You won't find a Christmas compilation CD (or vinyl, for that matter) anywhere in this list.
Because if there's one thing we'd bet our roast goose on, it's that audiophiles are far more thankful for music-related gifts than Christmas music itself. (And also because we made our very own alternative Christmas songs playlist (opens in new tab)...)
Indeed, if music is the food of love, then forks at the ready - we’ve got a finger-licking festive feast for you.
Pro-Ject Primary E
Stocking-unfriendly vinyl is still relentlessly all the rage, so if the music fan in your life hasn't yet taken the plunge, this entry-level Pro-Ject offers a reliable and fuss-free way in to record spinning. It's more concerned with sound quality and quick-and-painless set-up than all the (jingle) bells and whistles of USB recording and the like, but for £150 who can argue with that? They'll have vinyl albums rockin' around the record spindle in no time.
Vinyl record organisers
Wooden A-Z record organisers - because naturally, half the fun of any physical media is organising it. We can't think how Benjamin Franklin's "for every minute spent organising, an hour is earned" quote can be applied to organising vinyl in any way (unless, of course, your friend has such a large collection that it takes them an hour to find one), but think how rewarding it'd be! And a great post-leftovers Boxing Day activity. Not for folk who sort by genre, obviously.
Buy the personalised A-Z record organisers (opens in new tab)
Q Acoustics 3010i
To unashamedly steal a line from our review, £200 for a pair of hi-fi speakers seems to buy more quality than ever nowadays. These Q Acoustics bookshelf speakers are excellent My First Speakers, so if the budget allows you could really help someone on their way to a decent hi-fi system.
And you could wrap each speaker individually so that it counts as two presents, right?
How about giving the gift of music itself? While Tidal may be our favourite music streaming service for its CD-quality streaming and hi-res Masters, it's easier to gift someone unlimited music access on the most popular streaming service on the planet.
A Spotify Premium subscription costs a tenner a month, so we don't need to tell you how much one for one-, or three- or six-month period would set you back.
Buy a Spotify gift card (opens in new tab)
Cowon Plenue D
Yes, we know that thing in your pocket can do everything: web browsing, tweet posting, call making and indeed music playing. But when it comes to the latter, a portable music player like the Cowon Plenue D can do it better. This one nails our performance-per-pound ethos particularly well, and hi-res support, 32GB built-in storage and a microSD card slot are also on the menu.
The Doors - Waiting For The Sun (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
The Beatles aren't the only ones celebrating the 50th birthday of a seminal album (The White Album (opens in new tab)) this year. The Doors' only number one album, Waiting For The Sun, has got a milestone remastering and reissue for the occasion.
The two new CDs have been encoded with the MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) process, meaning that if a conventional CD player is connected to an MQA-enabled device, it can play the disc back at its original sample rate.
What better way to express some, ahem, Wintertime Love for fans of The Doors?
Alternatively, the MQA version of the album can be downloaded. (opens in new tab)
AKG N60NC Wireless
After the weariness of Christmas festivities, you'd forgive someone for craving some convenience. And what more convenient than a compact, wireless, noise-cancelling pair of headphones? A What Hi-Fi? winner no less, these five-star AKG cans not only sound great but are also comfortable and have effective noise-cancellation - ideal for both on-the-go listening and silent nights, holy nights at home.
Haynes Electronic Synth Kit
Know someone who's been inspired by the '80s retro synth revival? Maybe they're a Stranger Things or Kraftwerk fan? Well, with this kit they can build their very own synthesizer using the supplied pre-assembled circuit board, potentiometer/switch, four micro push-buttons, a loudspeaker, battery box, and wire, nuts and screws. John Carpenter, eat your heart out...
See the Haynes Electronic Synth Kit (opens in new tab)
Ruark Audio R1
We've been enamoured with Ruark's R1 radio since it first graced our test rooms six years ago, and our affection for it has been reignited now that it's available in two striking new colours: Burnt Saffron (pictured) and Wild Plum. Now in its third generation, it marries FB/DAB radio with Bluetooth, a 3.5mm input and a compact bedside-friendly build that will no doubt fit neatly underneath the Christmas tree.
Personalised soundwave print
If a song has a special meaning for you - first dance? Holiday memory? First to make your cry? - this is a great way to celebrate it. It's a bespoke service - tell them (‘Mika’) the name of the song, and they'll work the lyrics into the soundwave and print it in either gold, silver or copper foil onto any colour card you like. Underneath is artist, song and release year, and the whole thing is then presented in a white and oak frame. We van vouch for the quality, too.
Best price from £13.99 (opens in new tab)
If a portable music player is a little out of your price range, then how about a portable DAC to boost the sound quality of a smartphone? Cyrus' USB stick digital-to-analogue converter can do just this as the middle man between your smartphone (or laptop) and headphones.
There's a cable for micro-USB smartphones and another for laptops. If your music lover in mind has an Apple device, they (or you) will need to purchase a Apple camera kit adapter.
Want to learn to play guitar? There's an app for that. Iconic guitar manufacturer Fender has launched a subscription service of guitar-playing tutorials for those with musical aspirations themselves.
The tutorials cater for all levels and bass, guitar and ukulele preferences, and you can sign your giftee up for the monthly plan or even commit to an annual subscription (and save 10 per cent in the process) - after all, when they're raking in millions and being heralded as the next Jimi Hendrix in Mojo, you'll be able to remind them who to write a cheque to.
See the Fender Play special offer annual plan (opens in new tab)
Annual What Hi-Fi? subscription
And to think we almost forgot the best hi-fi magazine around – how Rudolph us!
Looking for the Ultimate year-round gift? In an overt act of shameless self-promotion, we can’t help but suggest our own physical form as a pressie for anyone who not only likes listening to music but also reading about the kit that's best to play it (and films) on.
Our annual subscription gets you 13 issues (one per month, plus our annual Awards issue) featuring the world’s most trusted tech reviews (and some darn good features, if we say so ourselves) for less than £3.50 a copy.