The Christmas Catalog — Tools and Toys

It’s become a cliche, the whole Christmas is a difficult time of year thing. But while it’s mostly full of great moments, it also forces ugly choices:

  • Who gets a Christmas card?
  • Isn’t that Christmas card good enough?
  • Do we have to keep discussing Christmas cards?
  • Do we need to send a thank you note for the Christmas cards?

Though gifts give me the most trouble.

When giving, I like to try to find something that people didn’t know they wanted, but will be excited about. Something with a tad more meaning than “that sweater that we saw” or an Amazon gift card. That’s not always easy. It takes time and gumption and a good deal of luck.

When it comes to receiving, I have an incredibly hard time giving people a good answer when they ask what I want. Partly because I rarely think about it, partly because I really hate to be a bother for people, and partly because everything that I can think of offhand is usually beyond the price point where aspirational meets extraordinarily rude.

Which is where the Tools and Toys 2014 Holiday Gift Guide comes in handy:

We have done our best to avoid listing out a vast array of crap that has found the inferior sweet spot between impractical, unaffordable, and meaningless.

Instead, we have put together a list with short personal reviews of few items which meet certain criteria: they are products we own and use; we personally vouch for their quality; and they are useful and enjoyable.

Also, a portion of anything bought through the Amazon links on the guide will go to one of three charities, including the incredibly cool App Camp for Girls.