Why you should care
Because it’s not the thought that counts, but the gift.
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.
Leslie Nguyen-Okwu is a reporter who covers the bits and bytes of the tech world for OZY. When she’s not writing about Silicon Valley, she’s pitching something bizarre to her editors or booking a flight for a reporting trip to Asia. Her lungs never quite recovered from her time in Beijing, but trust her, the chive dumplings and pumpkin porridge were worth the adult-onset asthma. Just don’t ask her to run a marathon.
Give: The Candle With the Best Candle Smell
You want apple cinnamon? Try “new Mac” instead. Get a whiff of this snobbish New Mac candle from accessory company Twelve South, which claims to have bottled the scent of a freshly boxed Apple laptop — lavender, basil, mint, peach, mandarin and sage — minus the new-hardware aroma. The $24 candle “gives you permission to let your inner nerd out,” says Twelve South Creative Director Andrew Green. The perfect gift for a closeted technophile and a small price to pay compared with other gaudy gizmos and gadgets — ahem, Spectacles — that will likely end up collecting dust by February.
Give: Hot Coffee in Your Car
You might be in too much of a hurry to brew a steaming cup of coffee before you leave the house or to drop by your neighborhood Starbucks, but that doesn’t matter if you can spare $188. The Handpresso Auto, a handy-dandy hand-held coffeemaker, will make your espresso while you’re inching down Route 101 or over the George Washington Bridge. I’m no barista, but I do know how to work hard at being lazy. Consider your coffee needs covered. I’m sorry in advance for the scalding cup of joe that will spill down your shirt.
Give: A Potion for Eternal (or Slightly Extended) Life
In Vietnam, a tiny glass bottle of this green cure-all, called dầu gió xanh, is used to treat everything under the sun: splitting headaches, nausea, even broken bones. People swear by the viscous oil, even if the medicine couldn’t heal a paper cut. But whether or not this Vietnamese Elixir of Longevity ($4) works doesn’t matter: A quick dab on your sore throat and you’ll be transported to the groves of Huế and the sweet, healing smell of eucalyptus leaves. You will feel better, instantly. Sometimes, that’s nothing short of miraculous.
Get: A Magic (More or Less) Wand
I wake up every day in my cupboard-size room and wait for Hagrid to show up with a crappy birthday cake. In the meantime, I’ll use this wizard-worthy Magical Kymera Wand, by the Wand Company ($50), to keep my Alohomora up to snuff. Unlike the wooden wands at Universal Studios, this one actually works … as a universal remote control for your lights, appliances and electronics. Expelliarmus! Just like magic, the television is now on. My letter from Hogwarts will come soon enough, just you wait.
Get: Sci-Fi Earbuds
From Star Wars’ Galactic Basic to Lord of the Rings’ Common Speech, we’re still a long way from having a true lingua franca. But Waverly Labs’ Real-Time Translation Earbuds ($199) may be the next best thing. These sleek buds are like having a little translator in your ear and allow for simultaneous translation between any two languages. Imagine, the ability to curse in Arabic or bargain for your life in Quechua. Take that, Google Translate.
Get: Candy Corn Until You’re Dead
Every October, I hit up drugstores and stockpile bags of candy corn. The trick-or-treaters can have the crummy Tootsie Rolls. I’ll even give away those buttery Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But no one, no matter how cute the costume, can get me to part with these sugary-sweet kernel delights. They’re mine. ALL MINE. Yet now that Christmas is nigh, my supply is starting to thin out. This happens every year. Walgreens, I implore you, please restock your shelves. I need my high-fructose fix year-round.