The gift of giving ' at the expense of the wallet

Some must-have gifts this holiday season

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Lights adorn houses, Christmas carols and songs ring through the neighborhood, Starbucks has started selling their festive treats and a polar vortex is shutting down Buffalo with feet of snow. The holidays are approaching quickly and with the holiday cheer comes the need for gifts – many of them aren’t cheap.

Here are just a few of the best gifts to give this holiday season.

Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Price: $400 for PS4, $350-450 for Xbox One while holiday sale lasts

After over a year of being on shelves and drawing the eyes of plenty of Santa’s elves, which console to gift this holiday season is still up for debate and will be for years to come. This year, the Xbox One has a big advantage. Between Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the Xbox One is having a great year for exclusives. Additionally from Nov. 2 through Jan. 3 most major retailers – including Target, Best Buy, Microsoft and Amazon – are having a $50 sale on many of the console’s best bundles. A Kinect free bundle is also available.

The Sunset Overdrive bundle for $350 is a steal for any Santa keeping an eye on his budget and looking to gift a great console along with an outstanding game – and that’s just one of the many options Microsoft has stocked the shelves with.

Black Friday deals on games, most of which are available online and in the store, make gifting for the gaming enthused even easier.

Apple Watch

Price: Starting at $349

The Apple Watch might not be out by Christmas or Hanukah, but it’s the rain check gift that will keep on giving this year. Apple’s first wearable device was “built from the wrist up” to offer wearers the company’s most customizable and personal experience yet. With dozens of faces, three models (a standard model, Sport and Edition), two face sizes (42 and 33mm) and plenty of bands to choose from, aesthetically the watch is as customizable as it is innovative.

The Retina display makes the entirely new user interface easy to view, while the Digital Crown allows users to scroll, zoom and select screen options without blocking the crisp screen. The home screen is unlike anything Apple has put on the map and remains exciting, since consumers still don’t know when the watch will officially be released.

Canon 7D Mark II

Price: $1800 for the body alone

iPhones and Samsung Galaxys can only make family selfies and outings look so good. They also might not be sharp enough to catch Santa coming down the chimney or his reindeer waiting on the roof.

DSLR and other digital cameras have become the way to go. An $1800 camera that still doesn’t have a lens might not be the most realistic present to ask for, but it will last for years and leave the next few holiday seasons full of crisp photo-filled memories. The 20.2 Megapixed APS-C CMOS sensor and Dual Digic 6 Image Processors blow the iPhone 6’s 8 Megapixel camera out of the water, like a fish hit by dynamite.

10 frames-per-second and a camera built like a boulder that can last for over 200,000 photos are just a few more reasons to pick up one of Canon’s newest cameras.

For outdoor photos, gloves are a must to withstand the bone-chilling cold of polar vortexes and other winter wonderland weather.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R

Price: $2800

If an $1800 DSLR is either too bulky or not expensive enough for your gold-plated pockets, maybe one of Sony’s full frame digital cameras is the perfect gift for you.

Aesthetically more akin to an old single-shot black-and-white camera, these compact beauties pack portability that beats many DSLR cameras and a quality to match.

Astro A50 headsets

Price: $300

The holidays can mean many things, including lounging at home playing some of this year’s best games into the long and lonely hours of night. Luckily, for late night gaming sessions back at home or for appeasing your roommates’ sleep schedules, Astro Gaming has you covered.

Wireless A50s offer the perfect combination of cordless, gaming audio bliss and noise cancelation for yourself and your roommates. The company has built a reputation around its premier gaming headsets that come in various sizes and fit multiple lifestyles. Some of their headsets include the A30’s, which offer mobility for listening to music on the go and gaming performance, the $238 A38s for mobile gaming and music jamming and the A40s and 50s that stand as titans of gaming headphone performance.

Urbanears

Price: Starting at $50, ear buds starting at $35

Urban Outfitter’s Plattan, Zinken and Humlan offer various levels of sound quality and durability, and for their price points and stylish colors it’s hard to find a better headphone that can stand the test of Buffalo’s brutal winters and the rugged and vigorous lifestyles of many campus-goers.

The headphones, and the company’s ear buds, are built for comfort, sound quality, durability and portability, leaving listeners blissfully tuned in to the music they love. The Zoundplug makes enjoying music with roommates and friends a breeze.

Philips SoundShooter Wireless speaker

Price: $50

For holiday parties or college ragers, wireless speakers are a must. They can alter the vibe of any party with the simple change of a song and the ability to access it from anywhere nearby keeps the DJ just as mobile on the dance floor as the partygoers being entertained. Whether it’s holiday tunes or the newest pop tunes to amp you up, the Philips SoundShooter Wireless speaker has you covered. It’s also a cheaper but reliable and useful gift compared to many of the items on this list. Eight hours of battery life is plenty of time to live the life of the party, the after party and maybe a bit of the after after party.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com