• Michael Hilton

Best Holiday Gifts of 2021 You'll Actually Use | The Weekly Geek 60

Whatup, nerd. This week, as part of my ongoing effort to introduce you to awesome new things, I present The Weekly Geek's Holiday Gift Guide. Rather than simply giving you impersonal gift suggestions, this is a short list of stuff I actually use and enjoy on a regular basis. I've included 8 items I enjoy and 6 books that impacted me in some way.

Cool stuff I use

These are items I enjoy and would gift to friends.

  • Manta Sleep Mask: I can't stand light when I'm sleeping. Wearing a sleep mask was a game changer for me, and this is the best one I've tried. It's nice and soft with big cups around the eyes to keep light out without putting uncomfortable pressure on your head or face. Perfect for traveling, sleeping past daybreak, or staying in a room that's not completely dark.

  • Black Rifle Coffee: I resisted the hype for a while, thinking it was all a marketing ploy to get me to buy a premium coffee brand, but this coffee is seriously good. I'm not a coffee snob, mind you, so take that for what it's worth, but I find it hard to drink anything else. Fit Fuel Blend is my favorite so far.

  • Venture Pal backpack: This lightweight backpack transforms out of its own carrying case into the perfect pack for day hikes. Plenty of pockets, a dry compartment, and a super low price tag make it a worthwhile purchase.

  • Lovehandle Pro: This phone grip has changed the way I carry my cellular device. It's low profile, which makes it easy to slide my phone into a pocket, and the kickstand is great for when I need to prop my phone up to watch a video or keep an eye on text messages. The feature that surprised me the most in terms of utility, however, is its powerful, device-safe magnet for mounting your phone on magnetic surfaces. I stick it on the wall at the gym, on the microwave while I'm cooking, and all sorts of places when I need my phone to be out of the way but close at hand. The band does loosen a little with use over time, but it's still by far the best phone grip I've ever used.

  • Apple Airpods Pro: I understand that Apple loves charging a premium price, and these may not technically be the best noise-canceling earbuds on the market, but I'm pretty deep in the Apple ecosystem, and these guys work seamlessly with all my Apple devices. Still, they're quality, and I'm willing to pay a premium for seamlessness with technology to streamline my work and life. If you're in Apple's ecosystem, these are definitely worth the price in my opinion.

  • Neuro-Mag: Supplementing with magnesium, particularly magnesium threonate, which more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, does wonders for my mental clarity. It's one of the only supplements that I've noticed an immediate difference taking. Every body is different and may experience different results, so consult with your physician before starting a supplement regimen, but keep this in mind for you or for a friend.

  • Pso-Rite: I fractured my low back playing sports in high school, and releasing tension in the hip flexors is one of the most beneficial therapies that keeps me doing CrossFit and running relatively pain-free. The iliopsoas muscles have a huge impact on low back pain and posture, and now that myofascial release techniques have made it into mainstream musculoskeletal therapies, countless myofascial tools are available on the market. The Pso-Rite is designed to release tension in the deep hip flexors, which are hard to get to without manual release. They're running a Black Friday special on their website right now or you can purchase through Amazon. Obviously, check with your physician before using any physical rehab tool.

  • Feiyue shoes: Martial arts and parkour favorite, these guys are lightweight, flexible, and comfortable. And they're cheap. Like stupid cheap for a nice shoe.

Book Gifts

These are some books I've recently read that I would gift to friends. I've included a short description from each respective publisher as well as my own thought or two.

  • Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey: From a New York Times bestselling and Hugo award-winning author comes a modern masterwork of science fiction, introducing a captain, his crew, and a detective as they unravel a horrifying solar system wide conspiracy that begins with a single missing girl. The first in The Expanse series, on which the TV show is based. I enjoyed the characters as well as exploring what political and military tensions between Earth and its settlements in the future would look like. Great for the sci-fi fan.

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman: In his mega bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, world-famous psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. This book directed my attention to how our brains process and categorize information and just how many inherent biases (useful or not) I need to consider when making a decision or evaluating information. I think everyone should read this. Great for anyone, really.

  • The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis: In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis, one of the most renowned Christian authors and thinkers, examines a universally applicable question within the human condition: “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?” With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C.S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial questions and shares his hope and wisdom to help heal a world hungering for a true understanding of human nature. Lewis provides such a logical and wise basis for answers to the problem of suffering that I came away with a more full understanding of God's character and my own false conceptions of reality. Great for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of why we suffer.

  • Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed: On the brink of victory in a brutal war, five New Republic pilots transform from hunted to hunters in this epic Star Wars adventure. Set after Return of the Jedi, Alphabet Squadron follows a unique team, each flying a different class of starfighter as they struggle to end their war once and for all. Star Wars military action at its finest. Great for the Star Wars fan.

  • The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi: When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her: She knows that other humans exist because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.” The characters, fantastical world, unexpected plot twists, message, and beautiful art make this my favorite book and series. Great for middle-grade and young adult readers and anyone who loves an imaginative story.

  • Permanent Record by Edward Snowden: Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down. This opened my eyes (further) to the reality of corrupt governments and how far those in power will go to protect their own interests. Great for skeptics.

I make a small percentage of purchases made through the provided Amazon links, but these items are not sponsors, and I've only included things I personally enjoy. If you do purchase through the links, thank you for the support!

That's it for this week! Let me know any items or books you enjoy and would gift to friends. FREE ways to support this blog include subscribing and sharing. Happy Thanksgiving!

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