Edited by Sharon Vaknin/CNET, Photo by Flickr user thingsarebetterwithaparrott
Create a custom QR code gift tag
Handwritten gift tags are so 1999. This year, surprise your family members with QR code tags that, when scanned, take the recipient to a video of you sharing a special greeting. Or, have the QR code lead them to a photo of the two of you. The options are endless.
Before you wrap that smartphone, tablet, or computer, load it up with content the recipient might like. A new album, some movies, games, or even photos of the two of you will add that personal touch a tech gift could use.
You might also consider adding on platform-specific services, like Amazon Prime for the Kindle Fire, or iTunes Radio for an iPad.
If it helps, snap a photo of the packaging with your smartphone so that you know how to box it back up.
Get rid of any bloatware
One of the most frustrating things about purchasing new products continues to be the bloatware that comes with them. Computers are preloaded with the manufacturer's preferred anti-virus and programs, and carriers shove useless bloatware into smartphones.
If you're purchasing a product that you know has bloatware, do the recipient a favor and remove it. For example, here's how to remove bloatware from the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Keep their new PC secure
This one's for the not-so-tech-savvy gift recipients. Add on the gift of security by equipped a new PC with a one-year subscription to antivirus software. It's easy, useful, and it'll save you the headache of acting as technical support when Dad accidentally downloads spyware.
You don't have to spend a ton of cash on accessories to beef up a gift. Some of the best accessories are inexpensive. For example, accessorize an Android phone or tablet with a USB OTG adapter , which will let the recipient attach USB accessories to their device. Pictured here, the adapter is used to connect a PS3 controller to a Samsung Galaxy S3.
Extra micro-USB cables, SD cards, or even screen protectors are also cheap, simple ways to add a little something extra.
Add a custom case
Wrapping paper isn't the only thing you can customize. Before you put that smartphone under the tree, add on a custom case covered with their Instagram photos. Casetagram, one site that prints such cases, lets you choose the collage design, then select the photos to be included on the case.
If your recipient doesn't use Instagram, Casestagram also has a gallery of pre-designed cases for you to choose from. The cases start at $34.95 and top out at $39.95, depending on case color.