Big Data Santa Makes Your Holiday Shopping Cheerful

William M. Connolley at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re the parent of a five year old anticipating the holidays, most likely they have recited their wish list ad nauseum.

Most of us have perhaps a very long list to check off on the holiday. How much or how well you fulfill the growing datum of well wishes is partly a matter of preference and a great deal of what budget allows. With a confluence of family, friends, coworkers, and the adjunct category of “other”, gift giving is a fairly complicated subject. Whether you are a part of a small family close to home or the branches of relatives sprawl for miles, you don’t want to overlook someone. Friends are another category. Whom do you really appreciate? Do they really need anything? At work – company policy or unwritten code of conduct – who gets what?
There are also those that may not be top of the list but really do rate appreciation. What about remembering the person who delivers your mail at home or all the packages for work? Consider honoring the teacher who spends more time with your children than you do during the week. What about the neighbor who keeps an eye out for your place. Your babysitter, the kid who cuts the grass, the string of people that make your life just a little brighter are good to acknowledge.
Now to figure out what to get for whom. Then figure out where to buy it. And then… the money to pay for all those gifts!

There is an app for it

Several apps are available for creating Christmas lists. (They also include birthdays and anniversaries.) They do some of the heavy lifting as far as beginning with importing contacts to create the lists, from which you can apply write-ins. The apps have budgeting capability to track a limit set versus actual spending. Some have a linking capability as far as “see” and “do.” The app can capture an item when you’re looking on-line. When you see something in a store or in person, you can geo-tag it with a picture. The apps have sort by store, which is really handy. When you’re in Target picking up toilet paper, you can click items off the list.

That’s Nice (Not Naughty) … but not Big Data

The apps are good – the digital lists of Christmas Present – but what Big Data can do for holiday shopping is a good introduction to the Spirit of Christmas Future.
It still starts with your contacts, but Big Data Santa digs through all your social media, your phone and text data banks, your email, your pics, and your calendar to capture the eaches of your digital life print. Big Data Santa creates a crazy long list (like in real life) but the result is the most comprehensive. The list is perhaps a bit more insightful too. Big Data has a way of finding the patterns and connections that aren’t so intuitive. Of course it has categories but it also has suggestions for prioritization (aka cutting back).

Five Golden Rings

How to pay? How much to spend? Big Data Santa knows your banking, your checking, your credit limits, your spending habits. It knows your pay check and your proclivity to spend on shopping and dining and entertaining. So it sets a budget that makes sense for you and tracks how much you deviate from it. Big Data Santa also can show the hangover effects of getting carried away – how long to pay off the bills or what you will have to sacrifice instead.
Big Data Santa takes the budget and spreads it out over the list. It doesn’t do it evenly like your mother’s steady hand with peanut butter. Big Data Santa knows the ones on your list are weighted unevenly and need individual attention. Satisfying your mother-in-law takes more resources than the school bus driver.

Big Data Santa Comes Down the Chimney

Here’s the magic. Now Big Data Santa scours the digital world of your list members, artfully culling through the digital traffic to find who is interested in what. It then matches products and services available on-line to your list. It doesn’t take Big Data Santa to know that Uncle Bob will be most happy with a bottle of Glen Livet, but BD Santa knows not only how to get it to your hands or his doorstep … with a bow and a note but also how to get the best price. For you niece, you may have lost touch with what dolls or stuffed animals 8 year old girls are craving this year, but Big Data Santa knows exactly what she wants. How about impressing the client that seems just out of reach? Big Data Santa sorts and stacks the matrix of wants and needs to find just what will bring them to you.
Big Data Santa also knows better who’s naughty or nice in your neighborhood businesses. Instead of a fistful of Starbucks cards, how about the local coffee shop or bagel store? Let Big Data Santa find the deals and specials that small businesses are offering and connect with your community.

Go Tithe Yourself

Big Data Santa also provides the option to set aside a portion of your spending for those not on your list, but needing your resources just the same. This can be a straight proportion of your spending or automatic drop blocks if you hit a threshold. Big Data Santa also knows what matters most to you in giving, and thus finds the most effective spending, like buying a tree from a nearby church or taking pictures with Santa for a charity and not the mall.
Today’s Christmas list apps have countdown features. Like the alarm for an appointment, it keeps you aware of the greatest resource of all – time. Big Data Santa understands that too. Choices become more limited or costs go up somewhere around two weeks out. If you care to see the penalties you accrue by waiting too long, Big Data Santa lets you in on the damage for procrastinating.

A Gift Worth Giving

There’s an art and science about gift giving, which is why it lends itself so well to the complex hands of Big Data. Gifts between countries with visiting dignitaries can set the tone for entente or détente. Goodness knows that is all the more true for the ones under your roof! Although Big Data Santa is a Spirit of Christmas Future, make sure to choose your gifts thoughtfully – each person, every time.
The gift worth giving is you 🙂