Christmas celebrations are approaching fast (less than a month to go!), which means it's time to start thinking about decorations. After all, it's one of the best ways to express who you are this time of year.
Whether loud, subdued, simple or over the top, your Christmas decor says a lot about you. So if you consider yourself a bona fide geek and aren't afraid to admit it, here are seven decorating tools to help you celebrate the holidays with pride.
Whether you're celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, you can be happy in the knowledge that you're also helping the environment with this LED tree or menorah made from recycled motherboards.
Powered by a single nine volt battery, the tree's 16 red LEDs blink in a random pattern, while the nine red LEDs on the menorah can be individually controlled with a retro 9-bit DIP switch. They're both a little small to serve as a dining table centrepiece, but are perfectly sized for your average cubicle. $US15 each.
Fighting over missed birthdays, sibling rivalries and other family issues is no way to spend the holidays. But fighting over who shot first, Han or Greedo, makes for a perfect after dinner debate.
Every year Hallmark re-establishes itself as the leader in geek-inspired ornaments, and this year is no different with this miniature diorama featuring Greedo and Han locked in a showdown at the Star Wars Cantina. Pressing a button next to Greedo plays one of several quotes from that famous scene, and since you only hear a single blaster go off, I'm assuming Hallmark has appealed to geeks everywhere by supporting the notion that Han shoots first. $US33.
There's nothing like a little bit of science to intrigue and entertain a room full of geeky guests, so liven up the crackling fire in your fireplace with this set of powders that will produce a rainbow of coloured flames.
The simple fact that it's sold from a store called United Nuclear is enough to get my credit card out, but using this set produces vivid blue, green, orange and red flames that are sure to have some of your friends wondering if you're actually attending Hogwarts instead of MIT. As a bonus the set comes with a container of spark additive that turns your Yule log into the fourth of July. $US29.
A hallmark of being a geek is embracing and holding onto the trends and fads you grew up with, which are of course far superior to the trends and fads of today. So forego a wreath made of pine boughs and proudly hang this 8-bit homage to retro gaming on your front door.
Made from pixelated layers of EVA foam, the wreath features shout outs to classic gaming franchises like Super Mario, the Legend of Zelda, Tetris and Pac-man, complete with a set of six gold coins each featuring a blinking LED in the centre. It's the perfect way to let your neighbours know that you embrace Christmas as much as you embrace your original NES and Sega Master Systems. $US15.
Holiday decorations always seem all the more impressive when they're made by hand. But if you're not so handy with a hot glue gun you can drag out that bin of Lego I know you keep readily available and build your own Star Wars themed ornaments courtesy of master legosmith Chris McVeigh.
Not only did he design miniature versions of the Death Star and the Millennium Falcon that can hang perfectly on your tree, but he was also kind enough to provide full instructions and a parts list so you can easily build them yourself. And if Star Wars isn't your thing, he's also created a handful of traditional Lego ornaments including decorated balls, a miniature tree and Santa's sleigh. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bricks).
The 2011 version of the cartridge includes a game called Fireplace Bash!! which has up to four players attempting to extinguish each other's fires in a brick breaking party game. Or you can go the passive route and just leave the game running in fireplace mode while it plays 8-bit versions of your favourite Christmas carols. A top-loading Famicom NES is recommended to really enjoy the cart's lightshow, but it will work just as well in a front-loading NES, as long as you make sure to blow on the contacts. $US39.
What's the point of being a geek if you can't occasionally use your powers for evil? You're probably going to rack up quite a few nice points on Santa's list by fixing your visiting family's computers, so you can afford a couple of naughty points which are sure to come your way with the Tannenbomb prank ornament.
What makes it particularly evil is the subtle approach it takes to pranking. It looks exactly like the other ornaments on a Christmas tree, but once it's hung its weight triggers a switch that causes it to periodically emit sounds like a beep, mosquitos in flight, crickets and elf giggles. Those not in the know will have a heck of a time tracking down the source of the sounds, but besides fears of early onset dementia, the prank is completely harmless. So hopefully your friends and family will appreciate your efforts to liven the mood, and not toss you out into the cold street. $US12.
Photo: Associated Press/Fabian Bimmer