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Former Member
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If you are like me, each year it gets tougher to find the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family. And let's face it, for better or worse the gifts you give are a reflection of your personal brand. I know whereof I speak, since I'm still rebuilding mine from the year I gave my dad a Little Mermaid singing crab watch I picked up at the last minute at our neighborhood Walgreens. Needless to say, I did not spend that holiday at the "Corner of Happy and Healthy."

So to help you keep your personal brand above the Aunt Clara line (remember Ralphie's pink bunny suit in A Christmas Story?) I have some holiday gift suggestions that will put you in good stead with your family and friends throughout 2015.

Swash away your dry cleaning bills

If you are like me and spend too much money on dry cleaning every month, the Swash clothing care system is a godsend. Longtime SAP customers Whirlpool and Procter & Gamble teamed up to deliver this ingenious in-home appliance that cleans and de-wrinkles your clothes in 10 minutes. Hang your garment, drop in a cleaning pod, close the door, and voila, you're ready to set the world on fire. Swash sells for about $500 at many leading retailers.

Get personal with sports heroes at Thuzio

One of my personal 2014 highlights was when retired NY Giants running back and sharp dresser, Tiki Barber, complimented my socks when I met him at the SAP Financial Services Forum in October. I guarantee the highlight of your year will be when you send your friends and family personalized video messages from the sports legends at Tiki's hot online startup Thuzio.

For only $99, sports personalities like Cubs Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, Raiders great Fred Biletnikoff, or four-time Stanley Cup Champion Mike Bossy of the Islanders will cut a short video message specifically for you. Here's a link to a video featuring Mets legend Ed Kranepool that my colleague Jim Fields arranged for his brother Robert's birthday. Believe me, you will move up more than a few notches on the favorite uncle list if you send Thuzio video messages this holiday season.

Give the gift of hope

Donating to a charity in someone's name is a great way to do good, spread holiday cheer, and avoid the crowds at the mall. Here are a few that are on my list this year:

  • The Tyler Robinson Foundation.  Dedicated to a superfan of the band Imagine Dragons who passed away from cancer, TRF supports the families of children afflicted with pediatric cancer.
  • The Fisher House Foundation. Fisher Houses provide military families with housing close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.
  • Melmark. Melmark provides residential, educational and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, brain injuries and other neurological and genetic diagnoses.

For more great holiday gift ideas, I encourage you to check out this list on Slideshare.

Happy Holidays!