On a personal level, I’ve not been concerned about any gifts I may get since I was a child. In all honesty, I have nothing that I need so much that I would want any of my family to spend their much needed money on for my sake. In fact, I usually become very uncooperative at Christmas time and near my birthday. Of course, being human, there are things I would quite like to have, but I’m generally not going to divulge what they might be except under intense pressure. This year, I’ve bowed to such pressure, but only after trying to find a sensible option. That’s why I’ve informed my wife that I would be happy with a Kobo Mini eReader. In truth, having looked at various such devices, I like the sound of that one most. I do not, however, expect to get one!
It crossed my mind that many families will find themselves scattered around the world this Christmas. It would be some compensation if these families could make use of modern technology. Using webcams and computers, and/or other devices, it is perfectly feasible to bring families together as never before. Of course, it’s likely that some adjustment to times of things would need to be made, but that would only require some mutual compromises. Imagine it, if you will. A family sits down to Christmas dinner, with a reasonably large screen occupying one part of the arranged seating. The screen displays views of other family members from other parts of the world, also sitting down to their Christmas dinners. The same arrangement could then be extended into the post-dinner period, including some games. Such a coming together would, in my view, be the true culmination of technology’s shrinking our world. Never mind business or political conferences using similar techniques. They are simply using tools for profit or power. Put into the scattered families arena, then technology proves a true benefit to ordinary people, in something far more significant and meaningful.
While much of this post is very definitely “off topic”, let’s look at ebooks and how they might be a positive influence on Christmas. Of course, there’s the obvious aspect, with various well loved Christmas books being available for reading on any eReader. Another option exists, however. A family member could create an ebook that covered the family’s activities since the last Christmas, complete with photos. Also, any storyteller in the family could produce little ebooks where their children, or younger nephews, nieces and/or grandchildren are the central characters, including little photos or even drawings. These would make very pleasing gifts for anybody with a device that’s able to handle the ebooks. With the right software, it would even be possible to create printed copies for those without eReaders.
On the question of ebooks as presents, you don’t have to give what amounts to a gift voucher. You could create a Christmas card that includes a CD containing the ebook(s), or even a pen drive. I think that these would be more suitable than the more impersonal options. There’s absolutely no reason, after all, why a CD or pen drive shouldn’t be made to look attractive in itself.
One final thought. Apart from the personalised ebooks, similar ideas could be employed to produce personalised audio books.