Holiday Gift Ideas We Like

holiday gift guide

The crazy thing about giving gifts is that thanks to the Internet (eBay, etsy, Amazon, etc.), there are endless possibilities . . . yet finding the right gift for your loved ones (or liked ones . . . or tolerated ones) can seem nigh impossible.

Rather than focus on the latest, we’re taking a decidedly OO-style approach and recommending stuff that we, or some of favorite people, are passionate about. Whether you want to borrow some of these ideas for your own holiday gift giving, or these suggestions simply stoke your creative juices, we hope you enjoy. Part 1 of 2.

Since Hanukkah started yesterday, we’ll kick things off with the Cork Menorah. Just what it sounds like, it turns any wine bottle into the central symbol of the holiday, a Hanukkia. It’s a really fun way to make a special bottle of wine last a little longer. Several versions are available around the Web. About $14.

I don’t think we’ve been shy about recognizing Julia Wertz as one of the best (funny, biting, poignant) cartoonists out there. We took advantage of an online deal to get her latest book, Drinking at the Movies, personalized. She’s currently offering some cool specials until Dec. 15. Or just buy the book for about $15. Buying straight from the creator is always the best way to go.

On the music side of things, we’re really enjoying Adam War Rock‘s album, The War for Infinity, produced by Ruckus Roboticus and with some great collaborations with Tribe 1 of The Remnant. The album is available through several venues, but if you buy it through bandcamp you get a physcial copy as well as the downloads, with sweet album art. $12.

Adam War Rock himself (a.k.a. Eugene Ahn) offered up a serious suggestion for music lovers–Jawbone’s Jambox. It runs about $200. He says: “If you have a music fan on your gift list, the Jambox is one of those jaw droppers of a gift with plenty of practical purposes. A bluetooth powered, portable music speaker, the small, art-inspired design is capable of pumping out 85 db (slightly softer than a rock concert) of music from your laptop or iphone. It also doubles as a bluetooth speaker phone. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s the design-conscious geek’s answer to those ugly, boring Bose iphone speaker docks. Watch the demo video, and tell me you can’t already think of 100 ways you’d use it.”

AllPosters.com claims to have 850,000 options, which is mind boggling. If you’re stuck on an idea, and the person you are gifting either enjoys or is in serious need of wall art, this is a great place to go. Options, of course, run the gamut, but near any kind of poster or print can be customized and shipped, all from the power of the Webs. If you need to narrow it down a little, youngsters may enjoy the Disney collection; we’re partial to the Marvel Comics collection (especially the retro Jack Kirby stuff). The site itself also offers a little holiday gift guidance to help navigate those 850k options.

Another piece of art, but one with a slightly more practical purpose, is MagneticPix. It’s a new product that simply “allows you to turn your favorite snapshot into a dry-erase and magnetic board.” In an age where many refrigerators are no longer magnetized and where your kids are bringing home more art than ever, this could be very cool. And when every member of a family seems to be running around, a central item where messages can be posted or written in dry erase marker is practical. And that you can do it as graffiti on dad’s face (or whatever pic you choose) makes it kinda fun. Price varies from $85 to $175 depending on size.

For fans of comics and/or boxing, not to mention Silver Age stylings, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali was just given the reprint treatment by DC Comics (click through for a review). We can’t overstate how utterly charming it is. Deluxe version $20, Facsimile version for $40 (but both much cheaper ordering online from InStockTrades.com)

Speaking of nostalgia: ever miss the computer games from the late nineties to early 2000s that don’t quite work on, say, Windows 7 anymore (disk not recognized, whatever). There’s an amazing Web site called gog.com (“Good Old Games”) that has some of the best PC games ever, tinkered to work just fine on more modern systems, and ready for download on the cheap–all seem to be either $6 or $10. You can purchase them as gifts for others (just make sure the giftee has a computer and high speed Internet). Baldur’s Gate, here we come.

We’re naturally of the belief that coffee makes a great gift, and recommend visiting your favored local roaster and buying great whole beans straight from the source. However, if you want to make a gift of coffee with a little attitude–perhaps a little saucier than usual–check out our friends at Arouse Coffee. Julie at Arouse recommends the Holiday Gift Pack: “a tank top, an Arouse mug, a 12 oz. bag of beans, and a magnet, all gift wrapped with a gift tag.” $39 including shipping & taxes. Or check out the individual items at ArouseCoffee.com

We actually have another batch of awesome stuff to recommend, which we will publish shortly. For now, we hope this is a good start.

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