Christmas gadgets to grab

By Staff Writer
December 4, 2008

It is that time of year again. While it is important to spend time with your loved ones at Christmas and enjoy the company of family and friends, it is also time to make your Christmas list. If not only to ensure that your needs for 2009 are met but also to make shopping a little easier for your parents and relatives.

However, it is difficult to narrow down the search for the best gifts and gadgets this year, especially with technology at the forefront for Christmas presents.

In one’s youth, asking for a puppy would be the must have Christmas gift, but now thinking about necessities for one’s everyday life is a good way to start the search for the best presents. Ask the question, “What do I use every day?” Those are the best gifts to give and receive in today’s fast paced, digital world.

One of the most in demand Christmas gadgets this year are not only useful, but practical as well. A GPS system is the best gift for not only a travelling businessman but for a mother, like mine, who is terrible with directions.

With proving to be an unreliable source for information, a GPS system is the best travel guide to have in your car. It saves time and aggravation while making it easier than ever to travel away from home or go on long distance trips. Many of the newer models are touch screen and have a voice to instruct the driver where to go. They give warning to the driver when to turn and then again as the turn approaches. If the car passes a turn or there is a detour, the GPS will reroute and continue navigating the driver to his destination.

The top three brands of GPS systems are Garmin, TomTom and Magellan and prices can range anywhere from $200 to $600 with the average price being in the $300 range. Keep your eyes peeled though because many stores are having sales on older models, which means that a brand new GPS system can be in your car by Christmastime, if the price is right.

Another great gift idea for the holidays is an Ipod Nano. Most teenagers already have an Ipod at this point, but some still are stubbornly using their regular MP3 players. Christmas is the time to allow them to see the light and convert to using an Ipod.

For some, like myself, that five-year-old Ipod mini (yes, the original mini that Apple does not make anymore) has grown outdated and cannot fit any more songs into its music library, needs to be replaced. A smaller, sleeker, less bulky device that fits more songs is the perfect addition to anyone’s gift list.

A 3 GB Ipod Nano can store up to 1,000 songs easily. The prices vary depending on the GBs, from 1 GB, which holds about 250 songs and costs $150 to a 4 GB, which costs $250. Music is universal and giving the gift of rocking out to your own Ipod Nano anytime, anywhere is priceless.

One of the obvious gift choices for Christmas is a digital camera. This is a smart investment because next year you can follow up this gift with a digital picture frame that stores one’s photos and changes the picture on the screen randomly. Pretty cool.

There are some, like myself, who still use a good old fashioned throw away camera (don’t laugh, they still work) and does not have the slightest clue how to work a digital camera and download pictures to a computer. But if everyone else in the world is doing it, including older people, then it can’t be that hard. You can share pictures with long distance family members while away at college of your friends, dorm room, and old cafeteria food. Now that is a gift that keeps on giving.

Nikon, Canon, and Kodak are some reliable digital camera brands whose prices range from about $200 to $400. There are some that are much more expensive for a true photographer and also cheaper ones depending on which stores have sales on particular models.

Many people’s New Year’s resolution is to keep in shape and one way to stay active is by using a Wii and Wii Fit. Wii is not an average couch potato videogame, it is an interactive, always in motion, cause you to sweat, game. Bowling, tennis, boxing, and many other activities are available to play on Wii. In addition, Wii Fit offers Yoga, balance games, strength training, and aerobics.

Anyone can stay active without going to the gym and paying a monthly membership to sweat in public. With Wii fit, you can sweat from the privacy of your own home. It is worth the price, which is about $100.

Finally, with all these gift ideas, you are going to need to make some phone calls to tell your family what presents you want this year. While you call from that old, beat up, out-of-date cell phone, you can inform them of the iPhone that you want.

The iPhone 3G offers GPS mapping, ipod music storing capacities, Internet and Apple store access, built-in camera, and it is all touch screen. Oh, and it can make phone calls too, but that’s not really important. What is important is that this cell phone combines many items on a Christmas list into one piece of technology for the price of $200 to $300.

Regardless of the items on one’s Christmas list, what really matters is being at home with family, visiting friends, eating good home cooked meals, sleeping in your own bed (not a bunk bed), and not having to study for tests for about a month. That seems like a Christmas miracle to me.

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Staff Writer

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