(Every year, we publish our favorite things from the year as a gift guide for you for the holidays… and while we love this stuff, nothing overrides our motto of: Presence… not presents. Like last year, there are no affiliate links, and we haven’t been paid to promote any of these products. We just like them.)
Books, a literary reference, writing, sox, & shoes…somebody raised you well! ~Joanna Christopher, one of my former English professors
- Your Own Table 49 – In 2015, patronize a local restaurant often enough so it becomes the place where everybody knows your name. I have my own clean, well-lighted place where I’ve written the better part of two books, where the servers, managers, and bartenders have become my friends, where the owners have become my family, and where I have permission to go in through the kitchen entrance before hours to have some quiet time. Pick your own such place in 2015. Be gracious. Remember names. Tip generously. The friendships you make will be as much of a gift to you as your regular receipts are to the restaurant.
- Silence – We’re drowning in noise. Silence – finding it and creating it – requires more effort than ever, and it’s more worth it than ever. This Relevant magazine article from the weekend is a great, quiet read about the subject.
- Buyer Legends eBook – I bought close to 100 copies of this $2.99 eBook for people this year. Jeffrey and Bryan have been friends and mentors of mine for a decade. In this incredibly brilliant, incredibly generous book, you’ll get a glimpse into why. As my Amazon review of it says, you only need to read this book if your business plans to communicate with humans in 2015 and beyond.
- Saving Soldiers Bracelets – Kaity Roberts decided she wanted to help homeless veterans, and she began selling paracord bracelets to raise money for veterans’ shelters. Kaity Roberts is in SEVENTH GRADE. She’s also one of my heroes. Like my dad, her father served our country in the Marine Corps. That’s where our similarities end, though… she’s way out of my league in awesomeness.
- Budgeting For Random Gifts Of Kindness – I like buying people books. I like funding projects on Kickstarter and GoFundMe. I like seeing great specials on AppSumo or GeekAlerts and having money available to send something to someone I care about saying simply “Saw this and thought of you.”
- Darn Tough Socks – Last year, I shared my underwear with you, and this year, in an effort to match 2013’s level of excitement, I’m sharing the world’s greatest socks with you. Seriously… I’m never buying a different brand… ever, and they have one of those guarantees that give you absolute faith in the product and, by extension, their company.
- WPCurve Membership – If you have a site running on the WordPress platform, and you either kinda-sorta know your way around the back-end, or you know but don’t have time, or you don’t know a thing, consider a membership to WPCurve. They focus solely on “small projects” they consider to take 30 minutes or less. They’re fast, they’re polite, they’re good, and they’ve helped us numerous times in 2014. I heart them, and I think you will, too. (H/T to Paul Boomer for introducing me to them.)
- Everybody Writes by Ann Handley – The bestest, kindest, usefulest book on writing in the last few years. It’s delightful. Buy one. Buy ten.
- Kano Computer Kit – Kano started packaging computer kits about a year ago. There are lots of companies who do this but what separates Kano by a factor of ten is the work they’ve put into their documentation and their platform software that make building the computer, then learning to develop on it, an absolute wonder. Your children – and even you – will be learning to code within minutes, and you won’t want to stop.
- UE Mini Boom – We liked this little bluetooth speaker so much, we bought one for everybody in our company back in August. It’s light, powerful, and sounds rich. It’s great for travel.
- Ecco Shoes – What can I say? Danes make great shoes. Yes, they’re a little expensive, but they’re incredibly comfortable and last forever. I bought pairs three and four this year.
- Bose QC20i Noise-Cancelling Earbuds – $300 for earbuds might sound nuts… unless you travel or work in crowded places… then, it’s safe to say these will be the most valuable investment you make this year. These things are magic.
- American Airlines Admirals Club Membership – Let me preface this by saying: We are Hampton Inn people. We travel as cheaply as possible without sacrificing our backs on bad beds, and we draw the line at bugs. This year, however, given my regular layovers at O’Hare and DFW, we invested in an Admirals Club Membership. The clubs are clean, quiet, welcoming. The Internet is free and fast (like, download an HD movie in a few minutes fast). They have snacks and treats and offer smiling concierge staff to help you adjust your travel arrangements when necessary. United has one. Delta has one. Your airline probably has one, too.