The Aspiring Photographer
Does your grandpa spend every family get-together with a camera around his neck? Is your sister constantly sending out e-mails full of great photos of her children?
This Christmas, give that amateur photographer in your life a gift they will put to great use as they snap away those lasting family memories. From extra gear to helpful accessories, the field of photography is an exciting one with many options for enhancing skills and furthering love of the art.
What’s worse than snapping some shots of a memorable moment when the “out of storage space” message appears on your camera? Photographers of all skill sets are always in need of extra space for photos, which you can give them with a high-storage memory card.
For an extra touch, load up the memory card with special photographs that your recipient can transfer to another device. This meaningful gift can serve as a great add-on to a new camera or as a perfect stocking stuffer.
If you’re thinking of giving your photographer friend a gift card this Christmas, get creative, Put some money toward a photo book that they could fill with their best shots. An assortment of online portfolio-builders is on the market, and most are easy to use and result in a polished, professional finished product.
You can also give a gift card to the mobile application store of their choice. Both the Apple and Google app markets feature a wide array of photography-related apps for purchase. From convenient editing tools to how-to guides, your recipient will surely find something of high value through the use of your card.
Does your shopping list include someone who loves to throw a great party? Odds are you have enjoyed many a meal and drink at their home. It’s time to give back.
Luckily, buying gifts for the perfect hostess is a rather painless process. They generally throw parties throughout the year, meaning you aren’t limited to only choosing gifts for specific seasons.
Think practical with a creative twist – just like your hostess does when throwing a great shindig.
Even the hostess with an overstocked cabinet of tableware could use more. Plates, glasses, serving spoons, or condiment containers are great gifts that will add extra options for the perpetual party planner.
Stick with a specific design theme or color across all of the items, and you may see your items incorporated into the next big party. And it’s OK to go with a summer or springtime assortment in the dead of winter – your hostess-minded friend or family member is probably already setting her sights on the 2015 season.
A scented candle is a good gift, but a candleholder is a perfect one! Why? Because your idea of a great-smelling candle may not mesh with that of your hostess. Going with a decorative candleholder will give your recipient free reign over what to fill it with, ensuring your gift gets put to good use.
Do a little scouting before settling on that holder, though. Check out your friend’s home décor and which candleholders are already in use. Choose a set that would fit well in a specific nook or on a certain table.
Be sure to match your gift with the size, color and design theme appropriate for your hostess’ needs.
For 2- to 3-year-olds, it is often quantity over quality when it comes to Christmas gifts. These are the years you don’t necessarily have to break the bank for your holiday spending. A puzzle set with blocks or new toy instruments can be relatively inexpensive gifts that keep your toddler busy and entertained.
Consider your child’s walking stage when choosing a gift. If they are able to sit upright with no problem, then a collection of toy zoo animals may be the perfect gift. Toddlers who have discovered the art of walking will enjoy a drag-along toy animal or vehicle.
If you’re buying for another family, be sure to check with the parents first to avoid unwanted or duplicate toys.
Finding the perfect gift for children between the toddler and teenage years requires knowledge of what they’re interested in. This can be the most difficult age group to please. Generally, an outdoor activity of some type – water guns or yard games – can be a hit for those in this age group.
For the tweens in your life, a paid ticket to the science center or children’s museum in your closest city may fit the bill. For the more outdoorsy recipients, you can find exploration or nature kits that will put their natural curiosity to good use.
Hopefully the teenager in your life has discovered a hobby or sport about which they are passionate. Whether it is piano, football or model-making, there is a gift out there to match their creative skills.
If they’ve just started picking up a new endeavor, maybe professional lessons or a digital how-to book may be the perfect gift to sharpen their skill set.
The teenage years are also about curiosity, so finding a coffee-table photo book on their favorite recording artist or history subject will help them learn more while also enjoying bright, vibrant photos.
Think of someone who is homeless. What vision pops up in your mind? The type we see in the movies, bearded with a gravelly voice? What about a sweet young girl whose parents recently lost their jobs and home?
That is the face of many homeless people in the United States who will not have the luxury of receiving Christmas presents this year. That is, unless you step up.
Contact your local shelters to see if they have children among their populations and donate anything you can to help them, including food, toys and clothing.
Volunteer your time around the holidays at a local homeless shelter, and you will understand the true meaning of “It is better to give than receive.” Do you have an extra couple of hours during the weekends this December? Shelter staff need help in preparing meals and cleaning facilities.
Your voluntary contribution will cost you nothing financially, and you will gain a new appreciation for your home and life. Your time is one of the greatest gifts you can give a local shelter this holiday season.
For every diaper change or grocery list that goes unnoticed, the super-mom behind it deserves more than your standard Christmas gift.
She deserves to be pampered, treated, or blown away by this year’s gift – no pressure. Luckily, it usually doesn’t take much for the selfless moms in our lives to feel loved. A hug from a child or thank-you from a spouse will get the job done.
But this year, kick your gift-giving efforts up a notch by finding that perfect gift that rewards her daily efforts that keep the household running.
A ‘Me’ Trip
What is a better gift than some “me time?” Send your sweetie away for a day to the spa center and let her soak in the massages, pedicures, and facials. A little pampering can easily wipe away the stress that comes with housework and children, helping rejuvenate and re-energize Mom.
If you think she’d enjoy a night away, choose a center that has lodging and put her up for a night. Doing so will ensure she gets a solid night’s sleep without the potential of being awakened by a crying baby or a midnight request from an older child.