After the madness of Thanksgiving’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I would not blame anyone if they swore off Holiday sales for good. From the videos I watched of people pushing, fighting, or even spraying mace on others just to get to the bargain items, it really shook my faith in the humanity and the spirit of the season.
Still, I would not abandon gift-giving altogether. The display we saw was more of selfishness, and we have to remember that the idea is to share your blessings with other people in order to build bonds of love and trust with each other. With that in mind, I am going to suggest to you that giving your beloved some “smart” and useful gifts would be the best thing to do.
These are devices that your giftee will be using for hours, days, months, and if they last beyond warranty, years. From the diminutive smartphone, to the more discreet Mini ITX based appliance boxes that grace various parts of our homes and offices, to full-sized desktops for serious work or play, computers are literally indispensable tools of our modern information age.
Smartphones and Tablets
These are probably the most popular computer gift items in the market today, with sizes and specifications more diverse than any other form factor of consumer computing devices yet. The price range is also rather wide, from insanely affordable sub $50 browsing tablets to the more decadent near $1k smartphones any executive would be proud to brandish.
To get the best gift, take note of your recipient. A tween or teen wouldn’t appreciate a very expensive and subtly elegant phone (you should see what they do with their iPhones nowadays, bristling with plastic bling), and a toddler would probably do better with a large-ish tablet that he or she could use for their virtual storybooks and educational games. It helps to include a protective carrying case and a scratch and smudge resistant membrane pre-installed, they’ll appreciate that immensely.
Offspring of the smartphone is an even more compact device, one of the two mainstream kinds of wearable computing gadgets available today. Google glass and similar devices have a ways to go before becoming mainstream and practical, especially with their price tags.
Often having most, if not all of the features of a smartphone, these very elegant and ergonomically designed pieces of tech are usually made to work with a smartphone or a computer, synchronizing schedules and other bits of your data, fulfilling its job as a timekeeping and time management gadget.
The modern gaming consoles have already co-opted most, if not all of the features and functionalities of appliance-type media centers and home theater PCs, so it is fair to consider them to be multifunctional computing devices in their own right. They even have portable variants that do just about as much, albeit their pocket-friendly size.
Before, you wouldn’t even think of buying a gaming console for a grown man or woman, but now, just about any person will appreciate a gaming console as a gift. As with above, you should still consider the target of your generosity so you will be able to determine what kind of console you should purchase for them. Oh, be a dear and include a few game titles in the package.
It is not considered overhyping the product when they call it a smart TV. The average smart television unit is already capable of basic TV functions (whether cable, antenna, or dish), program recording, basic internet browsing and multimedia streaming, every bit as capable as your personal computer.
These tend to be the pricier of gifts, especially as you scale up in size. The LED-backlit LCD screens of today show images of a very crisp and clear quality, and most decent brands don’t even have problems displaying gradients of grays and blacks. If you really, really want your giftee to worship you forever, I suggest you include a separate high-quality audio system. Prepare your wallet for a beating, however.
Before any of those devices above became mainstream, the PC (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) has been the all-purpose, all-capable work and play device that every techie at heart considers a must-have. Even today, these computers are still highly prize, but the recent emergence of the gadgets above have definitely diminished the PC’s market share.
Along with the smart TVs, these can be the most financially stressful gifts you can give, especially if you are determined to go above and beyond and gift someone a true gaming rig or seriously powerful workstation. Again, determine the needs and wants of your beloved in order to make a worthwhile purchase that he or she will absolutely like.
With that, always remember that it is the thought and love behind every gift that truly counts. Happy Holidays, everyone!