Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the holiday season of gift-giving is upon us. It’s been a tough six months for many people and perhaps we all should be thinking of alternative presents from the usual clothes, games, gadgets, and so on. Quite frankly, some of our family members would be over the moon to be gifted with a full tank of heating oil or a delivery service of prepared meals or child care help.
Clothes wear out, gadgets break, but experiences last forever tucked into warm places in our memories. Perhaps this is the year for thinking about experiences instead of things as we compile our gift-giving lists.
Here are some of our favorite suggestions for your consideration.
Lots of folks are facing a long winter with social activity curtailed. What a better time to learn something new. A gift of an online course fits the bill! You can just “google” online courses to find all sorts of possibilities. BoomerTECH Adventures also offers very-reasonably priced courses. Here are several examples:
What would really make the gift special is that you take the course along with the person receiving the pre-paid course. Not only might you learn a new skill related to your digital devices; but, more importantly, you would be sharing an experience with a loved one or friend.
These courses consist of short, step-by-step videos, articles, and downloadable “cheat sheets.” Everything comes wrapped together in a PDF format with clickable links and are compatible with any digital device.
If you have questions about the courses, you can post them in the Comment section below or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift of Time
Do you know what might be the most appreciated gift for someone in your family? One of the most needed gifts for anyone (especially this year) is your time—time to help someone learn to use their personal technology. Think about all the people trying to use Zoom or other video conferencing apps (like Facetime or Google Meet) to communicate with their families, participate in groups that can only meet online, or take a course they are interested in. There are still too many people unable to use Zoom’s features like chat, share their screen, mute their video or audio and much more. Or how about someone with a new device—smartphone, tablet, computer, or watch—needing basic instruction that allows them to use their device to greatest advantage. Everyone needs tech help from a patient, kind, and knowledgeable teacher. That teacher could be you!
Since meeting face-to-face is not possible now that makes tutoring someone even easier. Here again we turn to Zoom or Facetime, or similar apps. No travel time needed! And you can show, not just tell, how to do something. A great gift would be 3-5 short sessions, of 45 minutes each. Before you begin, have your “student” give you 5-10 questions they need answered. Then, ask your student to keep a running list of questions for future tutoring sessions. As your student becomes more savvy and can do more things on her own, you can even make an occasional short, video tutorial using a free app (like Loom). People need to see and practice what you are explaining to them.
If I had one wish where someone offered me a gift of time, here is what I would like most—someone to teach me how to connect my smart tv to my cable box, sound bar, and blu-ray player all connected to one remote. Just a short video tutorial from someone who understands my equipment and will follow up if I have problems. Or, we could connect by Zoom and my tutor could talk me through what I need to do to accomplish my goal.
Do you have someone in your family who struggles with or just wants to learn more about using their iPhone, iPad, or Mac? (And that would be just about all of us!) This year give them a gift of your time and expertise. Teach them how to take stunning photos or how to manage the 10,000 photos on their Photos app. Show them how to make creative posters and note cards in Pages or Canva. Help them manage various projects in Google Drive.
There is so much more to technology than Facebook and social media. Help someone who would really like to learn by giving the gift they really want most. Your time and expertise…and caring enough to work with you.
Do you have someone on your list who likes to cook? Are they ready to be a bit adventuresome? Share with them BoomerTECH Adventures’ free mini-cookbook of BTA guide Chris Toy’s easy-to-prepare Chinese favorites. It’s a downloadable PDF. Click on this link to get your and their copy today!
Chris also has written several cookbooks that are available through Amazon.
Just to get your taste buds watering, here’s one of his recipes.
Chris cooks for us at our annual BoomerTECH Adventures retreat. Ed and I guarantee that his recipes are smashingly delicious.
Cooking together as a family is a gift of time and shared experience whether in person or via Zoom. Here is a picture of egg rolls made by my grand-niece (who is in 4th grade) for her family from a recipe in Chris’s An Easy Chinese Cookbook. What a thoughtful, yummy present to her family.
Hybrid Cookie Swap
Cookie swaps are so much fun! Everyone goes home with a bag full of goodies for their family to enjoy. This year–not such a good idea. Social distancing and being masked is just not going to work when there is hot chocolate or mulled wine to sip while munching on sugared delights. What to do? Use our imaginations! Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Put on your long underwear and fill up a thermos with hot chocolate and meet your friends at an outdoor location with a picnic table. Perhaps you can’t put plates of cookies out for people to choose from, however, everyone can bring a bag of cookies to swap! Enjoy the Scandanavian “friluftsliv” tradition of enjoying the outdoors all year round. Taking a hike together will burn the calories before you consume them! Then, share the recipes via social media afterward.
- Trade favorite holiday cookie recipes digitally and then do a group Zoom or FaceTime or Google Meet to make a new recipe together. Get the kids and grandkids involved.
- Explore recipes from outside your family’s cultural traditions. BoomerTECH Adventures guide Ed’s family has a four-generation tried and true recipe for Lubkuchen, a German gingerbread type cookie that dates to the 13th century!
You can get the recipe here: https://www.boomertechadventures.com/lebkuchen
- Adapt the old May Basket Day tradition of leaving baskets of flowers on your neighbors’ doors to a more seasonal one. Fill up bags of cookies to share and as a family, mask up, and distribute them to your neighbors. You will brighten people’s day.
- Think outside the box of cookies to other treats. I recently tried babka. OMG was it tasty; I haven’t attempted to make it yet because it’s quite complicated. It’s way out of my comfort zone for baking, but I want to try it. Allowing our young folks to experiment with cooking and baking without an adult insisting on the one way to do things is truly a gift of supporting creative problem-solving, an important life skill. Here’s a picture of a Thanksgiving dessert created by my not quite 14-year old grand-niece–three-layer pumpkin cheesecake. She made up the recipe after consulting several cookbooks. It must have been delicious because there is only one piece left after yesterday’s meal. So, consider gifting fledgling chefs with ingredients not normally found in the home and perhaps too expensive for this year’s family budget.
2020 has been a year for the history books, and it’s not quite over yet. With our thinking caps on, we can provide needed joy and good feelings with original presents that emphasize shared experiences that last beyond the gift-giving season.
Chris, Ed, and Jill wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with love and good health. We’ll be back next week with some holiday crafts and at the end of the month, our thoughts on new beginnings (with a technology twist) in 2021.