By Extra Mustard
December 13, 2013


Let's play a quick game. It's called "Name a gift you gave or received during the holidays last year." Ready? Ok, go …

… what's that?

You don't want to play, because you can't remember any gifts you gave or received last year, because they were all criminally forgettable?

Weird, ok, that's a bummer. How about we play a different game, then? It's called "Pick some gifts that people on the receiving end will find useful or interesting or amusing." Ready?

Ok, go.

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$14.99: Under Armour Alter Ego Socks

We don't need to tell you why you need these foot sheathes any more than you need to hear it. Under Armour graciously left no heel unturned while rolling out its Alter Ego line of superhero-themed performance-wear, even going so far as to produce different varieties of sweat-wicking, odor-nixing, arch-supporting stretchy super-socks. If you're digging the whole superhero vibe, the socks can serve as a gateway to an entire world of comic attire. Or, if you just want to play it straight with your socks and secret identity or whatever, Under Armour also makes performance … chinos. Happy holidays.

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soap300$21.29: Super Nintendo Gamer Soap Cartridges

Since you likely give as much thought to soap purchases as you do to placing Knicks-Bucks teasers, you might as well inject some 16-bit life into your shower routine. Random object emporium Firebox is offering four Super Nintendo cartridge-shaped bars of "Energy Citrus"-scented soap, with Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Mario Kart among the options. They even include plastic dust covers like the ones found on the original cartridges. You'll think you were actually showering with your favorite childhood games. (Again?)

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$24: Sheexwear Performance Sleepwear

Any questions you have about the category of "Performance Sleepwear" (their term, not ours) will last only until you insert your body into a set of these fancy-pants PJs. At that point you'll be so comfortable that your garb could be called a "Texans uniform" and you still wouldn't mind wearing it. Sheex pants, shorts, and tops breathe freely, dry quickly, and move easily, ensuring that you'll sleep well in any conditions. Though, why are you sleeping in such bad conditions?

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$25: Minimalist stadium posters

Canadian artist S. Preston Chuhon spreads his love equally between sports and minimalism, so it's little surprise that he created a series of beautiful posters that depict stripped-down ballparks. Each design isolates the defining feature of a given stadium and renders it in a charming style. It's the perfect gift for anyone who wants to forget that the White Sox actually have to put players in their stadium next season.

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$29 or less (you'll see): Rivalry Wear T-shirts

Rivalry Wear takes all aspects of fandom and applies them to the experience of buying a T-shirt. Each of its team-oriented T's gets initially offered for seven days, with the price depending on the number of buyers: Every ten people that pony up for a given design lower the price by $1. At the end of the shirt’s week-long run, those purchases get added to a standings page, showing how that fanbase stacks up against its shirt-buying rivals. The best of the best even end up in the RW “Hall of Fame,” if not your closet as well.

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$30: The HalfLiner Baseball Scorebook

Scoring a baseball game is quickly becoming a forgotten art. What better way to revitalize it than with a great easel on which to work? Designed by the Eephus League’s Bethany Heck, the HalfLiner Scorebook allows you to record a baseball game in style, your way. Bound with a sturdy double wire-O, the book elevates scoring from the flimsy pages of game programs to a beautifully embossed tome—and by combining simplicity of design with plenty of space, the beautiful scorecards give you the tools and freedom to record creatively.

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$35-62: 3FLOZ Travel Kits

Don’t let the TSA dictate your beauty regimen any longer. True to its name, 3FLOZ delivers travel-approved three-fluid-ounce containers of your favorite grooming products right to your door. Travelers can pick from curated kits such as “In A Clutch,” featuring Air Repair Rescue Balm, first aid essentials, and Mbeze Cruizee Natural Deodorette, or the Men’s Essentials Kit with Anthony for Men Citrus Cleansing Gel and Anthony for Men All Purpose Moisturizer. Shoppers who are too absent-minded to regularly buy hygiene products can also sign up for a subscription that will have kits delivered every 30, 90, or 120 days.

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$49.95 (Graphite) / $59.95 (Walnut): Pencil stylus

pencilMost styli (yes, that’s a word) are stupid. Which is to say, not only will you lose them just as you do your umbrellas, sunglasses, and winter gloves, but they’re also poor communicators, mute and uncooperative with the tablet they’re slave to. This one tells your tablet how hard you’re pressing, and contains gestures that allow you to swap brushes. Flip it around and it’ll even know you’re erasing with the blunted backside. Also: Pencil. Get it? Looks like a pencil—the good kind, the kind that carpenters use to avoid watching their writing implement roll off the roof. And like its forebear, this one stays put, thanks to a magnet-friendly interior that hugs tight to the iPad’s shoulders. So yeah. Use it to out-paint George Bush. Diagram backyard plays for your kid’s Pop Warner team. And then lose it and buy another. It’s a fraction of the cost of the iPad anyway, right?

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mecam300$49.99 and up: MeCam

GoPros are great if you're doing something extreme in an environment where conspicuous body-mounted cameras are socially acceptable. In other words, not lunch with grandma. But those sorts of understated moments are still worth capturing (eh, maybe not lunch with Mawmaw), which is where the MeCam comes in. The 2"-wide disc attaches to any fabric with a built-in, high-tech … er, safety pin … and allows you to discreetly load up on HD videos and 5mp photos. Your Instagram feed will never be the same again.

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Topps-poster300$64.99 / $99.99: Topps Archive Prints

Time to treat your childhood baseball card collection like the work of art you always knew it to be. Topps Archive Prints features almost 2,000 of the company’s most classic baseball cards blown up to a size and quality suitable for hanging on the wall. Available with or without a frame in sizes of 17" x 21" or 23" x 31", the posters can be a permanent reminder of the riches your mom chucked when you made the mistake of going away to college.

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seidio300$79.95: Seidio QUEST Mounting System

Try going somewhere, or doing something, without your smartphone. We dare you. It's not going to happen. At this point in your physio-technological meshing, you'd wilt like a tulip in a blizzard if you had to spend ten minutes braving the wilds of the modern world without your fixer device. Seidio knows that, which is why it made the QUEST mounting system. It includes an arm harness and brackets for your car dashboard and bike handlebars, enabling you to always have your smartphone at the ready. You'll need a compatible Seidio Convert ($49.95) or OBEX ($79.95) case for your Apple or Samsung phone to use the QUEST kit, but all in, it's a small price to pay to put an end to your helplessness.

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$89.95: PowerFlask


While the PowerFlask may sound like a vessel for surreptitiously toting energy drinks, it’s actual purpose is vastly more useful. The 13,000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion power source connects to as many as three USB devices and can ably juice up two iPads and one iPhone at once, all while fitting neatly inside your pants or coat pocket. It's perfect for those times when your entire family's devices all die at once, or if you're Darren

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keurig300$99.99: Keurig K10 Mini Plus College Brewers

Need to spend a night waiting in line for basketball tickets? Have a marathon tailgate planned? You're going to need to fortify. Keurig's new K10 coffeemakers come all done up with the colors and iconography of your favorite college teams, enabling you to get in the right mindset while the caffeine gets your mind set. The single-serving brewers are available in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Miami (FL), Mississippi, Nebraska, Rutgers, Texas, and Washington State editions, with more teams on the way. Division III University of Rochester Yellowjackets fans, I wouldn't hold your breath.

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$125: Adidas Slopecruisers


On its site Adidas refers to the Slopecruisers as "boots," which serves to emphasize precisely what they aren't: The kind of boots you're used to seeing. Gone are the earth tones and chunky design; in their place is the type of design and fit you'd expect from a company that knows a thing or two about covering feet with rubber (and assorted other protective materials). What hasn't been removed are the features you'd want to see in a cold-weather boot: Waterproofing, cozy insulation, and even a heel clip for keeping your slacks in place and snow out of your business.

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headphones300$125: Sol Republic Tracks Collegiate Series Headphones

There’s something telling about the spotty availability of this series of headphones: Teams who fared well this year tend to have sold-out SKUs, while the losers have product for days. Could it be that when a fan’s win-loss record’s is favorable, he or she tends to hemorrhage cash on impulse buys like this? Or could it be these over-the-ear cans just sound that good?

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robe300$149.95: Heated Cotton Robe

The Hammacher Schlemmer R&D department doesn't get the respect it deserves. People fawn all over Apple and Samsung, and yeah, they make nice products. But what haven't they produced? Oh, right, a heated bathrobe. Hammacher Schlemmer has, because they care about you having a toasty core come Christmas morning. (Also, every other morning.) The wireless robe gets its juice from a small rechargeable battery pack that tucks neatly into a pocket, and can keep you cooking for more than six hours.

Of course, none of those details matter. We had you at "Heated Cotton Robe."

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$149.99: DirecTV GenieGO


No one is disagreeing: Sean Saves the World is the best thing on TV right now (ever?), and you're right for wanting to be able to watch it anywhere, at any time. DirecTV sure as hell isn't about to stand in the way of your Sean consumption: It just released the GenieGO, which lets you transfer recorded shows from your Genie or DVR to your laptop, tablet, or phone for on-the-go viewing. No internet? No cell service? No problem. Nothing will ever again come between you and that goddamn wonderful television program.

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jets300$179.99: Damson Jet Bluetooth Stereo Speakers

For some reason, so many speaker makers focus on peculiar shapes and sizes instead of, say, sound quality. (Oh, right, it's because teenagers.) Bucking that trend is Damson. Its Jets are unremarkable looking (in that they look like actual speakers) and exceptional-sounding. Best of all, they're not just Bluetooth but pre-paired STEREO Bluetooth, meaning you can get sweet, sweet channel separation with nary a wire to be found.

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bag350$194: Timbuk2 Aviator Wheeled Backpack

Long trips require patience, planning, and often Van Damme-caliber core strength. This convertible backpack stows enough gear to clothe half of Colorado (we measured), but doesn’t expect you to gut out the weight. Lumbar got you down? Pop up the handle, drop it onto the skateboard-style wheels, and roll away the pain.

em-linebreak_cut_v1 (1)sonos300$199: Sonos Play: 1 Speaker

Look, Sonos is the best thing to happen to sound systems since Lifehouse faded from our collective consciousness. Ditch the bulky head unit you’re rocking now, use the leftover AV wires to garrote home invaders, and Johnny Appleseed these little guys around the house. Then sit back, grab your iPhone, and bask in the glory of a truly 21st century technology solution to a 20th century problem.

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utopias300$199: Samuel Adams Utopias

Hoooooo doggie, the alchemists at Sam Adams really raised their game with this uncarbonated, limited edition craft beer / wonder elixir. Brewed in small batches, blended, and hand-bottled, Utopias offers both a unique, complex flavor and is 28% alcohol by volume. It's the beer you need. It's the beer you deserve.

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$199.99: Bushnell Neo-X GPS Watch

Eyeballs not working so hot? Depth perception not what it once was? Just suck at golf? Sounds like you need some forearm-affixed assistance. The Bushnell Neo-X GPS Watch can calculate the distance of your next shot for over 30,000 pre-loaded courses. With an extra-long battery life and built-in odometer, the handy wrist system will put your caddy on notice.

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fleece300$200: Arcteryx Fortreza Hoody

The hoody has become one of the bedrock pieces of the American Man’s closet, which is to say most of yours are probably in need of retirement. This smart zip-up isn’t your average brew-tour souvenir or golf course impulse buy, thanks to the chin guard/gaiter that doubles as a baclava when deployed at full mast. Why not have a winter warmer that works just as well summiting Everest as it does slamming sampler trays at the pub down the street?

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$200: V-Moda CrossFade

Buying a new pair of headphones often seems like a choice between bass-obsessed designer cans or audiophile-grade clunkers. The Crossfade LP is the rare headphone that provides both flash and substance. The over-ear cups are sleek yet comfortable, and their metallic earplates can be laser-engraved with any message or logo for an additional $25. Meanwhile, the V-Moda's sound quality can go toe-to-toe (or ear-to-ear, as it were) with any competing headphones, as the CrossFades bring both the bass and the rest of the recorded music.

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$250: Topo Designs x Woolrich Klettersack Backpack

Woolrich is one of those brands your grandfather probably sported back when being a woodsman didn’t just mean owning a “display axe” for your luxury Williamsburg condo and twisting mustache wax into your carefully barbered facial topiary. The brand’s still kicking, though (unlike Gramps, the poor guy), and has partnered with a fellow acolyte of Americana, Topo Designs, to put out this just-colorful-enough backpack. Load it up full of organic vegetables and half-growlers of designer beer and try not to hear the old man laughing at you from the heavens.

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jacket300$350: Burton x Filson Squire Snowboard Jacket

Most snowboard jackets look fine when they’re seen from the cusp of a halfpipe, the armor for tweenaged thrillseekers remind us all how old we are via aerial tricks that sound like Starbucks orders (Venti half-cab double whip please, hold the Paul McCartney CD). But when they’re being worn by the adrenaline challenged, the effect is jarring. This polished collaboration between Burton and Filson (again with the Americana?) will cover you up in the backcountry, but won’t have you driven out of the bar, either.

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$379.99: VIZIO 32″ M-Series Smart TV


A 400" TV is well and fine if you have a convention center for a living room. But in this era of hyper-connected, WiFi-enabled smart TVs, who wants to be limited in the places they can hang a flat screen? Though Vizio makes a mean TV at any size, its 32" M-Series TV offers all the features of larger counterparts without consuming all the vertical real estate. The LED TV includes a variety of entertainment apps such as Pandora, Netflix, and Hulu Plus, while also allowing users to browse the Internet at large. The TV is dead. Long live the TV.

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$399: TaylorMade SLDR Driver


Let's be honest for once in your undistinguished golf career: Out on the links, you need all the help you can get. It just so happens that the SLDR is the longest driver TaylorMade has ever produced. How, you ask, as though you and your triple-digit handicap has any right to question them? Well, by moving the center of gravity forward and adding an adjustable weight system. (SLDR = "SLIDER" without the vowels, see?) By giving you added control over the club's settings, TaylorMade has ensured that you'll have that much more success at faking golf competency.

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scottevest300$450: Scottevest ALT-10M Leather Jacket

The outerwear mavens over at Scottevest have a borderline unhealthy obsession with pockets: They cram as many of them into their wares as is physically possible. It's just their thing. As evinced by Scottevest's new limited edition ALT-10M jacket, they're good at it, too. On the outside, it's a stylish black lambskin leather jacket. On the inside, it's a vault: There are 21 pockets of varying sizes for all your goods and gadgets, including an RFID-blocking pouch and one big enough for an iPad. In other words, it offers the volume and handiness of a purse without being, y'know, a purse.

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$689: Vitamix Professional Series 750


Initially, the price of the Vitamix Pro 750 might scare you: At $689, it represents a serious commitment to deconstructing edible solids.

The next thing that will scare you is the sound: When it gets hauling, this behemoth has the indoor voice of an outboard motor. It's alarming at first, but that'll pass as soon as you realize all possibilities: Smoothies and juices, obviously, but also sauces and dips and even hot soup. Prep work is a breeze, too, because it can pulverize veggies in an instant.

You may be scared that the self-cleaning program will make you lazy, but eh, whatever. Clean away, robot friend.

The final scare will come from your growing compulsion to use it. The machine comes with a DVD and a huge hardcover book of recipes and tips, and the Internet is teeming with additional suggestions. Just be advised: With a 7-year full warranty, the thing ain't going anywhere. Better face those fears.


$8,500: Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL4 Red Disc Road Bike


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