Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Unique Christmas Present Ideas

Unique Christmas present ideas are not usually on anyone's Christmas gift ideas list. They are either too shy about putting the item on the gift list because it is a little wacky, or it is an idea that they have not even considered. The following two Christmas gift ideas are a combination of both the wacky and the little unusual. There is sure to be a gift on this list that would be perfect for that someone you just do not know what to buy.

Gift 1 - Stethoscope. Both of my children are in the medical field and they received their first stethoscopes as Christmas present ideas. They became a party game and we listened to everything we could. That is the best way -- just put it on something and listen. If you want to listen to your heart just put it where you think your heart is and if you do not hear it move it around until you do. This is a case where
experimenting is fun.

Although listening to the heart is amazing and makes you feel a part of the harmony of the universe, it is more fun to listen to your stomach. If you are having trouble locating it, take a drink of a fizzy drink and listen for the sound of that entering you stomach. The stomach will make several different noises depending on how hungry or full you are.

The last obvious place to listen is your lungs and breathing. This one is easier to do on a willing subject since you tend not to breath as deep as possible while you are trying to locate the best place to hear.

Once you are familiar with the sounds of the human body, hunt down Fido (preferably when he is napping) and listen to the differences of the canine dog heart beat and lung sounds. We never tried it on a bird, but I bet that you could.

It is easy to buy a stethoscope on the internet - you will just need a basic, inexpensive model and everyone from children to adults will enjoy listening in to their inner workings.

Gift 2 - Scanning of Photos. Everyone packs around boxes or albums of photos that are rarely looked at. Many people are sharing their photos online, and this is fine for your newer photos. But all of those photos gathering dust deserve to see the light of day -- well maybe the light of a computer screen. I decided that it was time to have a digital copy of all of my photos, and I underwent a 6-month project to individually scan and organize all of my print photos. I have been so happy with having all of these older pictures on my computer. It would make a wonderful present for anyone with loads of old photos.

You can either do the scanning yourself or send them to be done professionally. DIY scanning is easy to do with any scanner or combination printer/scanner/copier that you can find in stores near you. The secret is to scan at a high enough resolution (greater than 300 dpi) so the pictures can be printed in photo books, but not at such a high resolution that it takes forever to perform the scan. If you are going to do a large number of photos you will need to search on how to do "batch scanning".

The other option is to send the pictures out to be scanned by a professional. Besides local resources, there are several businesses set up on the internet to scan your photos. You will receive your unharmed photos back and will probably receive your pictures on a CD. There are some scanners that will have you download the photos from their site.

In either case you will need to decide if you want to scan every photo or just a select group. I scanned every photo and it took me 6 months of diligently scanning every day. I could have reduced the time by organizing the photos and just scanning a select group. But, the time I would have saved was not worth deciding which pictures were worth scanning. But, if I were paying for each scan I may have felt different.

This may be a project that would best be done with the person receiving the gift of pictures. If you would like to spend the time together going over the old pictures to decide which ones to scan you might want to consider giving a gift certificate to have the project started sometime after the holidays. Just make sure that you start your project because it is so nice to have all the pictures on your computer.


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