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Darth Vader action figureI was nine years old and I was a huge Star Wars fan. I was looking forward to Christmas like every kid and I hoped to get a ton of Star Wars stuff. 

Christmas morning finally came and back then I would try to sneak out of bed at four or five in the morning so I could start playing.  Sometimes I would get caught and I was told to go back to bed, but I always came out later after the coast was clear.

That Christmas I woke up early and quickly ran to the living room to start opening my presents.  Every gift I opened was a toy.  I don’t remember all of the stuff I got, but as I said it was all toys!

I went searching to the back of the tree to see if there was anything I missed and I found a present in the shape of a rectangle.  This meant it was shirt box – clothes!  Ugh.  I tossed it back and buried it under some of my sibling’s presents.

Click to continue reading Holiday Gift Guide Flashback: A Dark Lord Christmas


Kodak ZI6

If you wanna pick up a YouTube-ready video camera for Mom, we are hard pressed to find something as good as the Kodak ZI6, for the price. This little camera shoots in 720p high-definition at 60 frames per second, and can also take regular old still images as well. Other cameras, like the can’t do that. It supports SD cards in sizes up to 32GB, which basically means you’ll be able to shoot video until your (rechargeable) battery dies, as opposed to worrying about how much space you have left. You can pick them up from Kodak for $153, they’re available in pink, as well as black. Get it quick though, because they are on sale now. After 12/15, they go back up to their normal price of $179.

Read More | Kodak ZI6 product page

Beats by Dr. Dre StudioWe’ve been big fans of the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones since we first got our hands on them. They’ve got a nice style, with a hip-hop vibe, and a fantastic noise-canceling feature. The earcups are surprisingly comfortable, and fold away on the inner side of the glossy black headband, which can then be stored in the included case. The Beats by Dr. Dre studio headphones do requier two AAA batteries for the noise cancellation feature, and you’ll get about 50 hours of listening time on a pair of those. They also include two audio cables, both of which even fit into the original headset jack, and one of which also includes a mic, so you can take calls. The Monster Beats by Dr. Dre stereo headphones can be found on Amazon for $349.

Read More | Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones

Metrokane Ice CrusherPurchasing gifts for a loved one is often difficult, especially when expectations are high. So, gentlemen - if you’re struggling to find the perfect present for a significant other, please let me share a story about one of my most “memorable” gifts.

Back in 2001, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I had our 1st real Christmas together. Although it was technically our second time celebrating the holiday, I didn’t really count the first. Since we had only started dating weeks beforehand, I didn’t anticipate much. But after a whole year together, I was curious to see how well he knew me. Apparently not as well as I had hoped.

To be fair, I did receive two gifts that day. The first was a beautiful green necklace. (Thankfully, it did not come attached to a Benny Bear.) And while I appreciated the tasteful choice in jewelry, the item was unfortunately not the thing I remember most about that December 25. It was a completely random selection still waiting in the wings: the ice crusher.

An ice crusher that my boyfriend/husband saw in Pottery Barn and thought was “cool” and “very pretty.” (Granted - the Metrokane Ice-O-Matic did have a nice art deco design.) An ice crusher I didn’t know I needed. An ice crusher my husband’s coworker told him NOT to buy. (She said it wasn’t exactly a “romantic” choice.) An ice crusher that said “crush my heart” and “ice queen” all at the same time.  An ice crusher that up until last night (when I reminded my spouse of its existence), hadn’t seen the light of day in years.

So in case you missed the lessons from my cautionary tale, let me list them out for you:

  1. “Pretty” things don’t necessarily make good gifts.
  2. Don’t ever buy your loved one something YOU want.
  3. Products that require manual labor should never be given, unless it’s something they requested.
  4. If you ask another woman for a second opinion, please heed her advice.
  5. Read our Holiday Gift Guide, and let us help you.

Happy Holidays!

Roku Netflix Player

Sure, has come to the , but if you want streaming access to the Netflix service and don’t own a game console, this is your cheapest barrier to entry. Definitely a great gift for movie buffs, the Roku Netflix player is able to stream over 12,000 movies and television shows from the Netflix Watch Instantly catalogue. The set-top box currently outputs at 480p (DVD quality), but we know that high definition streaming is on the way. The box is tiny, so it takes up barely any space, and setup takes just a couple of minutes - very simple. Of course, a Netflix subscription is required, but once you have that, everything else is a piece of cake.

Read More | Roku

Time Capsule

Yeah, we know, the Time Capsule is a router and backup device. Not that exciting, right? Well, not all gifts are meant to spur excitement - this one is practical and functional. If you know someone who owns a Mac, and doesn’t take advantage of , then they need a Time Capsule - especially if they use a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The Time Machine sports either a 500GB or 1TB hard drive, and is a combination wired/wireless network attached storage device. Even better, it doubles as an 802.11n/g router as well. The 500GB Time Capsule sells for $299, while the 1TB version will run you $499.

Read More | Apple Time Capsule

DVD playerBeing both an early adopter, someone without a bunch of money, and a gadgetophile is a hard combination to pull off. Back in 1999, that was me as a teenager, and the thing I wanted most that year was a standalone DVD player. Sure, I had the DVD-ROM drive in my Sony Vaio desktop computer, but my monitor was only 15-inches back then, and I had a 28-inch television. Who wouldn’t want to watch DVDs on their awesome 28-inch television, with ghetto stereo sound?

That year, my girlfriend at the time decided she would surprise me with a DVD player. If you weren’t in the market for DVD players back then, allow me to fill you in. Those $25 deals you are seeing this holiday season on players at Target and Wal-Mart? Yeah, prices have fallen exponentially. My first DVD player sold for $399.99. A serious token of her love, most certainly. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t have gotten a DVD player otherwise.

I immediately snapped up The Usual Suspects and a couple of other titles that I don’t even remember. I didn’t even care, I was just all about the slick new piece of technology.

What about you? Any fond memories of holidays past, where you gave or received an awesome gift? Let us know in the comments

T-Mobile G1We’ve been messing with our for a few days now, in preparation for a full review, but we are confident enough in the device to list it here in our Holiday Gift Guide. The T-Mobile G1 is the first phone on the market that features Google’s Android OS. Along with the Google love, the G1 features 3G speeds, a physical QWERTY keyboard, and a 3 megapixel camera. The software itself features all the goodness you’d expect from Google, meaning integration with Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and Google Maps with the super-cool Street View Compass mode. There’s also a store that allows you to download apps, games, and the like. If you want to get someone a smartphone, and they are on T-Mobile, this is the one to get. You can pick it up from T-Mobile for $179.

Read More | T-Mobile G1

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700If you want to pick up a camera for your loved one that is as much a fashion statement as it is a photography device, you’ve gotta consider the fashionista-friendly Cyber-Shot DSC-T700. It’s not all about the looks, though, because this camera packs in a bunch of features. Like what? How about anti-blink and Smile Shutter technology? It also features a 3.5-inch ultra-high resolution touchscreen display, shoots at up to 10.1 megapixels, and includes 4GB of internal memory. It also includes the Picture Motion Browser software package, but seriously, who’s gonna use that? The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T700 retails for $399.99, but on Amazon we were able to find substantial discounts, depending on which color you were interested in:

There’s also a gold version, but we didn’t include that one since there was no discount available on it. Definitely a good gift for the woman in your life.

Elmo LiveOnce again, Elmo is here to take over the holiday, causing parking lot brawls between otherwise-normal parents. Back in 1996, Tickle Me Elmo flew off store shelves. 12 years later, Elmo Live tells jokes, sings songs, plays games, and tells stories. Oh, and he still laughs too. The biggest change, though, is thatElmo’s mouth actually moves when he talks, along with the rest of his body. He also moves his arms, nods his head, stands up, sits down, among other things, all with a squeeze of his foot. I was at Target the other day, and almost every shopping cart with a kid in it had one, and at one moment, I literally heard 7 of these things going at once, simply due to the carts being in close proximity. This is one of the big toy gifts this year. Elmo Live sells for $65.99, but we found it on Amazon for 9% off, at $59.88.