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Back in early October, I wrote about the coin jar my Beloved and I keep, which we cash in at the end of the year to buy ourselves a holiday present. Well, now the end of the year is approaching, and I have the fun task of deciding where to spend my share. He estimates we’ll have $300—$400 each to spend on the gadgets of our choosing.

Here’s what my thoughts are about where to spend mine. (And by the way, I welcome your comments on any of my choices—or suggestions for stuff I haven’t considered. And I’d love to hear what tech you’ll be buying yourselves this holiday season.)

1. Apple iPhone

This is my one ‘for-sure.’ I probably won’t get the latest model, but I’m definitely ready for an upgrade to my clunky BlackBerry. I considered Android phones because they’re cheaper, but ultimately, I decided an iPhone would be worth it to me. I have so many apps already for my other iGizmos, whereas with Android, I’d pretty much be starting from scratch. It’ll also integrate seamlessly with iTunes, meaning I could sell my iPod Touch and put that money back into the kitty for other purchases.

I remember that for years, my sister told me to get an iPod—that it would change my life—but I felt I couldn’t justify the money on such a premium item. So I went through half a dozen cheaper, lesser brands before I finally realized it would have cost less to buy what I truly wanted in the first place. My gut tells me this is the same scenario, and that I’ll regret it if I settle for an Android phone. So, I am going to spring for my heart’s desire and get an Apple iPhone this year.

If I get a contract, I won’t have to pay for the phone … but I’ll have to pay about $100 to settle up my current phone, which hasn’t paid itself off yet. I can probably sell my iPod Touch for at least that much, though. And the cost to break a contract if something better comes along later is still cheaper than buying a premium phone, unlocked.

2. Kobo Glo with Smartcover

I’ve been a Kindle girl for the last few years, but the recent Kindle models seem to be getting chunkier and plainer-looking with every iteration. Kobo, meanwhile, is slimming theirs down and sleeking them up. I was very impressed with the Kobo Glo I recently tested, and I’ve been back to the store to play with it on more than one occasion.

I love the glow light, which will let me read in bed without disturbing my bedmate the way my backlit iPad does. I love the selection of fonts and the precision of control you have over them. I’m not a huge fan of the Kobo store, but as I use Calibre with the, ahem, tools, to manage my books, I don’t anticipate difficulties with loading my current books onto there.

I do think Amazon has the more elegant user interface. Kobo seems to take three steps too many to accomplish basic tasks, and it irks me that I can’t get archived items back without going to my computer. I will also miss the Send to Kindle and sync features.

But lately, I’ve found the sync to be a bit glitchy (it doesn’t always transfer my notes and annotations), so I think I’ll be happy to leave my reference books on my Kindle for iPad app to read between breaks while out, and to load up my snazzy little Kobo Glo with novels to read at home—on the couch, and then to bed with the glow light.

Nintendo 3DS3. Nintendo 3DS

I have a DS and enjoy it, but many of the newest games require the 3DS, so if I want to keep collecting, I’ll have to upgrade anyway. If I have extra money once the iPhone and Kobo are taken care of, now might be the time …

4. Long Shot: iPad mini

This is a definite want, as opposed to a need. If I take care of the other stuff, and get good prices for my iPod Touch and Kindle Touch such that I have money left over, this is a maybe.

But I’m not spending personal money on this when it’s such a frill. If I opt against the mini, I might splurge on a lunchbox I’ve been eyeing that’s a little out of my usual price range. I’m a bit of a lunchbox nerd, and I pack my lunch every day. This gorgeous stainless steel box will be especially handy for me because it has a glass insert that fits inside, which you can use to pack a hot item you intend to microwave.

So, what do you think? Good holiday picks? What do you plan on buying this year?

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