Towards the end of every year, magazines and newspapers fill up their copy quotas—and woo their most lucrative advertisers—with the help of bright and shiny holiday gift guides. They are almost always at least a little absurd. This year, a thirty-second video ad that bombards your screen when you click on the gift guide is becoming more and more common.
So that you don’t have to subject yourself to any of that, here is a selection of gift-guide items from some sites around the web. Each one, I think, pretty well sums up the personality of the outlet in which it appears. (A note: this list does not include Wired magazine, because they have so many different gift guides this year that it got a little overwhelming. Wired basically is a giant gift guide at this point.)
• Vox: A subscription for FreshNeck, a by-mail neck tie rental service ($20-55)
• Techcrunch: a Dropbox Pro account, featuring one terabyte of cloud-based file storage. ($99 for one year)
• The New York Times: a compact disc recording of the original 1963 Broadway performance of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ($16.95)
• The Guardian: Personalized shoes made with a 3D design tool that allows customers to “create their own masterpiece—including bespoke screen printing.” (£230+)
• The Huffington Post: A zippered pouch emblazoned with the phrase “A girl should be two things: CLASSY AND FABULOUS.” ($16)
• Popular Science: DJI Inspire 1 drone, which is apparently “the best flying machine on the market.” ($2,900)
• BuzzFeed: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Stash Jar” ($13)
• Food and Wine: Tribest Wolfgang Grain Mill, “An easy-to-use model that can produce any flour texture.” ($599)
• The Verge: The Bluetooth Gramophone, “a Bluetooth speaker designed to look and sound like a horn speaker from the 1920s.” ($399)
• Vocativ: a counterfeit Hermès Birkin bag, available online for only $384, compared to $60,000 for the real thing.
• CNET’s “Techy Toys for Tiny Tots” list includes an Amazon Kindle Fire HD Edition ($149) and the explanatory introduction, “You held out as long as you could, but it’s about time you resign to let technology take over the job of raising your kids. CNET’s here to help.”
• CNN Money: A thermostat, really? A thermostat. ($250)