It’s that time of the year when you probably want to pick up a bauble or two for your favorite trader, fund manager or analyst.
Sure, I may make fun of Shopmas and our mad consumerist society, but every now and again I like to remind those folks who have been nice that their efforts are appreciated.
A quick disclosure: All of the items on this list were hand selected by humble author (without interference or suggestion by the legions of PR weenies who darken my email box). I receive no compensation for these recommendations. The links to Amazon generate data (which we will discuss at a future date) as well as a modest referral fee – which I will donate to charity.
On to the gifts!
Under $50 Dollars:
• Wall Street Movies: After a long day at the desk, what’s more relaxing than kicking back and watching a movie about investing or trading? Here are 4 flicks for your favorite keyboard jockey:
– Eddie Murphy Trading Places ($9) Only tangentially related to trading, but filled with lots of oft quoted lines, this comedy is good for everyone.
– Wall Street ($10) Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel. Dated, but watchable. Skip the 2010 version — its awful.
– Boiler Room ($6) Know a retail stock jockey? This gritty flick will show him what the bad old days were like in the land of penny stocks. A cautionary tale with a great cast.
– Margin Call ($7)This 2011 film set during the financial crisis has already been called the greatest Wall Street movie ever made.
Ella at the top of her game made what is simply the best holiday disc ever recorded. If this disc doesn’t make you smile, you are a hopeless grinch. Spike a cup of coffee with some Kahlua or Baileys and put this on. Enjoy.
Guaraldi has a delightful way around a keyboard — quirky, humorous piano playing that warms the soul. You cannot listen to this without breaking into a smile. This jazz collection exudes pure holiday magic. Along with Ella, this may be one of all time favorite holiday albums.
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 the hipster with the soul patch in your trading room. No holiday collection is complete without this Sinatra holiday album.
Is your trader dude stressed out? Then he needs to pour himself a stiff drink, and chill out to this collection of acoustically rooted mellowness. The upside is this music will help him slow down relax from the day’s tensions. The downside is his heart may not realize this is supposed to occur in Humans and assume he is dead.
• Shave your strategist’s face!
Sure, now that half of your office has moved to Brooklyn, they think they are hipsters. Forget that silly soul patch! Use the following to keep your trader’s face baby smooth and ready to meet investors:
– Billy Jealousy Hydroplane ($20)
I use this “Super-Slick Shave Cream” as a preshave to lubricate my skin. Less irritation, fewer nicks and cuts, a closer shave. An 8 oz bottle lasts me almost a year. This is great stuff.
– 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 — this one tube has lasted me 6 months (and counting)!
• Papa Bear’s Chocolate Haus: ($40-90)
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
– 2009 Alexander Valley Silver Oak Cabernet ($70)
This big bold red is a complex wine that has berry and floral aromatics and a dark, ruby color. Its what I get for Economist David Rosenberg, who adores the stuff.
– Fear/Greed, Hand Signed ($249)
C’mon, we’re all sick of that cliched Bull and Bear print fighting it out in the street in front of the of NYSE. Instead, try one of these prints, each with a contrarian behavioral message.
– Buy! Sell! ($85)
From KAL, the cartoonist for the Economist, this classic 2 panel cartoon laughingly depicts how the crowd moves from buying to selling and back.
And yes, both of these hang in my office.
• Bethpage Black Golf Course ($150):
It is not so easy to get a tee time at the home of one of the toughest courses on the US Open tour, but it can be done. (Keep dialing!)
• Padron Anniversary Series 1926 Exclusivo ($250/case)
For the cigar smoker on your list, I suggest one of my favorite smokes. Consistently top rated by Cigar Aficionado & frequently named top 5 Cigar of the Year, a fast delightful smoke. Don’t forget the torches – I use a Lotus 21 Twin Flame Torch Lighter ($47) to spark them up.
• Pax premium loose leaf vaporizer ($250)
Smoking still gives you tars and residues which can cause health issues, so instead go for a vaporizer. It heats but never burns his “tobacco.” This looks and feels like an Apple product, and is easy to use (see video; Wired review here).
• Saddleback Leather Briefcase, Classic Dark Coffee Brown ($610)
Gorgeous heavy duty briefcase comes in a variety of colors + a 100 year warranty. It is not light, but if you ever have to make a dash for the border, this is the bag you want to throw your bearer bonds into and run. 100% full-grain boot leather, made without breakable parts like snaps or zippers. Every stress point is double-stitched, riveted or reinforced with hidden nylon strapping.
$1000 and up:
• Herman Miller Embody Chair ($1100-1700)
Forget the Aeron, this is the chair desk jockeys should be using. Embody lets your body move and keeps you well supported. Blood circulates better, heart rate goes down, more oxygen flows to the brain, and there is no distracting discomfort or physical constraint. The ideal trader’s chair, allowing the mind to work best when the body is unconstrained. In assorted features, colors and materials. I have one in my home office in purple. If you have to sit all day, you might as well do it in style, and support your back at the same time.
• CineMassive Trio Gemini 17D 6 Screen holder ($1,599)
This entry-level (?!) six screen display has a crisp, clear digital signal, a full, rich digital canvas that will provide you with the full view of any picture. Designed to provide an immersive experience, allowing your trader to visualize a large amount of information at once.
Using a multi-screen display for the first time is often described as feeling like having received a new lobe of brain.
• Skip Barber Performance Driving School ($1500 – $3200)
I previously mentioned my experiences at Lime Rock, but the experience was really more than driving — it was all about the Skip Barber classes — if you never took a high performance driving course, well, you should. (Then go back for a refresher every 5 years).
The nice thing about giving this as a gift, is 1) It is very memorable; 2) You can save someone’s life by teaching them to drive well; 3) It is ridiculously fun.
I highly recommend it!
• Caddy for a Cure ($5,000 and up) For the avid golfer who is having an especially good year.
Caddy for the Cure gives an opportunity to spend the day caddying for one of the world’s best golfers at an official PGA TOUR tournament. Select a player from the PGA TOUR events list; You either “Buy It Now” at the price listed, or make your best offer.
The guys I know who did this lost their minds, saying it was the greatest experience on a golf course they ever had.
And, 100% of the proceeds goes to charity.
• Breguet Classique Hora Mundi 5717 ($74,200)
That’s our tongue-in-cheek Gift Guide for Traders for 2013.
If you have any other gift suggestions, by all means let us know in the comments!