a younger recipient might not appreciate them.
And if all this Christmas shopping has you feeling like a Grinch, hop on over to http://www.ourmilitary.mil/letter-and-messages/ or http://www.lettersfromhomeprogram.org/Default.aspx to see what you can do to wish a soldier serving overseas a Happy New Year.