The dreaded season is upon us.
I'm sorry, I mean the season of goodwill to all men, except those we could never vote for and heartily despise.
As the holiday season lurches toward us, not only do we have to tolerate others -- especially those to whom we're allegedly related -- but also find gifts for those whom we may not even like.
It's emotionally draining.
Apple, though, always tries to take a higher road and lift human spirits at this time. Tries.
It doesn't always work. Two years, Cupertino wanted you to share your AirPods with strangers for Christmas. Which managed to meld the unhygienic with the truly creepy and set it to music. A little like Cats, really.
This time, Apple has decided to embrace family values.
Mom, dad, and two young daughters set off on a long trip to visit grandad for Christmas. Grandad has just lost his wife.
The two young daughters embrace some troubling modern tendencies. They're noisily exuberant and, naturally, only an iPad can ever shut them up.
When they survive the trauma of flying, they finally reach grandad's house and are instantly themselves again. Unfortunately.
You know there'll be a twist. You know that Apple wouldn't dream of suggesting the iPad is the world's only cure for brattishness. (Even if it may be.)
And so it is that the girls use their iPad to create a Christmas surprise for Grandpa -- one that will instantly cause Americans to enjoy wet faces and make peculiar hiccuping noises.
It's poignantly performed and offers the sort of redemptive quality that technology -- and the world in general -- could do within these tortured times.
It isn't, however, an entirely original idea. Nor even an entirely original idea for Apple.
Six Christmases ago, when the world seemed (relatively) sane, Apple presented the tale of a slightly sulky, gadget-absorbed teenager who goes -- with his family -- to see his grandparents.
Would you know it, he creates a family surprise using his Apple gadget. To my slightly moist eyes, it's the finest Christmas ad Apple -- or, perhaps, any other gadget maker -- has ever created.
And now Apple goes and does something similar.
Which isn't a bad thing at all.
Still, first, you've got to get through Thanksgiving.
The best last-minute tech gifts, gadgets for your mom this Christmas