The Must-Have Gifts Of The Holiday Season (And The Hole In Your Life They Won’t Fill)

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The holiday season can be a nightmare for even the most savvy shoppers. Long lines, limited quantity items, and constant price-shopping can take their toll in the month leading up to the holiday. It’s a trial made all the more difficult by what can often be a fruitless search for the perfect gift. The gift that will not only win the day on Christmas morning but will also, perhaps, give you hope that the incessant hoarding of material goods will provide an illusion of permanence on this rock that we will all someday depart. That a TV, or a blender, or a piece of jewelry will fill the void in your life left by decades of personal neglect and self-sabotage. Won’t you, then, indulge us as we offer you a list of items that can perhaps offer you a glimpse of self-fulfillment?

Samsung 50” 4K Ultra HD TV: With remarkable contrast and color accuracy, this TV delivers a picture with unrivaled clarity on the 4K market. A clarity that, likely, would have been lost on your father, as the cataracts swallowed his vision in that home you left him in to die. Do you still remember how he would sit you on his knee as a child to watch Cronkite on your old black and white Magnavox? He loved you, you know. Your father. It’s just that his own father had stunted his emotional growth, and left him unable to express himself fully. Break that cycle of generational emotional neglect with your own children with this beauty from Samsung. ($699.99 MSRP)

327-Piece Lincoln Log Collector’s Edition Village: This classic wooden toy isn’t the trendiest thing around. But in its simplicity is the capacity for innovation and creativity that few toys can create in the mind of a child. Do you suppose it could compete with the bright LED screens and interactive technology that surround our children? Can it inspire the same wonder and amusement that it did in you when you were a child? Or are you just projecting your own wishes onto your offspring? Your parents never bought you the Lincoln Log set you wanted. “Money’s too tight,” mother would say. Money was always too tight. You have that money, though. And a son who had not yet been jaded by the crises of being denied the pleasures of his youth. Capture his imagination, if not his love, with Lincoln Logs. $109.99 MSRP

Nintendo Switch: After a misfire with the Wii U, Nintendo is back with another possible game-changer. Flying off shelves since March, the innovative Switch has the ability to toggle back and forth between playing on TV, or as a handheld console. But the ease with which it changes begs the question: “Do people ever really change?” Or do we grasp at the idea, giving us false hope that this hellish farce of an existence will someday evolve into something new and better before we are shuffled off? Do we live for the promise of something better, only to be disappointed when we find ourselves in the same place as always? He did promise he had changed, you know. That his old ways were gone. What did he say, exactly? “That part of me is dead, honey. I’m not that man anymore.” Perhaps he meant it. Perhaps you could have spent the holidays playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with Vincent after all. $299.99 MSRP

PicoBrew Model C Brewing Machine: This counter-sized home brewing machine helps bring the craft brew experience straight to your home. With an included mini-keg and patented PicoPak brewing selections, this is a must-have for any frequent home party host. Is it possible, even, that it could help you recapture, even for a moment, the glory of your beer-drenched college years? That, with just the right home-brew recipe, and the right group of friends, a reunion could be in the works? Remember that night in ‘06? With Todd, Eric, Jeff, and Larry, getting chased out of The Buccaneer Tavern at 2:00 a.m.? Do you think Todd still has that Borat costume? That he’d bring it over, and maybe Karen would let you guys have the house for just one night? Is it possible to go back? Is it ever possible? Or is time an ever-marching-forward progression, and the best you can hope to do is brew a decent lager to drown out your sorrows? $549.99 MSRP

FitBit Alta HR: One of the latest and most exciting offerings from the people at FitBit. It comes complete with SmartTrack technology to automatically recognize the length and type of workout you’re doing, as well as track your daily sleep and activity schedule. It even comes with the ability to deceive the user into believing they are creating tangible change in their own lives. That each step it tracks is a step forward, rather than a series of shuffles that go nowhere. You can run, and FitBit can watch, but you can’t escape the reality of your own life. She didn’t leave because of your lack of self-care. She didn’t mind the beer belly, or the expanding waistline. She left because you refused to move forward. To grow. FitBit may push you to move physically, but it can do nothing emotionally. And the moment you recognize this, FitBit Alta HR’s patented PurePulse heart rate monitor will alert you: This is not a nightmare. It is your reality. $199. 99 MSRP