Holiday Gifts: off the beaten track

‘Tis the season, folks!

I absolutely love gift giving. I love it hard. And as a self-styled Gift Goddess I proclaim here and now the best presents aren’t about the pricetag.

If I were to choose favorites among those generously bestowed on me over the years —  how crass! —  they’d be evenly split between decadent wonders and homespun treasures. Receiving a short story crafted just for you is a special sort of magic, but DIY ideas and projects are a post for another day.

Instead, here are a range of wonders (handily available online) which are definitely on my list for spreading festive cheer.


For the booklover

Spineless classics are an ingenious concept. Up close, the complete text of a favorite book writ on a single sheet; from a distance, a poster silhouette of a key image or theme from the story.

There is a huge range these days covering great novels, influential essays and SF classics, but I’m always a sucker for a dancing Moomin.


spineless moomin


Anthropologie is now selling retro hardbacks cut into letters. Spelling out a favorite quote or a kid’s name on the bedroom wall would be adorable.

And for $20 a letter it’s still probably cheaper and infinitely easier than buying a jig saw and trying to DIY it.


Anthro library letters


For the artist

While there are zillions of websites showcasing great design, amazing artwork and some truly stellar papierie on this here internets, this year my money is on Papirmass — a subscription posting your giftee an original art print AND a piece of creative writing every month for a year.

Aptly, the tagline declares “turn your mailbox into a gallery”.

For the $69 pricetag it’s a bargain potluck. Sure you may get some pop-art you hate but chances are you’ll find at least one or two things you’ll be proud to hang on the wall, and all the while you’re supporting indie artists at the start of their careers.

Merry Christmas to all!




For the savvy  traveler

Cycle enthusiasts like me (read: with more enthusiasm than thigh muscle) should rejoice; the Copenhagen Wheel is now available for pre-order.

Conceived at MIT as part of a research project, the wheel stores energy to help boost riders on tough hills — a sort of hybrid electric-battery engine. And the best part? It snaps onto your existing bike.


copehagen wheel superpedestrian


Everyone needs a good getaway bag. This canvas satchel with preppy, stripped lining is perfect for quick weekend retreats (pom poms removable, thank god).


anthropologie canvas weekender


For the kitchen guru

I’ll be the first to admit some of my best recipes are scrawled on the backs of envelopes or printed emails from my mom.

But there is something special about a box of recipe cards which have survived a million dousings of flour (especially when the margins are annotated by loving relatives and great cooks).

These beautiful cards from nane press seem just the ticket for budding chefs and culinary masters. Simple, clean, but with that tactile charm only letterpress can provide. Delicious.


nane recipe cards


Or for something really flashy, here’s a gift which keeps on giving: Julibox. Every month a box of treats and recipes arrive to help you craft a pair of scrumptious cocktails.

They may be small bottles, you’ll get only two servings of each drink, but the sampler-size means a novice can find her feet (and her favorites) and then stock her bar accordingly with minimal effort and intense joy.

To get a taste of what’s to come you can browse the previous collections  on the website.


Julily box


For kids of all ages

While most go-to gifts for kids are timeless (see: dinosaurs, bottle rockets, movie tickets and LEGO), this year there are a couple of fun options new to the market.

The people behind Raspberry Pi have launched a new kickstarter project: Kano, the build-your-own-computer kit.

You’re cringing. I know it. But it’s amazing.

The cheerful directions look like illustrated LEGO manuals, guiding budding creatives to connect mother boards and cables in simple, clean steps (and get a load of that adorable orange keyboard!).

After initial install, kid-friendly videos and tutorials boot up helping users design and modify 8-bit-style games (and gently introducing basic programming and software skills in the process).

It’s only $99 and all you need is a screen. Freaking genius.


And lastly, because I am a total dork, I bring you the special edition Presidential Pez collection.

Sadly, they are sold out of Vol I — containing Washington, Jefferson et al — but the Mediocre Presidents are out in full force, along with Lincoln, FDR and the other usual suspects.

Obviously they are the perfect, beardy stocking stuffer.




darwin spineless classicPres_Vol4

What’s not to love?

2 Responses to “Holiday Gifts: off the beaten track”
  1. aimi says:

    Reblogged this on Lost in The World Map.


  2. orees19 says:

    awesome awesome, i usually solve my giving issues with strange books. By the way, the tittle of your blog is completely interesting


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: