Why you should care

Because you get what you give. Well, not really. But don’t tell the children.

Part of OZY’s 2016 holiday gift guide, in which our staffers and contributors clue you in on what they want to give and what they want to get.

Taylor Mayol reports a bit on mad scientists and cure finders but usually writes about Africa. She does, after all, have a master’s in “African studies” (ask her about the air quotes). Though she’s based in OZY’s Mountain View locale, her mind is usually in Nairobi or Kigali or Lagos, as she plots her next reporting trip. This winter, the Central Valley native can be found on the ski slopes, because Tahoe.

Amazon echo 2652

Amazon Echo

Source Mark Madeo

Give: A Device That Will Blow Your Parents Away

After (somewhat) recently moving in with my SO, I nominated him as CTO of our home. I’m skeptical of most home-techie gadgets, if not overtly apathetic. But … hello, Amazon Echo, which, courtesy of its persona, Alexa, acts as a personal virtual butler. The best features? Setting the timer while cooking, playing music and skipping songs by verbal cue, setting morning alarms by verbal request and — best of all — turning the lights on and off with nothing but your voice — some Back to the Future magic come to life. But I won’t get this for just anyone; this is $180 I want to spend on older people who will be even more impressed by the technology than the jaded youth of today. In summary: Siri who?

Give: The Forever Middle Finger to Airport Security Lines

I was running through the airport, about to miss another flight when a nice man saw my #crazyface as I came to a screeching halt at the security lines. I was the perfect victim (read: customer). If I signed up for Clear ($179/year), a kind of precheck on steroids, it’d take only a couple of minutes and I’d get to skip the entire line. Plus, the initial fee would be refundable, the nice man said. Sold. Fingerprinted, paid and through security in a breeze. I was hooked. Clear is better than precheck because you walk up, scan your boarding pass at the machine, check your fingerprints (no ID required) and are personally escorted to the front of the security screening belt. Sure, the looks you get from other passengers can be a bit awkward, but it’s worth it. I want to give the gift of a one-year membership of stress-free travel (at least in the airport) this Christmas.

Give: A Path to World Domination

My aunt bought me a Passion Planner off Kickstarter a couple of years ago and it helped me figure out how to execute some goals that felt like nebulous ideas. The $25 to $30 she spent helped me clarify and break down those ideas. I think it’s a great calendar/planner/journal for type A creatives. To the close friends who get these this year, I’m not calling you scattered. Just suggesting you could be doing a better job at achieving your life purpose.

Get: Puppy! (Priceless)

I really want to adopt a CKCS pup, but I want it to arrive packaged like a surprise that every little child (well, me) dreamed of, complete with a huge red bow. There are several CKCS rescue services that take in surrendered dogs or rescue puppies from backyard breeder situations. Most of these services require a meet and greet and a semi-long application to ensure the dog finds a loving home, so that prework would be part of the gift too. (Nick Williams, are you reading this?) Plus, my two-year-old CKCS Mowgli could really use a buddy. Oh, and while I’m at it, throw in a T-shirt or two from Puppies Make Me Happy.

Get: A Subscription to Flowers

I love having fresh flowers, but I don’t love going to the grocery store. And the flowers there aren’t always all that great anyway. A monthly flower delivery subscription would be the ultimate gift that keeps on giving all year long. There are a few to choose from, but I like the Bouq Co.’s arrangement style and farm-to-table business model. The company partners with flower farms in California and South America or with local flower shops to deliver perfectly arranged bouquets. It’s not exactly cheap, starting at $384, but the more you buy, the bigger discount you get.

Get: Round-Trip Tickets to Iceland

I know, I know, Iceland is so trendy. But I’ve wanted to go ever since I lived next door to one Magnús Magnus Magnússen in the dorms freshman year of college. It’s also, apparently, land of adventure travel. You can hike glaciers, swim in turquoise hot springs and see the Northern Lights — the latter is on the top of my bucket list. With Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW’s latest push to boost travel to the Nordic country, you can score round-trip flights from San Francisco in the $300s. Tickets and planned itinerary, please and thanks!

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If you’d want to drink it, eat it, wear it, ride it, drive it; if it’d be cool to see, listen to or do, we’re writing about it.