Turn a holiday gift into a personalized reflection of your talents and your friends' or family members' favorite pastimes. Whether you hand-craft a special present or search the Internet for just the right gift, you can please your recipient with a thoughtful choice that shows how well you know what means the most to someone you love.
Even friends and loved ones who always carry their smartphones and email you from their tablets will enjoy the customized thoughtfulness and luxury of a one-of-a-kind journal. You can create the basics on your home computer, using your favorite software to build pages ready for daily diary entries, observations on life and bits of personal philosophy. Along with ruled lines for pen and ink, or unruled pages designed for drawings, add illustrations drawn from royalty-free stock imagery or Creative Commons artwork, insightful quotes from famous authors and messages of inspiration. Before you upload your project to a site that can turn it into a bound volume, test it out on a copy you print on your own output device, and verify that your creation works well as a journaling platform.
If you're a baker, your convection oven helps you produce perfect cake textures, multi-pan batches of cookies or cupcakes with matching doneness, and flavorful breads with ideal crusts. Create edible holiday tree ornaments in the form of seasonably shaped cookies, and you may start a family tradition that leaves everyone begging you for more. Your cookie decorations can strike a customized theme, too, with house- and person-shaped treats that look like your home and family members. As a reference, use photos you've taken with your digital camera or smartphone, displayed on your tablet while you adorn your treats. Look for a cookie recipe that produces a crisp result capable of hanging from a piece of thread.
Take advantage of your love of photography and photo editing to create a custom background for the smartphone or tablet your family member cherishes, or carry the photo-gift theme throughout the year with a set of 12. If you want to offer a tangible reminder of your present, create a special gift certificate on your computer, print it out and present it at your family gift exchange. To extend the photo-gift theme onto a larger scale, transform your images into a mural that attaches like custom wallpaper. Because of the nature of this type of present, it works best when you give it to someone you're sure will welcome it on her walls. For a smaller-scale turn on a photo-oriented theme, create a calendar that features a different family member's portrait, or a montage of images, for each month.
Instead of using your cooking skills to fabricate gifts, honor a friend or family member who's your favorite culinary master with a kitchen-oriented present. Offer your videography talents to create a cooking show featuring your gourmet, courtesy of footage you shoot on your camcorder and edit on your notebook or desktop computer. Apply your technology savvy to the task of documenting and organizing your chef's recipes into digital form. For a friend with new kitchen appliances, give a ferrous-metal pan that suits her new induction-cooktop range, low-sided bakeware or cookie sheets that pair up well with a convection oven, or a set of flavoring syrups to match a refrigerator with carbonated water service through the freezer door.
Photo Credits: Alexa Smahl/Demand Media
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