With only eighteen days left to get all your Christmas shopping done, I figured I’ll do a fun post on some more gift ideas:

  • GPS Navigators are dropping in price and you can find one with a small 3.5″ screen for under $200 these days. We don’t have one because with young kids, we don’t drive around much but colleagues at work mentioned that it is better to spend a bit more and buy one with a larger screen.
  • The iPod Touch, which lets you listen to music, watch videos or surf the web looks like another winner from Apple. Or is it just a glorified PDA?
  • Wal-Mart sells the Air Hogs miniature remote-controlled helicopters for $20 and you can have hours of fun flying with the kids.
  • We are casual gamers at best and the only gaming system we have is a Nintendo DS. Here is an article in The Globe and Mail that compares the main gaming platforms: Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, XBox 360, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. However, there are reports that soaring demand for the Ninetendo Wii has resulted in shortages.
  • I’ve always fantasized about replacing our 27-inch tube TV with a sleek flat screen TV and when brand-name 37-inch TVs started selling for just under $1,000, we splurged and bought one for our living room. If you do buy a TV with a built-in tuner (which almost every new TV does), don’t forget to connect a pair of rabbit ears and you can watch CBC’s Hockey Night in glorious high definition for free. Here’s a review of popular TVs from The Globe and Mail.
  • Digital Cameras and Camcorders are always popular gift ideas. Both The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail feature an extensive list of articles, buying guides and reviews on point-and-shoot cameras, Digital SLRs and digital camcorders.
  • And last but not least, don’t forget this season’s popular toys for kids.

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Any tips for us who are yet to hit the malls?

This article has 19 comments

  1. We replaced our tube TV with an entirely different kind of flat-screen model: my laptop. We live in an older house (1912) that was restored to its original appearance, and a television of any kind looked out of place (and our living room is set up in such a way that hiding it in a cabinet wouldn’t work). So we got a cable TV converter for the laptop instead. I’m using a Mac, so we bought the EyeTV, which also lets you record TV directly to your hard disk, and you can pause and rewind live TV as you watch it. We put the laptop on the coffee table by the sofa whenever we want to watch TV. Sure, the screen is a bit small (15″) and the sound is somewhat tinny (we attach external speakers when watching movies), but this setup works very well for us.

    This year for the holidays I’ve been focusing on giving experiences rather than possessions, such as concert and show tickets, a gift certificate for a course on wine, etc. We have too much stuff and don’t want to add to the clutter so we’re trying to find gifts that have no physical substance but that will stay with us for a lifetime.

  2. Canadian Capitalist

    Brad: That’s a great idea. Didn’t happiness researchers find that it’s better to spend on experiences than stuff?

  3. Got that right. My Mother-in-Law has a cluttered condo and doesn’t need anything so we always get her a ski day pass or something of the such so it can’t “stick around”.

  4. I recently splurged on myself for a GPS – I got the TomTom GO 720 from Future Shop for $329.99. It is currently listed on sale at $399.99 on their website, but if you can find a cheaper price advertised from a Canadian store with a storefront and the price is not specified for a limited quantity amount, they will price match AND they will honour the price match up to January 8th, so if the price drops for boxing day, you just go in with the ad and your receipt and they will refund the difference.

    I liked the TomTom 720 for a couple of reasons: bigger screen REALLY does make a difference. It has bluetooth and while neither Garmin nor TomTom officially support blackberries, the 720 works perfectly with mine – it just took 3 tries at getting the initial “handshake” – but since then, as soon as I get in the car a voice tells me it’s connected to my phone.

    It has a built in FM transmitter as well, so you can download mp3’s to the unit and then broadcast it to your car’s radio and then play music through your car’s stereo – it will pause your song if a call comes in or if a turn is coming up – nice little feature!

    Also, it has the text to speech which means the computer synthesized voice will actually pronounce street names, which allows you to refrain from taking your eyes off the road.

    Also, I find that you can haggle much more aggressively at Future Shop than you can Best Buy. FS’s salespeople are all commissioned, whereas Best Buy’s are all hourly. Go to Best Buy to learn about all the devices, and then make your purchase at FS! 🙂 It’s all the same company anyways…

  5. Also: The Bay is actually a great place to buy Jewelery – I bought a cultured pearl (freshwater is the cheaper kind) pair of stud earrings and a pearl bracelet for $90 for my girlfriend. They had a 50% off sale.

    I had been to 4 other jewelery stores that day – and the Bay’s regular prices were in line with everyone else’s, so the 50% off sale was just too good to pass on. If you are looking for Jewelery that is certainly a place to look – HIGHLY recommended.

    The only thing I didn’t like was that their jewelery boxes that everything came in was a bit on the cheap side and the the Bay “B” on the inside. With the money saved, it might be best to get a nicer box.

  6. My friend and I wandered into Eaton Centre last week at 9 p.m. on the off-chance they would still be open and it was. No shoppers was in sight but all the stores were open and ready to take our money! We ended up doing some shopping then- my friend got a Macbook at the Apple Store with all the upgrades installed within 10 minutes!

  7. Unfortunately, I don’t think CBC broadcasts over the air in HD in all cities. And the tv has to have an HD tuner in order to decode the signal. A lot of tv’s in Canada won’t have the tuner since we get the majority of our HD signals over cable or satellite. In the US, quite a few channels broadcast HD over the air.

  8. We aren’t buying gifts for one another this year. We are going on a trip to Arizona in Feb so we decided to spend our money on that then stuff we really didn’t need.

    I have the C330 Garmin GPS which runs around 270-300$. It is a great unit right out of the box. Used it on a few road trips in Ontario and one in Nova Scotia. Never let me down and always felt better having it to get us around. It has all the features I think anyone would want in a GPS unit.

  9. Canadian Capitalist

    Nobleea: Yeah, you might have to check if CBC HD is available in your city but it is available here in Ottawa, so at least all the major cities may already have HD broadcasts. Also, pretty much all brand-name TVs have the ATSC tuner built-in that they don’t even mention the tuner in the short feature list anymore.

  10. We were just discussing the free HD channels at work yesterday and my interest in an HD tv has been renewed (actually, it never really left 🙂 )! I think I’m going to suggest to my husband that we skip the gift giving (besides stocking stuffers) and finally take the HD tv plunge. Here in Windsor, we have access to many free HD channels in the US. It’s ashame to miss out really…:)

  11. Canadian Capitalist

    Preet: Thanks for the info on the GPS. We don’t really need it now but it’s good to know for future reference.

    telly: Hockey Night in Canada is so much better in HD 🙂

  12. and a television of any kind looked out of place

    Brad, with all due respect you have your priorities all out of whack! How can you let the appearance of your house influence your tv watching??

    Houses will come and go but the memories of those tv shows will live on forever… 🙂


  13. I will be working through most of the holidays so I’m only going to be shopping for a present for myself. I am also considering buying a big screen TV for my place, but I need to finish some painting and renovations first. So, I think I will be buying myself some paint, drop cloths and rollers for the holidays this year…

  14. I got a GPS navigator around this time last year which combines multiple functions as more and more do: hands-free speakerphone via Bluetooth, hard drive for storing audiobooks and music and — oh yeah — maps 🙂

    Integrating features increases functionality. For example, the audiobook or music will pause when there are direction instructions or if the phone rings. Nice.

    The most useful feature is the wireless remote control. It’s mush safer to use than reaching for the unit (especially in our minivan where the distances are too great).

    For road trips, GPS navigation is handy and safer than looking at the map. Naturally, a map is an important backup. The downside? Since we don’t miss turns, there’s less to argue about. You can’t have everything 😉

  15. I actually splurged on the iPod Touch and I want it to be a glorified PDA 🙂

    The article is completely right in that all this touch technology existed before. Being a longtime Palm user, I’m used to the stylus and tapping/writing with it. I’m still not converted to the touch screen in terms of typing and clicking links with my thumbs. You make a lot of mistakes.

    Still what it does well is the display – audio and the surfing expansion of web pages. Very cool.

    Loses points for the actual usability of navigation with music as there’s no click wheel anymore. Does this mean that I actually have to take it out of my pocket to look at the screen in order to skip a song or adjust the music?

    It will take some getting used to but so far, others love it and maybe I’ll learn to as well.

  16. CC: I’m a Habs fan so no HNIC for me! 🙁 RDS is broadcasting in HD now though so I really need to get on that! I watched a hockey game in HD once and I was mesmorized.

  17. Canadian Capitalist

    telly: Not sure about your city but in Ottawa we get SRC as well 🙂 Yeah, I’ve wanted HD ever since I watched a Stanley Cup game.

  18. CC: SRC doesn’t show Habs games on Saturdays in my region anymore (Windsor). So now I’m left officially hating CBC!

    Stanley Cup game? Now you’re just bragging. 😉

  19. Canadian Capitalist

    No, I’m not. The Stanley Cup game that I first watched was an Oilers game. Last year’s finals wasn’t much fun to watch 🙁