If you’re like me, I stay away from generic gift cards, trying to capture in the present the uniqueness of the receiver and infuse a little bit of my personality. Here are some ideas inspired by those on my list who have been “nice.”

Social good gifts were popular when I asked for suggestions on Facebook. Feel free to add your favorite charity or non-profit: toy drives at your church, local school, library, police, fire department, or click on Toys for Tots.

Whom to help? Women overseas? Hungry kids closer to home? World Vision, which devotes most of its budget to its funding its programs, has you covered. Or fund someone’s great idea or dream through crowdsourcing like this sustainable project in Long Island’s Rockaway area affected by Hurricane Sandy. 

Music is Always a Good Choice

Whether it’s iTunes, a CD, or if you’re like my old-school Big Bro who collects vinyl records, music is always a good choice. 

Depressing music like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is banned. Instead, I play JOYFUL music like José Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad and El Gran Combo’s Fiesta de Pilito.

  1. Thanks to a friend I just discovered the toe-tapping a cappella all-male group Rockapella
  2. Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits! by the Vince Guaraldi Trio
  3. Grammy-nominated Juanes’ Unplugged album
  4. For kicks, listen to “Gangnam Style” Spanish parody!

For the Traveler in Your Life:

Frequent fliers will appreciate the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s PreCheck program where, for $100, eligible travelers could see their time standing in security lines reduced at participating airports.

From the Tech Files:

  1. How about personalized iPhone skins, USB flash drives, or mouse pads? Check out Vistaprint where you can also order a host of gifts with a personal touch
  2. iPad keyboards anyone? Read the PC Mag reviews for the best cases but go to Amazon to shop for savings
  3. How about a solar powered radio in case of a disaster or emergency? Check Amazon (again) for deals OR channel your inner fourth grade science fair genius and follow these directions to equip the one at home with solar panels

Books! Books! Books!

  1. Check out The Latin Baby Book Club for terrific reviews and to buy bilingual, English, and Spanish kids books
  2. Anything written by Colombian Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez or Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges
  3. Support today’s U.S. Latino/a authors such as: Sujeiry Gonzalez aka “The Latina Carrie Bradshaw” who recently published Love Trips: a Collection of Relationship Stumbles
  4. Career and college expert Mariela Dabbah shows women how to tap their inner power to go “straight to the top” in her latest book Poder de mujer: Descubre quién eres para crear el éxito a tu medida

Finally, for the political junkie in your life, The Rise of Marco Rubio by The Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia contains keen insights on the man who could be the first Latino President of the United States.

Movies/DVDs:

  1. HBO’s The Latino List Vol. 1, a documentary, 1 features interviews with famous Hispanics. Email for more information
  2. Girl in Progress with Eva Mendes and breakout star Cierra Ramirez
  3. Rent Pedro Almodóvar’s films like the classic Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios/Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Academy Award-winning Todo sobre mi madre/All About My Mother
  4. For the single gal in your life, the Sex in the City series is nearly 50 percent at overstock.com

Nothing says A-M-O-R more than a homemade gift. Try baking Latino Christmas cookies with rompope frosting courtesy of Vianney Rodriguez, the blogger behind one of my fave food blogs, Sweet Life. For the chocoholic, she has a killer recipe for tamales de chocolate y nuez

Been “naughty”? For about $5 bucks, you can fill HIS stocking with coal. J/K. You can send an e-card via egreetings: fast, cheap (FREE) in price, yet rich in holiday cheer!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Viviana Hurtado is the founder and blogger-in-chief at The Wise Latina Club and the host of Hispanic Business Today: American Success Stories, nationally syndicated on NBC. She is a regular columnist for Fox News Latino. You can follow her on Twitter at: @vivianahurtado

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