5 Remarkable Christmas Gift Ideas

Written by Christine Kane

masterwriter.jpg1 – For the songwriter in your life:

MasterWriter

MasterWriter was given to me by a friend who said, “Here. Chris Isaacs swears by this program.” So does Gwen Stefani, Kenny Loggins and many others.

I’ll say this: MasterWriter is the most impressive, comprehensive, easy-to-use songwriting software out there. It practically writes your songs for you. (Not really. But it seemed like the next thing I should say.)

If you don’t believe me, then view the demo online.

I love MasterWriter because it was obviously designed by songwriters FOR songwriters. The rhyming dictionary is the only rhyming dictionary that is SO totally lyric focused. It doesn’t just give you a single-word rhyme. It gives you close rhymes, phrases, alliterations, pop-culture words, synonyms, the definition and much more. This alone can rev up your brain and catapult you in new song directions.

I can’t recommend Masterwriter enough. It’s Windows and Mac compatible. You can get a free 30-Day trial on the MasterWriter site.

Drawback: If you’re a grab-the-notebook-and-start-writing songwriter, MasterWriter will require some time to build a new habit of grabbing your laptop.

GET MY DISCOUNT: If you buy Masterwriter, use my own personal Christine Kane code and you’ll get a $70 discount. CODE: 4037

pressurecooker.jpg

2. For the Vegan in your life:

Khun Rikon Pressure Cooker

I’ll admit it. I’m passionate about great kitchen stuff. I love the Khun Rikon Pressure Cooker. In the winter, we make black-eyed peas, black beans, and all kinds of other bean-y things – all from dried organic beans. (You can make lots of other stuff too!) My husband and I did extensive research before we got our pressure cooker – and this is, by far, the best one out there. You can get it at amazon.com for a great price and free shipping! (And you oughtta email me to get my black-eyed pea recipe – it’s better than eggs for breakfast!)

Drawback: You have to do it a few times to get the hang of it before you’ll trust yourself not to blast a hole in your kitchen ceiling.

3. For the slightly high-strung person in your life:

The Holosync Solution

holosync3.jpg

Holosync rocks. After I recommended Holosync in a post about business travel, several of my readers purchased their own copies of Holosync – and they’ve written to thank me.

The Holosync Solution is a CD series (I’ve put them on my iPod) that you use with headphones. Each one lasts about a half hour. As you listen, the sound is said to “stimulate the creation of new neural pathways between the right and left hemispheres of your brain.”

Maybe so. But I like it because I feel centered after I listen. I toured with a personal assistant when I performed with the ballet company. She always told me to “go listen to the ringy rainy thing” when I got nervous before the performance. (She said she could see a huge difference in me when I did that.)

I listen when I’m on a plane, or if I can’t fall asleep at night, or in meditation. My favorite track is just the sound of rain with Tibetan bowls in the background. (Or “ringy rainy.”)

Drawback: Bill Harris (the creator of Holosync) tends to over-sell and over-pitch his product with long web pages of testimonials, and many emails. I don’t know why he does it. But I’m just going to warn you that he does. It’s still a great product.

4. For the commuter in your life:

An Audible.com Subscription


Two FREE Audiobooks RISK-FREE from Audible
I’ve written about audible.com so much that my blog readers sometimes send me gift certificates as donations. Happy dance for me! Audiobooks are my thing. I listen to them while I’m cleaning my house, or while I’m preparing dinner (with my pressure cooker), or when I’m driving.

With audible.com, you can get 12 or 24 credits – and go download a book whenever you feel like it. Instantly! You also get better prices on non-credit books when you’re a member. So you can save your credits for the expensive books and buy the cheaper books with your credit card! Audible also has outrageous sales. Click on the audible.com image to go get a great deal on a subscription.

Drawback: You can only copy each audiobook twice. If you have more than one iPod or more than one friend you want to share your book with – then you have to remember that.

5 – For everybody in your life:

A Christine Kane CD

afniol.jpg

(Aw, c’mon! You didn’t think I’d leave myself out of this did you?!)

You know how you give someone a CD of music they’ve never heard? And how you have the usual “I think you’ll like this” conversation?

NOW – you can give them a CD and say, “Actually, I had never heard of her before. Then, I read her blog! And then I downloaded some songs. I think you’ll like her!”

And then they’ll say, “I’ve heard about blogs. Aren’t they just really lame people writing about their cats?”

And you’ll say, “No! It’s much more than that! Blogs are this really cool thing. Here’s a link to Christine’s blog!”

And the conversation will turn into a deep and meaningful discussion about how the whole world is changing so fast – and maybe you could find ways to use all this new media to benefit you, etc. Pretty soon you’ll be brainstorming cool internet business ideas with my tunes playing in the background. (Unless of course you have the Bon Jovi Christmas CD in the background. After all, it IS Christmas.)

Really, it’ll be the hippest holiday conversation you’ll have!! All because you gave my CD’s as gifts!

Drawbacks: What with Free Shipping on my shopping cart, and no DRM restrictions once you get the CD – I can’t think of a single drawback! :-)

{12 comments ... read them below or add one}

NancyCz November 7, 2007 at 8:27 am

Is it me, or can anyone else actually hear Christine smiling when you read this entry? Wait… can you hear someone smile? Eh… you know what I mean.

Thanks for the great ideas! Audible.com is my favorite travel companion (well, that and a book of Sudoku puzzles).

[Reply]

Christine Kane November 7, 2007 at 9:17 am

hi nancy! i can’t hear me smile – but i did have lots of fun writing this. :-) and i still resist sudoku for the same reason i resist computer solitaire. i can become a little obsessed!

[Reply]

Colin November 7, 2007 at 9:48 am

That MasterWriter program sounds like it may have interesting implications for anyone in creative writing, not just songwriting. Perhaps it could help alleviate the mind-numbing vernacular (way cool) and remove any vestiges of the word “awesome”. But I’m not complaining (day 4). I don’t need the pressure cooker `cause I am one. Great post!
Much love,
Fr. Crusty

[Reply]

Christine Kane November 7, 2007 at 11:24 am

colin – well, masterwriter comes with a full studio recording program. i can record snippets of songs, file them WITH their many drafts of lyrics. and keep files of all the melody ideas for that one song. it’s definitely a songwriter’s tool. but i get what you’re saying – and it’s just WAY cool. :-)

[Reply]

Elizabeth November 7, 2007 at 1:13 pm

hey Christine, I was just wondering why your new CD is not showing up on itunes. Is it available on itunes yet?

[Reply]

Christine Kane November 7, 2007 at 3:21 pm

hi elizabeth – it’s not there yet. but it will be soon!

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Susan November 7, 2007 at 7:27 pm

Hey Christine…I bought your new CD at lunch today which isn’t particularly news deserving of a post I suppose. But here’s the thing, I’m part of a corporate office merge and refuse to put my stereo in the new place (because that would be like settling in when I’m trying to figure a way out). So I returned after lunch and after about an hour could resist no longer…I had to go to my car a listen to the most perfectly written song for the place I am (both emotionally and physically). Of course, I’m referring to RIGHT OUTTA NOWHERE.

I have always loved that song and your most recently recorded version is beautiful. It’s like a lullaby to fear and a hymn in praise of what is supposed to be. (No song writing software can have that heart ;) For a million reasons it brought tears to my eyes and I was the happiest I have been since the whole office merger thing came about.

Thank you for the pure joy on a cold Midwestern afternoon.

[Reply]

Christine Kane November 7, 2007 at 9:05 pm

thanks susan! what a sweet comment to read this evening. i’m so touched by this.

[Reply]

Katherine/ME November 8, 2007 at 7:00 pm

me too. i think all of us who love christine’s music can be touched by susan’s comment. that song is a particular favorite of mine. it gently encourages me on a daily basis as i get ready for my big leap. many of christine’s songs are keeping me on my track these past few months. thanks for mentioning your experience, susan. gave me an in to share mine! okay, so what else does one cook in a pressure cooker?

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Katherine/ME November 8, 2007 at 7:08 pm

ah, nevermind. googled it!

[Reply]

Mary November 10, 2007 at 4:26 pm

A Pressure Cooker! Wow does that bring back memories! I didn’t even know they made them anymore. I grew up with my mom cooking chicken soup and dumplings in her pressure cooker, with the little blog knob on top that made a rhythmic “swish, swish, swish” noise as it gently released the steam. (OK, sometimes it was not so gentle – and I even remember chicken soup on the ceiling – but those a great childhood memories) This is now my #1 item on my Christmas wishlist – #2 is my very own battery powered, pink energizer bunny (he’s soooooo cute and an inspiration to keep going when the going gets dim)! Thanks, Christine, for the best blog I’ve surfed across so far! P.S. I would love your black-eyed pea receipe. George and I LOVE dried beans of any kind.

[Reply]

Mary November 10, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Hi Colin…the same thing crossed my mind as I was reading about the MasterWriter program. There must be something like it out there for us aspiring writers who need a creative jolt every now and then. I will have to do a google search on that one….

[Reply]

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