The Techie’s Tips for Holiday Shopping

by Liz Gumbinner

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While they’re often the most coveted gifts, electronics can be tricky to shop for and give so to make your holiday shopping and gifting a breeze, I shared my top five tips below. Happy shopping!

1. Get games and tech gifts charged and ready to go before you wrap them.

If you think kids are impatient waiting to open their gifts, just wait until after they’ve opened them….and they still need to wait hours to use them! That goes for impatient adults too by the way (raising hand, here). I think it’s so smart to pre-assemble tech gifts, install batteries into those kid tablets and toys, and charge those new digital cameras and phones before putting them back in the box and wrapping them up. No one wants to spend Christmas day reading instruction manuals, right?

2. Personalize a tech gift with a little something extra.

While electronics gifts are already wildly generous, try the following ideas to help make a great gift even more thoughtful and special.

  • Pair your kid’s first camera with tickets to the zoo so she has a place to try it out.
  • Couple a new gaming console with a game you know your kids are dying for.
  • Personalize a tablet or mobile phone by pre-loading a message of love on the home screen or creating a personalized photo case.

 

3. Gadget in, gadget out.

I have always subscribed to the rule that for every new toy that comes in the house, one has to leave to keep down clutter. There are so many resources for recycling or donating your phones, cameras, TVs and gaming systems. In fact, old mobile phones are one of the most coveted donations for charities like family shelters.

Another option is to try and resell your tech. Target even has its own trade-in program, so you can return a device and get a gift card on the spot, saving you money on your new purchase.

4. Check your credit card for purchase protection benefits.

The truth about tech is once in a while you need to exchange it… or uh, you have a toddler who thinks that new phone would look pretty floating in the bathtub. Fortunately, lots of credit cards offer purchase protection as an automatic benefit, and some even extend the manufacturer warranties for free. Check your own card member agreement and see - it could save you money on extended warranties so you can spend a little more on gifts!

5. Check children’s Wi-Fi enabled devices for safety controls

If you’re getting your child a laptop or tablet, when it connects to the Internet the first question you need to ask yourself is, “how?” Make sure parental controls are enabled, and install timer apps to manage usage time.  Really get to know the capabilities of the device so you can feel confident about your child’s use, whether you’re there with them - or especially when you’re not. And if they’re joining social media networks like Facebook, it’s smart to connect it their account your own email so you know exactly who’s “friend-ing” who.

Most of all, it’s essential to keep an open dialogue and talk to your kids about Internet safety and boundaries. Then talk some more. It’s part of life from now on, and as very expert will tell you, it’s never too early.

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