Holiday Gift Ideas

I decided to lighten things up after that last post. I figure I owe it to you, especially to those of you who made it to the end and actually studied the post. You are awesome.

Stuck for gift ideas?

For people just like you: 

How about these lovely magnetic finger puppets of Plato, Descartes and Kierkegaard?


Also available: Kant, Socrates, Derrida, Nietzsche, Foucault, Marx, Spinoza, Einstein, Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Rosa Parks, Ganesh, Eleanor Roosevelt, Van Gogh (with removable ear!)—you name it, it’s all at the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, where the “unexamined gift is not worth giving.”

This is my personal favorite:


It’s a Ptolemaic system watch. Because don’t we all yearn for those good ‘ol days when we were at the center of the universe?

Or this t-shirt (which presumably won’t be pixelated as it is here):


Or some Freudian slippers:


For people who have everything (whether they know it or not):

Focus on things to do rather than stuff. For tickets and things like that, I put them in an envelope which I then put in a big box. Then I wrap that so there’s no way of knowing what’s inside. Sometimes I’ll even put something stupid in there (see above), a spot-on gag gift, to make it weigh more.


We are fortunate to have Kitt Peak Observatory nearby. This one offers classes and supplies everything for a night of stargazing, including dinner. There’s even the possibility of staying overnight. Reservations must be made in advance for ours, so check it out and do your research. Don’t forget to account for the weather—and by that I mean wear appropriate clothing. You obviously won’t be able to predict the weather so far in advance. Here we’re pretty sure to have clear skies, and some observatories will let you reschedule, so check into that too.


If you don’t have a nearby observatory, or your weather is not so amenable to star gazing as mine, consider finding a low-popultion area and booking a hotel overnight as close to the date as possible for a ‘staycation’. Tucson may sound like the sticks, but the light pollution here is still pretty bad. We like to drive south to Tubac and stay the night, then drive a few miles even further south to a little spot off the highway where the stargazing is incredible. We bring some folding chairs, our glow-in-the-dark star chart (don’t forget you might have to hold it upside down and over your head so that you’re looking at the chart and the sky simultaneously) and a flashlight.

For the present under the tree, you can wrap up a nice star chart and some binoculars with an explanation of what they’re for.

Horseback riding.

I haven’t actually done this one, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Although I’m never going to take the mule ride into the Grand Canyon. Everyone has their limits. So be sure to consider whether this might seem scary or impossible to your recipient.

A Camping Trip.

Once again, consider your recipient and know what you’re doing. I bought a book, Car Camping for Dummies, before we set off. While I would love to do backpacking, my husband’s bad back prefers being next to the car in a giant tent with a blow-up mattress. If you get to the camp site early, you’re more likely to score the spot with the view. On our last trip, we got to camp right alongside the Colorado River and watch people raft from Lee’s Ferry into the Grand Canyon. It was a lot of fun.

I’m leaving aside that horrible experience we had in Santa Fe when we nearly froze to death. I’ll just say this—know what you’re doing.

Tickets to something.

Music? You can look into concerts and festivals. Theater? Dance? Museums? Sports? (I actually hate sports, but I did check out roller derby on a whim and had a great time.) Fitness? For this there are a lot of events in Tucson, but you’ll have to check out your local paper or online. Movies? We have an art theater here, so this would be my choice. Beer/wine? There are festivals for these too. Gardening? We have a ton of options here for desert gardens, as well as the Desert Museum, which is great since they have detailed labels on all the plants.


So this sounds weird, but maybe you know someone who keeps threatening to learn how to play the piano, or do watercolors, or whatever. Classes at the community college are insanely cheap (less than $200 per class per semester here) and offer a lot of great non-credit classes for folks who want to dig deeper into their hobbies. I took a novel writing course at Pima Community College and I must say, the quality of the class was better than the writing classes I took at an expensive liberal arts college. I prepared myself to be surrounded by a bunch of college kids, but nearly everyone in the class was over thirty, most over fifty, and many of them were editors and published writers. I’m probably just lucky, but who knows? This class was a normal, for-credit class, so don’t forget to look into that as well if you need to.

Online courses are also great.

Of course, there are those who don’t have time for this sort of thing or wouldn’t want to dedicate themselves to a class. For them, there’s the possibility of doing a one-time only class. Or, for artists and non-artists alike, a “wine and palette” sort of thing where you show up at the studio and they provide all the materials and instruction. You don’t need to have any artistic skill whatsoever (I mean it) and you come home at the end of the session with your own painting, which will be relatively decent, believe it or not. You can branch out—pottery, jewelry-making, glass-blowing, cooking, gardening, photography/hiking trips, bird-watching. Whatever.

And, of course, if you’re recipient is young, there’s always just contributing to the college fund.

Activity/hobby kits.

Beer brewing, wine making, pastels, painting, woodworking, model planes or boats (this is actually a big thing at the local park which is right next to the dog pound, so you can imagine all the dogs going crazy). You can use your imagination here.

For writers and readers:

Books. Duh.

But wait, there’s more. I’ll leave you with this post by Michelle Joelle with gift ideas for writers and readers.

Any ideas you’d like to share?

13 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Ideas

  1. That watch is awesome – I still think we can get the math to work out assuming we’re at the center! 😉

    And those finger puppets are hilarious. Looks like they are about to join hands and sing Kumbaya. Maybe Plato (God) will lead them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The wonderful thing is that those puppets are magnets, so you could arrange them on your fridge in a circle with everyone holding hands!

      I do love the watch. I’m wearing it right now, even though it’s definitely a man’s watch.


    • You could put in a request. They have a comments section somewhere on the website, if I remember correctly. Who knows if they’ll listen. I put in a request for them to bring back the disappearing Descartes mug: “I don’t think very much therefore I might not be.” (When you pour hot water into the mug, Descartes disappears.)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.