One of the secrets of the house is that I do all of the Christmas shopping. Wendy sees it as a task to endure, I see it as a work of art. We know who gets the better Christmas gifts around here. At the same time I keep hearing for people that they don’t know what to get for their husbands, sons, and fathers. I have been giving out tips lately and I thought that I would post them here. As you will see, some are more serious than others.
In case you are wondering, Wendy and I have spend under $100 on each of us at Christmas. We have a pretty simple Christmas but I enjoy looking for the perfect gift. A decade ago Gloria told me that if she likes the gift she is giving and if it is good enough for her, it is good enough for the person she is giving it too. Wendy and I think the same way.
- Ohio Fine Fountain Pen | Give a nice pen this Christmas. Those 25 packs of pens for $2 are fine if you are a homeless shelter and everyone takes yours but eventually you or someone you love is going to want to write a memo, a letter, or need to fill out a bunch of pointless paper work for a certain government department that you may have to deal with. For that, you need a good pen for a reasonable price. This is a fine fountain pen and you can get it for only $20. Make sure you order some refills as well.
- What’s the point of having a kick butt library if those ingrates that call you a friend come over and take a book home every time they visit. Since tasers are still illegal for personal use in Canada, why not pick up a personal library set instead ($19.95). Of course you can’t buy them integrity but you will be able to get your books back. In case the person you are you buying for is vain, you can get them a year long ($10) or a life time ($25) subscription to LibraryThing as well. They may be vain but they are in good company.
- Leica M8 | Is there a better gift for a loved one that a Leica camera? At only $5995.00, you can get one for your favorite blogger as well. I know almost $6000 seems a little pricey for a camera but look at the camera you are giving out and just think of how much better the photos will be that they will be posting to Flickr. Of course you can’t help them if they take photos of their thumbs and feet all of the time but at least they will be clear photos of their thumb and feet.
- Movie Pix HD ($100) | I bought one of these this fall for $100 at Wal-Mart and it has been a great little camera that one can carry everywhere. It shoots in 16:9 and with a 2 gb memory card, you never have to worry about running out of space. (I review it here). The one thing that you will want to pick up for it is some extra batteries. We have some nickel cadmium batteries but for the holidays, we also picked up 40 Maxell alkaline batteries to make sure we had some batteries ready to go if needed. If you have kids this is the way to go. Within minutes of shooting, these videos can be uploaded to YouTube which go a long way in making his mother-in-law forget what a schlep her daughter married. While you are at it, pick up a video editing suite that is better than Microsoft Movie Maker. Check out Movie Magix ($45) (download free trial here) for an affordable but functional movie editing software for Windows. If he has a Mac, he has iMovie and he is taking care of.
- McFarlane Toys ($15) | As boys we loved our Star Wars and GI Joe action figures. Our tastes have matured a bit but so have our action figures. Now McFarlane Toys is making Derek Jeter, John Elway, or LeBron James action figures but in a way where they look cool sitting on our desk. When I mention this to women they look at me like I am idiot but at the same time their husbands come into my office every day to talk sports and check them out. I got some of mine at Wal-Mart for $5. Just make sure you don’t get the Grant Fuhr in a Calgary Flames uniform or something stupid that could get him beat up by Calgary and Edmonton fans.
- America at War Megaset ($60) | 25 DVDs of American history by the History Channel. This is a great gift for the history buff that gets on your nerves. Not only do you make him happy but he won’t leave his den until September 2009. You can thank me later as you will have all sorts of time.
- Neumann Gloves ($35)| If he played football in high school, he had a pair of Neumann gloves and I bet he misses them. When wet, they actually get tacky which is helpful should a random stranger fire a football at him while it is raining. The leather palms almost make for a durable glove which are good for playing slo-pitch or mountain biking. It is also guaranteed to get the ball tossed to him during touch football games even if he does move slower than Shaquille O’Neal playing defense. If he lives in Canada or is just a CFL fan, get him the winter receiver gloves.
- Interactive R2D2 Astromech Droid ($104) | There is nothing more irritating to be driving along and find out that your rear shields have been shot off. While you are concentrating on shooting the ears off a Gundark or sending a protron torpedo down an exhaust chute, R2 can take care of your car or X-Wing fighter.
- Personal Sountrack Shirt ($39.95) | If you are like me, you dream of a personal mariachi band to follow you to play a soundtrack for your life. Well it’s time to give the band some pink slips and replace them with a shirt that can play MP3s, sound effects, and look good doing it. It even has a remote.
- Find me the Matrix ($19.95) | If you are shopping for a guy or girl who is always wondering where the nearest wifi connection is, this shirt lights up when you are near one. The brighter your shirt, the better the connection.
- Sony PSP 2000 ($169) | I know it’s been out for a couple of years but after having one for a year I can’t recommend it enough. Games like SOCOM kill time during a rainy day at the lake and at the same time keep Mark quiet on the drive up in the back seat. I have a 2 gig memory stick that I load up with YouTube videos and documentaries from Google Video. Spluge a bit and get the 8 gig card and you have a great travelling machine. For another $20 you can get the headphone and mic which combined with Skype make for a really cheap long distance option for the road warrior.
- University of Saskatchewan basketball tickets ($8) | This is pretty localized but if you are in Saskatoon and you haven’t been to a Huskies basketball game, you are missing out. The PAC is a great place to watch a game and the Huskies play an entertaining style of basketball. Courtside tickets are only $15 and you have your own waiter/waitress.
- “ Roughriders Drive” Sign ($20) | This metal sign will be perfect for your cabin or den and if you aren’t a Roughrider fan, you can a variation of the classic street sign with your own teams name on it. Of course all of you are Rider fans so this won’t be an issue.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones ($35) | If your loved on travels a lot and doesn’t have a pair, this should be at the top of your list. Until you have flown with a pair of these on, you have no idea how much easier they make flying.
- Bellagio Classico 2 Vintage Series Men’s Mechanical Skeleton Watch ($200) | There is nothing like opening a great looking watch on Christmas day and this is one great looking watch. I am not sure if you have to pay $200 for a watch, I am wearing a good looking Timex that I bought for $10 that generates a lot of compliments. Another watch I have was purchased for less than $30 that has provoked even a decade later that it is the nicest watch people have seen. I just linked to this one because it looked cool and I hope it is some inspiration.
- Swiss Army Knife | It’s the knife that MacGuyver used. Do I need to say anything more?