Utilizing Your Mac During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full force after the Thanksgiving holiday. Many families will be sitting around the table for holiday dinners, going to holiday gatherings, and other holiday activities. As a result, individuals want to capture these moments to remember later on. Some have to wait for photos to develop, venture out in the winter weather to pick up prints and holiday cards, resulting in a large inconvenience. However, today we will show how you can take advantage of your Mac during the holiday season while at home.

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Communication during the holiday season is essential. Our Mac’s native communication options allow us to share and connect with loved ones we are away from during the holiday season. The mail option on your Mac is perfect for sharing photos and home movies with loved ones and friends who are away. Have a card you want to virtually share with them? Scan the card and email it to them as a photo.

The iChat feature allows the loved one to be there with you without actually physically being with you.  With support for services like Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger, you have a multitude of options to stay in touch. Want to contact a family member with a Mac? FaceTime is your best option. With the OS X Lion update, all Macs have FaceTime, changing it from a downloadable app to integrated software. FaceTime works even while closed, allowing you to never miss that call on Christmas morning.

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Some individuals are surprised at the amount of features in iPhoto that they never use. Many of these features help replace the need to go to your local photo-developing store, in return saving you a lot of money. Remember the family portrait around the Thanksgiving table with a card made directly in iPhoto. You are guaranteed with quality cards and stationary with premium paper being Apple’s standard when printing your prints. There are a ton of options available for amazing and eye popping designs for your next holiday card. All cards range from $0.99 – $2.99 per iPhoto created card. Along with cards, you can also create photo books starting at $20. Your holiday memories will follow you wherever you go with Photo Steam, iPhoto photos appearing on any iDevice connected with iCloud.

Your Mac allows you to make wonderful family home videos that capture your holiday celebrations and dinners. To begin, simply connect your camera to your Mac computer. Then, launch iMovie and click the camera icon. Your video should appear, ready for importing. From there, you have a choice of effects, trailers, and more. Once you’re finished with editing your home video, you can export it and share it with friends on Facebook. With the option of exporting to HD, you can even upload to YouTube to share you funny holiday moment with the world.

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When organizing your next holiday get together, take advantage of the Address Book feature of your Mac. The feature is revamped in OS X Lion, allowing you to gather a lot more information and using the information in other locations. Contacts linked with profiles and emails automatically launch the appropriate program. For example, if you want to remind your Aunt to bring the green bean casserole, you can click on her email to launch Mail automatically. The same occurs with linked instant messaging accounts and social networking websites. In addition, if you want to start a FaceTime call with an email linked in your contacts, you can click the email to launch FaceTime.

ICal allow you to keep track of all of the holiday events going on for you this year. Each event can be color-coded and labeled, allowing you to differentiate quickly which event is which without having to read a word. Extending on the convenience factor, iCal allows you to add events quickly by clicking the + button at the top. You can type the event in a phrase, automatically adding the event into your calendar. Your iCal will be the essential tool in keeping up with the holiday social activities in your life. In addition, you can link iCal with your iDevice to keep track of important events while on the go.

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While not software that comes with your Mac out of the box, Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 is an essential application for any Mac user. The software comes with word, PowerPoint, and excel. Outlook is an option for the Home and Business edition users. During the holidays, Microsoft Office will come in handy a lot more than you think. When downloaded, Microsoft Office has a Project Gallery. When browsing, the gallery allows you to select if you want to create a card, flyer, menu, and more. When selected, Microsoft Office automatically sets the interface according to what you are doing.

The features, including the ability to make menus and flyers, can make your holiday a lot more creative. Menus, for example, used to be an aspect of the holiday dinner that cost users a couple of bucks. However, with Microsoft Office, you have the ability to make menus and other holiday fares for free. In addition, you can even start on the family wish list with Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Office allows you to share between other Microsoft Office users. This allows you to send family members a document where they can add their desired list for the year, adding to the wish list. This makes holiday shopping a breeze, somewhat!

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As you can see, your Mac is a lot more useful than watching funny YouTube videos and web surfing. Your Mac can come in handy during the holiday season when saving time and money. Along with the features above, your Mac can also help with other features, including finding and playing the best holiday tunes with iTunes, making your own holiday mixes with Garage band, and taking advantage of the vast variety of apps in the Mac App Store. This holiday season, whether you’re making a holiday movie or creating a family scrapbook, your best-cost efficient solution might be the thing you are reading this article on right now.