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'Tis the season to Crave: Caroline McCarthy's picks

The latest in Crave's series of holiday wish lists full of gadgets both realistic and ridiculous.

NOTE: To commemorate the holidays, different Crave experts will be posting their top 10 gadget picks for the season. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas! Here's the latest installment.

When Caroline McCarthy isn't tracking Mark Zuckerberg's every move for CNET, she enjoys reading great books (the paper kind, Amazon!) and finding fun new things to do in her home city of New York, which may or may not encompass karaoke and mechanical bulls. She believes that excessive glitter text on MySpace profiles is the root cause of global warming. Al Gore, are you listening?

10. Carbon offsets. Yes, I know it's true--purchasing carbon offsets absolutely doesn't count as a substitute for legitimate conservation measures like walking instead of driving or installing compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent ones. But this is what I'm getting for several relatives and friends this holiday, and it's also just a thoughtful gift in general if you're trying to keep consumption to a minimum. You can learn more at TerraPass or Carbonfund.

The exterior of DWR's Airstream trailer. Design Within Reach

9. Design Within Reach's Airstream. Earlier this year, Design Within Reach created a chic, pimped-out version of the classic camper for "young modernists" like "rock-climbers, surfers, (and) dot-com guys." Since I totally fit into that niche (ha, ha) I'd love it if some kind soul would cough up $49,066 and get me one of these this holiday season. I'd come visit you!

8. Hello Kitty paper shredder. I need a paper shredder. You know, to get rid of all the correspondences I have with Vice President Cheney when he's in his latest 'undisclosed location,' and the cease-and-desist letters I get from Stephen Colbert's lawyers. (Stephen apparently doesn't understand the basic concept of "fate.") Having a Hello Kitty paper shredder would be just too hilarious. And out of all the Hello Kitty products out there, this one is--dare I say--borderline tasteful? I thought that would be impossible.

Bye bye, sensitive documents Hello Kitty Hell

7. Wave Chaise. This is weird-looking and undoubtedly wouldn't fit in my apartment, but I don't care. It's cool and I want one. It's got a computer desk, a massive TV, and a large comfy area for reclining, so it really packs in the features for both work and fun time. It also is a design prototype that doesn't exist yet. Oops.

6. Planet Earth on DVD. I swear, the BBC uber-series Planet Earth is the new Dark Side of the Moon. I haven't actually seen it yet, but everyone tells me stuff like "Dude, turn the lights down really low, and get some mind-altering substances, and put those DVDs on." We here at Crave absolutely do not advocate the use of mind-altering substances in any form whatsoever, but Planet Earth is still on my holiday wish list. It's also available on both HD DVD and Blu-ray, but I haven't chosen sides in that battle yet. Call me indecisive.

5. Clear Pass. If shucking over the cash (about $100/year to start) for one of these means that I could get a little bit of extra sleep before those early morning flights to San Francisco in order to annoy spend time with my lovely West Coast colleagues, I'm willing to take the plunge.

Mmmm, tasty paninis.

4. DeLonghi Retro Panini Grill. I really need to stop ordering pizza so much, so I'd ideally like to stock my kitchen with some gadgets that will help me make tasty food without too much hassle. Like this panini grill, which kind of looks like a spaceship.

3. 160GB iPod Classic. Huge secret: I'm a pretty serious Apple fan, but I don't have an iPod. O.K., I have a Shuffle. And I have a 4GB Nano. And I still keep my poor dead 20GB fourth-generation iPod in my desk drawer for sentimental value. But I've never owned an iPod that could play video, and I kind of want to take the entire first season of Mad Men on my next transcontinental excursion. So, yeah, I'd like one of these.

2. The coolest bar ever. Right now, my apartment's "bar" consists of a few bottles stashed on top of our fridge. But this holiday season, I'd like to turn things up a notch. Namely, I would like to have a beautiful bar made of brushed steel (it'll match my Mac laptop!) with both a sink and bottle cooler built right in. And on the front, there are luminescent panels that make it look downright fantastic--yeah, unfortunately, it's $7,365. What can I say? I'm like Steve Jobs. I like beautiful things. On that note, I'd also like a Sony Handycam to videotape all the party debauchery that will inevitably stem from having a pimped-out bar.

1. A penguin. I really would like to have a sweet little penguin whom I could keep in my bathtub and walk on a leash when it was snowy outside, and maybe we could eat anchovy pizza together, but I've been wishing for that every holiday since I was three years old and I figure it's about time to give up. Fortunately, there are lots of cool ways to help protect real penguins in the wild, which I suppose is the next best thing. Web sites like will allow you to donate in a friend's name in lieu of a traditional holiday gift, and one of the things you can do is help penguins. You can also help cute bunnies and piglets. Awww!