Want to watch their faces light up when they unzip their presents
November 5, 2018 11:31 AM   Subscribe

I have a bunch of teens and young adults on my Christmas list this year. One gift idea I'm mulling is to give them a thumb drive with a bunch of fun digital "stocking stuffers." Help me fill their digital stockings with Christmas morning delights. (basic requirements inside)

Generally, I'm going for small programs, games, or files of useful, fun, enjoyable or interesting stuff. My first mental image was the kind of little puzzle games that you can find for a few bucks on Humble Bundle. But I am open to a wide variety of digital distractions and frivolities such as interactive digital toys, art, music, comic books, little helpful utility programs, interactive fiction, fun videos, and (the point of asking in the first place) stuff I haven't yet thought of that could be surprising and delightful for the not-quite-so-young-sters on my list.

These need to be pretty small and easy to install
They need to be legal and DRM free. I don't mind spending a few bucks for an item but I want to own it and the right to put it where I want.
They need to be appropriate for an Uncle to give to his nieces and nephews (without becoming the Creepy Uncle)
They need to be enjoyable off line (e.g. in the car to Grandma's house)
Platform-independent if possible. If not possible, then Windows is the most common platform.
If they need other software to view/play it needs to be common software that would be on most computers or open source/freeware (e.g. kindle reader, etc.)

So, whadda ya say? Stuff my USB stocking!
posted by cross_impact to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
More useful than fun: I train a lot of young interns, and in general they are amazed when I show them my clipboard manager; it's a super helpful tool most people don't know exists.

I use Jumpcut for Mac, but there are definitely Windows options out there.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:57 AM on November 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Maybe take a pass through portableapps.com? Portable (read: standalone, can run from USB) versions of all sorts of applications, including a bunch of games.
posted by namewithoutwords at 12:19 PM on November 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

Download puzzles (crosswords, logic grids, sudoku, whatever) as individual PDFs and combine the pile of them into a book of games.

The amazing one-page-wiki called TiddlyWiki, usable in any web browser.

Printable hexaflexagons if they're nerdy!

Maybe a document that's just a list of links to useful stuff, like the Internet Wayback Machine and voter411 (for life) and the ALA Stylebook (for school)...or whatever would be useful.

Printables that are relevant to their life, like a trail map for a nearby park or blank guitar tab sheets or a map of the city/neighborhood or movie characters from cubefold or the service hours sign-off sheet for their school or whatever other forms they might need to make copies of.

A family tree with pictures of The Olds and some details about the previous couple of generations. My kids have needed this stuff for school projects, and I often wish I had a couple of hours to assemble it so they could have something that wasn't off the top of my head.

A cookbook of family recipes -- which they may not need now, but thy won't live at home for ever!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:35 PM on November 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

Personalized mix tapes?
posted by wats at 4:24 PM on November 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I bet you could find some indie games that you like and share them. Some are better than others, but you can find some pretty cool ones.
posted by mulkey at 6:41 PM on November 5, 2018

Create a puzzle (maybe a crossword or similar) that only they could solve. Have that be the Key. The Key unlocks (decrypts) a .zip file (with embarrassing baby pics that you happen to have).

Repeat. Different puzzles, different rewards.

Different categories of PDF's. A set of your favorite tunes. The secrets you would tell no other. Step by step, puzzle by puzzle.

I'm pondering the same but for an 18yr old leaving the nest / adulting. (with a year to spare thinking about it.)
posted by zengargoyle at 4:13 PM on November 6, 2018

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