Christmas is drawing closer and with it the pressure to get your gift shopping done increases. Have you even started, yet? Whether you are running out of ideas or cash for Christmas presents, this article will help you with some simple tips for unique and super cheap holiday gifts. All you have to invest is a little time and skill.
1. Gift Your Tech Skills With Coupons Or Vouchers
Some of the most precious gifts are free and this includes your time and your skills. Did you ever re-install Windows for a friend, remove a virus from mom’s computer, fix a software issue for your sister, install new hardware for a colleague, setup your friend’s Internet connection, or root their phone? Well, those are exactly the things your friends and family will struggle with again next year. Make it easy for them to ask for your help and make your services a lovely Christmas gift.
Top 5 Skills You Can Gift:
- computer maintenance (software – updates, scans, clearing temporary files etc.)
- computer maintenance (hardware – cleaning fans, keyboard, screen, checking cables etc.)
- customize Windows (install templates, screensavers, wallpapers, mouse pointers etc.)
- make system malware-proof
- re-install or upgrade operating system
2. Teach Your Skills
You could gift your skills and then do your magic all by yourself. However, if you would much prefer to spend that time with your friend or family, how about teaching them some of what you know? Not only may it help you to train your patience, it may also be fun and strengthen your relationship. If you’re smart about what you teach, it could also make your life much easier in the future.
Top 5 Computer Skills You Can Teach:
- Tips and tricks for using XY (program or website of your choice e.g. Gmail, Outlook, VLC Player etc.)
- How to make backups (best hardware setup, how to set up software etc.)
- How to find answers to almost anything online
- How to install an operating system
- Sharing photos online
The nicest way to present the gift of time and skills, is to create a set of vouchers, gift cards, or a coupon book. You can create these for almost anything. A quick search on Google will reveal a host of templates that you can either customize on your screen or after printing. These are my favorites for either method:
- free: Gift Coupon Book from Kodak.
- free: Gift Certificate Factory (enter amount of hours rather than $).
- cheap: MiniCards from Moo (customize with your photos).
3. Gift A Customized Thumb Drive Filled With Digital Goodies
If you’re like me, you probably have more than one USB thumb drive lying around that doesn’t really serve a purpose. Get geeky and create something cool with it. Take it out of its standard case and put it into something more interesting. Websites like Instructables or Make: highlight a lot of unique ideas and provide instructions on how to realize them.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Enter the USB – flash drive embedded into an Enter key
- Easy Cassette USB flash drive
- USB Floppy Disk
- Pink Eraser USB Flash Drive
- Lego USB Stick
- Real Thumb Drives!
- Chewing Gum USB
Once your master piece is done, you can fill it with digital goodies for the recipient. Create a music collection for them, load it with photos from your last vacation together, or add cool portable apps you think will be useful for them. You can also turn the flash drive into a lock for their computer .
If you like these ideas, but don’t happen to have a spare thumb drive available, you might be able to get one for free on Freecycle (just ask!) or really cheap on eBay. If you have another piece of unused hardware lying around you can probably do something else with it. For example you could turn an old LCD monitor into a privacy monitor .
For more Christmas Gift Ideas, have a look at these articles:
What tech ideas have you come up with for cheap holiday gifts in the past and how were they received?