By Michael Slezak
Updated December 26, 2006 at 08:00 PM EST

My apologies if the PopWatch posts come in at a slower-than-usual rate today, but it’s not easy blogging when you’re slowly emerging from a cookie-induced coma and still smarting from a brutally close runner-up finish in the family’s annual table-hockey tournament. Not to worry, though, I’m taking comfort in all the groovy gifts given and received this Christmas.

In the former category, I got a special thrill from introducing my sci-fi-loving sister Kathy to season 1 of Battlestar Galactica on DVD, and giving my adorable niece Ava Rae the world’s coolest pop-up book, One Red Dot. (Is it wrong of me to admit I almost kept it for myself?) Still, my biggest holiday sacrifice was surrendering my own copy of Candi Staton’s self-titled Astralwerks compilation to my mom; after she discovered the parenthetical joy of “I’m Just a Prisoner (of Your Good Lovin’),” “I’d Rather Be an Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than a Young Man’s Fool),” and “How Can I Put Out the Flame (When You Keep the Fire Burning)” in our car’s CD player on Christmas Eve, what choice did I have but to wrap it up and give her the gift of ’70s soul?

As for loot that ended up in my stocking, I can’t wait for the weekend, so I can take Marcus Samuelsson’s The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa (a gift from my brother Andy) into the kitchen and get cookin’. And in the unbearable cuteness category, my husband’s gift of a “Let’s Make Sandwiches” T-shirt (seen here on a far comelier model than me) from will have me grinning delightedly well into 2007. Hurrah for animated loaves of bread!

Anyhow, enough about the stuff under my tree, what were the best pop-culture-themed gifts you gave and received this holiday season?

addCredit(“Sandwich T-shirt:”)