Write a Christmas story in the style and with the themes of Iain M. Banks.
It was the night before Christmas, and all through the Culture, not a creature was stirring, save for one. Gurgeh, a renowned player of games, lay awake in his lavish, high-tech apartment, staring up at the ceiling as he pondered the events of the past year.
As a member of the Culture, a utopian society of advanced beings who had achieved near-immortality and complete control over their environment, Gurgeh had always lived a life of comfort and leisure. But something had been gnawing at him lately, a feeling of restlessness and dissatisfaction that he couldn't shake.
He had spent the year traveling from one game-world to another, competing in the most challenging and prestigious tournaments in the galaxy. And yet, despite his many victories, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing.
As he lay there, lost in thought, a holographic projection of his friend, Flere-Imsaho, appeared in the room. "Gurgeh, what are you doing awake?" the drone asked. "It's Christmas Eve, for gods' sakes."
Gurgeh sighed. "I know, Flere, but I just can't shake this feeling that something's not right. I've won every game, every tournament, and yet I still feel like I'm missing out on something."
Flere-Imsaho chuckled. "Well, perhaps it's time to try something new. Have you ever considered doing something selfless? Helping others, rather than just competing for your own satisfaction?"
Gurgeh was taken aback. "Selfless? That's not exactly in my nature, Flere."
"No, perhaps not," the drone admitted. "But perhaps it's time to try something different. After all, it is Christmas. The season of giving and helping others."
Gurgeh sat up in bed, a spark of excitement igniting within him. "You know, Flere, you might be onto something. I think I'll pay a visit to the Merry Makers, see if there's anything I can do to help out."
And with that, Gurgeh donned his coat and set off into the chilly winter night, feeling more alive and purposeful than he had in years. As he walked, he couldn't help but feel a sense of wonder and joy spreading through him, a feeling he had thought long gone.
He arrived at the Merry Makers' workshop, a bustling hive of activity as drones and artificial intelligences worked to create toys and gifts for the children of the Culture. Gurgeh offered his assistance, and before he knew it, he was elbow-deep in glitter and glue, helping to put the finishing touches on a massive pile of presents.
As the night wore on, Gurgeh found himself laughing and joking with the other workers, feeling more connected and alive than he had in a long time. And as he sat back and looked at the mountain of brightly-wrapped gifts, he knew that this was where he belonged, helping others and spreading joy to those in need.
As dawn broke on Christmas morning, Gurgeh made his way back home, feeling renewed and rejuvenated. And as he settled into bed and closed his eyes, he knew that this Christmas would be one he would never forget.