Adventure-worthy gift ideas for the outdoorsy folks in your life

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A tent is in our Gift Guide 2017 roundup of best outdoor gear.
They're probably going to want a tent.
Photo: Chad McDonald/Flickr CC

2017 Gift Guide outdoor gear Gear-shopping for your favorite outdoors-loving friends and family members can be as daunting as trekking up Mount St. Helens as she’s about to blow. There are so many options — and so much crap! Nobody wants to waste money on a gift that’s not going to get used.

To help you out with your holiday shopping, we waded through the endless lists of camping and hiking gear and gadgets that came out in 2017. The goal? To find the perfect stuff your special someone will love.

How to track package deliveries on iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch

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cardboard boxes
With a decent tracking app, all you have to worry about is recycling the old boxes.
Photo: exceptinsects/Flickr CC

It’s gift-giving season, that time of year where you buy people yet more junk that they neither want nor need, all out of a guilt forced on your by tradition and the fear of looking cheap. It’s going to stress you out. But we can at least make the process of buying unwanted dross a little smoother, by making an app do all the package deliveries tracking for you.

Must-have holiday gifts for hardcore Apple fans [Friday Night Fights]

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fnf
Holidays are coming!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Christmas is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start shopping for your loved ones. If one of them is a hardcore Apple fan, that might be easier than you think.

Friday Night Fights bugApple products aren’t cheap, but there’s something sweet at every price point, from maxed-out Macs that cost an arm and a leg, to the latest iOS devices for someone really special, and awesome accessories that fit into any budget.

In this week’s Friday Night Fight, we’re putting away our pitchforks for one week only and focusing on great gifts for every Apple fan.

Apple’s holiday gift guide arrives with free shipping

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Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 14.16.12
Somehow it's almost Christmas time. I swear it didn't sneak up like this when I was a kid.
Photo: Apple

It’s just six weeks until Christmas, and Apple’s hoping to convince you that it’s the company you should be turning to for help with your festive shopping — courtesy of its 2015 holiday season gift guide.

To make things even better, Apple today started offering free holiday shipping in the U.S, Canada, Europe and select other regions to make your shopping (whether it’s for yourself or others) a tiny bit more affordable.

Know when to keep the keys in your pocket by making your phone a breathalyzer [Deals]

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The BACtrack turns your phone into an accurate breathalyzer, eliminating any doubt as to whether it's a good idea to get behind the wheel.
The BACtrack turns your phone into an accurate breathalyzer, eliminating any doubt as to whether it's a good idea to get behind the wheel.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

You good to drive? Unfortunately the answer to that question isn’t always the right one, and if a cop has to answer it for you it’s a good bet they’ll be getting the truth. One of the reasons is that they can actually see how much you’ve had to drink by measuring it in your breath. Of course nobody should hop in a car after drinking any amount, but with the BACtrack Vio Smartphone Breathalyzer, you can take the role of cop before one rolls up on you or your friends if there’s any question. It’s a disaster averting tool that you can get for just $39.99 at Cult of Mac Deals.

Feel better about your own relatives with these 5 dysfunctional-family films

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Denis Leary is just not having it in The Ref. Photo: Touchstone Pictures
Denis Leary is just not having it in The Ref. Photo: Touchstone Pictures

The holidays are upon us, and that means you’re probably about to spend a lot of time with your family. Your family is probably great, but some people aren’t so lucky. And for those rare cases of people who dread all of the “quality time” they’re about to be exposed to, we’ve collected an assortment of movies to make them appreciate what they have a little more.

Because things could almost always be worse. For example:

The reason for the season: affordable tech gifts for kids

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This little iGuy from Speck will keep your kid's expensive gift a lot safer. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
This little iGuy case from Speck will keep your kid's expensive gift a lot safer. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

Kids everywhere are looking to Santa to bring them the hottest tech toys around, including iPhones, iPads, Nintendo 3DSes and Sony PlayStations, but these types of gifts can certainly strain a lowly elf’s meager paycheck.

If you’re looking for engaging and interesting gifts that won’t burst Santa’s money sack, take a look at the list we’ve put together for you below. It’s full of fun stuff that won’t leave you unable to afford a plate of cookies for that big red jolly fellow.

Treat your ears to the weirdest holiday songs ever

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Nothing says holiday music like...wait, what? Photo: King Diamond
Nothing says holiday music like...wait, what? Photo: King Diamond

It’s easy to list off classic songs of the season, isn’t it? Even now, the hit holiday tunes we all know by heart rush up the music charts every year, gracing radio and streaming options for the happiest season of them all.

Of course Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” — written in 1944 by Mel Torme — is currently No. 5 on the Billboard charts, while “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee (1958) tops even that chestnut at No. 3 of the top hot holiday songs as well.

But what about all those other holiday songs that never had a chance to be on a chart anywhere, except perhaps the chord charts these bands use to play live gigs? How will the odd songs, the weird ones — the tunes that just “think different” — ever get heard?

That’s why we’re here, with a bunch of weird tunes you just have to hear. Happy holidays!

Holiday cheer as hipsters get hit in face with snowballs

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Wow, that looks cold. Photo: Exit 10
Wow, that looks cold. Photo: Exit 10

There’s nothing better than a snowball fight, unless its a snowball fight you can watch from the comfort of your couch and Macbook Pro.

Even better is a snowball (or two!) in the face of a bunch of adorable hipsters from Exit 10, a design studio in Baltimore that put together this ultra-slow-mo snowball massacre for you to enjoy.

Find and add national holidays to your Google calendar

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Google Calendar

I don’t think I would make it in life anymore without my Google calendars. Having my appointments and date-based reminders in Google’s system makes sure I can access them wherever I am, and with whatever device I have at hand: iPhone, iPad, MacBook, someone else’s computer.

Today I went looking to see if this coming Monday is Memorial Day, because as an online writer, I totally forget those sorts of things, along with info like, “what day is it,” and “did I wear pants yet?”

Regardless, I went searching and realized my calendar did not have major US holidays on it. Here’s how I fixed that oversight.