Welcome to the Engadget Holiday Gift Guide! The team here is well aware of the heartbreaking difficulties of the seasonal shopping experience, and we want to help you sort through the trash and come up with the treasures this year. Below is today's bevy of hand curated picks, and you can head back to the Gift Guide hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the holiday season.


So, you're here, and you probably like toys, or you're just really stuck with what to get for your lesser-geeks family and friends. Our guess is that you want something that even you want to play with (and maybe eventually repossess them when the love is over), but at the same time you want to avoid toys that'll drive you nuts when you're living with the lucky recipient. We know it's no easy task here, so we've picked out some of the hottest toys this year to keep things fresh for a while. Read on for some joyous gift inspiration.

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Toys

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Stocking stuffer

WowWee Lightstar - Radio-controlled flying things are wonderful, and especially when they are cheap and pretty like this one. We don't know how long it'll take before this thing shreds itself into bits across the room, but either way most ordinary boys would naturally glow when playing with it. Kids might even fight over it too. Make sure you watch the video before skipping along.

$20 - Shop for WowWee Lightstar

Brando Tiny USB Rechargeable RC Helicopter - Fine, the Lightstar's probably not good enough for your 15-year-old dude, so how about something more manly like this helicopter? Just beware that it'll probably end up confiscated at school while your boy attempts to impress the cool gang and his secret female idol.

$40 - Shop for Brando Tiny USB Rechargeable RC Helicopter

Mattel Mindflex - We've had a go on this and found it to be a good way to calm our minds, so it could be the perfect gift for stressful students or co-workers. If opened on Boxing Day it'll also make a great party game for the family -- it'll be a good laugh to distract players with embarrassing questions. Sexy music in the background helps too.

$100 - Shop for Mattel Mindflex

Oh, you shouldn't have

Tony Hawk: Ride - You've seen our dear Paul Miller on this skateboard simulator (for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii), and according to recent (anonymous) polls 89% of our readers aspire to be him, yet only 2% would openly admit this. The solution is simple: get it for your kids, so that when they're at school you can play on it. Just make sure there aren't any hidden cameras before you do your virtual ollies and kickflips.

$120 - Shop for Tony Hawk: Ride

Rubik's TouchCube - This is undoubtedly the rich man's Rubik's Cube, but at the same time it can be educational with its hint function -- not to mention the extended productivity under the moonlight. If you love a nerd enough then you should just go ahead and splash out for him / her on this stylish puzzle.

$100 - Shop for Rubik's TouchCube

Sega Toys Dream Cat Venus - No, of course we haven't forgotten the ladies, but it did take us quite some time to find an exporter for this rare life-like robotic cat in Japan. It's perfect for girls who are sadly allergic to real cats, and even some Japanese nursing homes have a few around to entertain the elderlies. Either way, there's bound to be a lady around who'll adore you for this gift.

$161 - Shop for Sega Toys Dream Cat Venus

We can't afford the rent now, can we?

Robonica Roboni-i - While we've yet to get our hands on this programmable robot, we can't see any geeks saying no to this stunning machine, and it's definitely less annoying than a certain plastic pal. Heck, you can even buy an extra one for a friendly tournament with your competitive sibling.

$190 - Shop for Robonica Roboni-i

PlayStation 3 Slim - The shocking truth is that there are still some people who don't have either a PS3 or even just a Blu-ray player, and chances are you are just as guilty. Sure, you and your chums may already have an Xbox 360, but you'll still be missing out on awesome games like the recently-released Uncharted 2, and a bunch of upcoming hot titles such as Heavy Rain, Gran Turismo 5 and God of War III. Just get one for your household already!

From $300 - Shop for PlayStation 3 Slim

Vstone Robovie-nano - Let's face it: most of us here are not likely to get our own dancing monkeys, so a robot like this is the next best thing. Sadly, it seems like the Robovie-nano is only available in Japan, so if you can't find an importer on your own turf, we suggest you head over to Engadget Japanese to find yourself a pen friend.

From $540 - Shop for Vstone Robovie-nano

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