Lots of great comments for our first list (Holiday Shopping Ideas!), so lets give this one another go round. As part of our annual Shopmas tradition, I cull some of my more interesting fascinations, acquisitions, and other items I stumble each year, as well as items off of my own overstuffed wish list.

Your feedback about the breadth of gift ideas keeps encouraging more of these, so here is our second round of last minute ideas for those of you have been very, very good. Or at least, those of you who were not leveraged long with no stop losses in place.

Go forth and stimulate!


Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas ($9) Ella at the top of her game made what is simply the best holiday disc ever recorded.

Those of you that mocked my suggestion of a JT holiday disc, I dare you to try with this one.

If this disc doesn’t make you smile, you are a hopeless grinch. Spike a cup of coffee with some Kahlua or Baileys and enjoy.


Billy Jealousy Hydroplane ($19.50) I use this “Super-Slick Shave Cream” as a preshave to lubricate my skin. Less irritation, fewer nicks and cuts, a closer shave.

And, an 8 oz bottle lasts me almost a year. (but I use my razors 2X then they go in the garbage)

This is great stuff.


Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio ($34.50 Pair)

These walkie talkies can cover 35 miles — thats a hell of a long distance for this price. Great for the mall, Disneyworld, Boating, the beach, anywhere you might get separated with poor cell coverage. (Uses rechargable or alkaline batteries)

They are rugged, but not waterproof. For even greater range, spend the extra bucks for the Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range ($51)


Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition) $99

The greatest science fiction film of all time, in every variant of its many tortured releases, including the 25th anniversary Blade Runner: The Final Cut, spectacularly restored and remastered from original elements and scanned at 4K resolution. The definitive documentary to accompany the definitive film version is included.

For any hard core SciFi nerd on your holiday list.


Florilegium Imperiale: Botanical Illustrations ($114)

Francis I of Austria was the last monarch to rule over the Holy Roman Empire, and the imperial gardens remains one of Vienna’s most beloved treasures. In 1791, he commissioned Matthias Schmutzer to paint portraits of every flower in his garden – a project that took more than three decades to complete.

Until now, only six of the extant 1,300 paintings have ever been published. This collection features 120 of the most outstanding of Schmutzer’s watercolours, painted life-size and with extraordinary precision.

This book will delight botanical historians and lovers of flower art alike.

Casio G-Shock Military Mens Watch ($94-$149)

Stealth black, shock resistant, water proof to 200 meters, x-large case, this thing is practically bullet proof — G-Shock is designed to survive in the harshest of conditions.

Filled with all sorts of stop watches, calendars, time zones and additional features, this is an attractive oversized watch that can take punishment.

My version has blue highlights, not red. (Good luck finding one of these).

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor ($299)

Missus Big Picture has wanted a juicer for some time, and most of the models I played with were under powered and fragile feeling.

I finally broke down and ordered this beastie. Stainless die cast steel housing and motor body feels solid (notice the theme here) with 1000 watts of power (This is the two speed model).

I picked this model because of the high power, the design style, and because so many of the reviews said it was easy to clean.


Riedel Sommeliers Black Tie Wine Decanter ($419) Have a tough to shop for oenophile on your list?

The Riedel family of Austria has specialized in fine wine glassware for more 300 years. This decanter is made with mouth-blown glass of a single flawless loop of clear 24-percent lead crystal curving from the high open tail to the narrow arching pour-spout. A slender black tuxedo stripe traces the decanter’s outside edge (hence the name).

The decanter holds 69 ounces and stands an 16-1/2 inches high.


Grow Light Lamp and Planter Grow ($1,250)
Designed by Carmen Salazar

I love great design, and this growlight fits the bill. Originally conceived for people limited by light, space, or temperatures outside, suited for tropicals, fresh herbs, and succulents.

A swath of whipped glass clouds the bulb and diffuses the light. Each one is unique. The lights are available as hanging pendants, wall mounted sconces or floor lamps, hand blown in lead free crystal.


Octopus Table ($25,000) It took artist Isaac Krauss 2 and half years to sculpt this one of a kind spectacular table in Bronze.  Yours for merely 25 large.

(Yes, I have a thing for Octopi)

When I said for all budgets, I was not fooling around!

Category: Consumer Spending, Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

20 Responses to “More Holiday Shopping Ideas!”

  1. Disclosure: None of the vendors here pay me for this — they are here because I find their products interesting or I have purchased things from them in the past and I have been pleased with their wares.

    I get a modest fee from Amazon for any product linked to, but more importantly, I get a rich trove of data that allows me to do things like this: Books Bought By Big Picture Readers (November 2011)

  2. bmoseley says:

    $1250 for a little grow light planter???????


    BR: Pretty insane, right?

  3. Great ideas, Barry! The Grow Light reminds me of the old Bubble Lights on Xmas trees. ..brings back nostalgic memories…What about a webcam for any out-of-town relatives? When in doubt, women always love jewelry! ;-)

  4. theexpertisin says:

    I gift in two different ways.

    For immediate family, I gift ‘em with a few things they have indicated they liked beforehand. Also, I’ll book a resort in the U.S. for a week of family time (sixteen invitees, ages three to one hundred and two) in the summer, “mom/dad treat”. Predictable, yes, but it works for us. So far.

    For special friends, I lean towards the hard to get. This year, I have bottles of Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros rum along with boxes of Havana Cohiba Esplendidos (for my cigar afficionados). Cuban art for the non-puffers.

    Your gift thoughts were very interesting, and neat to discover.

  5. formerlawyer says:

    Channeling Tim Allen are we?


  6. philipat says:

    Looks more like a Vampire Squid to me?!!

  7. philipat says:

    Hey Barry,

    Off topic but nontheless I would be interested to hear your views, as a lawyer, on the Corzine/CME thing.

    First comment “There’s no honour amongst thieves”

    Second but more importantly, let me see if I understand the law correctly: It’s fine to commit fraud so long as there was no INTENT to commit fraud or, more relevantly perhaps, it cannot be PROVEN there was an intent to commit fraud?

    If that is correct then surely, in the words of Dickens “The law is an Ass”? Surely if fraud is proven to have been committed, those responsible should be held accountable? What is the point of having sarbanes-Oxley?

  8. That is this Sunday’s WaPo column

    Meanwhile, see this:


  9. philipat says:

    Thanks Barry and sorry for the duplication, I hadn;t seen that piece. This all just makes me so angry. It’s just another illustration of how the whole system is just totally broken.

  10. crankitto11 says:

    Octopus Table– Addams Family not included.

  11. Jojo says:

    Here’s what I think is a unique gift idea:

    A genetic analysis. You spit in a plastic container, mail it in and a few weeks later you get an analysis. Voila!

    I had this done not too long ago as part of a research project I participated in and found the results and variety of data quite interesting. They tell you what diseases and afflictions you are most prone to. You get a historical report from both your mothers and fathers side showing your genetic line going back thousands of years. Also the ability to connect with other people all over the world who have the same genes as you (well, at least some of them). And a bunch more reports, surveys you can take and other interesting stuff.

    The cost is reasonable at $99 +$9/month for one year (for updates and to participate in the community) or $399 for a lifetime membership.

    Go to:

    btw: This is the company founded by Google’s Sergy Brin’s wife


    BR: I did this last year, and it was fascinating

  12. Michael Gat says:

    A quick note about those Motorola radios (or any of the cheaper knock-offs). They’re great little devices that we regularly use for communication between groups in wilderness or other outdoor settings where there is poor or no cell coverage or where use of cellphones is impractical. Sometimes we just use them to communicate between vehicles traveling together in a group. I have a couple in my earthquake kit for communication among us if there’s nothing else available. I love them, but be realistic about paying for those inflated claims of 30+ mile range. Those range claims are completely theoretical based on lab data and calculations. They may be achievable if you happen to find yourself and your partner standing on extremely high mountaintops, 32 miles apart with nothing in between but clean fresh air. In the real world, just the curvature of the earth is going to cut the range down to under 10 miles. In the great outdoors you may be lucky to get a full mile of range out of them, and in mountains it can be even less. For all practical purposes my “ancient” models with the claimed 12 mile range are just as effective as the modern “32-35 mile” devices.

    The right way to buy these is on size, weight and feature set other than the purported range. Some will come with weather radio receivers (useful), different numbers of channels, security codes, etc. Some have rechargeable batteries, some use AAs and some give you the option of either. (AAs are a great option if you’re going to be someplace where recharging is not possible or even for emergency communication in an urban setting. You can always carry extra Duracells.) I usually find that the more expensive ones are better in a lot of ways, but not because of the greater claimed range.

  13. Max Jackson says:

    Hey Barry, your price is off on the Breville*. At a 23% mark-up, the thing’s moving like stock. Looks like you got in on a good price.

    The ikon’s not bad either and only costs $199. A good alternative considering how much one has to pay in groceries feeding the thing. It’s like buying another dog but suddenly your health gets better.

    * per amazon’s price 12/14/11


    BR: The Breville 800 is now back at $299.99

  14. CPT Ethanolic says:

    $1200 for a grow lamp? Wow. I’m apparently WAY out of the 1%.

  15. hesfsu says:

    Hey Barry,
    From your post, I surmise you already own the G-Shock of your choice? I personally love the atomic update on the digital models. Thanks for the list – my husband will now have Deborah Armstrong posted to his e-mail as many times as it takes.


    BR: I have the G-Shock GA-100 GA-100-1A2DR – WW

  16. ab75 says:

    long time reader, but first time commenting
    i have Casio G Shock GW2500. I agree that it is tough. no need to worry to take out when you wash your hands or go out in rain/snow. atomic time update is excellent. (not in all the countries though.) there are some minor issues like useless light to see the time in dark.


    BR: It is useless in the dark, but I assumed that was due to my less than youthful visual acuity.

    Glad to know its not only my eyes.

  17. silverBUG says:

    All — I can not support the wonders of juicing enough. I started this summer, love it. More energy in the morning, have also cut back my coffee intake on days I make a juice. Typically make a two to three juices a week. Mostly use apples, carrots, cucumbers, beets, and pears.

    If you’re on the edge and think $300 might be too much for a test run, try out the Breville JE98XL for $150. It will not juice leafy veggies, think kale etc. (but no centrifugial juicer will, you’ll need a masticating one but there are downsides to those as well). It’s plenty powerful though. Very dry fiber remains which can be used for other receipes. Dryness is an indication of quality and I’ve been impressed.

    Biggest downside is the time, start to finish you’re looking at 10 minutes with a thorough clean up of all parts but I my cost/benefit it’s been a no brainer.

  18. Jojo says:

    It takes prodigious amounts of fruit/veggies to get a couple of decent cups of juice using a juicer. And you lose the fiber and vitamins in the left over pulp. And then you have to dispose of or find a use for that left-over pulp. Oh, and don’t forget having to clean up the mess!

    As an alternative, I would suggest something like the Vita-mix blender (usually available at Costco for around $400). This thing will quickly pulverize almost anything and it is very easy to clean. Throw some unpeeled cucumber, carrots, spinach, etc. and some water in it and in less than 60 seconds, you’ve got a drink PLUS all the fiber. Or make a quick smoothie with some protein, a banana, some pineapple, some raw almonds and some ice cubes. This thing as so much power, you can even make soup in it (the friction cooks the soup).

  19. silverBUG says:

    Can’t speak to the Vita-mix – although it sounds awesome – and a friend who gets her picture taken for a living swears by banana, kale, spinach, blueberry, and banana smoothies for meals pre shoots. She makes them in a normal blender, starts with the kale, spinach and ice.

    Milage may vary but I get 18-22 ounces from a single English cucumber, 4 small beets, 5 whole carrots, and a apple. Total cost from Whole Foods is ~$4.00 per drink. Similar cost in Chicago from Karyn’s or Jubilee Juice wold be $8.00. I mostly use the fiber for dog food but sometimes will grab a few spoonfuls. Agree it seems wasteful but I’m over it.

    Good menu to copy BTW –> http://www.karynraw.com/cafe-menu/

  20. [...] of good feedback for our first few lists (Holiday Shopping Ideas! and Holiday Gifts for Traders and More Holiday Shopping Ideas!). So with but 3 more shopping days til Xmas, lets give this one last go [...]