Dann's Indie Holiday Gift Guide 2023
By Dann Berg
Published or Updated on
When I was younger, I loved mail order catalogues. Every time a new issue of Things You Never Knew Existed or Oriental Trading arrived, I’d spend hours flipping through the pages, despite the fact that items were largely the same issue-to-issue.
Now that we have the Internet and online shopping, those types of catalogues just don’t hit the same way. But, for me, annual Holiday Gift Guides scratch the same sort of itch. It feels like flipping through a curated list of items in that nostalgic type of way, wondering which items you’ve seen before and what’s totally new to you.
But why do newspapers and magazines get to have all the fun? I want to make my own Holiday Gift Guide, full of items I think are interesting in one way or another.
This is an indie holiday gift guide, because it’s just me, Dann Berg (in partnership with The Dann Chronicles newsletter), putting together this post.
It’s all just for fun. Browse at your leisure. Buy an item or don’t (Amazon links are affiliate, but I’ve included non-Amazon, non-affiliate links where ever possible). Maybe you’ll see something you already use and enjoy. Maybe you’ll find something new.
You’re a kid again, and a new catalog just arrived in the mail. Enjoy.
|Yogasleep Dohm Uno||Orbitkey Key Organizer|
|Some bedrooms are quieter than others, and it can be hard to get good rest when there’s a flurry of activity around. This can be solved with a running fan, but sometimes that added breeze is too much. And most white noise machines just play digital recordings, which can feel strangely artificial. Enter Yogasleep Dohm Uno. It’s a dedicated white noise machine with an actual engine inside, producing natural sounds. Perfect for slipping into a deep sleep.|
|For many men, a set of front-pocket keys is a source of constant annoyance. They just never sit right, and twist and poke at numerous points throughout the day. That’s because it’s literally impossible for keys on a keyring to lay flat. The Orbitkey Key Organizer is a pocket saver, by turning that mess of keys into a small rod-shaped fob that doesn’t hurt when you sit the wrong way.|
|Pulsetto||Ninja CREAMi Deluxe|
|Everyone knows a little yoga or meditation can help calm an anxious mind, but do you know why these particular practices have that effect? Both activities stimulate the vagus nerve, the pathway with parasympathetic control of the brain and the heart/lungs/digestive tract. Now there’s a lazy-person’s way to tickle that same nerve, and reap all the benefits of a robust mindful practice without any of the exercises.|
|For many, it was the viral kitchen gadget of the summer, inescapable at every turn. Others have yet to hear about this wonderful gadget. It’s a consumer-grade version of the Pacojet, a much-loved ice cream device and longtime staple of high-end commercial kitchens. Now you, too, can turn protein shakes into a Wendy’s Frosty (literally) and so much more.|
|L.L. Bean Wicked Good Slippers, Venetian||Coravin Timeless Three+|
|Some say there are two types of people in the world: those who always barefoot, and those who are never barefoot. For people in the latter category, L.L. Bean’s Wicket Good Slippers are a luxurious way to keep those toes warm in the winter. Shearling lined and oh-so-soft, it’s a great way to indulge that inner voice saying keep those feet covered!|
|Wanting a single glass of wine with dinner can be a conflicting emotion. On the one hand, it’d pair nicely with the meal, but on the other, opening a nice bottle of wine puts pressure on finishing it before it goes bad. Coravin developed a handy (albiet expensive) solution: pierce the cork to pour a single glass, and replace the air with gas to prevent the still-sealed bottle from aging.|
|Momofuku Noodle Variety Pack||Purple Harmony Pillow|
|Famous restauranteur David Chang has been expanding his reach beyond his popular storefront restaurants with Momofuku Goods, a series of seriously-tasty products available both online and in select stores. The latest product is a set of dried noodles: Soy & Scallion, Spicy Soy, and Tingly Chili Wavy. They’re a fun base to larger dishes, or delicious all by themselves.|
|A pillow is a very personal thing, so it’s impossible to tell if a favorite option for one person will also be a perfect match for another. But the Harmony pillow from Purple certainly comes close. Based on my own personal (2+ year) experience, as well as conversations with friends who also own the pillow, it’s anecdotally a crowd favorite.|
|Playdate||Ink+Volt 2024 Goal Planner|
|For the discerning gamer, there’s Playdate. A novel handheld gaming device by the delightful Portland-based company Panic (first famous for Mac apps, then game publishing, now handhelds). It’s not an emulator, it’s a wholly new operating system complete with fun indie games and a passionate community. Did I mention it was designed by Teenage Engineering?|
|For those who eschew digital calendars, but still want a bit of structure, you can’t beat Ink+Volt’s robust Goal Planner notebook. It’s a place to jot down dates-of-note and deadline, and also explore weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals, and make sure your tasks are working towards your larger goals. For a certain set of people, it’s absolutely indispensable.|
|Lars Von Trier - A Curzon Collection||Pocas Honey Ginger Tea|
|For the film lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with the most complete set of Lars Von Trier films ever released. Or maybe you can go wrong? It’s Lars Von Trier. Curl up with a loved on and throw on Melancholia or Antichrist. Or sit down and watch my personal favorite: Dogville. With 14 films, over 18 hours of special features, and more, this box set is certainly a statement.|
|Pocas Honey Ginger tea is bursting with flavor. No joke, people’s first reaction is “wow, that’s strong,” but in a good way. If you try and get this much flavor from other teas, you’ll just end up over-steeping them to bitterness. The Honey Ginger tea granules dissolve in seconds and you’re ready to drink, warming yourself up during a cold winter.|
|Silicone Baking Mat||Mindviscosity by Matt Furie|
|If you’re still using disposable sheet liners, what are you even doing? Don’t you even care about the environment? Instead, you should switch to Silicone baking mats, which not only make cleanup super easy, but can also be used over and over and over. Perfect for cookie, chicken, or anything in between. Make sure you measure your pan and purchase the correct size.|
|Before his artwork was co-opted by hate groups, Matt Furie was busy creating a whole universe of bizarre and unique characters. His book Mindviscosity is a way to reclaim the art that is rightfully his, and provide viewers with a dizzying glimpse into the mind of the artist. A wonderful coffee table book and a crowd favorite, Furie’s colorful drawings will certainly capture your attention.|
|Bunny Kingdom||Churu Purée Cat Treats|
|Do you have what it takes to settle lands and field, build fiefdoms, and become the “Big Ears”? This novel European-style board game combines a fun card drafting style with strategic board plan for a fun and strategically rich game. It’s a blast with the maximum number of four players, but also works great as a two-player game (this isn’t one of those games that gets watered down with fewer players).|
|It’s not guaranteed that your cat will like these Churu Puréed Cat Treats, but it’s about as high of a chance as you’re going to get. The company blasted out of no where thanks to some viral social media marketing: cats go absolutely wild for these treats and humans go absolutely wild for videos of the cats going wild.|
|The Mysteries by Bill Watterson||Oriental Rug Mouse Pad|
|Most remember him as the reclusive author of the beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic. Since ending its run in 1995, Bill Watterson has remained largely quiet and out of the public eye…until this year. Teaming up with John Kascht, Watterson has a new “fable for grown-ups,” a perfect gift for that elder millennial who grew up reading the strip.|
|For those with an office job, work means spending hours upon hours in front of a computer. Why not spend a little money sprucing up the place? An oriental rug mouse pad is an eye-catching piece of desktop decor that’s sure to elicit comments from co-workers (or family, if you work from home). While there are several companies that make similar products, this particular brand feels soft and luxurious, and the pattern is bold and easy-to-read.|
|Kasa Smartplug||Quest Chocolate Cake Frosted Cookies|
|Turning your house into a smart home doesn’t need to break the bank. For less than $20, you can turn traditional lamps, fans, appliances, and more into smart devices. You’ll still need a voice assistant though (such as the Amazon Echo, Google Next, or Apple HomePod), but these Kasa Smartplugs will make saying “good night” much more practical when it also turns out your lights.|
|Sometimes you need a little afternoon pick-me-up, but want to avoid that dreaded blood-sugar spike. Quest’s Frosted Cookies are surprisingly delicious, and amazingly don’t taste like protein (which is not something many of its competitors can claim). Packing 11g or protein with only 1g of sugar and 2g net carbs, this keto-friendly snack may start being the only cookie you eat.|