January 25, 2014
A 2013 Gift Guide, in 2014

Many post gift guides before Christmas, but I found myself unable to do so. I did think about it and write a few notes down. So, exactly one month after Christmas, I present the official Cruftbox Gift Guide!

Liberty Puzzles

Liberty Puzzles take the hobby to the next level, providing heirloom quality puzzles that look and feel like artwork. The term 'jigsaw' puzzle comes from the fact that early puzzles were cut from wood sheets by a jigsaw tool according to a pattern drawn on them. Liberty continued that tradition but uses a laser cutter to get the precision needed to cut what they call 'whimsy' pieces. Whismy pieces are puzzle pieces that are cut into a shape that is in line with the picture on the puzzle. Holiday images are made of holiday shapes. Japanese woodblock prints are made of Japanese icons and shapes. Liberty puts a huge amount of effort into creating a cohesive puzzle that doesn't use repeating standard shapes, instead using a unique set of shapes literally designed to accompany the puzzle image.

If you know someone that likes puzzles, they will love getting a Liberty Puzzle. They aren't cheap, but they are most definitely worth it.

Tonx Coffee

Tonx is a subscription mail order coffee company. Met the founders, Tony & Nik in of all places, a coffee shop, when they were just getting started. They find and roast great coffees from all over the world and ship them directly to their subscribers. Personally, I love the lighter roasts with more flavor and notes than the heavy dark roasts you find at most chain coffee shops and beans you get at the super market. Tonx provides just this kind of coffee.

I love the delivery aspect of the business and the serendipity of not knowing exactly what you are going to get. In a world where people spend endless hours analyzing before purchases, it's fun to simply put yourself in the hands of an expert and try new thigns.

It's more spendy than the average bag of coffee, but I think it's worth it to get the quality. Just like wine or spirits, spending a little more for quality can be worth it and much more enjoyable.

You can give a gift subscription or subscribe for yourself. You can use my referral link if you want to try it for free.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife - Rambler

Everyone should have a small pocketknife with them at all times. Be Prepared is not just the Boy Scout Motto, it's a good way to look at life.

I recommend the Victorinox Rambler. This knife doesn't have a single 'wasted' slot, filled with tools you'll use on a daily basis. Just a bit over two inches long, it has a perfect assortment of bits. The small blade and scissors are probably most useful. The bottle opener and file aren't used as much, but when they are needed, nothing else will suffice. They are nicely topped with small flathead and Phillips screwdriver heads. Rounded out with the traditional tweezers and toothpick, the Rambler is all function, no fluff. It's great on a key chain or in a purse to solve life's minor inconveniences.

See's Candy

See's Candy is a Los Angeles institution. The familiar black and white shops are scattered across the Southland and are a welcome sight to any Angeleno. Everyone has a favorite candy (mine is the Scotchmallow) and for most brings back memories of the free samples in the store. While See's has maintained a very traditional brand with uniforms, limited hours, and an emphasis on customer service, they have a great online store where you can get anything packaged and shipped. Besides ordering the standard boxes, you can also make a custom mix of just the chocolates that you think would be best.

Pretty much everyone loves a box of chocolate, and See's is the perfect mix of tradition, personalization, and wonderful tasting candy.

Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is an amazing polymath, having been involved in the Whole Earth Catalog, Wired Magazine, and writing one of my favorite books, What Technology Wants. In Cool Tools, he's taken the reviews he's gather in the last decade on his Cool Tools site, and actually printed them out into a gigantic catalog of, well, cool tools. Prefect for a coffee table or a bathroom read, the book is something that engages your mind in the possibilities of making new things and new ways of doing familiar things.

Posted by michael at January 25, 2014 09:33 AM