Feeds

back to article Gift-giving gotchas: How to avoid Xmas morning EMBARRASSMENT

You might think, what with gift buying out of the way, the hard work of the holiday season is largely done. Not so. Before you reach for the wrapping paper and sticky tape, there’s a fair bit more you can do to ensure a trouble- and tantrum-free Christmas Day. Batteries not included If you’ve been buying gadgets, don’t forget …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Thumb Up

Good Advice

Setting up accounts is great advice, also if the product contains a downloadable code it's well worth downloading in advanced.

Last year my nephew got a VITA with FIFA13. The game was just a download code and about 2.8gb in size. Luckily his parents gave me the console first, so I was able to set up his account, charge the console and pre-download the game. This allowed him to play the game on xmas day rather than sitting there looking at a "downloading" bar.

This year it's BF4 on the Xbox, again they don't have the quickest internet so I've stole his Xbox, installed BF4 + downloaded all the patches and returned it. Come Xmas day, he will be able to open the present, pop the disc into his console and play (the way games use to be). Rather than waiting for all the patches to download.

11
0
Silver badge

Re: Good Advice

Bought a Wii U for my son for Christmas, I'd seen on some forums that the set up could take time, especially the hour long update. They were right, it did take an hour but at least it is now ready to go!

4
0

Re: Good Advice

>Last year my nephew got a VITA with FIFA13.......

You're fooling no-one. You just wanted to play with your nephew's Christmas presents, didn't you?

12
0
Bronze badge

Re: Good Advice

> setting up accounts

Windows Phone sends out periodic "how are you getting on with your new phone? That you haven't been given yet? that isn't a surprise any more?" if you set up an account for your daughter whose email you have access to but don't continuously monitor after archiving the setup emails

10
0

Re: Good Advice

I have bought a Nexus 7 for my mam, so I took the liberty of updating it to Kit Kat prior to her getting it. Mind you, I didn't expect the update process to be so easy!

3
0
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: Good Advice

>You're fooling no-one. You just wanted to play with your nephew's Christmas presents, didn't you?

Its called "Testing" >_> <_<

9
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Good Advice

The hardest part (honest!) is "testing" the battery life. You know, how long can it be played before the battery wears out? And, as with most tech gear, optimum battery life is only reached after a few charge/discharge cycles, so the only truly considerate thing to do is to use it for a few days/weeks straight to ensure that everything is working perfectly.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Good Advice

If you're buying a new phone for Justine Sacco, please don't set up her Twitter account before she gets the phone.

1
0
Thumb Up

Re: Good Advice

"Re: Good Advice

>Last year my nephew got a VITA with FIFA13.......

You're fooling no-one. You just wanted to play with your nephew's Christmas presents, didn't you?"

Have an upvote, I was thinking the exact same thing. First FIFA then Battlefield! Just buy yourself a console or PC and enjoy gaming all year round.

An Xbox or a playstation is not just for Christmas...

0
0
Bronze badge

The biggest hit

About four years ago I bought my kids' families each a media tank that gave dumb TVs a little bit of smarts, access to online material, local media on their built in drive and network shares, and through a media server access to Hulu, Netflix etc. They have pretty much been in constant use ever since then, last year I upped their storage to 1TB and the kids and grand kids love them.

1
0

Well timed advice !

You know us real blokes do our Christmas shopping on the 24th

Had you mentioned it earlier it would have long been forgotten by the 24th

16
0
Silver badge

not having batteries is a good thing

Then at least the toy/whatever won't get broken on Christmas Day.

Success!

1
0
Devil

Re: not having batteries is a good thing

'not having batteries is a good thing

Then at least the toy/whatever won't get broken on Christmas Day.

Success!' Steve Davies @1054

Or you can pop out and get some batteries, conveniently passing the local public house on the way.

0
0
Silver badge

Top Marks for advice

For delivery, I always use FedEx - if you have to pay a fee they let you know after delivery.

No need for you not too receive your goods just because Jonny Customs wants to tax the joy out of yoy

1
0

Re: Top Marks for advice

Yes, you do get the invoice later. But the service from FedEx, in my experience, is so far beyond execrable that it needs to see a proctologist as a matter of urgency.

I've ended up telling a few companies in the US that I won't be able to order again from them unless they offer an alternative to FedEx.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

FedEx

For sheer incompetence and crass stupidity, you have to go a long way to beat yodel.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: Top Marks for advice

"But the service from FedEx, in my experience, is so far beyond execrable that it needs to see a proctologist as a matter of urgency."

Odd, I've used them a few times, and they're the best of the lot. Though I would expect so, going on their prices.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: FedEx

> you have to go a long way to beat yodel

I ordered a collect+ delivery from Amazon (deliver to a local business rather than card your house while you are at work) to the local garage. Yodel managed to "not find delivery address" or "fail to gain access" depending on which pat of their website you believe.

1
0

Rechargables

When buying batteries for use in your own home, buy the newer low self-discharge rechargeable type that comes pre-charged. When flat, they can be recharged and put back on a shelf to await further need, so they're almost as convenient and useful as alkalines.

When buying for others, it's probably best not to pay the extra cost of rechargeables unless the recipient is already using rechargeable batteries, as the batteries are likely to be thoughtlessly thrown away after their first use.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Rechargables

"When buying for others, it's probably best not to pay the extra cost of rechargeables unless the recipient is already using rechargeable batteries, as the batteries are likely to be thoughtlessly thrown away after their first use."

Bl00dy rechargeables. I've tried umpting different brands, at least four different chargers, and both batteries and chargers have this consistent bad habit of random early death. Made worse by the fact that most chargers need to charge cells in pairs. Even the £40 "smart charger" that could charge them singly and do test discharge and capacity measurement. In fact that f*cker probably only charged about 200 cells before shuffling off its coil, meaning that the cost per battery was 20p just for the charger, never mind the individual cell. As I buy disposable batteries from Aldi, Lidl or Poundland, I never pay more than 25p for an AA in the first place, so the economics have (despite my best intentions and perseverance) never worked out.

Now factor in the inconvenience of the ones that you think are charged and are in fact dead, and the need to establish whether the appliance is at fault, the battery, or the charger, and you start to see the rationale breaking down even more quickly than the bl00dy batteries themselves.

Rechargeable batteries are cr@p. They're worse for the environment, they're more expensive.in the long term, and they're a bl00dy nuisance. So there's a gift idea for somebody you have to buy for, but hate. Get them a battery charger and some rechargables.

5
6
Silver badge

Re: Rechargables

Not to mention that the devices are usually designed to run on Alkaline batteries that develop 1.5 volts and the rechargeables come in light of that from the get-go, making for shorter working time and the perception that the device "eats batteries".

I remember that the undevoltage thing was a problem for an old hand-held CB I had, and the manufacturer included two metal slugs to replace two of the twelve rechargeable AA's it needed should you decide to use alkaline batteries instead of the nicads it came with.

1
1
Bronze badge

Re: Rechargables

Now factor in the inconvenience of the ones that you think are charged and are in fact dead, and the need to establish whether the appliance is at fault, the battery, or the charger, and you start to see the rationale breaking down even more quickly than the bl00dy batteries themselves.

Harsh. I think you should invest in a multi-meter. Just check the voltage and you're done--no need to have elevated stress levels over dumb electronics.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Rechargables

I have one. But the problem is I don't want to have to ratch around in the garage or wherever looking for a piece of kit just because rechargeable batteries are shite (and that's not an option for people who wouldn't know what a multimeter was). I had hoped the smart charger would solve all that but it made no difference.

Why can't the fucking things just work, simply and reliably?

2
2
Silver badge

Re: Rechargables

"Why can't the fucking things just work, simply and reliably?"

Because people will not buy them at the prices that would incur.

3
1
Bronze badge

Re: Rechargables

"Harsh. I think you should invest in a multi-meter. Just check the voltage and you're done--no need to have elevated stress levels over dumb electronics."

Not harsh at all. It's up to the electronics to continue functioning at a lower volage. Not only do you squeeze that last little bit out of regular batteries, lower voltage regchargables work well to.

With switching regulators for single-celled appliances that can go down to 0.7v, there's no excuse. Except of course for the higher cost, where every joe idiot goes for the cheaper option without checking the specs, then say they can work around it with a $10 multimeter instead of a buck worth of parts.

2
0
Happy

Re: Rechargables

Sanyo Eneloop rechargeables are the ones to get as they don't go flat after a few weeks of not being used. Some NiMH cells can lose over 50% of their charge doing nothing in just a few weeks.

As for chargers don't go for the all singing all dancing rapid ones, they just cook themselves and the cells.

Since I accepted charge times of hours rather than minutes the problems I had which were similar to yours have gone.

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: Rechargables

But bulk/discount batteries often also suck donkey balls.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Rechargables

Panasonic Evolta batteries seem to be working fine for me.

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: Rechargables

Strongly seconded! I've been using them for years, the big plus is that they don't self discharge as quickly as "normal" NiMh, So you can easily grab a freshly charged one and know that it will work.

Of course, you need to make sure the device in question can deal with the lower voltage (1.2V per cell rather than 1.5V)

1
0
Bronze badge
Stop

SIM Cards & Numbers

"consider a SIM for the same network. It may be a little easier for them simply to swap the number to the new SIM."

This may vary between networks, but recent experience suggests this isn't the case for T-Mobile (not sure about EE) and Three. With those networks, I've actually had to PAC my numbers out to a third party network (A PAYG sim will do) and then back in again as apparently they don't have the systems to move numbers internally.

1
0
Thumb Up

Re: SIM Cards & Numbers

It does work on Vodafone very well though, you can move your number from Pay as You Go to Pay Monthly quite easily, or just swap SIM cards quite easily too.

0
0

Just a moment on camera battery advice

There's some sensible advice in this piece, but I'd hasten to add a clarification regarding camera batteries. If the gifted camera is a DSLR, with their correspondingly large batteries, it is unlikely that anyone would wear it down in a day. Those behemoths can easily fire off a couple thousand shots before expiring, and even most pros are unlikely to do so in a single day.

However, if the camera in question is a point-and-shoot or one of the newer compact, mirrorless cameras (such as my Fujifilm X-E2), you're looking at an upper limit of around 300-350 snaps before the battery is depleted - fewer if you're shooting in cold conditions. That might still be more than a typical snapper uses in a day, but for ardent shutterbugs it may not be nearly enough. Fortunately, third-party spares (like the Wasabi batteries) are generally cheap and reliable. Spend the tiny amount of extra cash and stock up!

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Just a moment on camera battery advice

A little tip about Camera batteries and cold conditions.

Keep the spare ones in your trouser pocket so that they stay nice and cosy. Swap them over frequently and its problem solved.

Worked for me last year in Greenland.

2
0

Re: Just a moment on camera battery advice

One other thing I didn't want to get in to, or we'd have spent the whole article talking about batteries, is of course that some makers have firmwares that reject third party batteries, so you need to check that first, if you're going to buy extras.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: Just a moment on camera battery advice

One other thing I didn't want to get in to, or we'd have spent the whole article talking about batteries, is of course that some makers have firmwares that reject third party batteries, so you need to check that first, if you're going to buy extras so you don't waste money buying such a device.

/Fixed

3
1
Bronze badge
Unhappy

OPTIONAL

"How to avoid Xmas morning EMBARRASSMENT"

My method is to just toddle off for a walk and ignore Humbugmas. I usually head off to the Brecon Beacons, though this year I might head in a different direction.

Ebenezer Scrooge? A pretender to my throne.

BAH!

7
1

Re: OPTIONAL

The astute reader may have noticed a certain cynicism running through all my Xmas pieces here. While I won't be out walking, I will be ignoring the festival and catching up on DIY before treating myself to a lasagne that O intend to lace with so much garlic that it will keep those with an excess of festive cheer at a safe distance for several days.

1
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Re: OPTIONAL

I'd upvote you for that, except for one thing: Garlic! Ugh.

Have a pint, instead.

Meanwhile: My Humbugmas lunch: https://twitter.com/VinceMH/status/415904719882563584/photo/1

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Every year on Christmas and Birthdays the money I could've spent on my family, I instead spend on myself. That way, I get just what I want all the time and am never disappointed. This year, for instance, I got a Bentley, three Rolexes and two iPads. Just what I wanted.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

@AC 16:22

And then you woke up and realised it was all a dream......

On your own in a bedsit with a tin of beans for company.

3
0
Silver badge

Bah!

Are we still having to tell people to buy spare batteries?

This is why the Hess Truck is such good value for Xmas Prezzy money (even now when it has almost doubled in price): It comes with batteries. This year's one is ultra spiffy. I like it when they are actual trucks as opposed to clever Helicopters, Tornado interceptor aircraft or space shuttles (which admittedly came mounted on a transport truck).

0
0

If you've bought someone a kindle, beware - even if it's a UK one, it doesn't come with a charger.

1
0
Silver badge

Kindle

My "Fire" did.

0
0
Bronze badge

"Check too, especially if you’ve bought presents from overseas, that you have any mains plug adaptors you need"

Whoa! Careful there! Some of us are reading this in Australia. We're not allowed to do things like that - it'll wreck the country you know. Or so the three large retailers keep telling us...

2
0

FFS

You're a NEWS site, not some fluffy media bullshit.

Snowy Vulture goes, please, have some respect.

0
0
N2
Bronze badge

My wife

Was very disappointed that batteries wernt included!

0
1
This topic is closed for new posts.