Here are the expert's picks from Kiplinger's Personal Finance for this year's best holiday gifts:
Best cookware for a well-equipped kitchen:
Suvir Saran, author of "Indian Home Cooking" and the upcoming "American Masala," says that when picking pots, copperware is "the way to go. It's heavy, durable and can outlive any of us. It's a one-time investment." His recommendations: Mauviel's 3-quart saute pan for $350, 6-quart saucepan for $455 and 6 1/2-quart stew pan, which is like a Dutch oven, for $340.
To complete your set, buy 8- and 9-inch Lodge cast-iron skillets for a fraction of copper's cost.
"You can go to a garage sale and get a perfectly seasoned one that someone's grandma used for $5, or buy new ones for about $15 each," says Saran.
Holiday dinner treat:
Greenberg Smoked Turkey The turkey we ordered from this company, based in Tyler, Texas, was outstanding for its potent hickory flavor as well as its mahogany skin and tender, juicy meat. At $3.65 a pound plus $10 to $12 for ground shipping, Greenberg's birds are a bargain. To order, call 903-595-0725.
Apple iPhone The iPhone isn't cheap ($400), but it's the best handset for those who want it all: mobile phone, Web browser, iPod, camera, video player and more. And the ingenious touch screen is a breeze to learn no small feat for a feature-packed device.
Panasonic TH-50PX77U A true HDTV experience demands a 50-inch or larger display. And the big screen that gets our vote for best value is the Panasonic TH-50PX77U plasma ($1,700). The picture is beautiful and vibrant, with deep blacks.
Hewlett-Packard Pavilion DV6500T This customizable laptop starts at $600 (when purchased at HP's Web site). For $750, you get a fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 gigabytes of memory, a 15.4-inch widescreen display, a 120GB hard drive and a Webcam. Plus, it's sleek.
Small digital camera:
Canon PowerShot SD750 Digital Elph The PowerShot rises above the pack with an unusually large, 3-inch display. It's affordable ($250) and offers excellent photo quality (7.1 megapixels). The controls are mostly intuitive, but you'll have to crack the manual to master advanced features.
Nikon D40x Many digital single-lens-reflex cameras (DSLRs) are built for pros and tricky to use. But the Nikon D40x makes it easier to learn higher-end digital photography. Its 10.2-megapixel sensor is powerful, and the price ($700 with an 18-55mm lens) is reasonable.
Video-game console:Nintendo Wii The Wii ($250) is the most addictive and affordable system in the latest batch of video-game consoles to hit the market. You'll be hooked after a few swings of the Wii remote in the baseball-simulation game. And the Wii costs less than the basic versions of the Xbox 360 ($350) or the PlayStation 3 ($500).
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