Gift Guides

2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Wild Card

Some people are consistently harder to shop for than others. Maybe they’ve already got just about everything and don’t fit any specific stereotype. Hence the need for our 2016 Holiday Wild Card Gift Guide. There’s no pattern here, just randomness and cool stuff a wide range of personalities can appreciate. Some notables include a multitasking pan that can cook up a full meal simultaneously, a minimalist razor, a hoodie that should last well over a decade, a better bed for your furry pal, and a set of carbon fibre coasters to keep your table safe from scalding hot liquids.

  1. Master Pan – $35+

  2. Hone Razor – ~80+

  3. Aer Gym Duffel – $165

  4. Anker PowerCore+ USB-C – $60

  5. Cards Against Humanity – $20+

  6. Common Fibers CF Coasters – $50

  7. Bellroy Key Cover – $45+

  8. Fitbit Charge 2 – $150

  9. Concrete Desk Set – $50

  10. Mininch Tool Pen Mini – $80+

  11. Casper Dog Mattress – $125

  12. Dyson Supersonic – $110

  13. Heimplanet Monolith Dopp – $75

  14. Lamzac Fatboy – $60

  15. Flint & Tinder 10 Year Hoodie – $90

  16. Craighill Wave Money Clip – $44

  17. DropCatch Bottle Opener – $30+

  18. Matador Packable Daypack – $60

When you’re done with this one — and while you wait for the others — check out our OutdoorsFoodie, and Tech gift guides.

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Vices

Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka

The first question you’ll ask yourself after discovering Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka is probably something along the lines of how is this even made? Well first the milk is separated into curds and whey, the former turned to cheese (Black Cow will sell you cheddar, too) and the latter converted into beer via a particular yeast that transforms lactose into ethanol. This beer is then distilled, treated (using proprietary and secret processes), and finally triple filtered. While it’s completely transparent like vodka should be its milk origins imbue the booze with a creamy and sweet character that you won’t want to dilute with mixers.

Learn more at Black Cow or grab a bottle at Master of Malt – $29

GET IT: $29

Tech
Featured

Sevenhugs Smart Remote

Your plethora of devices — growing every day — needs a more practical way of being controlled that doesn’t involve using a different remote or app for everything. The Sevenhugs Smart Remote offers contextual remote functionality that recognizes what it’s being pointed at and automatically displays controls for each device on its 3.4-inch HD touchscreen. It’s compatible with over 25,000 devices (via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or infrared) including Samsung Smart TVs, Philips Hue LED light blubs, Sonos speakers, Nest Thermostat, and your TV box (Apple TV, Roku, etc.) to name a few on its ever-growing list. It can even call you an Uber by pointing at your front door.

Preorder now at Kickstarter – $149+

GET IT: $149+

Kitchen

Skid Wooden Chef Knife

Wood wouldn’t quite keep a razor-sharp edge, so the Skid Wooden Chef Knife isn’t technically 100% made of wood. Instead this remarkable knife’s composition is closer to 97% wood and 3% alloyed carbon steel, the latter very hard and used just for the blade’s edge. The Robinia wood used itself is harder than oak and boasts a high percentage of tannin which has antibacterial properties so that nothing but warm water is needed to clean the blade. Wood and metal come together seamlessly and durably, and the knife handles nicely due to its low weight. Also available in other woods including mahogany, smoked mood oak coupled to Damascus steel, and ebony.

Find it at Kickstarter – roughly $180

GET IT: ~$180

Style

Weef Leather Ties

Don a Weef Leather Tie and we’re fairly certain people will notice. Each of this Cape Town startup’s skinny ties is handmade of premium full grain leather that’ll probably last forever and age nicely (like leather tends to). They come in six colors that span (from left to right) brown, grey, navy, as well as (not shown) oxblood, black, and cognac, and require little maintenance. Though to sharpen up just iron over your tie on low heat with a pure cotton ironing cloth for a crisp, clean look.

Pick one up at Weef – $84

GET IT: ~$84

Body

Care/of Vitamins & Supplements

Sifting through copious amounts of scientific literature — not to mention supplement-packed pharmacy isles — discourages most from both learning about and using natural products correctly. Care/of aims to help you make enlightened decisions regarding vitamins and natural supplements thanks to gentle guidance towards a combination of products suited to your specific needs as opposed to those of some arbitrary, average human. Their site first asks you roughly five minutes worth of questions to get a feel for what you might benefit from. Then, their algorithm suggests a personalized combination of daily supplements along with more detailed information on each one, an honest scientific analysis of the backing literature (ranging from emerging to very strong research depending on the supplement), and traceability with regards to harvesting and production practices. The end product is a good looking box that ships to your home every month and comes with thirty sachets, each filled with one day’s worth of vitamins and supplements.

Learn more at Care/of – $20+ per month

GET IT: $20+/month

Gear

Memory Foam Wallet

It’s no secret that sitting on your wallet isn’t good for you. But if you’re going to do so anyway you’re probably better off with a Memory Foam Wallet over a more traditional stiff leather one. As its name suggests the wallet features nice and soft memory foam on the outside that boosts comfort when sat on while compressing down to just about 1/8th of an inch thin. On the inside it’s got a standard 6 pockets layout for cards, holding up to 14 of them comfortably, and a large banknote compartment for your cash. It’s also washable, so throw it in the machine sans cards and cash if it ever needs a refresh.

Grab one at Amazon – $25

GET IT: $25

Gaming

8Bitdo NES Classic Retro Receiver

The NES Classic is the hottest gamer gift this holiday season. Problem is Nintendo cursed its controllers with cables one-third the length of the original’s, which unsurprisingly complicates gaming on the device. 8Bitdo’s NES Classic Retro Receiver addresses the issue by cutting the cord entirely and letting you use one of a myriad of wireless controllers, with one NES30 controller included. Setup is as simple as plugging it in and pairing a controller to it. It’ll game lag-free, though for multiplayer you’ll need several Retro Receivers since the console itself can’t receive two controller inputs through one controller port.

Pick one up at Amazon – $40

GET IT: $40

Sports & Outdoors

BUMI Base Layer

With the short-sleeve BUMI Base Layer you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for convenience. Made from a technical polyester fabric that’s stitched together with flatlock seams, the Base Layer is soft, antimicrobial, quick to wick away sweat, and packs down neatly into a compact form that can easily hide in a bag or pocket. The mesh compartment into which to stash the shirt also doubles as a pocket while worn. It’s the epitome of functional clothing designed for travel and experiencing the outdoors. Part of a limited 100-piece run, so act fast if you want one.

Learn more at BUMI – $18

Presented by BUMI.

GET IT: $18

Books

Never Built New York

New York’s skyline is unlike any other. Still, it could have been very different, and Never Built New York revisits the Big Apple’s long list of could-have-been projects. The book covers nearly 200 proposals over the last two centuries for skyscrapers, bridges, transit systems, amusement parks, and many more that were never carried through for one reason or another. We’re glad plans to fill in rivers and extend the city didn’t make the cut, but it incites you to wonder about Frank Lloyd Wright’s master plan for Ellis Island and Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome design for the Brooklyn Dodger’s stadium.

Pick up a copy at Amazon – $41

GET IT: $41

Gift Guides

2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Tech

Staying on the cutting edge isn’t cheap, so our 2016 Tech Holiday Gift Guide runs a little pricier than the others. But the practicality and sheer cool factor of these devices — which include both Google’s and Amazon’s home assistants, the best noise cancelling headphones, the best e-reader, a portable outlet, and an exceedingly user-friendly router — is worth the shelling out of a few extra bucks.

  1. Google Home – $130
  2. Sonos Play:1 – $170
  3. HP Sprocket – $130
  4. Google Pixel – $650+
  5. Amazon Echo Dot – $50
  6. Bose QuietComfort 35 – $350
  7. Kindle Oasis – $15
  8. Grovemade Mouse Pad – $100
  9. Chromecast Ultra – $90
  10. Phone Bed – $100
  11. Starry Station – $280
  12. Automatic Pro – $110
  13. Apple Watch Series 2 – $370+
  14. Pax 2 Vaporizer – $200
  15. Daydream VR Headset – $80
  16. LifePower A2 – $200+
  17. Radius v4 – $90

When you’re done with this one — and while you wait for the others — also check out our Outdoors and Foodie gift guides.

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Food & Drink

Coravin Model One & Two

The original Coravin allowed you to tap into a bottle of wine without actually opening it, sparing its contents of oxidation if not drunk quickly. The new Coravin Model One does the same thing but at a lower price point. It’s made of ABS and synthetic rubber but otherwise uses the same Teflon-coated stainless steel needle to get through the cork and pour out wine. The Coravin Model Two on the other hand boasts a fully metal body and a thinner wall needle that allows for 20% faster pouring. The needles are narrow enough that the cork naturally reseals as they’re withdrawn, and both models use pressurized argon cartridges (good for about fifteen 5 ounce pours) that fills the bottle’s newly created empty space with this inert gas and keep the wine as fresh as a brand new untouched bottle. And if you need something a touch flashier the Model Two Elite comes in fire engine red, gold, or silver (click through to picture two), albeit at a $50 premium.

Find the Model One ($195) and Model Two ($350) at Amazon.

GET IT: $195+