Empire's 2016 Christmas Gift Guide

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Who doesn’t love Christmas? Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose; endless nights spent battling the Westfield crowds in present-buying hell. All the festive cheer in the world can’t make finding stocking fillers for your nearest and dearest any less soul destroying but fear not because, as ever, Empire is here to help you out. We’ve collated a selection of perfect present ideas for the geeks in your life, from essential box sets to life-changing gadgets and even the odd wooly jumper. After all, it’s Christmas, it’s the time of miracles, so be of good cheer and let us solve all your gift-related problems in a single stroke.

Star Wars Battle Quads (£199)

Star Wars battle quads While there are few things more annoying than someone buzzing you with their newly-acquired drone, we’ll make an exception for these Star Wars-themed Battle Quads. Available as X-Wing, TIE, Millennium Falcon or Speeder Bike, these have a built in attack laster so you can pair them up to stage epic dogfights. Note: lasers not intended for strafing younger relatives.

Denon AVR-X2300W Home Cinema Receiver (£499)

Denon AVR-X2300W Once the domain of your local multiplex, object-based audio brings a level of immersion that’s lightyears ahead of traditional surround and Denon’s AVR-X2300W is a stunning, yet affordable way to bring this revelation to the living room. Packed with features that bely its £500 price point, this is the best entry-level receiver money can buy and the perfect way to transform the movie-watching experience for the cinephile in your life.

Star Wars Year by Year (£35)

Star Wars year by year If the Star Wars movies are simply not enough then this exhaustive timeline charts everything even vaguely related to the Galaxy Far, Far Away in one comprehensive and lovingly illustrated timeline. Movies, toys, games, books, memorabilia, you name it, it’s here. This updated edition includes the influence of The Force Awakens, the ongoing Rebels series and even the upcoming attractions at Disneyland.

Xbox One S £249

Xbox One S The Xbox One might have launched with less under the bonnet than Sony’s PS4 but the new Xbox One S goes a long way towards addressing the balance. There’s a performance boost over its predecessor but the show-stoppers here are support for HDR (high dynamic range) picture and 4K upscaling. Not only that but it throws a 4K blu-ray player into the bargain. There are numerous different packs available but the military green Battlefield 1special edition from Game is a standout.

Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters (£20)

Empre A gorgeous collection of Bass’ most influential work, this coffee table book showcases everything from Vertigo to The Magnificent Seven, The Shining and Schindler’s List. Each one is removable and easily framable so you can construct your own Bass gallery in honour of the great designer.

Scuf Controllers (From £99)

Scuf Controller There's nothing wrong with the stock gamepads for either PS4 or Xbox One but if you're looking to gain the upper hand in frenzied Overwatch or Titanfall 2 battles then it may be time to upgrade. Scuf's range of pro controllers are fully customisable with everything from non-slip coatings to longer thumbsticks and replacement d-pads. Best of all are the Scuf paddles, which sit on the rear of the pad within easy reach and can be programmed to duplicate any other button, decreasing your reaction time in crucial, twitch-fire showdowns.

Star Trek 50th Anniversary Collection (£134)

Star Trek collection It has indeed been a half century since Star Trek began its first five-year mission. This Starfleet-approved box set contains the whole of The Original Series as well as The Animated Series and the first six feauture films. It’s a love letter to James T. Kirk and the Enterprise’s original crew, and features over 20 hours of bonus content for good measure.

The Art Of Aardman (£8.49)

Art of Aardman A coffee table book to be enjoyed with a bit of cheese and a cracker, this handsome tome assembles archive material from Britain's pre-eminent stop-motion animation studio, spanning their entire 40-year history. There's sketches from the studio's figurehead, Nick Park, scribbles from its co-founder Peter Lord, and storyboards from current director Richard Starzak. Ample early glimpses of classic characters like Wallace & Gromit, Morph, and Shaun the Sheep abound. Cracking!

NES Classic Mini (£49)

NES Classic mini Party like it’s 1983! Video games may have come a long way in the past 30 years but there’s still something to be said for the original classics that got us into gaming in the first place. The NES Classic mini is a teeny version of that grandaddy of modern consoles with the original style controller, 30 games pre-loaded and many more available. Fancy spending Christmas day playing Castlevania? Ghosts ’N Goblins? The original Super Mario Bros? Honestly, who wouldn’t?

Hannibal: The Complete Series (£14.9)

Empre Criminally cancelled after just three seasons, Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of the fiendish Dr Lecter is as gorgeous as it is gory. Featuring a sumptuous banquet of edible delicacies (that may or may not include bits of people), a nauseating array of murder techniques and a magnetic new Lecter in Mads Mikkelsen, this is a perfect gift for the budding serial killer in your life.

iPhone 7 Plus (From £719)

IPhone 7 Plus What better way to tell someone you love them than to give them a way to hear it. Apple’s latest iteration might not be the revolutionary step forward that the 6 Plus was, but the iPhone 7 Plus is still the handset of kings. Two separate camera lenses allow for DSLR-style portrait shots and a 2X optical zoom, it has the best battery life of any iPhone to-date and it’s waterproof to boot. What more could an Apple-obsessive desire? We recommend the glossy black finish.

Monkey Brains Bowl (£34.99)

Monkey Brains Planning a Thuggee get together over the festive season? Well this is the perfect crockery with which to server your entrees. Fashioned after the delightful money brain amuse bouche in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, it has a useful monkey scalp lid to keep your picked brains from getting warm.

Alternative Christmas Jumpers (£34.99)

Xmas sweaters Baubles, reindeer and sleighs are all very well but why deck your jumper with snowflakes when you can do it with Deadpool. Or Iron Man. Or BB8? An alternative to the traditional festive knitwear, this range of jumpers from Numskull will add a certain geeky je ne sais quoi to any yuletide gathering.

PlayStation 4 Pro (£349))

PS4 Pro Quite simply the most powerful games console ever made, the Pro is every gamer’s dream. Essentially a PS4 on steroids, it plays all the same games as its lighter-weight sibling but with a significant boost to performance. Games optimised for the Pro can feature higher frame rates, increased resolution and a level of visual polish impossible on the original PS4. What’s more, the Pro adds support for HDR and allows for native 4K gaming (rather than the upscaling provided by the Xbox One S). If there’s a 4K TV anywhere in your house then The PlayStation Pro deserves pride of place underneath it.

Playstation VR (£349)

Empre The most affordable way to bring the VR revolution to your living room, the PSVR takes console gaming immersion to an entirely new level and doesn’t require a nuclear-powered PC to do it. Whether players are living out their Battlestar Galactica fantasies by strapping into the cockpit of a star fighter in Eve: Valkyrie, or becoming the Dark Knight in Batman: Arkham VR, this is one piece of kit that’s guaranteed to become the family’s focal point on Christmas day.

Kids’ Ghostbusters Sweater (£30)

Empre If you can’t dress your kids up in cool, movie-related paraphernalia then, really, what’s the point in having them? This natty Ghostbusters top from Fabric Flavours has a woven chenille logo, rather than a simple screen printed one, with the film’s title spelled out on the sleeve in glow-in-the-dark letters. Perfect for the fledgling Gatekeeper or Keymaster in the house.

Sex Panther Aftershave (£34.99)

Empre Do you want your better half to smell like Brian Fontana? Of course, why wouldn’t you. While it may have the faint aroma of a yeti’s love tackle, this glorious cologne is made from bits of real panther, is illegal in nine countries and will make even a grown man cry. Remember: 60% of the time, it works every time.

Stealth 350VR Headset (£59)

350VR Headphones If there’s one thing the raft of new virtual reality headsets have in common it’s that they’re not generally a friend to headphones. The 350VR represents Turtle Beach’s answer to that particular problem. With extra wide clearance on the sites to accommodate a VR rig and a channel in the headband through which to run its wires, this is a quality set of cans with a very specific purpose.

Furby Connect (£69)

Empre Yes that lovable, burbling staple of nineties bedrooms has returned, with a few contemporary tricks up its… er, fur. You can still tickle, stroke and shake the little hamster/owl-looking critter but it now interacts with a smartphone app to bring a whole new level of interaction where it can play games, learn new phrases and generally do its level best to become the new member of the family. So brush up on your Furbish, and give the little guy a home.

Disney Big Sleeve Editions (£19.99 pre-order, £29.99 regular price)

Big Sleeve editions All the excitement of the movies, with the luxurious oversized dimensions of vinyl, this new range of ‘Big Sleeve’ movie releases can enjoy pride of place with your classic record collection. Featuring a number of recent and classic Disney titles (not least of all The Force Awakens), it’s a more interesting way to give someone a film at Christmas. Comes with both DVD and blu-ray formats of the film for maximum watching options.

Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback Wheel (£129)

Thrustmaster wheel It’s all very well tearing up the streets in your Lamborghini Aventador but taking corners at 60mph loses some of its edge when you’re twiddling your thumbs on a controller. Throw in a force feedback wheel and pedal set like PS4’s Thrustmaster T150, though, and it’s a different race entirely. Any driving game is made 100% better by the inclusion of a wheel like this but if someone you love is planning to strap on a VR headset and fire up DriveClub VR then this is the way to do it properly.

Bat Symbol Torch (£5.95)

Batman torch Are your friends out late over Christmas? Do you fear for their safety? Here is the solution. Upon the appearance of muggers, simply advise them to shine this handy pocket bat symbol in the sky and await vigilante assistance. In the unlikely event of the Dark Knight not actually making an appearance, they can always shine it in their assailants’ faces and make a quick getaway.

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection (£42)

Kubrick Collection A grant total of eight Shining (sorry) examples of Kubrick’s work including the aforementioned Stephen King adaptation, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. There are also two new documentaries about Kubrick, a hardback book and a bunch of rare interviews and featurettes.

Oculus Rift (£549)

Oculus Rift It may be a less budget-friendly VR solution than Sony’s but you can certainly see where the extra cash is going. Largely responsible for the VR renaissance, Oculus features two separate displays (one for each eye) making for a far more convincing, higher resolution experience. The new Oculus Touch controllers are an essential purchase, too, providing a much more intuitive way to interact with your virtual world. Be warned: you’ll need a meaty PC upon which to run it.

Picturehouse Membership (£Varies)

Empre There’s no better gift than the gift of cinema and, if we’re entirely honest, there are few more luxurious places to enjoy said cinema than in your local Picturehouse. Membership not only give you discounts on all tickets and food but it also throws in priority booking, access to previews and they throw in some free tickets as well.

Google Pixel (£710)

Google Pixel Google stormed back into the smartphone market this year with the excellent (if expensive for an Android handset) Pixel. A flagship device in both form and function, this not only boasts a stunning 12.3 megapixel camera but debuts the new Google Assistant (the Droid’s answer to Apple’s Siri) and, being a stock Google product, means you get software updates way ahead of Samsung, HTC and the like. Quite simply the best Android phone currently available.

The Lord Of The Rings Book Set (£99)

Empre Just about everyone has a copy of Tolkien’s immortal trilogy but few have one quite as beautiful as this. From the library of book fetishists, The Folio Society, these are luxuriously bond editions of the three instalments, housed in a similarly opulent presentation box. Of course, with books this nice, you’ll never actually want to read them but that’s hardly the point, is it? Pure, uncensored book porn. Buy it!

Nu-Gen Gaming Arcade (From £3795)

Arcade Cabinet You’re going to have to really love someone to shell out this kind of dough but if you want to give the ultimate gift of gaming nostalgia this Christmas then this is the way to do it. Lovingly built with custom menus and a slick, arcade-quality cabinet (complete with 32” HD screen) this is the perfect way for your loved one to re-live their former glories at Street Fighter II, Double Dragon or Altered Beast. It’s like being back in that nineties bowling alley arcade all over again.

Middle-Earth Six-Film Collection (£65)

Empre Two sagas, six films, 30 discs and a collected runtime that will see anyone well into the new year, this set combines extended editions of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies in one mammoth blu-ray collection. Don’t leave The Shire without one.

WD MyPassport 4TB (£159)

MyPassport What do you give the person who has everything? Somewhere to put it. Hard drives have come a long way in recent years and this pocket drive from WD has a whopping 4 terabytes of storage space with no need for an external power supply. Enough to house someone’s entire media collection (you could fit upwards of a million songs on there) and available in a range of snazzy colours to boot.

The Good Wife: The Complete Series (£69.99)

The Good Wife All seven seasons of the hit show, just in time for you to binge watch before spin-off sequel The Good Fight kicks off next year. Julianna Margulies stars as Alicia Florrick, who picks up her old career as a lawyer after her husband, the State’s Attorney, is incarcerated for corruption (not to mention a liberal use of prostitutes). Sharply-written and consistently funny, this was a ratings hit for good reason. Watch out for Mike ‘Luke Cage’ Colter as drug dealer Lemond Bishop.

DC Comics Photo Booth (£7.99)

Batman frame Not an actual photobooth, you understand, but rather a novelty frame along with hand-held captions and superhero accessories so you can stage ‘hilarious’ comic-themed tableaux. That’s Christmas afternoon sorted for you.

Lucidsound LS40 Gaming Headphones (£229)

LS40 The problem with gaming headphones is that they all look like gaming headphones: ninja black with shocking neon highlights. These cans from Lucidsound, however, are an entirely more refined affair. Classicly styled and timelessly stylish, they're also some of the best-sounding hgaming eadphones you're ever likely to try, with DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound. If there's someone in your life who wants to game like a teenager but doesn't want to look like one, this is the ideal solution.

Star Wars Watches (£Varies)

Star Wars Watches If you’re going to count down the days until Rogue One’s release then there can be no better chronograph to do it on than a stylish Star Wars one like these. The abstract BB8 one is a winner and the Gold and wire motif of the Threepio timepiece is exquisite but the rugged, Mandalorian charms of the Boba Fett watch get our vote.

Empire (£19.99)

Empre In many ways the greatest gift of all. What better way to show you care than with a subscription to the world’s best movie magazine. Not only will they get exclusive, in-depth coverage of all the upcoming movies but, as a subscriber, they’ll have it all wrapped up in our exclusive, collectible subscribers’ covers as well. What could possibly be a better present? Also, if you don’t buy them one then Krampus will be over in short order to sort you out.