Christmas is approaching, and you've realized that now would be the perfect time to buy a Nintendo 3DS for a loved one - or, you know, buy one for yourself.

But which version of the handheld should you buy? What are the pros and cons of each? What the hell is the "2DS", anyway?
And which games do you need to buy for the hardware once it's in your hands? Are there any good download titles? Is a tubby Italian plumber involved at all?

All of these questions (and more!) are answered in our Nintendo 3DS Christmas 2013 gift guide, which you find just below. Read on and be enlighten. Which console?

Last Christmas, those people looking to buy a Nintendo 3DS were presented with two different sizes. This year, Nintendo has thrown in an entirely new version of the handheld.

You know, just to make things even more confusing.

Your three choices are as follows: You'll either want to pick a regular Nintendo 3DS, the beefier Nintendo 3DS XL, or the stereoscopic 3D-less Nintendo 2DS. But which is the best for you?

Let's turn our attention to the 2DS first. It has no stereoscopic 3D effect on the top screen, but if we told you that this was a huge disappointment, we'd be lying. The 3D functionality isn't used to its fullest in a lot of games anyway, and we've often found ourselves turning the 3D slider down.

Really, the biggest change with the 2DS is that it doesn't fold. It's stuck in its flat pose, and it's a slightly different shape to the regular 3DS too. We'd suggest trying one out in your local GAME store if possible before you fork out for it.

But why would you choose the 2DS? Well, it's great for younger kids who shouldn't really be using the stereoscopic 3D anyway - plus, it's about £30 cheaper than the other 3DS handhelds.

The 3DS XL, in comparison to the other two, is lovely and big and feels great in your hands - but it also suffers slightly from grotty image clarity compared to the others, since the visuals are all stretched to fit the bigger screen.

Confused yet? Realistically, the big question to ask yourself is how much you're willing to spend. The 2DS is probably your best choice if you're looking for the cheapest price and don't really care too much about the 3D effect. Care about size? Get the 3DS XL.

The 2DS is sold out pretty much everywhere, but if you head over to Amazon, Argos or GAME, you might find it for £109.99. For the 3DS XL, the cheapest you'll probably see if £139.99 at Amazon and GAME.

If you want a regular 3DS, Amazon has them for £133.00 (in other words, you might as well go for the 3DS XL.) Meanwhile, I've had a look at the various bundles each website has, and honestly, it's cheaper to get games separately.

Speaking of which...

Which 3DS games?

OK, so you've secured yourself the handheld. Now the all-important question: which games do you play on it?

Here are our favourite five games of the moment. If you grab any combination of these titles for Christmas day, I can assure you that you won't be disappointed.

Pokemon X and Y

The new Pokemon is one of the best ever. It's the biggest evolution for the series to date, with gorgeous 3D environments, and oodles of charm.

Plus, there's a whole bunch of new online functionality, meaning that you'll be able to get your Poke-on with all your friends who get the game for Christmas too.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

New Leaf is rather different to your average video game. It's all about living in your own little village, playing maybe half an hour each day to get the full effect from the experience.

We were hooked for weeks on end, and no doubt you will be too. Just remember: Being a mayor is hard work, and not a laughing matter. Well... sometimes.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

If you're an Advance Wars fan, and cannot understand why Nintendo won't make another one (come on, Nintendo!), then Fire Emblem: Awakening is a fantastic alternative.

You play an amnesiac who awakens in the middle of some sort of medieval war. It's packed full of tactical play and story-based goodness.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros.

The Mario & Luigi RPGs are always wonderful, and Dream Team Bros. is no exception. Luigi keeps falling asleep, and as Mario, you jump into his dreams to tackle enemies and find treasures.

Sounds weird, and that's because it is - but in a good way. The action is turn-based, and features a really wacky storyline that you'll want to see through to the end.

Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon

What is this? Two Luigi games in our "top 5 to buy" list, while Mario is only mentioned once? Why, it must truly be the year of Luigi.

Luigi's latest trounce around a variety of haunted houses is not only thoroughly entertaining, but also lengthy, clever, and brimming with content that you'll want to suck up and chew on.

Which eShop games?

SteamWorld Dig

You'll want to download this one to your 3DS/2DS immediately, as it's one of the best eShop games released to date.

You play a mining robot, who begins digging into the ground, and find gems, treasures, and an old civilization under the surface. Gloriously entertaining throughout.

Mighty Switch Force 2

This sequel takes the original platform puzzler and streamlines it wonderfully, to the point where it's one of the best eShop games currently available.

The game focuses around putting out fires and capturing runaway criminals, which is everything a real hero should be doing, if we're all honest with ourselves.

Fallblox

My favourite Nintendo 3DS game from 2012 was Pullblox, a fantastic block-pulling puzzler that I was glued to for hours, days, and weeks on end.

Fallblox is the sequel, and it's just as brilliant. This time around the blocks are falling (as you might have guessed from the name), making for a rather different experience.

NightSky

Do you enjoy rolling balls around a series of intricate platforming scenarios, with a lovely silhouetted aesthetic? Well, do you?

That's rhetorical, of course. NightSky is bold, clever, and whimsical. And I rarely use the word whimsical, so you know it must be something special.

Gunman Clive

This was originally a mobile game, but the inclusion of proper analogue controls allowed the platforming concept to really shine.

Gunman Clive feels wonderful thanks to slick controls and simple platforming action, all set in the Wild West, as you'd expect.

What else do you need?

Protip: It's a very good idea to get a sizeable SD card for your 3DS the day you get it, and replace the tiny 2GB card that's already in there.

I personally bought a 32GB SD Card for my Nintendo 3DS, and it's done me proud. Pick one up for just £14.00 from Amazon, and you won't need to buy another card for at least a good year or so - maybe even ever, depending on how many eShop games you plan to pick up.

It's a good idea to get yourself a nice case for the handheld too, so that it doesn't get too scuffed. Here's a fairly simple one from GAME, and here's a more interesting one at Amazon.

Getting a 2DS? You might want to get this case instead, then.