Holiday Shopping Ideas!

Its become an annual tradition — each year, I cull some of the more interesting things I stumble across in my travels; I also pull some items off of my own wish list.

Last year, we got lots of great feedback about the breadth of gift ideas — so to kick off the season, here is the first round of Shopmas ideas for those of you who have loved ones on your holiday shopping list who have been very, very good.

Go effect your own personal stimulus package, in various price ranges:


James Taylor at Christmas $4.50

James Taylor singing your favorite Christmas songs,  nice and easy pop and jazz  selections, and an occasional ballad. A seasonal no brainer, perfect for your office’s Secret Santas.


L’Occitane Baume Après Rasage, Cade (After Shave Balm for Men), 2.5-Ounce Tube  $29.

I am a difficult shave, subject to razor burn, ingrown hairs and shaving bumps. This was a surprise find from a Canadian friend — light, non greasy, with Shea Butter — its a bit pricey, but this one tube has lasted me 6 months and counting!


Californication: Third Season ($17.50)
Californication: Fourth Season ($23.49)

Last year, I mentioned seasons 1 and 2 — a few of you told me you how much you loved the series also. Season three ties together the women in Hank’s life in a clever, bittersweet way. A “brilliant train wreck.”

The 4th season is where “Hank faces the real-life consequences for his actions in prior seasons, and if anyone knows anything about character development and progression of story, a pivotal point in every story’s duration is the point in which the characters feel truly lost and all hope has failed them.” I have not seen a second of season 4 — it was just was released on DVD — but its what I plan on doing over my winter vacation. Cant wait!


Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph by T.E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia) ($15.75)

It is difficult to describe exactly what this book is: by turns, it is both beautiful and ugly; It is a brilliant military history, and an apology for the necessities of war. It is a travel book about life in the desert at the time of writing.

It is perhaps most of all a colorful epic and a lyrical exploration of the mind of a great man who helped shape the Middle East as it exists today. It looks like a pretty fascinating book to read.


Magnet Balls Black Edition ($25) – Magnetic Earth Magnet Puzzle in Collector’s Tin.

I have these damned things on my desk in the office, and I am constantly fondling them.

Damned near everyone who comes in feels compelled to play with them.

Mindless, addictive fun.

George Carlin: All My Stuff ($75.49)

14 DVDs of much of Carlin’s classic work, from 1977 through 2005, including all 12 of his HBO specials.

Includes: Baseball and Football, A Place for My Stuff, Losing Things, Al Sleet the Hippie-Dippie Weather Man, Hitler, We Like War, It s Not A Sport, Why We Don’t Need Ten Commandments and Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.  Of course, plenty of Carlin’s stuff is missing, but this is a good starter set.


Pentax Optio WG-1 14 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS and 5x Optical Zoom – Orange ($281)  I have an older version of this camera — the Pentax Optio W60 Waterproof —  and while I have been very happy with it, it is ancient technology compared to this super cool looking beastie — waterproof to 33 feet; shockproof from drops up to 5 feet; crushproof, cold proof and dustproof. Its enough to make me upgrade!


Deborah Armstrong & Company: Last year, I recommended the work of Deborah Armstrong — she is a NY artisan who makes unique and lovely jewelry.

Of all the gift suggestions I have made over the years, this one has generated the greatest response.

I had gotten my wife the Petit Fours a few years ago, and she hardly ever takes them off. The Pearls collection is lovely, as is the Celtic Gold.

Not only did Deborah tell me you guys flooded her with orders from around the country, but I received many thank you emails from men who apparently made an impression on their significant others.

Prices range from $150 – $1500 — and you can do very well at any end of the price scale.
I saw this lovely serving platter at a Vagabond House and was charmed by it. If you entertain at home, this platter is perfect for serving seafood: Crabs, cockles, clams and prawns “intricately and realistically detailed and cast in pure Vagabond House pewter” are clustered to form the handles of this porcelain serving tray — perfect for Frutti del Mare! Note that the Vagabond House supports the Dory Fishing Fleet and believes  “supporting sustainable, cooperative based fishing is one small way that we can help care for the oceans of the planet and build strong, eco-minded, diverse coastal communities.”

BMW Performance Driving School: I’ve done course at Limerock and Sebring, but always wanted to try this particular one. These aren’t race classes, but rather, aim to “extract the highest level of performance from an automobile by its driver under any circumstances.”  My high performance driving school was one of the most memorable gifts I ever received. The BMW prices range from “Not Bad” to “Holy shit” )


That is our first version of Holiday Shopping Ideas!  More to come next week…

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