The Slingshot Monkey is guaranteed to make anyone a 6-year old. What could be better?
I love Christmas.
Bright colored lights, snow, butter cookies, multicolored socks, scarves, pine trees, garland, the warmth of flames in the fireplace and uplifting cheerful music that gets everyone tapping and smiling… ah, X-mas!
But… sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to ask Santa for or what to tell Santa to get for other people…
But a lot of next-gen tech stuff is hit-or-miss. Here are 10 random gifts I love — from $3.45 to $379 — that have perfect batting averages thus far as crowd pleasers:
1) Slingshot Flying Monkey – $3.45
My little brother got one of these for X-mas last year. In between wanting to stomp on his head, I played with it so much that I had to buy my own. It’s really, really hard to stop… that is, until someone has a complete meltdown and threatens to rip your arms off.
2) Bumble Bars, Original Flavor With Almonds, 1.6-Ounce Bars (Pack of 15) – $22.90
Flax seed and “gluten-free” don’t usually set the taste buds off, but these Bumble Bars are AMAZING. I first had one when my mom was suffering from food allergies several years ago and they were one of the few permitted goodies. I decided they were my new diet-compatible addiction and bought a boatload of boxes. My favorite flavor is almonds. If you prefer fruit, I also like Lara Bars, though they tend to stick in your teeth, which makes me nuts (get it?).
3) Planet Earth DVD Set – $54.99
Shot over 5 years with 40 cameramen in 200 locations… all in HD. This is has been called “the best DVD you’ll ever see” and it’s by far my favorite DVD set of the last two years. It’s breathtaking, and I’m hoping to interview the producer on this blog soon. Want something more fictional? Try the white-knuckle Epitafios from HBO, filmed in my second home of Buenos Aires.
4) Michel Thomas language learning CDs – $50.37
Michel Thomas is one of the few language teachers I recommend, and he walks the talk. If you want to get to conversationally fluent in record time (1-3 weeks for basics), give these a shot. It’s hard to find better, and you learn in real-time. No written drills whatsoever.
5) Victorinox E-Motion Travel Bag- $239
The only all-purpose travel bag I’ve had survive my beatings through 15+ countries. Here are a few things I like: the handles revolve so you won’t break them or your wrists; the wheels are the best I’ve ever seen and won’t jam; the bag converts to an exceptionally good backpack — sufficient for hiking — in about 30 seconds; the damn thing is just near impossible to tear or break; and it just looks cool. This bag is 10x better than several bags I’ve owned at 3x the price. If you want a home-run bag that you might never need to replace, this is the one.
6) Subscription to Audible.com (also from Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari) – $7.49+
Have iPod will travel. Get your loved one something they can use — a subscription good for at least one audiobook per month. Want to listen to audiobooks faster? I saw a demo of FasterAudio, and it speeds up the rate without distorting it into Alvin and the Chipmunks.
7) Griffin Evolve Wireless iPod Dock – $300
iPod content is one thing, but what about the kickin’ home sound system? Hating wires like I do, you might consider getting a dock with wireless speakers that you can put anywhere in your house. One charge seems good for about 13-14 hours (!), which is plenty for any party or relaxed night of audiophile activities.
Lavazza is usually associated with $5,000 machines. This new personal- or office-use cappuccino maker brings world-class espresso, coffee, and cappuccino to your door. For book deadlines or just marathon sessions of Planet Earth, this is a must.
9) Garmin nüvi 350 3.5-inch portable GPS navigator (also from Mark Frauenfelder, co-editor of BoingBoing) – $300
Not much bigger than a deck of cards, this is a “personal GPS system,” meaning that it can help you whether you are on wheels or on foot. It is designed to fit in your pocket and also doubles as a player of music files and audiobooks. Just plug it into your computer via USB and you’ve got external storage. Very cool.
10) The 4-Hour Workweek – $11.97
It’s one of the Best Books of 2007 and a Top 10 (!) Customer Favorite on Amazon, and it’s now in its 26th printing after hitting #1 on the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Businessweek bestseller lists. What type of marketer would I be if I didn’t suggest it as a good X-mas pre-New Year’s resolution gift for those who would enjoy more time? :) You could even be the 500th person to review it (at 496 now)!
Odds and Ends: Outsourcing Olympics results and more…
Best Blog Designs of 2007:
This blog was voted one of the Top 53 Blog Designs of 2007 by Adii! Thanks to a few of you for letting me know. Who woulda’ thought? Congrats to everyone on the list, including the uber-cool-hat-wearing Ryan Carson and WebWorkerDaily, who just voted 4HWW one of its Top 10 Books of 2007 for Web Workers.
4HWW featured on The NY Times blog:
Marci Alboher writes about combining 4HWW, GTD, and 43Folders for time management here.