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Fiscal Cliff's Notes

For this season's shopping, do like they do on Capitol Hill

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Hell, Worry About It Later: Gifts over $100


How many times have you been to a family gathering, only to find that everyone in the room, including Grandma Dottie, has their face and fingers stuck to individual tiny screens? Tired of eating turkey beside the glow of a million iPhones and iPads? The Wii U, Nintendo's latest console, aims to remedy the slow burning disconnect of modern-day life with a focus on party and group-type games. Priced at $349.99 for the Wii U Deluxe, or $299.99 for the more basic version (and fewer gigabytes—not appealing to more serious gamers) the new system works with the motion-control remotes from the original Wii, while also featuring a Game-Pad touch-screen controller. In a world of increasingly complicated gaming, the user-friendly touch screen makes it easy for everyone in the family, including Grandma Dottie, to take part in the fun. This is the system to bust out at Thanksgiving and Christmas, bringing all the cousins, aunts and grandpas together in a rousing session of Sing Party karaoke. Like the Microsoft Kinect, it also offers a streaming service with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.—L.C.


Admittedly, a blanket map may or may not be something that's been featured on Portlandia. Like hand-stitched bird napkins or mustachioed liberals, it fits right into that uncomfortable gap between amazing and twee. But—bottom line—it's a blanket and a map and, thus, will probably go over well under the tree. San Francisco–based Soft Cities sells colorful fabric printed with gorgeous maps—of the place your child was born, or your friend's favorite neighborhood—for $175. Brooklyn-based Haptic Lab sells a quilted and more expensive version, offering multi-colored atlas-throws made of patches, complete with exquisitely detailed topography and roads. For your crafty friend, the latter company also sells DIY map quilting kits for under $100, giving everyone a chance to learn this probably-unnecessary-but-still-very-decorative skill.—R.D.


You owned every single Beatles album on vinyl, right? And then you bought them all on 8-track for your Mazda, and then again on cassette in the early 1980s for the family station wagon. But then CDs came along, and one by one, you picked up every title, from Please Please Me to Abbey Road. In 2009, those long-overdue remasters came out; shortly thereafter, the Fab Four's entire discography finally hit iTunes. With consistent upgrades, chances are you've bought Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at least three or four times already. Alas, everything old is new again, and those crazy kids with their Urban Outfitters catalogues have spawned a vinyl revolution; sales of LPs have increased a staggering 400 percent since 2007. Here, then, comes the Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set ($350), comprising the 12 original U.K. versions of each album, the U.S. release Magical Mystery Tour and the two-LP set Past Masters. The records are pressed on 180-gram vinyl, mastered at Abbey Road studios and are accompanied by original artwork and a 252-page hardbound book. Even the weird poster from inside the White Album is included. Need to recapture the feel of dropping the needle on "Taxman"? Need to illuminate your teenager, crouching in the corner with a Neutral Milk Hotel LP on his new turntable, to the wonders of "Norwegian Wood"? This is the way to do it fully and completely.—G.M.

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