Why is this interesting? - The Gift Guide Edition

On books, objects, and other stuff worth buying

You’re going to see lots of gift guides this holiday shopping season. Hopefully, ours is one of the more interesting. Big thanks to the many WITI contributors who helped us build this out with their favorites. (All prices were as of publishing and might have changed. Sorry about that.) - Noah & Colin

Aftershokz Aeropex Bone Conduction Headphones


For cycling and other activities where blocking your ears is a bad idea, bone conduction headphones let you listen to music or podcasts. (Mark Slavonia)

Amaro Angeleno


Ten Thousand Waves Kyoto Bath Tote in Hinoki


For the amaro lover who's tried everything, Amaro Angeleno is a perfect combination of amaro bitterness and California citrus, made by the lovely folks at Ventura Spirits in Southern California. To keep the good feelings going, try Ten Thousand Waves Kyoto Bath Tote in Hinoki. I dream of going back to Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese onsen-style spa in Santa Fe; it's an oasis of calm and cedar-scented waters. Hinoki is the way to go. (Anita Schillhorn Van Veen)

Baffin Cush Insulated Slippers


Baffin slippers are “sleeping bags for your feet.” (Reilly Brennan)

Book Darts 30 Count Gift Tin


Book Darts are the classiest little way to save your spot, not only to the page, but down to the sentence. (Gabe Brosbe)

D'Addario Dynaflex Gyro Hand Exerciser


These little guys are hands down the best fidget toy anybody could have at their desk. In a previous life, I was involved with an employer that required a certain level of proficiency at rock climbing, and I picked one of these up at REI to help strengthen my grip. It takes a little bit to master the basics of getting this thing going, but it becomes a challenge to not default to using it absentmindedly at your desk once you do. (Chris Erickson)

Dansk Butter Warmer


While it's called a butter warmer, we use this tiny pot for all kinds of things. Melting butter, sure, but heating syrup and berries for waffles, making a single-person serving of leftover soup or chili, as a makeshift gravy boat, etc. This little tool was also one of my first Wirecutter purchases and helped cement the site in my mind as a must-reference for any purchase. (Ryan Anderson)

Hotel Saint Cecilia Kimono Robe


When my wife and I moved to LA a few years ago, we drove across the country and the Saint Cecilia was one of the places we stayed. We loved everything about the place, including this robe. Great way to feel like you’re staying in a chic hotel while staying home. (Buzz Andersen)

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

$19.39 hardcover, $14.99 Kindle

Because it's about what we pay our attention to (and how we spend it) and how that impacts our lives and happiness. (Ana Andjelic)

Industry of All Nations Alpaca Sweater


Industry of All Nations is a responsible brand with a mission to work in local communities to manufacture high-quality goods. (Eric Matthies)

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Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid


Going basic here with the Instapot Airfryer. As someone whose kitchen was used to store books and electronics, the pandemic forced me into the kitchen. This allowed me to cook something plausible and healthy with a hands-off approach until OpenTable is back in my life. (Perry Hewitt)

Jane Mount Custom Print


Studio Arhoj Pen Holder

€ 33.50

Foundrae Fob Earring with Star Disk


Jane Mount creates custom prints of favorite books if you want to slide into the center of a “literary” and “personal” Venn diagram. Studio Arhoj in Denmark makes ceramics with bright and kooky glazes. The Chug Mug or Pen Holder are great collection starters. Finally, you can go pretty nuts at Foundrae from the start, but their earring fob & disc systems are a versatile first foray into your future crippling jewelry habit. (Amber Finlay)

Mercury Retrograde by Emily Segal

$18 paperback, $10 PDF

Full disclosure I haven't yet read Segal's first book yet, but based on her thought-provoking and often quite funny trend reports for K-Hole and Nemesis, I bought a copy on sight and eagerly await its arrival. Self-published by her Deluge Books, which looks intriguing as well. (Ben Dietz)

MiiR Wide Mouth Insulated Bottle


There are many options out there for flasks, but MiiR is simply the best one on the market in terms of design, durability, and construction. Their 32oz Widemouth flask (linked) is an essential part of my cold water swimming kit. (Joseph Dana)

Mjölk Brass Incense Holder

$65 CAD

I'm recommending the brass incense burner/case from Mjolk. Mjolk is a wonderful designer/furniture shop in Toronto with an in-house line of home goods. This incense burner is one of my favourite things—a handsome little brass column that both stores incense (great for travel) and works as a burner. It's made to fit a particular style of bamboo charcoal incense, also available through Mjolk, that a sales associate told me was traditionally used to deodorize kimonos. It does a great job of resetting a room's smell—amazing if you live in a small apartment and like to cook. (Adam Wray)

Moleskine Smart Pen


If you know somebody who likes writing by hand, I recommend the Moleskine Smart Pen. I got this as a gift two years ago, and I write with it every day. It scans everything I write and saves a digital copy on the app. I buy a new Moleskine notebook every few months--it only works with special paper. If you have neat handwriting, the app can even transcribe handwriting into digital text. (Jason Boog)

Normann Copenhagen Christmas Candle


Each year Normann Copenhagen releases a new candle in limited quantities. Having been fans of the design store, we visited after our first Copenhagen trip, and every year since its become a new tradition year to burn down the candle through December. Friends and family have picked up on it too. Because of limited supplies, part of the ritual is having to track them down from various places on the earth. This year is sold out already, but check eBay, or local design shops, or, for US readers, an email to designpublicgroup.com may suffice. (Ben Young)

Outlier Ultrafine Merino Cut One T-shirt


Revo SuperConnect Radio


A perfect Merino T-Shirt. Pairs perfectly with the Revo Superconnect Radio: a beautifully designed radio that lets you tune into global stations. Awesome. (Colin Nagy)


Phonon 4400 Headphones: Ghostly Edition


Favorite headphones. Japanese-made, incredible sound, folds flat. It has a cord because that’s how they should be. (Sam Valenti)

Pocket Ref 4th Edition


The Pocket Ref, 4th edition has everything you need to restart civilization: conversion tables, airport codes, and the Torino meteorite impact hazard scale. (Chris P)

Studio Edith


My friend Megan named her photography/greeting card shop after me (well, sort of), and I love the cards. (Edith Zimmerman)

Tamiya Hornet 1/10 RC Re-Release


First released in 1984, this was THE RC car to have (I always wanted one but never was good enough to land one under my tree). This reissue is finding its way under my tree (if MY kids are good enough) this year, and it will provide hours of pandemic-friendly fun in building, racing, crashing and rebuilding. (Ryan McManus)

The Black Bibs


A Frame for Life: The Designs of StudioIlse by Ilse Crawford


As the WITI community’s newest cycling enthusiast, I’ve been looking for an affordable, quality pair of cycling bibs. This unbranded pair made from comfortable, high-quality materials was perfect. Whenever I’m looking for interior design inspiration after a ride, I turn to the work of Crawford, whose warm, elegant spaces do an incredible job blending the inviting and the elevated. Her design of Ett Hem in Stockholm is a personal favorite. (Graydon Gordian)

Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4


It's astonishing but true: There remain literally *millions* of U.S. kitchens that don't have a Thermapen. Once you have one, you use it every day, and you wonder how it was even possible to cook without it. Pair with a bag of Ajinomoto MSG as a stocking stuffer — another everyday kitchen go-to that is found in far too few kitchens. (Felix Salmon)

Tiger Tail Massage Stick


Throughout the last eight months, I've relied on my Tiger Tail massage stick as a way to both massage my muscles after workouts and just give myself a bit of relief from sitting in front of the computer all day. I've never been able to get into a good grove with normal floor-based foam rollers, and this thing seems to work well for me. (Noah Brier)

Wera 6-piece Lasertip Screwdriver Set


My favorite screwdriver set. I have lots of sets for unique applications and tons of other various screwdrivers from over the years, but this set is by far the one I consistently find myself using the most. The bite on these laser-etched tips gives you a grip like no other. Unlike most others I own, these always seem to fit the screw head correctly with no play. Comfortable to use. The grips have stayed good as new and undamaged from any solvents they've been in contact with. There are many Wera sets to choose from that are all manufactured at the highest quality but I'd say this is a good well rounded one for everyday use. (Todd Osborn)

Wythe New York Moleskin Pearl Snap Shirt


A perfect, luxurious, made in Portugal designed in Williamsburg hybrid of some of my favorite shirts. Expensive but worth it. (Jann M Schwarz)

Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Friends

Why is this interesting? is a daily email from Noah Brier & Colin Nagy (and friends!) about interesting things. If you’ve enjoyed this edition, please consider forwarding it to a friend. If you’re reading it for the first time, consider subscribing (it’s free!).