Gift Guide 2021: A Few of Your Favorite Things
I’ve been producing gift guides at Daily Nous for several years now—see the ones for 2019 or 2018, for example—but I thought I’d do things a bit differently this year.
After all, how many times do you need me to recommend things like a space heater for a chilly office, a lap desk for working from a comfy spot at home, a portable video projector, or a good box of pencils?
Actually, there were a greater variety of things included in the previous guides, but the truth is I do not at the moment have the time to put together a full-blown gift guide. So this time around… well, you’ve heard of a flipped classroom, right? Consider this a flipped gift guide: you make a recommendation.
What’s something you really like (or want) and would recommend others consider as a gift?
Though of course the suggestions may be work or philosophy-related, they needn’t be. Philosophers are people, too. You’re welcome to tell us a little about why you’re recommending what you’re recommending, and to include a link with your suggestion.
(We sort of tried this last year, but it was a bit too late in the season to be of much use. I’m hoping that it can be more helpful this time around, despite Hanukah coming—and going—early this year.)
Also, make sure you check out the gifts available from our Daily Nous Philosophy Comics Artists, about which you can read more here.
(P.S. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links; purchases made through them support Daily Nous. Thanks!)
For example, one thing I’d put on the list are these lightweight and comfortable waterproof hiking shoes, which are great when you don’t need to wear your boots, have held up well over the past year, and have a minimalist aesthetic that boldly goes against the seemingly nonstop trend towards garish overdesign in sport footwear. I also think that for some people, this simple titanium key ring would be a good little gift, as it is about as secure but much easier to open than a classic key ring. Report
I love a good tote bag — good for library visits and beach days, for hauling kids toys or bottles of booze, and even for putting other gifts in. These are well-made and a good value – and currently on sale!Report
This is such a sweet idea!
I’ve found that I’ve been able to pay attention much better in online lectures and meetings if I’m able to do something with my hands at the same time, so consider introducing your friends and family (or yourself) to the ever-useful art of knitting. This woman’s patterns are a wonderful place to start. I especially recommend the novice sweater, which includes recommendations for several types of yarn and clear, step-by-step instructions expressly for beginners. I was really amazed to realize I could make such beautiful things with my hands after so many years of working with what felt like pure abstractions.
Gift Guide: One of My (new) Favorite Things
Having completed 15 years of work on my monograph, A Case for Necessitarianism (Routledge, 2022), I bought a 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Wireless Bluetooth Controller and subscribed to Apple Arcade. I’m looking forward to a fun winter break!
[yes, I’m partly trying to hype my new book here!]Report
Much like the bevy of items produced by the Unemployed Philosophers Guild (https://philosophersguild.com/) , the Philosopher’s Shirt (https://philosophers-shirt.com/) is owned and run by people who have philosophy degrees and decided to turn their love of philosophy into some very fun, often very silly, good quality apparel. Both sites have some interesting gifts for you or philosophically minded friends. I have some of the Little Thinker dolls from the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild scattered about my office sitting on bookshelves, and a couple of t-shirts and a hoodie from the Philosopher’s Shirt which have quickly becomes faves.Report
Metroid Dread is a cool new Metroid game. Really cool mechanics, challenging boss fights, and beautiful animation.Report
Scented candles are a understandably a joke gift, but the Thymes Frasier Fir candle is excellent, especially during winter. It is a well-made candle, too. Burns well and evenly in attractive vessels. The branding is unobtrusive, so the vessel is reusable.
It’s a good candle. It will make someone happy.Report
I like Jo Malone, Acqua di Parma, and Diptyque candles and would gift them when I’m invited to a dinner party for the first time. I find scented candles more fitting at such events. People underestimate the goodness of scented candles because they haven’t experienced the best yet. For the first time gift, I’d give them the best ones to surprise their olfactive senses. First impressions tend to be very important for many people.Report
A gift that’s only appropriate to give to someone you know very well or live with, but could improve their life on a daily basis, is a new showerhead, particularly one with a handheld spraying attachment if they don’t have one. This is the kind of thing people tend not to spend money on for themselves because what they’ve already got does the job well enough — so in that sense it’s a good gift.
They come in a variety of styles and prices, and most are rather easy to install (basically unscrew old one, screw on new one). (If you’re renting, keep the old one to reinstall when you move out.)
And yes the reason I am suggesting this is because I just got one and I love it.Report
Related suggestion (also fairly easy to install and only appropriate for people you know *very* well): a handheld bidet sprayer like this one. The recipient will never have to worry about toilet paper shortages again.Report
Can anyone recommend a fun (and potentially edifying!) logic puzzle book created by a philosopher?Report
Raymond Smullyan has a number of good ones: What is the Name of this Book? The Lady or the Tiger? Alice in Puzzle-land, as well as his introduction to Godel’s work via puzzles: Forever Undecided.Report
Seconding Chris, Smullyan’s books. I’d say they’re edifying. Moreover they’re created not just by a philosopher, but by a mathematician, magician, concert pianist, and logician. But they vary in their difficulty and depth, so which you want will depend on whom you’re hoping to give such a book to.Report
Rodin’s “The Thinker”, 12″ high in cold cast bronze, should fit any bookshelf or ego
If you are buying for someone who likes to cook but who doesn’t yet have a good chef’s knife, that might be a good present. Also, a knife sharpener, like: Amazon.com: Wüsthof Knife Sharpener – 2-Stage: Home & KitchenReport
A warm and soft bathrobe.Report
Yes. Also slippers. Ones made by Ultraideas are comfy and affordable.Report
JD that’s a good one. I got my wife a robe from LL Bean last year and I’ve honestly found myself envious on pretty much every cold day since.Report
I love these little plants:
I like Mangaves right now, on sale for a “mystery Mangave” right now at the mothership for succulents:
Reminds me of philosophy: interesting to contemplate heavy stuff that’s kind of useless.Report
I’d recommend a good dart board and set of darts. It’s old fashioned I suppose but it’s fun and an easy activity to talk with others during.Report
I’m a grad student, and I create philosophy-inspired designs in my free time! You can buy them on t-shirts, mugs, totes, etc. at my artist’s shop: https://kingdomoftrends.threadless.com/Report
Piggybacking off Eric’s suggestion for people who like to cook cookbooks aren’t a bad idea. Toni Tipton Martin’s “Jubilee” is particularly good and fairly recent one. The lemon coconut cake is amazing. I was also fond of Ronni Lundy’s “Victuals.” And of course for that person we all know who’s still stuck in the sad grad student routine of Progresso soup and cold cut sandwiches Samin Nosrat’s “Fat, Salt, Acid Heat” and “The Joy of Cooking” might be both a subtle hint and a way to really better their life.Report
For an actual grad student, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey is excellent. Simplified ingredient lists, lots of suggestions for how to pair dishes, and the directions are simple. Except the flatbread directions – I eventually made good chapatis, but I had to watch a lot of videos. And sometimes the suggested cooking times for meat are weird. But it’s excellent otherwise and got me through grad school.Report
Yeah Jaffrey is just great. I’ve got a few of her books (though I don’t think that one) and cook from them pretty often. She hits the sweet spot of simplified but still close enough to authentic to be good pretty well. A lot of the other Indian cook books I tried were both hugely involved and still kind of bland. Jacques Pepin’s got a couple of books that do that quite well too.Report
Adopt a coral! Stony Coral Tissue Loss threatens the Florida Reef Tract. The Reef Institute, collaborating with researchers across the nation have rescued healthy coral and are growing them while scientists address the environmental disease. With a donation, you can adopt a coral in the name of a loved one for your Christmas gift. You’ll receive a photo of your coral, a gift packet of magnet and coral stickers, and a video tour of the Reef Institute.
This is a perfect gift for your friend or loved one who isn’t into the commercialization of Christmas with wrapping and waste and would prefer to help save the oceans.Report
I think most philosophers like most other human beings want to know that they and their work are appreciated. So, tell them and perhaps do a public philosophy project around their work so that everyone can benefit from it. I might do this for Macy Salzberger since she helped me learn to love myself and recently got a great paper The moral harms of domestic violence published!Report