OK, you're panicking. Seven shopping days to Christmas and the only presents you've managed to buy are bath salts, ties and a selection of totally unsuitable novelty underwear. So, as is customary at this time of year, here are our suggestions for some innovative technology which will save your bacon.
Talking of bacon, you and yours will probably be consuming far too much of it during the forthcoming fortnight. So why not treat yourselves to the new Force Feeding Pro cutlery set? Its dedicated processor and two powerful motors will ensure that your tums are crammed to bursting with mince pies and giblets before you can say 'I'll stick to the Scotch, thanks.'
Christmas is a time for sharing, so what could be better than the Create and Share Video Pack? Any burglar with compatible equipment can simply phone you up while you're out to discover whether you've bought anything worth nicking, without the inconvenience of breaking your windows.
Input devices will be all the rage this year. Cordless keyboards once used infrared technology, but this requires line-of-sight. New radio-based keyboards will let you type rude messages on your neighbours' PCs - like 'your cat has shat on my mat again' - from the comfort of your armchair. And red-blooded gamers, for whom the IntelliMouse sounds just too wet, will love the IntelliCat, which is bigger, smellier and loves to sharpen its claws on your furniture. There's plenty for the multimedia freak. Digital cameras have enhanced realism, so for a mere 400 quid you can now buy your dad a model which automatically adds the end of his thumb to the corner of every shot, cuts off people's feet and leaves the lens cap on for one picture in five. And although virtual reality headsets have been a bit of a flop, when combined with Christmas party software they work perfectly, making you feel sick and leaving you with a blinding headache - just like the real thing.
If you need stocking fillers, look no further than these festive PC games.
The new action adventure, A Bridge Roll Too Far, casts you as a casualty doctor with a virtual stomach pump to deal with the effects of over-use of the Force Feeding Pro. Kids will love Tome Raider II, with its ready-made quotes from the world's great authors, all ready to be cut and pasted into their homework.
For Boxing Day, the new Myst sequel, Riven, is just how your family will feel. If your new IntelliCat is driving you barmy, then driving game Catmageddon will let you squash it all over the pavement. And if the whole festive bit gets too much for you, Flight Simulator lets you pretend you've fled to your ex-wife's for the week.
We'd like to be able to announce the Pentium II PC which won't be out of date by next year, but that really is a myth. Finally, remember what the bumper-sticker says - a Tamagotchi is for life, not just for Christmas.
Paul Bray is a freelance IT journalist.
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