The quiet beauty, the true meaning, of Christmas lies in how it offers us the chance to show off how trendy we are by wowing loved ones with truly killer gifts.
What? That's not what Christmas is about?
Well, even if it's not something Linus would celebrate in that "Peanuts" cartoon, wowing people with your trend-detecting abilities is still fun, right? And it's toward that end that we've gone out in search of a few trendy gifts that might help you wow your own loved ones this year.
Our definition of "trendy" is, as it must be, vague and elastic. That's just how "trendy" works. But we feel confident that at least one of our suggestions will impress somebody on your Christmas list.
(Note that prices may vary from retailer to retailer, and that gifts may be available at other retailers, too.)
It may or not be an iPad killer, but the Kindle Fire is being lauded as a worthy, and less expensive, alternative to Apple's own pioneering multimedia tablet.
E-books? Check. Movies and multimedia? Check. Touch screen? Check. Wi-Fi? Check. Web browser? Check.
If you know somebody who's lusting for an iPad but either can't afford it or can't justify spending the extra bucks, the Kindle Fire -- which, by the way, is getting pretty good reviews -- would be a well-appreciated alternative.
($199 at Amazon.com and Best Buy)
And while you're playing with your Kindle Fire, keep your child from feeling left out by giving him or her a LeapPad Explorer, one of the season's hottest gifts, kids' division. The tablet has a touch screen, a built-in camera and video recorder, and 2 gigabytes of memory for storing e-books and such, is loaded with child-friendly applications, and can be expanded with a variety of games.
($99.99 at Toys R Us)
THE HUNGER GAMES: TRAINING DAYS
A prediction: By the time it premieres on March 23, the buzz over the film adaptation of "The Hunger Games" will be louder than a sky full of Mockingjays. Fans of the young adult-but-fantastic-for-anybody novels will get the reference, and if you want to be trendy, you'll read the trilogy by then, too. In the meantime, "Hunger Games" fanatics on your list might enjoy The Hunger Games: Training Days, a strategy game in which players take on the roles of Hunger Games tributes. May the odds be ever in your favor.
($29.95 at Barnes & Noble)
"CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3"
On the other hand, those who have gamers of a more digital persuasion on their Christmas lists might wish to pick up a copy of the latest entry in the popular "Call of Duty" franchise. And talk about trendy: The first-person shooter, which was released Nov. 8, scored record-setting sales of more than $750 million in its first five days in stores.
($59.99 at Best Buy, Target and other video game retailers)
ZOKO DUO QUICK POP MAKER
Freeze pops were the coolest things ever when you were a kid. Now that you're an adult, freeze pops can again be trendy with the Zoku Duo Quick Pop Maker, which makes pops -- including pops tailored more to an adult palate -- in minutes.
($36.95 at Williams-Sonoma)
Oxygen bars have been trendy since forever, or so it seems, and Oxygen Plus' selection of -- let's get this right -- "portable, recreational canned oxygen" offers a breath of fresh air whenever life leaves you out of breath. And it comes in flavors, too!
($5.99-$49.99 from oxygenplus.com)
XZIPIT BY LA-Z-BOY
So the wife doesn't want a sports-themed recliner in your trendy living room? Check out the XZipit recliner, which lets you zip in your favorite team's logo or mascot during the game and then remove it afterward to make the chair look like an everyday recliner.
($799 and $999 at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries)
Nothing's trendier than a rave, and when the Electric Daisy Carnival returns to Las Vegas you'll be the life of the party with a T-Qualizer Raver Equalizer Shirt. The shirts, available in several styles and color combinations, feature electroluminescent technology that flashes along to the music. Dealing with mesmerized passers-by we'll leave to you.
($29.95 from www.TQualizer.com)
BABY ELVIS JUMPSUIT
Elvis was, is and forever more shall be trendy. And, to introduce the young'uns to the glory that is Elvis, leave a Baby Elvis jumpsuit or two under the tree. Sizes range from baby-toddler to kid-sized, and the white, sequined costume even comes with a pair of gold sunglasses. Thankyaverymuch.
($98 at Kid's Kastle, the Forum Shops at Caesars)
CASA FUENTE SINGLE BARREL WHISKEY
Some consider fine whiskey trendy. We consider it timeless. Either way, what better gift for Dad than a bottle of Casa Fuente Single Barrel Whiskey, created via a partnership between Casa Fuente and Jack Daniel's? A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle goes to the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.
($85 at Casa Fuente, the Forum Shops at Caesars)