2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Because at this point, we'll take any excuse to celebrate.

This has been a bad year. Perhaps you’ve heard. But it’s drawing to a close—the end is so near we can practically see it on the horizon. And while, sure, there’s already reason to believe that 2017 will be even worse than 2016, for the next few weeks, we’re forcing ourselves to kick back, relax, and try to enjoy ourselves.

And of course, there is a genuine joy to be had in the giving and receiving of gifts. But which gifts? And how to avoid crippling, crippling FOMO? To help you guide your sleigh this year, we’ve not only put together a list of our holiday favorites, but bestowed upon them the highest of honorifics. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the inaugural FLOODsies.


floodsies-2016-landyachtzBEST METHOD OF FALLING… WITH STYLE — Landyachtz Mini Cruiser Skateboards

Skateboarding as a utility is an understated value of the sport. Sure, tearing it up for fun is great, but as far as quick and easy ways to get where you need to go, a solid cruiser is unbeatable. Landyachtz, established in 1997 in Vancouver, makes some of the best cruising boards in the business, catering to both those looking to beat land-speed records (“I love helmets!”) as well as those just making a quick run to the store (“I got the coffee!”). from $115 at Landyachtz

floodsies-2016-otisBEST WAY TO BECOME A COMPLETIONIST — Otis Redding, Live at the Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings

If you’re most people, you don’t need to hear every single flubbed note James Hetfield laid down during the Master of Puppets sessions, and that’s exactly the kind of thing you’ll get with most “the complete sessions” boxed sets. But the full set of recordings of Otis Redding’s historic three-night run at the Whisky A Go Go in 1966 is enough to convert even the most casual of listeners into wild-eyed fanatics. This six-disc collection expands upon the legendary Live at the Whisky A Go Go album that was recorded a year before the master of soul made his crossover splash at the Monterey Pop Festival, which means you get nearly five hours of Otis banging in Hollywood with his scorching chitlin-circuit band. $46.49 at Amazon

floodsies-2016-allbirdsBEST COVERING FOR YOUR WEIRD, STINKY, HOBBIT-LIKE FEET — Allbirds Shoes

Like George Washington’s teeth, Allbirds Shoes are made of wool—but not just any wool. These über-comfortable semi–slip-ons are made from fine merino wool in New Zealand, and are built and packaged with the goal of being one of most environmentally conscious options on the market. Plus, they’re so lightweight that it feels like wearing nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all. $95 at Allbirds

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Poler x Pendleton Towel Poncho modeled by Editorial Assistant Sarabeth Oppliger

ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN BEACH APPAREL — Poler x Pendleton Towel Poncho

In the same way that the Snuggie met a need most people didn’t know they had—what, you had a good system for reading a book while keeping your arms warm?—the good folks at Poler have partnered with Pendleton to create this wearable beach towel. Now you can stay cozy AF all wrapped up in your towel après-surf without having to sacrifice your arms. Oh, and thanks to the Crater Lake pattern from Pendleton, you’ll actually look very, very cool. So it’s not exactly like the Snuggie. $135 at Poler.

floodsies-2016-yetiBEST COOLER TO TAKE WITH YOU INTO THE DESERT, IF YOU MUST DO THAT — Yeti Hopper 30

Cooler bags are gross. They don’t keep ice frozen, they leak, and they spread raw chicken-water all over your backseat. Nobody likes cooler bags. Which is why it hardly feels fair to put this tank in the same category. The Yeti Hopper 30 keeps ice frozen for days—days—and it’s made from the same stuff they use to make whitewater rafts. Whether you’re packing liters of water into the desert on a quest for good vibes or keeping your kill on ice, the leakproof technology will keep the Hopper’s contents cool and collected. $350 at Yeti

floodsies-2016-the_carsBEST REASON NOT TO BE MAD AT RIC OCASEK ANYMORE — The Cars, The Elektra Years: 1978–1987

Ric Ocasek lost a lot of cool points earlier this year with that whole Car Seat Headrest debacle, but luckily for him, his credit will always be good with us. That’s partially because he produced Weezer’s debut, but mainly because of The Cars discography. The quality displayed on Rhino’s nearly-comprehensive box set is definitely skewed toward the first two Cars albums, but the whole ride is smooth and sleek—a total powerhouse statement from one of the most influential bands of all time. $100 from Rhino

floodsies-2016-iggy_book_togetherBEST TANNING BOOTH READING MATERIAL — Total Chaos: The Story of The Stooges / As Told by Iggy Pop

Sitting down with a coffee table book may not sound like the most punk rock thing to do, but hey, this is a year that saw Iggy Pop keep his clothes on for at least four straight minutes, so it’s probably time to reassess what punk is once again. That said, Third Man’s extensive new book on The Stooges—riddled with rare photos and revealing conversations with the King Stooge himself—couldn’t have arrived at a better time. $50 from Third Man Books

gift_guide-2016-apparel_edited-21. Levi’s 501 CT Stretch Jeans

The 501 is untouchable. It’s an American icon—like wearing the got dang Gold Rush, for crying out loud. But in true American fashion, it’s OK to tweak it a bit, too. The 501 CT Stretch jean has a perfect tapered leg, bringing the fit a little bit more into the twenty-first century. Some things do change over the course of 150 years, after all. $80 at Levi’s

2. Native Youth Mesonet Dress

Give her wine and help her wear it, too. Native Youth’s modern lines define this corduroy button-up, as does the spill of burgundy, making for a perfect gift for your favorite fashionista. $100 at Native Youth

3. Soko Talon and Cord Necklace

The Soko brand connects artisans from developing countries to the world of consumers while encouraging use of locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials, but that doesn’t mean their stuff looks like it came from the crafts section of a music festival. This adjustable cord pendant with brass talon detailing is handmade in Kenya, and it’s as elegant as it is ethical. $85 at Soko

4. Snoop Dogg x Gonz x Adidas Collaboration Matchcourt Mid White

Do you know how many fourteen-inch rims is riding on their sides? If I said I was hitting the corner in a lo-lo, would you know I wasn’t laughing out loud? If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with Mark Gonzalez and Adidas is for you. If not, off to Genius with you! $85 at Zumiez

5. Outdoor Voices Circuit Diver Longsleeve Shirt

You have to exercise. At this point, there’s no arguing with it. But sometimes taking care of your body means making sure it looks good, too. Outdoor Voices’s technical gear is great for when you’re looking to sweat, but only a little bit—think your gentler yogas, your impromptu dance parties. $75 at Outdoor Voices

floodsies-2016-bowers_wilkinsBEST WAY TO KISS THE HEADPHONE JACK GOODBYE — Bowers + Wilkins P7 Wireless Headphones

Sure, you could buy that weird adapter thing to keep your current setup once the next iPhone drops. Or you could look to the future and experience the soft embrace of Bowers + Wilkins’s exceptionally clear Bluetooth headphones. Snug between two of the softest ear pads you’ll ever encounter, you’ll get clarity and depth of sound that most wired headphones are incapable of—much less the usual sound-beaming Bluetooth cans, whose spotty coverage may be wireless in fact but hardly in principle. These bad boys keep booming no matter where you wander. $400 at Bowers + Wilkins

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Burton x Black Scale Collaborative Base Layer / modeled by Senior Editor Marty Sartini Garner

WITCHIEST SNOWBOARDING GEAR — Burton x Black Scale Collaboration

Mountains are shadowy, evil places. Snowboarders are a certain breed of wizard who can subjugate all of that evil, and like any good wizard, they need the right cloak. Burton’s collaboration with the mystics at Black Scale will keep your body dry and your soul intact. Plus they ward off poseurs. $70 at Burton

floodsies-2016-coltraneBEST WAY TO SOOTHE YOUR SOUL WHILE DRIVING YOUR DOG CRAZY — John Coltrane, The Atlantic Years in Mono

By the time he signed to Atlantic in 1959, John Coltrane was already a fixture on the jazz scene—but his best work was still ahead of him. The extraordinarily productive three-year run captured in this box includes the classic Giant Steps and the Don Cherry collaboration The Avant-Garde, as well as the seminal “My Favorite Things,” replicated here on a split 7” single. He’d go on to immerse himself fully in the astral plane, but his brief stint on Atlantic finds him testing the waters and finding them mighty welcoming indeed. $150 at Rhino

floodsies-2016-poler-bagBEST MULTIBRAND MULTITASKER — Poler x Pendleton Camera Cooler

Sometimes you need a bag to carry your lunch. Sometimes you need a bag to carry your camera. Unless you work for Bon Appétit, though, you rarely need a bag to do both at the same time. Enter the Poler camera cooler. It’s tough enough to tote your DSLR and chill enough to carry along to the beach—and it’s all wrapped up in the classic Crater Lake pattern from Oregon textile legends Pendleton, which assures that, like its sturdy Yeti cousin, there’s nothing gross about it. $66 at Poler

floodsies-2016-ray_charlesBEST WAY TO MEET BROTHER RAY — Ray Charles, The Complete Atlantic Recordings in Mono

Until the early fifties, Ray Charles was a fine-enough pianist and singer, playing smoothie R&B and getting along just fine. Then he went to New Orleans, got tough, and unleashed hell. The seven albums included in this set are the first fruits of that transition and the truest introduction to one of the finest bandleaders in American history. $120 at Rhino

floodsies-2016-bill_and_tedBEST WAY TO REMEMBER THAT ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND, DUDE — Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection

Setting aside the fact that having George Carlin in your movie automatically makes it good, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a legitimately good movie. It’s stupid, yes, but it has soul—and it has babes (like Bill’s stepmom, for instance). The Bogus Journey sequel isn’t quite as bodacious, but when packaged alongside a Rufus action figure and Wyld Stallyns guitar pick, this Shout Factory box set rules almost as much as San Dimas High School football. $80 at Shout Factory

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1. Mosswood Whiskey 

What, you thought all whiskey came from Kentucky? Not anymore. This small-batch brand is working out of Berkeley, CA, where they craft their liquor crafted with major notes of flavor. Then, just because it’s Northern California, they age the stuff in erstwhile espresso barrels. An ideal addition to the bar cart for even the snobbiest of spirit-lovers. $40 at Bitters and Bottles

2. Appetites: A Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain

Certified silver fox Anthony Bourdain is now a dad, and that means that certain aspects of his lifestyle have changed. While he’s still the globetrotting cad, he’s now got mouths to feed that are his own genetic descendents. Appetites is a pared-down collection of dishes that he believes everyone should know how to make at home for their family. Reads like a gripping novel, cooks like a damn professional chef. $22.50 at Amazon

3. Stumptown Rambler Travel Kit

You know what Billy Crystal could have used in City Slickers? Stumptown’s Rambler Travel Kit. Nobody should have to drink bad instant coffee just because they’re camping, but nobody should have to lug around a battery-powered Krups, either. This kit put together by the cold-brew champions has everything you need to get a good cup of coffee no matter where you are—without spooking any livestock. $185 at Stumptown

4. Woven Pizza Slices from Kayla Mattes

First-year dormers aside, most people don’t eat pizza every day; the Nanny State and Big Science have conspired to declare it Unhealthy. But if that’s the case, how come pizza is always excellent and good to have around? We’ve previously believed that there’s no way to solve this particular conundrum, but we think we’ve found a solution: pick up a pie from textile artist Kayla Mattes, who, when she isn’t creating stunning avant-garde wall-hangings, keeps warm with a snuggly slice of za. $25 at KaylaMattes.com

5. Sorry I Am Such an Asshole Balloons

It’s tradition to send a note of appreciation after a dinner party—a little show of appreciation for the meal and drinks and all that. But if you’re like us, you’re gonna be the dude on the ground shuffling records off of the shelf trying prove that Maggot Brain is inferior to Fire on the Bayou. You could send a note, sure, but these balloons from Adam J. Kurtz are both honest and charming enough to make sure you get invited back. And honestly, look, nobody has ever sat through the entire “Maggot Brain” guitar solo, but have you heard “Love Slip Upon You”? $15 for 12 at Adamjk.com

6. OneLogFire

Sometimes you need a campfire, but gathering kindling and building your little pyramid isn’t an option. Enter OneLogFire, the self-contained portable burner that will keep you lit for up to two hours. The kiln-dried logs burn from the inside, making them essentially a massive, woodsy candle. And yep, you can use them to roast marshmallows. $19 at OneLogFire

7. Fernet Francisco

After a hearty meal, your best gourmand friend isn’t chomping Tums; he’s quaffing Fernet. And while the popular Branca brand is, uh, vicious in its bitter bite (to say the least), San Francisco brand Fernet Francisco offer a kinder, gentler, and drier take on the classic amaro, created entirely with herbs grown in California. Your taste buds will never curse your aching stomach again. $40 at K&L

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The Brixton Harlan Jacket and Fargo Thermal Shirt / modeled by Senior Editor Marty Sartini Garner

HIPPEST WAY TO LOOK LIKE ED BLUMQUIST — Brixton Harlan Jacket + Fargo Underwear Set

The winter is long, dark, and cold, and if you’re not careful, it can lead you certain places. Brixton’s well-tailored denim jacket and long underwear sets are inspired by vintage looks, and the rich, warm construction will help you brace yourself against chills—that’d be the ones that arise both from within and from without, hon. $125 and $79 at Brixton

floodsies-2016-our_los_angeles_vodkaBEST WAY TO ACCIDENTALLY HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TO DRINK WHILE STAYING LOCAL — Our/Los Angeles Vodka

Our/Vodka is a global brand of vodkas, but they’re distilled in different cities around the world using local ingredients. And while that means we can’t tell you what Our/Amsterdam tastes like, we are a little freaked out by how smooth the Los Angeles variety is—though maybe such suavity is appropriate. The LA branch is run out of the Arts District by entrepreneurs who are dedicated both to developing the local economy and to tricking you into having three or four drinks. Available at various locations in Los Angeles.

floodsies-2016-fleetwood_macBEST COMPLEMENT TO BEING SINGLE — Fleetwood Mac, Mirage (Deluxe)

If Tusk is Fleetwood Mac’s bombastic White Album extravaganza, then Mirage is the focused Abbey Road return. Forty-three minutes of tight, perfect pop—proof that they could do this stuff with their eyes closed when they wanted to. Rhino’s deluxe reissue has the whole story, start to finish—demos, outtakes, and live tracks. Gotta bring your own incense, though. $100 from Rhino

floodsies-2016-golden_age_of_televisionMOST EFFICIENT WAY TO ACCLIMATE YOURSELF TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS — David Bianculli, The Platinum Age of Television

Years ago, people were worried that TV was rotting the minds and morals of the youth. Today, it’s the preeminent American popular artform; we turn to it not only for entertainment, but also for enlightenment. So how did TV get so good? NPR’s David Bianculli posits that the medium’s greatness was there all along, and over a methodical 600-page climb, he highlights not only our newfound era of Peak TV, but the rest of the mountain, too. $24 at Amazon

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The Original Penguin P55 Harrington Jacket / modeled by Assistant Editor Nate Rogers

BEST WAY TO FAKE BEING A MEMBER OF THE ESTABLISHMENT — Original Penguin P55 Harrington Jacket

Even if you don’t know how to golf, it’s good to own something appropriate to wear in case you get invited (making it out the door is half the battle!). With that in mind, Original Penguin’s P55 Harrington jacket is the ideal multi-purpose coat—perfect for meeting your girlfriend’s dad at the country club, or for just sitting around and watching Caddyshack again. $165 at Original Penguin

floodsies-2016-burton_suitcaseHANDIEST WAY TO AVOID BAGGAGE FEES — Burton Wheelie Flyer Travel Bag

You know why you don’t see anyone carrying their stuff onto a plane in a grocery bag? Because design—both in terms of form and of function—matters. Burton’s Wheelie Flyer Travel Bag is expertly designed for efficient packing and travel, all the way down to the skateboard wheels at its base. The pouch on the front half of the clamshell holds your work gear—computer, tablet, submarine sandwich—while the back half keeps your clothes nice and tidy. $200 at Burton

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1. Sun Ra — Singles: The Definitive Collection

Before he began to explore the outer edges of the solar system with sprawling suites of cosmic jazz, the man responsible for much of the sound of the last half-century could be contained by a mere 7” single. In reality, the former Herman Poole Blount recorded these cuts concurrently with his longer works and released them in extremely limited batches. The good folks at Strut scoured the universe and brought back as many they could find. Various options at Strut

2. Shinola Runwell Turntable

There are few things that every self-respecting music lover should treat themselves to at some point in their lives (a pair of good headphones, tickets to see Springsteen, etc.), and a high-end turntable is one of them. Shinola’s Runwell table is handcrafted in their facilities in Detroit, and is one of the premier offerings for those looking to make the jump into some seriously high fidelity.  $2,500 at Shinola

3. ROLI BLOCKS

Everyone thinks they’re a DJ, and, as The Hold Steady once said, most people are. But creating live electronic music on the go isn’t as easy as it looks. With their modular BLOCKS system, ROLI aims to change that. The Bluetooth-connected components allow you to trigger sounds based on the same swipes, taps, and gestures you use to navigate your phone—so you’re already half way to rocking Ibiza.

4. U-Turn Orbit Plus Turntable

Year after year, it bears repeating that beginner turntables—often available in the extremely inexplicable suitcase variety—are not the best purchase to make. We all have to start somewhere, however, and that casual start makes it all the better when you do decide to make the leap into true craftsmanship. U-Turn Audio, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, is there to help with that transition—and to keep your bank account stable while doing it. Their tables are minimalist in design but sturdy in construction, and come with options to customize and personalize everything from top to bottom. Smell ya later, automatic tone arms. $289 at U-Turn

5. I Am Brian Wilson, by Brian Wilson

If ever there was a musician who deserved to tell his own story in his own words. In his new memoir, head Beach Boy Brian Wilson dives unabashedly into his relationships with his family, his years spent making music, and the mental illness that contributes to his brilliance. It makes for an at-times tragic and altogether fascinating history of one of the finest creative minds we’ve got. $18 at Amazon

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