Relax with a winter break

Ease your mind of holiday stress and distract yourself with desktop doodles, alternative gift ideas, and video projects for the family.

It's that time of year in the U.S. when frenzied Christmas shoppers flood the malls, winter storms wreak havoc throughout the country, and singles fret about finding the perfect date for New Year's Eve.

Like you, the staffers at CNET aren't immune to our own year-end holiday distractions, but we hope to lighten your seasonal load with helpful gift ideas, winter desktop treats, and do-it-yourself tech projects perfect for family gatherings.

First off, there's only one week left until Christmas, but whatever you do, don't panic! If you've got someone on your list who is a Web junkie, Jessica Dolcourt has compiled a gallery of gift suggestions for friends and family who spend all of their time online.

If you're not in the holiday spirit yet, there are oodles of free downloads to turn your Scrooge frown upside down. Find puppies, Mr. Hankey, Festivus, and New Year's from Times Square diversions in a gallery of seasonal winter screensavers.

The holidays are great for bringing friends and family together, but finding a common project or recreation can be difficult. If you're loaded with video clips from the previous year, Molly Wood shows you how to compile them into a holiday video for distributing to the masses.

What are you downloading this holiday season, or are you taking a break from the computer? Tell me about it in the comments. (If you are taking a break from the computer, are you reading this on your fancy phone or something?)

About Peter Butler

Peter has been working at since 2003, when trialware was shareware and toolbars were those large metal rods for smashing car windows. Currently, he wrangles the reviews, videos, newsletter, blog, and special collections for, as well as managing the program data throughout the software directory.