My first thanksgiving shopping experience in the US and I got for myself an external HDD. I didn't even have a laptop at that time but I just couldn't resist a deal like 25$ for a 200gb external drive. (Dhake being the oversmart guy that he is got two of those.) Subsequent thanksgivings never had that sort of a deal.
Now why is storage capacity more important than a laptop you may ask. Well for one, laptops and desktops were available in plenty in the university and almost everyone (except us, new guys) owned one. HDD's were a lot cheaper too than a laptop for a first time purchase. Also this was the time of the infamous Seek42. Seek42 more than anything else was famous for a search tool on the university LAN network. It had a ton of other stuff but as far as we desis were concerned we were just into it for the wealth of data out there. Now it wasn't always possible to get movies, mp3's, games from seek42 too as there were restrictions as well on various HDD's and to avoid a burnout due to a ton of people logging into the same directories and basically just clogging and taking up all the traffic. The amount of movies especially was huge. It was a paradise for a movie aficionado. (A special mention over here goes to Abhinay for being the "imdb of Rolla" for several generations.)
My good old HDD has survived a lot of bashing in Rolla. Since it was a total dump of movies most people borrowed it dozens of times. (Also because the dump was directly from Abhinay's server with top notch stuff) I myself had to hunt for it several times and finally found it in some totally random location than it was at previously.(Several times at Dave's place. :)) Thankfully it is still working fine even though it does make a ton of noise now.
I have never felt a need to get more and more storage capacity. But I think I will have to get myself a new HDD soon sometime as my current one has been abused so much that it may die out on me anytime now. The next thing thus I am targeting for thanksgiving is a 1 TB+ external HDD.