Insider Gift Tips for your favorite Traders

It might have been almost 60 degrees this past weekend, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of complacency: You have less than a week of holiday shopping — or, as I like to call it,  Shopmas — to go. If you are anything like me, your gift list is down to those hard-to-please folks. Choosing just the right memento for your favorite algo-writer, chief investment officer or coder is never easy, but we’ve got you covered.

This annual list of holiday gifts is driven by an abiding respect for great design and craftsmanship. As in our earlier gift guides, all of these items have been picked by yours truly, free from the influence of public-relations flacks and other media trolls who haunt my inbox. (No compensation is accepted, and these are all products I either have enjoyed or just ordered or in some extreme cases, my wife won’t let me buy).

On to the list!


I already gave you the 10 books I am tackling this winter, but those are for reading, not for gifting. Consider giving these:

bruuce-“Springsteen: Born to Run:” ($20) When the boss says he wants you to “show the reader his mind” what more do you need to know? For any music fan over 40.

– “The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968” ($159) This collection of early Disney animation has been described as stunning, exhaustive, and astonishing. Buy it for the film buff on your gift list.


-“PornBurger: Hot Buns and Juicy Beefcakes:” ($18) Not what you were thinking, perv – its about the most decadent hamburgers imaginable. Give it to your favorite gourmand.




Bourbon barrel aged wine: (under $20) I am not usually a fan of adding anything to my wines outside of some fruit in sangria, but I have to admit this was a pleasant surprise: Two under $20 bottles, one a 2014 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Mondavi, the other a 2014 Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel from 1000 Stories. They were aged in barrels originally used to make Bourbon, which adds some interesting notes to what might have otherwise been an unremarkable red. Worth trying.



DJI Mavic Pro ($999) is the hottest new drone this year. Small – it folds down to the size of a bottle of water – it features a 4K camera, streams HD video at 1080p. It can fly for as long as 27 minutes on a single charge, then return automatically to where it was launched from. I like the tracking mechanism that can be set to follow a human, as well as the built in obstacle avoidance software (*Note: Its backordered, so don’t expect one in time for Xmas)


Polaroid Zip printer ($130). Download an app for your iPhone or Android smartphone, connect via Bluetooth, and voila! Full-color, wallet-size prints in 3 minutes via “zink” – zero ink thermal paper printing (no ink cartridges, ribbons, or toner). Printer costs about $125; Polaroid 2×3-Inch ZINK Photo Paper is about 50 cents per sheet for a 30 or 50 pack. (don’t tell the missus, but this is one of her gifts).



SAXX Mens Pro Elite Performance Boxers Underwear: ($29) I was turned onto these by a surfer dude friend who called them “life-changing.” That might be an exaggeration, but they are definitely much more comfortable than the usual tighty whities that can be constraining or less than perfectly fitting, especially when wearing a suit.



Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 speakers. ($6,000 – $30,000/pair). When B&W announced a redesign of their legendary 800 series studio reference speakers, one wondered how they might improve upon an already gorgeous sound. (Here’s how they did). All 5 sizes sound spectacular, from the large 800 down to the compact B&W 805 D3.


Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition ($350) The phrase “complete box set” is usually a gross exaggeration. Not so in this case. Described as the most authoritative edition ever created, this 200 CD set includes over 240 hours of music, 600 solo performers and ensembles including 60 orchestras recording every significant Mozart interpreter of the past 30 years.


Leonard Cohen Box Set. ($25) I don’t understand how all 11 of Cohen’s studio albums are this inexpensive, but you I had to buy several – 1 for me, the rest as gifts.


This Is Reggae Music: Golden Era 1960-1975 ($33) In a mere 4 discs, this spectacular collection of music takes you through the history of Reggae. Many of the songs here you only know from the ripped off mainstream versions. So great, I highly recommend it.


-My favorite music for this year’s holiday party: Start with A Charlie Brown Christmas,” by Vince Guaraldi ($7). “A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” brings the famous wall of sound into the holiday spirit. Last, I received so many lovely e-mails about last year’s “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas,” its here again by popular demand.




Ultra HD Televisions (aka 4K): ($500-$1500) The stunning resolution and ultra clear realism of these sets is mind-blowing. Prices have plummeted from just 2 years ago when they cost $3-4000s dollars; today you can find off brand 55” 4k sets for $500. My advice? Stick to Samsung, LG or Sony and pay about $1000-1500 for a 60” set. (C/Net has a nice cheat sheet).

Flashlight: Nebo Redline 5620 310 Lumen LED Flashlight I get more feedback about this item than any gift I have ever referenced. Enormously bright, well made, and tough. In aircraft aluminum ($36) or titanium ($40).





Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Chrono ($85-95,000) Swiss watchmakers may be suffering their worst annual sales drop since 1984, but you cannot tell that by some of the lovely new designs I keep seeing. This variation on a traditional moon phase comes in rose or white gold, and is perfect for the best algo-writer on your team.


Go: Seafire resort & Spa ($500-2500 per night) When one of my favorite boutique hospitality chains (Kimpton) builds a brand new vacation spot on one of my favorite Caribbean islands (Grand Cayman), that’s a can’t miss combination. (I already booked my next vacation at the Seafire). Perfect for that special someone on your staff who has earned a little R&R time away from the office.



Go fast: Ferrari J50 ($300,000 estimated) If you are doing any last minute shopping for me, here is a gift idea: the J50. Celebrating the 50th year of selling Ferraris in Japan, this limited edition roadster is based on the 488 Spider. Its a low-slung barchetta, whose turbocharged V8 makes 690HP. I don’t usually care for two-toned cars, but this one is quite simply gorgeous:

Source: Ferrari


That’s all for this year, happy giving!



More gift ideas from our prior years guides are here and here.

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