Last year, I shared a story about my friend, Brad, who brings the worst kind of gifts to our yearly white elephant gift exchange. I’m talking about nose hair trimmers and the like. In response to his terrible gift giving, I feel compelled to help others step up their holiday shopping game. Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas I’ve discovered this past year.
Yes, it’s a pen, but hear me out. This is far more than a cheesy novelty item. I started writing with a fountain pen myself, and once I got a hang of filling the ink, I never looked back. It’s the smoothest writing experience you’ll ever have. My personal favorite pen is from the Pilot Metropolitan Collection. It was only $20, and it writes better than other more expensive pens I’ve used. I usually shop on Amazon, but the best pens I’ve found come from The Goulet Pen Company, a local business. You can browse their whole stock at gouletpens.com.
Tumi Unisex Alpha 2 – Compact Large Screen Laptop Brief
If you have ever walked into a Tumi luggage shop at the airport, then you know you’ve gazed upon works of art. It sounds silly to get excited over luggage, but Tumi bags are incredible. I used to have one, until my son confiscated it for his laptop. This particular model of Tumi bag is a laptop brief with an extra slit in the material so you can attach it to the handle of your big rolling suitcase. No more worrying your carry-on is going to fall off your bag as you trek through the crowded airport. Now that’s money.
If you want a blender that’s going to get the job done, Vitamix is the only option. I’m a huge fan of Vitamix. My blender is usually used for smoothies, though I realized recently it could totally replace my coffee bean grinder. Vitamix also offers a killer cookbook with recipes that show you how to add healthy whole foods into your diet with ease.
Step aside, cornhole. There’s a new backyard lawn game to break out at summer barbecues. Alright, so technically, bocce ball isn’t “new.” Pronounced “bah-chee,” this game has roots in ancient Rome and has been played in Italy for generations. Two teams play with 1 smaller ball, the pallino, and 8 larger balls. Someone tosses the pallino out into the lawn, and teams take turns trying to toss the larger balls as close to the pallino as possible. Like the best party games, it’s simple, but really fun. You can grab a bocce ball set for a fair price at any sports supply store, but I recommend the AmazonBasics Bocce Ball Set on Amazon.
Consider this one a gift for yourself. If you fly more than twice a year, registering for TSA Precheck will save you from hours spent standing in security lines. When going through the TSA Precheck security line, you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, or jacket, and electronics, and liquids remain in your carry-on. The lines are shorter and quicker — sometimes a mere five minutes in TSA Precheck compared to 80 minutes in a standard security line!
I registered for TSA Precheck myself back in October. The whole process took less than 30 minutes. I spent five minutes filling out the online forms on a Sunday night. On Monday morning I stopped by the appointment center at 9:40 a.m. to finish my application, and I was out of there before 10. Walking through TSA Precheck makes being at the airport slightly less terrible.
I hope you know someone on your shopping list who will love one of these gifts — it’s okay if that someone happens to be you. May these suggestions help keep another person from being gifted a nose hair trimmer this year.