The swirling vortex of postmodern metacommentary has all led down to this: Our Gift Guide to Other People's Gift Guides. How do you approach Bob Vila's earnest recommendations for household handymen, or OK!'s abstinence-vampire-centric guide for Twilight fanatics? Follow me!
MAKE: Gifts You Can Make MAKE is a great stop for DIY aficionados, and while they've got a heap of different gift guides this year—not to mention a guest gift guide by MAKE's Phil Torrone on Giz—the Gifts You Can Make guide is a classic. Got a musician friend who could use a new amp, but you literally spent your last dollar on a box of crackers? MAKE's got you covered. [MAKE]
Agriculture Online: Gift-Giving Guide for Farm Folks Agriculture Online's gift guide for farmers is full of unintentionally hilarious recommendations for a communist San Francisco liberal media elite blogger like myself—are all farmers also soldiers? Because I don't understand why you'd give your local asparagus farmer a "Christmas Ornament for the Troops" if he's just out there harvesting delicious produce. I love asparagus, but I don't think growing it is technically a military position.
On the other hand, the Carhartt Flame-Resistant Jacket is indeed an excellent choice for a welder, or anyone sufficiently badass enough to need a jacket incapable of catching fire. Thanks, Agriculture Online! [Agriculture Online]
PhillyBurbs: Gifts for the "Biggest Loser" in Your Life You guys, this is the worst gift guide ever. It's not a list of recommendations for people trying to lose weight. It's just a list of every The Biggest Loser branded product out there—like a workout mix CD with "kickin', pumpin' beats" and a memoir written by the first female winner—masquerading as a list of health tools. The only good recommendation: The Biggest Loser for Wii, good because it's the only game to date to prominently feature fat people jumping on trampolines. [PhillyBurbs]
BobVila.com: The Official 2009 Bob Vila Gift Guide Bob Vila, home improvement kingpin and long-time rival to Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, is exactly the man I'd ask for a recommendation on a new power drill or workbench, if I was a totally different person and had any use for those kinds of things. His recommendations are actually kind of interesting, leaning toward design-focused items like the $US200 Sorapot Tea Infusion Pot as well as goofy items like a handsaw-shaped kitchen knife. Luckily, he doesn't forget his roots, recommending an array of scary-looking power tools. [BobVila]
The New York Times: 2009 Gift Guide The New York Times gift guide delivers 50, count 'em, 50 separate full-featured guides on a wide variety of subjects, from the arts to electronics to cooking to travel. And yet it's also oddly personal and likable, with quirky inclusions like the underrated and swiftly cancelled Andy Barker, P.I. on DVD and a giant grillable slab of pink Himalayan salt (very fashionable in the world of modern cuisine). The one notable omission is a guide to 2009's pop music—it's been a pretty solid year and a simple top ten list would've been welcome.
Still, it's such a damnably good bunch of guides that it threatens to take away the ego boost I get when people ask me what to buy. This year, instead of excitedly talking up the new Islands album or the Zune HD, I'll just be sighing, looking glumly at my shoes, and emailing a link to the Times' gift guide. Way to take the joy out of the holidays, New York Times. [NY Times]
Truck Trend: 2009 Truck Trend Holiday Gift Guide Truck Trend's 2009 gift guide does not recommend at truck. Instead they recommend $US500 sunglasses and a $US14,000 racing simulator. And another pair of $US350 sunglasses. I'm giving Truck Trend a big fat DON'T BUY just on principle. [Truck Trend]
OK! Magazine: Twilight Gift Guide This one actually recommends more ridiculous/creepy items than the The Biggest Loser gift guide (see picture), but it's easier to swallow because I think the Twilight series actually has fans weird enough to buy this stuff. The problem is, it totally ignores the awkwardness of walking into Nordstrom's and having to buy a $30 "Team Edward" t-shirt for your niece. The last recommendation on this list should be a nice, clean Amazon gift card, no shame attached. [OK!]
Etsy: Gift Guides Etsy is the one place on earth where you are sure to find pastel pink knitted kitten mittens, and their gift guide provides everything a knitting enthusiast might want. Unfortunately their gift guide is pretty overwhelming, with way too many gifts per category and no sense that someone with individual taste put the list together. That being said, this is the greatest thing I've ever seen. [Etsy]
All Giz Wants is our annual round-up of favourite gift ideas, including amazing attainable objects and a few far-out fantasies. We'll be popping guides catered to different interests several times per day for the next week, so keep checking back.