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A tarpaper shack, a cart of apples, some pencils.

In the interest of gift givers’ wallets, I’ve put together a list of cool gifts for someone like me (for example, me) on which everything is under $25. Big ticket items like a bike, a house, Rock Band 2, etc. may have to wait until next year.

1. Phillies World Series Roster Shirt—$24.99 is a lot to pay for a shirt you will wear exclusively to the gym and/or bed (thanks KC), but I put July 4, 2021, as the date this shirt will tip from poor design aesthetics into quality nostalgia, as I say over my shoulder “Yeah, So friggin’ Taguchi! Good ol’ number 99.” At that moment, it will be worth it. $24.99 + shipping.

2. Barbour Thornproof Dressing—I have a waxed cotton jacket (not from Barbour… maybe next Christmas) that needs a new coat, and I’m hellbent on doing it my damn self. The real stuff from Barbour can be had for $10-$15. Currently available at for a mere 7.99GBP including shipping to the U.S. That’s only $11.98 at the current (enjoyable!) $/GBP exchange.

3. Field Notes Memo Books—Having filled up my cassette moleskin from Beth, I need a new moleskine-type book, and this 3-pack of graph paper memo books fits the bill and looks pleasingly official. Endorsed by $9.95 + shipping.

4. Military Surplus Watch—J. Crew is selling a Timex quartz watch in this style for $150. A non-J. Crew version is $50.00, and this no-brand issue watch is a mere $22 + shipping. (Truly, I’d prefer the Vietnam-era mechanical, but that’s a money bin-draining $46.)

5. J. Crew Argyle Socks—In the spirit of my love/hate relationship with J. Crew, I bashed the Crew (we all know what we’re talking about here) in #4 and I’ll embrace it in #5. The socks are great. In a business casual workplace, or just generally, one can rarely have enough argyle socks. $14, with select colors at three for $20, or just wait until after Christmas when they’ll all be $3.99. J. Press’s are a little pricier, but a wool rather than cotton blend.

6. Mother of Pearl Cufflinks—From Seize sur Vingt. Not as dressy as metallic links, not as much of a pain to get through buttonholes as silk knots. The horn version is especially rad. $20 plus shipping.

7. American Apparel Gym Bag—I need a gym bag that’s cheap, because I make such things gross. $17 + shipping.

8. Anton Corbijn Director’s Label DVD—Volume 2 does not quite live up to the first volume in this series (focusing on Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry, and Spike Jonze), but how could it? Of the four DVDs in vol. 2, this is the most intriguing, and probably rewatchable (I have rewatched the Jonze and Gondry DVDs many times, mostly after drinking too much whiskey). Corbijn will probably forever be associated with U2 and Joy Division, but this disc includes two of my favorite 90s videos, Heart Shaped Box and Liar. (But not his video for Danzig’s Dirty Black Summer?! Disappointed!) And nevermind, I can just watch those on youtube.

9. Fisher Space Pen—Now you too can be like Jack Klompus. It writes upside down! Also, it looks cool in a Mad Men sorta way. $20 + shipping (engraving is $1.50 per line, so go nuts).

10. Sigg Aluminum (Lunch) Box—Sigg bottles have officially replaced Nalgenes as the granola yuppie accessory drink container of choice, what with all the cancer and bunny torture devices for which Nalgene was allegedly responsible. And yet, I still don’t have one. I don’t have one of these yet, either, but I think it would be nifty to take it to my next “brown bag” meeting. “Nice BAG,” I’d say sarcastically. The $24.95 version, the Midi, is probably a little small for my Kubiak-style lunches, but the larger Maxi seems to be occasionally on sale for the same price.

If, as thanks for this list, you'd like to send me a gift, my mailing address can be provided.

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