Last minute holiday gifts (if you have a family member like me)

AR-151109724.jpg&updated=201511031234&MaxW=800&maxH=800&updated=201511031234&noborderWhile we are on the subject of gift exchange, There’s still time for one-day delivery! All of the following are unsolicited, unprompted, unpaid product endorsements—10 things I happened to buy during the year that proved amazingly valuable, and I want to spread the consumer surplus around.

  1. Purple Carrot food delivery. Mark Bittman of New York Times food column fame (I love his famous eating tips) left the paper to start a vegan food delivery service. Every Tuesday a box arrives with two meals worth of ingredients (and recipes). This would be slightly too time intensive for a couple with two kids and two busy jobs, except my kids like to mix the ingredients with me. Most of all, though, this service is perfect because I want to be more vegan on the margin (rather than full vegan) and this is the perfect commitment device.
  2. The OK to Wake! alarm clock for toddlers. You set it to 6:45 AM and it lights up green at that time. And our children obeyed it! This is in part because they get yogurt raisins if they obey. But THIS CHANGED MY LIFE.
  3. Widow Jane Bourbon whiskey. This is so good that when I have my grad students and staff over for dinner and drinks, I put out the expensive aged scotch instead, so there’s more bourbon for me. (Sorry guys.)
  4. I only used this portable phone charger a couple of times this year, but each time it saved me.
  5. This 60-year-old series of children’s books, about Jenny the Cat, were one of my favorite things to read to my kids. Not that there were a lot of competitors in the 4-year-old chapter book category. I look forward to next year when I think she might like Roald Dahl.
  6. The best nonfiction books I read were probably Empire of Cotton, Ghengis Khan, and the Social Order of the Underworld.
  7. A very inexpensive pair of good ceramic knives for the cook who can’t seem to keep knives sharp
  8. I really, really love the Reply All podcast, which is of course free.
  9. This vest substitutes for a car seat when you’re taking taxis or short car rides with little ones. Peace of mind and easy to carry.
  10. I liked the Duolingo app for practicing foreign languages. It is not very good mainly because it is linear and non-adaptive, but it is the best of a bad bunch. (I was kind of struggling to get to 10 items.)

In full disclosure, whenever you buy something on this site that links to Amazon, I get 1-2%. Annually that’s enough to pay for the blog site and management. So on net there’s almost no profit, and the blog remains ad free. Just my sincere, peculiar endorsements.

Other suggestions?