Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Lots of good feedback for our first few lists (Holiday Shopping Ideas! and Holiday Gifts for Traders and More Holiday Shopping Ideas!). So with but 3 more shopping days til Xmas, lets give this one last go round.

As part of our annual Shopmas tradition, I cull some of my more interesting fascinations, acquisitions, and other items I stumble each year, as well as items off of my own overstuffed wish list.

Note that there are not a lot of gifts focused on women. If you are just trying to fill that gap at this late hour, you are pretty much screwed.  (Plan ahead next year)


Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi: Original SoundTrack CBS Television Special

Guaraldi has a delightful way around a keyboard — quirky,  humorous, deep piano playing that warms the soul and makes you smile. A wonderful soft energy fills this understated jazz collection that exudes pure holiday magic.

Along with Ella, this may be one of all time favorite holiday albums

A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra ($5)

This 1957 is a great addition to any holiday music collection. I love the first cut, Frank’s version of Jingle Bells. The rest is very traditional, very 50’s. A perfect gift for your Aunt with all those cats.

No holiday collection is complete without this Sinatra holiday album.


Papa Bear’s Chocolate Haus: Every year, a friend in California sends us the chocolate toffee with nuts, from this Mendicino shop — and it is heavenly. This is quite simply the most delicious stuff I’ve ever had.

Astonishingly, they don’t have a webpage, but as Google reveals, they are well loved for a reason.  (707) 937-4406


Butt Station ($18) Tape Dispenser, Pen & Memo Holder, Paper Clip Storage.

Need a last minute gift for your office cut up? Have a boss you don’t particularly care for? Look no further than the Butt Station — the perfect gift for the imperfect ass.


Louie: Season One ($20) This is simply the funniest show on television in years. Sharply written, fearless, Louie C.K.’s has created the anti-sitcom; its what television can be when the suits don’t get involved.

Dark, hilarious, absurd.

Louie, the series on FX, is simply brilliant.


• Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 ($235) This is the latest and greatest in the pocket sized Lumix line with the Leica lens. It features a 14.1 MP chip, 16x Wide Angle Optical Image, Stabilized Zoom, HD Video, Built-In GPS Function — and a touch screen, which accounts for much of the price differential versus the older ZS8

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 ($150) this is a solid, dependable pocket camera that takes great photos. 14.1 MP chip, 16x Wide Angle Optical Image, Stabilized Zoom, HD Video, Built-In GPS Function. It may not have a touch screen, and its HD video is saved in MPEG format, but its a helluva buy at this price.(Note you can save even more money by getting the DMC-ZS9, which Panasonic tells me is the foreign version of this camera for $130)


The Man with No Name Trilogy ($30) (A Fistful of Dollars / For a Few Dollars More / The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly) [Blu-ray]

A Fistful of Dollars launched the spaghetti Western and catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom. Based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 samurai picture Yojimbo. And The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly has long been one of my favorite westerns, am epic vision of greed and betrayal   (Also available in DVD format, with Hang ’em High, for $12.50)


The Philip K. Dick Collection ($69)

An excellent introduction to the major works of PKD. I have read nearly all of these in my youth, and they were fascinating and influential — for anyone interested in the question: What is perception? And what is reality if perception is so easily skewed?

For your geekiest friend: This collection includes the major works of Dick:
The Man in the High Castle (1962); The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965); Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968); Ubik (1969) Martian Time-Slip (1964); Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb (1965); Now Wait for Last Year (1966); Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974); A Scanner Darkly (1977); A Maze of Death (1970); VALIS (1981); The Divine Invasion (1981); The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982)


23andMe Gift Kit ($207)

One size fits all for your friends and family. Find branches of your family tree; Learn what your genes mean for your health in terms of your potentially inheritable diseases;  Includes 1-year subscription to the Personal Genome Service to get them started.


•  Octopus Salad Bowl ($144) Last time I mentioned Vagabond House, a birthday gift had not yet arrived.

Well, a few days ago, these arrived, and they are pretty outrageous. The large Salad Server has a detailed Octopus adorned the wooden bowl, which is about 16 inches across. You can also add Crab or Octopus accented salad bowls ($160 for a set of 4).

The firm notes their work is of “Noble Materials, Inspired Lines, Captivating Styles.”  Indeed.


The Beatles Stereo Box Set ($225)

I have been meaning to discuss this work, but I never seem to get around to it.

Let me simply say that this may be the finest box set I own — or have ever seen or heard.

From the quality of the recordings, to the dept of printed material to the revelatory remastering of the original work, this is a flawless offering.

Several of you have suggested the Mono Box set (as “originally recorded”) — it sports the same extras, but only one channel — is that why its half the price of Stereo? The Beatles Mono Box Set ($125)


Star Wars: The Blueprints ($450)

Star Wars: The Blueprints brings together the original blueprints created for the filming of the Star Wars Saga. Drawn from deep within the Lucasfilm Archives, a precise, vivid, and intricate detail the very genesis of the most enduring sci fi work ever to appear onscreen. (at least the original trilogy, and not the debacle that followed)

Melding science and art, these drawings giving birth to fantastic new worlds, ships, and creatures.

This is a limited edition of only 5,000 hand-numbered English language copies. The perfect gift to get from a Star Wars nerd who has too much money . . .


Praying mantis ($2,000 – 15,000)

I find the work of sculptor Nemo Gould to be both charming and compelling. He does a variety of wicked cool kinetic sculptures and various creatures.

I don’t know why, but I find this Praying mantis lamp utterly beguiling. Perhaps its the gas nozzle arms

Here you will find a portfolio of images and videos of his work — but I find his Creatures especially fanciful.


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