Still have some holiday gifts to buy and can use some ideas? The clock is ticking but you still have time to get some shopping done before the holidays. Don’t forget that someone with a birthday just around the corner and you want to get them something special without breaking the bank. It’s never too late to start and all the items in this article can be bought online avoiding the store crowds. You don't want to settle on gifting another tie, handkerchief or the old standby, the holiday sweater. There are ideas here that will meet the needs and wants whether it’s for a student, teacher, close friend, co-worker, and senior family member or for you.
Who are you shopping for – the kids, grandchildren, friends, relatives or acquaintances? Is he or she a budding writer, a student, genealogist, avid reader or loves to study and research topics for their own personal edification? Maybe he or she spends a lot of time on Facebook, Tumblr, or writes for sites like InfoBarrel. Whether a child, student, college student, any family member or friend they all have need of tech devices, books, clothing and consumable items. What should I get them for under the tree and what will fit in a stocking hanging from the fireplace? There are so many practical items to pick from even in the last minute before the holiday arrives. And, there are many choices that are worthwhile while still being reasonably priced.
Gifts for Under the Tree
Sound Bar: Improve and enhance that Laptop or Notebook PC with a Sound Bar. A sound bar is easier to carry around with a laptop than the typical two or more speaker set used with most PCs. Some models will mount on top of a notebook PC screen while others are set behind, in front of, or along the side of a PC. Price range $20 - $60.
Headphones: Keep the sound close to the ears and not throughout the room with over-the-head headphones. All-purpose headsets with a good sound quality can be had for under $25; yet, for the more discriminating ear you will need to spend a bit more in the $60 to $150 range (Bose can cost around $299). Unless you are in need of professional high quality sound you really won't need to spend more than $20 to $30 for decent sounding headsets.
Chromebook PC: A Chromebook is a great gift for students of all ages, entertainment for kids and adults (Chrome Store also has tons of free games), older adults and folks new to PCs and the internet that just wants to get started and not spend more money than necessary. Some people even like to have two notebook PCs; one for their more demanding work, production, gaming or for large storage and a Chromebook for internet surfing, emailing, instant messaging, video calls, watching online videos, and even some routine production tasks. The Chrome Store has online user versions for basic Text Documents, Excel Spreadsheet, and PowerPoint. With the Chrome Store, you have thousands of applications, most are free, to add tools to your Chromebook making it as versatile as a regular notebook PC with the Student Version of Microsoft Office.
Brands and Price: Personally, I’m an ASUS brand fan; however, they usually cost a little more than other models. HP brand cost even more, though they are not any better than the rest. Acer and Samsung Chromebooks are the most inexpensive low-end dual-core central processor (CPU) with two Gigs of RAM and minimal hard drive storage, usually around 16 GB. Keep in mind that these Chromebooks are not intended for the heavy or robust PC games; however, the Chrome Store has hundreds of free games that are well suited for these systems. Acer produces an 11.6" model that has a starting price around $189. There are many other brands, and depending on what you select in your Chromebook package the price range will be between $189 and $350. Toshiba has a Chromebook 2 model that is receiving good reviews. You’ll find a video review below. Don’t buy more than you need: a decent target range would be to keep the price under $250; any more than that and you are starting into the fully-loaded notebook PCs.
Flat Screen LED/LCD Televisions: What student can't use a TV in his or her room? They don't have to be big TV's; a small size 19" - 32" flat screen will do nicely, especially in a dorm room or home bedroom. Besides, they also serve as a second large screen that can be used for a laptop PC. Established and well-known name brands like Insignia, Samsung, Toshiba, LG, and Panasonic all produce small reasonably priced flat screens as low as $130 and many under $250 retail price. These five inexpensive, yet low cost LED televisions are under $300. Some of these models are one or two years old and thus can be purchased for a low price.
- 28” LED – Samsung UN28H4000 28-Inch 720p 60Hz LED TV at $200+/-
- 32” LCD TV – LG 32CS460 at $280+/-
- 26” LED – LG 26LS3500 26-Inch 720p 60Hz LED LCD HDTV at $299+/-
- 26” LED – Vizeo E260MV 26-Inch Class Edge Lit Razor LED LCD HDTV at $200+/-
- 32” LED TV – Vizio E320i-A0 at $280+/-
EBook Readers: Considering all the books a child, student or even adults will read over the years eBooks and eBook Readers are a great means to acquire and maintain a vast personal library. The most popular, common, and flexible of these having software applications that work on Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Google Chrome are the Amazon Kindle Book Reader and the Barns & Noble Nook Book Reader. Most Amazon Kindle Book Reader models can be found in the price range of $40 to $80 (Wi-Fi models), while the Barns & Noble Nook Book Reader models range from $40 to $90 (Wi-Fi models). The Nook HD models can be found for under $160. The advantages of Kindle and Nook are that Windows 8 and 8.1 include free software applications that allow the user to download a variety of books on a PC. Windows 8 and 8.1 also have several other free eBook readers available through the Windows App store.
All-In-One (AIO) Printers: No student, teacher, academic, writer, or genealogist can get by without a printer and there are a lot of good inexpensive choices to pick from. Hewlett-Packard (HP) has several basic AIO printers for under $100 and a few Photosmart printers for under $150. My personal favorite is the all-purpose and easy to use HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One Printer costing around $100+/-.
Gifts for the Stocking
Flash Drives and Memory Disk (ScanDisk/Micro Disks): How about something to copy, record, transfer, save and share school papers, research, photos, and project files. Here is something that easily fits into a stocking and comes in many sizes and reasonable prices: USB Flash Drives and SanDisk Memory Cards. Several models of 8GB USB Flash Drives (Thumb Drives) can be purchased for less than $8 each. 16GB USB Flash Drives can be found for under $12 each. Unique USB Flash Drives of various storage capacities (4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128GBs) with casings in the shape of animals, cartoon characters, or bright colors with prices ranging as low as $6 for a 4GB, $12 for 8GB, $20 for 32GB, $60 for 64GB and up to $150 for a 128GB Thumb Drives.
Ear Buds: Another way to keep the laptop and music close to the head and not throughout the room is through Ear Buds. Most young people are familiar with these devices and often having more than one pair is advantages, such as having one set for the iPod or MP3 player and another for the laptop or notebook PC. There are many choices and colors available and the prices are usually between $7 and $20 a set; in most cases a range around $10 should do for most needs.
Gift Cards: The quickest, easiest and often most practical gift for anyone, especially for a student and an academic, is a prepaid gift card. These cards are a great way to let your student or academic select their own books, cloths, food and beverages. Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Barns and Noble, Sears, Beck's, Kohl's, and JC Penny are all favorite sources for gift cards. Barns and Noble have e-gift cards and Nook gift cards. These gift cards range from $10 to $350 each giving you several price options to work with. Best Buy gift cards are $10 to $250 each. Starbucks Coffee gift cards are from $15 to $100. You can save time by visiting the local Lowe's store - they carry many of the store cards previously mention all in one place as well as many other mainstream department stores.
It's not too late to finish that holiday shopping and there are so many great choices to put a smile on that child, teen, student, family or friend's face. It's also okay to give them a combination of the previous mentioned gifts; it never fails to get a smile.
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(price as of Feb 14, 2016)
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