There's one gift that everyone, whether boy or girl, man or woman, can enjoy even for just a few minutes: Lego. Regardless of their background or education, the joy of building something with Lego bricks is irresistible. Here are just some of the best sets of 2012, chosen to accommodate different budgets, ages and tastes.
For some, it's for the childhood memories, for others it's simply for the intellectual challenge of creating something. Whatever it is, there's something in these plastic pieces that makes everyone smile while they're building.
So perhaps, instead of all the electronic nonsense, you can give the gift of Lego this Christmas.
Some of the sets in the guide are simple and small. Others—like the R2-D2—are amazing mechanical works, complex engineering that will make you ooooh and aaaah as you build them, marveling at the genius of the company's designers in Billund, Denmark.
And all of them have something in common: once you're finished with the instructions, you can destroy them and build something entirely new.
That's the true joy of this toy which, through decades of play, has become way more than just a toy; it is now an amazing tool, from education and modeling to engineering, architectural design or robotics.
Above all, however, it's endless hours of fun.
This model is clever. If you are really into Lego, it will teach you some tricks on side building and how to use angled construction. If you just want to enjoy an awesome X-Wing reproduction, you will love it too. And it comes with Porkins! £45 from Amazon. Click here for full details.
This R2-D2 is the very best set I've built this year and one of the most entertaining to build of all time. It truly is a wonder of engineering and design. I can't recommend it highly enough, even if they've priced it highly too: £165 from Amazon. Click here for full details.
You will not find instructions for this dog in the Lego Master Builder Academy sets. This is my dog, Amos. But, after going through the lessons in every kit, you'll be able to do it using no more than the pieces included and a bit of imagination. £38 from Amazon. Click here for full details.
The Hobbit is going to be the hottest movie in December. But this set would be equally cool without it. It's a lot of fun, has some advanced building techniques and lots of good traps. It's big, so it's £80 from Amazon. Click here for full details.
My favorite set this year, after the wonderful R2-D2, is this Lego Minimodulars. The latter is a true engineering feat, but this microscale is wonderful and so much fun. It also takes me back to my younger years. £80 from Amazon. Click here for full details.
This is a perfect set for architecture lovers, even if they're not into Lego: A reproduction of the perfect example of Le Corbusier's 'Five Points' construction principles. The design is exquisite, including its interior. £60 from Lego. Click here for full details.
This is not a proper Lego set (although it's compatible with Lego); rather, it's one of their special heroes thingies. But since The Avengers is the hottest movie of the year, I'm sure the younger kids will love it. And it's only £11 from Lego (also where you'll find full details).
Creator sets include multiple instructions to build different models with the same pieces and showcase different advanced building techniques. Mind-opening stuff. This one is particularly good and it's only £25 from Amazon. Click here for full details.
Kids like little colourful vehicles. This will allow them to build as many cars, trucks and van models as they want. Or anything, really, because it comes with a lot of pieces for only £22 from Amazon. Click here for full details.