If you've been postponing yourholiday gift preparations, or if you just need a few extra gifts to stuff the stockings of friends and family, Ars is here to help. We've compiled a short list of great gifts (all under fifty bucks) that you can give without fear of disappointment.
If you're ordering online, move quick; Christmas arrival guarantees are set to expire in the next couple of days, if they haven't already. Should the deadline pass you by, there are always brick-and-mortar (gasp) stores, though these are likely to crowded with mobs of folks doing exactly the same thing you are.
eMusic gift subscription card
Price: $30 for 3 months (90 tracks total)
Amazon.com gift card
Price: Any (Shop.Ars)
Want to give a gift card to a music buff, but worried about the "DRM frown" when she realizes that many songs will still be encumbered? Consider a gift subscription from eMusic (for indie types) or an Amazon gift card (for more mainstream tastes). Both have a huge variety of music in MP3 format.
SanDisk 2GB Cruzer USB Flash Drive
Price: $30 (Shop.Ars)
Flash drives: yes, they're everywhere, and yes, your friends and relations already have them, but who doesn't need a second one? For Vista users in particular, fast flash drives have taken on new utility now that Microsoft supports their use with its ReadyBoost caching feature. U3 functionality is an added bonus (but doesn't work in Vista).
The Lord of the Rings (DVD trilogy)
Price: $20 (Shop.Ars)
Star Wars (DVD trilogy)
Price: $35 (Shop.Ars)
If you've got some time over the holidays, what better way to spend it than by taking in quality geek filmmaking? Both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are available in handsome box sets and make classic gifts for the discerning geek who doesn't yet own both.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Price: $45 (Shop.Ars)
Speaking of Star Wars, the recent release of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a perfect stocking stuffer that the whole family can enjoy. Available for the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, the game is an especially good choice for adults who want to play co-op with their kids. What the game lacks in difficulty it makes up for in flat-out fun and goofy humor, and when you can pick up the complete saga for under fifty bucks, even a prissy protocol droid could find little to complain about.