It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and you know what that means: it’s gadget-buying time!

But holiday gift-giving in the digital age is not always so easy – nor is it easy for those on the receiving end, either. Tech devices these days are so intricate, that many people who receive them are as frustrated as they are grateful. Gadgets can be complicated to figure out, with instruction manuals that are just as difficult to decipher. That’s why it’s best to take some time to educate yourself about what’s out there and how to prepare yourself and your gift recipients for unwrapping their new digital toys.

Here’s a guide to preparing for the exchange of several gadgets, so you can make sure this season is as least stressful as possible:

  • Charge up the battery! Most gadgets run on batteries…so before wrapping up that new smartphone for hubby, be certain it’s juiced up! Take note of the manufacturer’s recommended charge time so that the battery is at its optimal potential – so your man can start tinkering as soon as he gets it out of the box.
  • If you will be the one tearing open a brand new mobile phone this season, don’t forget to first back up your old phone’s info onto your computer’s hard drive (you can also do it online), so you don’t lost all of your precious photos, emails, files and other important docs.
  • If you’re buying for a bookworm, you’re best bet in the tech department is probably an e-reader. Whether you go for the Nook, the Kindle or any other e-reader, you may want to consider purchasing an ebook gift card as an accessory. That way, your loved one can curl up on and start reading, right away.
  • When it comes to purchasing a digital camera for the budding Annie Leibovitz in the family this year, don’t forget the memory. Most cameras nowadays come with a small card, but for the photographer who’s been extra good this year, consider purchasing a larger one so she can snap away all season long.
  • Caveat gamers: to maximize the fun with your new system, make sure the game console is connected to the Web before plugging it in; furthermore, be wary of in-app purchases that pop up in many games. By downloading more fun, you may be simultaneously charging the new content to your gift-giver’s charge card – and that’s not a very nice way to say “Thanks for the awesome present, Grammy!”
  • Finally, and I cannot write this loudly enough: if you’ll be doing your holiday shopping online this year, refrain from making purchases via your computer connected to a mobile network or public hotspot! Your home connection is was safer in regards to protecting your contact and credit card information.

 

*cc image from Flickr