We know. It’s tough to beat Michael Buble’s holiday list. But, beyond true love, happy families, and happy ever afters for all, there are a few other things AAR staffers would love to give or get.  (And, again, we thank you for using our links to Amazon.  We are able to stay online by the money we make on our affiliate links and we are beyond grateful when you use them!) Happy holidays!


Chiachi:

Nixplay makes the best digital picture frames. Over the years I’ve found digital picture frames to be the perfect gift for a loved one. You can personalize it by pre-loading it with your favorite pictures (grandparents love getting pictures of their grandkids!) and the built-in wi-fi allows you to easily send pictures using a mobile app or email. The $140 sticker price a little too much?  Here’s a more affordable model if you can live without the built-in wi-fi.

I received this book light in a gift exchange at work and I love it. Now I can read in bed without  disturbing the hubs.  It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for the book lovers in your life.


Anne M.:

I bought an Echo during one of the sales. Putting it on the kitchen counter was one of my best ideas because everyone can use it. Visitors can use it. Even my parents could figure out how to use it. My mother has a hard time learning to use her phone, tablets, and the computer. She’s always afraid she will do something “wrong” and “mess it up.” But she’s not afraid to go up to the Echo and say “Alexa, play Julio Iglesias.” There was some trouble getting Alexa’s name right at first — just like in that SNL sketch. Then I wrote “ALEXA” in big letters on a piece of paper and placed it front of the unit, and that helped a great deal. It also helps that I can sneak up and say “Alexa, play Bathory” — and then wait for my parents’ response!

Sometimes I like to let my inner nerd out, and this is about as nerdy as you can get. I would own this already, but the Kindle edition is $40.99. (The hardcover is just over 50.00.) Then again, at over 800 pages, it comes to about a nickel a page. I discovered old time radio thanks to a radio show called The Big Broadcast that replayed classic episodes. There’s nothing like driving down a dark road and wondering how the characters will survive this adventure. Or will they survive? Part of the fun is hearing famous actors voicing tons of different characters. Did you know that both Gunsmoke and Dragnet were radio shows before they made it to TV? And William Conrad played Matt DIllon on the radio! Did you know that Oscar nominee Richard Widmark used to play in a radio comedy called Ethel and Albert? Did you know that Boris Karloff played a number of characters (both good and evil) on Inner Sanctum? Someday I will just cave in and buy this, no matter what the price. Or maybe I’ll spring for the out of print hardback.

 Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

Get ready for the upcoming movie with this groundbreaking collection. Originating in 1966, T’Challa is considered the first black superhero in U.S. comics. In 1998, writer Christopher Priest reinvented the Black Panther, and turned him into the character we know today. And he did so by portraying him through the eyes of a U.S. government agent. Let’s hope the movie lives up to these stories!


Caroline:

I want the board game Ticket to Ride! It’s incredibly fun and unlike any other game I’ve played. Your goal is to build railroads between destinations, with bonus points for certain routes and length/difficulty. I played it with a group of middle school students and we all had a blast, so anybody looking for something to do with preteens (it’s a hard age, I know!) should give this a try.

Also, I got it last year, but if you haven’t played Set, you’re missing out. A card game-slash-mathematical logic puzzle, it’s a great group activity for elementary schoolers all the way up.

Quantum Physics for Babies. I have a baby. I should read to my baby. Reading to my baby is boring. If I have to pretend one more stinking time that I don’t know that Spot is in the basket, I will lose my mind. Please help me stay sane by giving me something interesting to read to my baby.


The Home Cook
by Alex Guarnaschelli

Made a few of these before I had to return the book to the library and everything was great. I especially loved the roasted carrots with a honey-cilantro glaze. Most recipes involve normal ingredients and equipment, and the photographs are straight up food porn. I want my own copy so I can try some more – there’s an entire chapter about mushrooms with my name on it.

Maggie:

I know people say gift cards are impersonal and that people don’t use them but I am the exception to the rule. I ask for gift cards from Amazon and by January 1 (heck by midnight on December 25) I have used mine. The card gives me flexibility, ensures I don’t have to involve myself with pesky returns and most of all, makes me super happy. I already have a list going for the gift cards I will receive this year.


Melanie:

This fluffy blanket – Cause, I mean, it’s a super fuzzy blanket.

This board game – I adore Pandemic, and I love the whole idea of a “season” for a game. It comes with 12 packets, one scenario per packet, and so is set up really well as a long-term board game. Great for game nights!

This tea maker – Okay, yeah, I can just make tea the normal way, but it has a freshness timer, an auto set function, and keeps it warm for you.


BJ: 

I am a total Trekkie and I actually haven’t seen two of the films in this collection yet! I love the effects, the hope and the intellect of good sci fi and Star Trek has all of these things.


Although my Paperwhite is still working fine after many years, despite almost constant use, I would like a new one on standby, so I don’t even have to wait a minute to buy a new one should my current beloved Paperwhite fail.


I bought a tall Alexa (Echo) for my Hubby for his birthday this year and it is the best pressie I have ever bought for him. We even took it to Italy and had English radio and our playlists for whenever we were in the villa. Being able to ask for any song played at will – especially when ‘relaxed’ from Prosecco and Limoncello consumption, is hilarious. So, I would like one for my office or in our bedroom…instant info and music on demand.


And that’s a wrap! We hope the holidays bring you joy. We wouldn’t mind world peace either. And, always, romance (the kind between the covers… of a book!)

the AAR staff