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The Christmas rush for presents can be intense, with everyone lining up in stores all looking for the same thing – the perfect gift. If you’ve put everything on the backburner until now, what’s left for you to stuff a stocking with?

Phones For Kids

If your kids are anything like the sproglets I know, they will have been pestering you for a new phone. They’d like one just like yours, of course, but that’s way beyond your budget, so what do you do?

There are now a number of inexpensive and easy-to-use touchscreen phones, as well as smaller handsets that offer things such as an in-built music player or a keyboard – essential if they’re an avid texter. More often than not, these come as part of a prepaid offer and can be picked up for under $200. And because they’re prepaid you’re less likely to be left with a phone bill way beyond what junior’s pocket money can cover.

Phones such as the Samsung B3310, Samsung Boost Mobile Touch S3653, LG KS360, and Inq Mini3G are all good choices for under $200.

Headphones

We’ve all got some sort of media player, whether it’s in our phone, our portable game player or maybe even our media player itself. One thing we don’t often think about, however, is a set of headphones. If the person you’re buying for is still using the ‘free-in-the-box’ earbuds, a good quality set of aftermarket cans will open up a whole new world of audio clarity and volume.

Decent inter-earbuds – the sort that go inside your ear – and even over-the ear headphones can be had for less than $100 at most electronics retailers. They offer improve fit and comfort – important for extended listening – and make a considerable difference to the listening experience overall.

All the major brands, including Sennheiser, Ultimate Ears, Skullcandy, Sony, and AKG – have models in this price category.

Bluetooth

If you’ve got a phone and you drive a car, you’re probably aware that it is illegal to use your phone without a handsfree kit. Whether this is a Bluetooth handsfree speakerphone or a headset you wear, you can buy good quality examples now for between $80 and $120. And the next time the lucky recipient of such a thoughtful gift drives past a police car while yabbering on their mobile, they will thank you for the money and demerit points you saved them.

USB things

Stuff with USB connectivity is in abundance. Items range from the entirely useful USB storage keys and USB hard drives to a mind boggling array of novelty items. The choice here is enormous and – in varying degrees – useless and hilarious. Maybe Dad would get a bit of a laugh from a USB vacuum cleaner, or Nanna would love a USB cup warmer? Perhaps a pole dancing doll, Christmas tree, foot warmer, battery charger, oil burner, mini fan, record player, plasma ball, lightsabre or missile launcher?

Gift Cards

When all else fails, a gift card is the most effective way of saying “I love you, but I don’t love you enough to just hand out cash.”

We’re not just talking about regular gift cards to the movies though; that would be boring. Instead, pick up an iTunes voucher for spending on music, movies, or apps.

If the person is a gamer, why not give them a gift card to something like Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network, or the Nintendo store if they’ve got a Wii.

The Day After

If you can get away with it – maybe you’ve left the shopping too late, maybe you’re broke – tell your family you’ll buy them something after Christmas. The savings that can be made in the the Boxing Day sales at some retailers can be enormous – as much as 50 percent, sometimes more – and the long tail of this discount bonanza continues long into the New Year.