Your Guide to Winning Christmas

6 Gift Recommendations From an Expert

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Every year, I win at Christmas.

I know the holiday technically isn’t a competition, but it still gives me a thrill that I’m known among my friends and family for being a great gift-giver. At this point, I have a reputation to protect, so I go all-in for every white elephant gift exchange.

My counterpoint at these gatherings used to be my friend Brad. If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you’ll remember him as the guy who once brought nose hair trimmers to a Christmas party. But this last Christmas, Brad actually came through with a nice set of whiskey glasses and a bottle of whiskey for my annual white elephant gift exchange. I was impressed!

Brad is off the naughty list, but you could still be on it if you flub your holiday gifts this year. To keep that from happening, I’ve put together a list of ideas you can’t go wrong with.


YETI Trailhead Collapsible Camp Chair

During this pandemic, I’ve basically been living outside in the name of social distancing. Do you have a friend or family member in the same boat? Perfect! This camp chair is for them. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s as heavy duty as chairs come, with an alloy steel frame, UV-resistant fabric, and a 500-pound weight limit. Even better, it offers great back support and comes with a built-in cup holder.


The Ultimate Sous Vide Experience

Your spouse is more of an indoor person? No problem. Set them up with everything they need to cook “sous vide” like a professional chef. The sous vide method is the latest culinary trend and involves vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in a water bath. Using a sous vide for meat yields a tender, juicy, and evenly cooked result every time. For the ultimate sous vide gift basket, I recommend the Precision Vacuum Sealer, Sous Vide Precision Cooker, and Sous Vide Cooking Container from Anova Culinary.


Wireless Grill BBQ Thermometer

If sous vide sounds too fancy but your friend loves a good steak, this IBT-4XS thermometer from Inkbird will change their life. Most thermometers require you to hover over your grill to check the temperature of your meat, but not this one. Instead, you just insert the probe into the meat and the thermometer syncs to your smartphone. When the meat reaches the perfect temperature, you’ll get an alert that it’s done. Genius!


Jackery Portable Power Station

Camping and the end of the world have one thing in common: no reliable electricity. To help your outdoorsy family prepare, pick up a portable power station from Jackery. The power stations come in three capacities to store all of energy you need, and can be recharged from an outlet or with Jackery’s foldable, easy-to-use solar panels. I use my power station to keep my power tools running in the woods, and it works like a charm! To take your gift to the next level, snag Onite’s portable LED lightbulb, too. It charges from the power station with a USB and can light up a tent through the night. It’s modern-day camping!


Revlon’s One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer

I bought my daughter Madelyn this combination hair dryer and hairbrush for her 19th birthday, and she absolutely loves it. At just $30 on sale, the brush is really affordable, and it’s great for traveling efficiently. You can choose from five different colors to match the brush to your giftee’s personality.


Women’s Self-Defense Kit

My fiancée, Halie, loves to go running, but she doesn’t always feel safe on her own. If you have a loved one in the same boat, they’d probably appreciate getting a self-defense kit for Christmas. I recommend stocking it with the SABRE S-1005 pepper spray and stun gun/flashlight set and a Taiker personal wrist alarm. The loud alarm will easily draw attention in an emergency, and you can get a five-pack of them for just $16.
All of these gifts are available on Amazon, so you don’t have to worry about wearing a mask while you shop. But if you want to support a local business, I’ve got one bonus gift idea for you: a case of really good wine. You can split up the bottles and give one to each of your friends. Just make sure you pick a really good winery (Barboursville Vineyards is my favorite) and you’ll be the toast of the virtual party.
Happy Holidays!

-Randy Sklar


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