👋 Hi all, Chris here! As the holidays get closer, I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite products, gifts, past purchases and more. Hopefully some of them might make good ideas for gifts this holiday season. If you have any suggestions for things I should put on my list, please send them my way. Also, none of the products or services I included below have paid me to be included in the list, however some of them are sponsors of All the Hacks (probably because most of my sponsors were a result of me reaching out to them after loving their products). Additionally, some of the links are affiliate links that I’d earn a commission on, so if you don’t find a better price elsewhere, I’d obviously appreciate you clicking them :)
Finally, if you’re in the spirit of giving, the best gift I could ask for is simply sharing this email or the podcast with someone you think might enjoy it. Thanks so much and happy holidays!
🏡 Home & Food
- Breville Tea Maker: This has been in our kitchen for over a decade and gets used daily. If you brew loose leaf tea, it makes the process so easy, letting you dial in the temperature and brew time, and then automates the rest. And if you also brew coffee, it doubles as fantastic water kettle where you can set the exact temperature (though I imagine there’s a much cheaper kettle if you don’t want the tea making functionality).
- Trade Coffee: Based on the smile that shows up on Amy’s face every time she opens up our Trade Coffee subscription, I feel confident saying that this would make an amazing gift for any coffee lover. Each delivery they’ll get a new curated bag of coffee beans from the top independent roasters around the country. Best of all you can get up to $50 off gifts here.
- Coravin: There are plenty of nights when Amy or I (or both of us) want to have a glass of wine with dinner, but we don’t really want to finish a bottle. So we’d either skip the wine or end up drinking more than we wanted… but then we got a Coravin as a gift and it changed the way we drink wine. It’s a device with a small, hollow needle that pierces through the cork and let’s you pour out wine, replacing the space it took up with Argon gas, which keeps your wine fresh for a future day. If you really want to splurge, my dad got a Plum Wine Dispenser, which is like a supercharged Coravin machine, and it’s pretty amazing.
- Toto Washlet: If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ve probably been fortunate to enjoy a Japanese bidet toilet. If not, you get a heated seat, heated water bidet and more. And despite that some of those toilets cost thousands of dollars, you can actually just get the seat to attach to your current toilet for <$500. I love the C5 model, but we put the less expensive C2 in our powder room and it’s cheaper (especially if you have a Costco membership for the link I just shared).
- Aesop: I feel ridiculous recommending a $40 soap, but I think we’ve gotten more compliments from house guests on the Aesop soap we have in our bathrooms than anything else in our house. Not to mention if you haven’t used your $50 Amex Platinum credit for Saks, you can use that to make it free (that’s what I do – I could never actually pay $40 for soap).
- Whiskey River Soap: They have a snarky candle for almost any situation you could imagine and have been one of my go-to gifts for friends/colleagues the past few years.
- Paprika App: I’ve mentioned this app multiple times, because I think it’s the best way to organize recipes and family meal planning. However, it’s a bit pricy ($5 mobile / $30 desktop), so it could make a great gift. Not to mention you could curate all your favorite recipes and share the export so whoever you gift it to starts off with a whole list of amazing recipes loaded in.
- Ooni Pizza Oven: We love making pizza at home and a few years ago we gave an Ooni Koda to a family member for Christmas and it was a big hit. Not to mention it gave us a great family activity for one night during the holidays.
🧑🔧 Tech, Gear & Clothes
- Vuori: They make the most amazing performance apparel that’s ridiculously comfortable (seriously Amy and I are basically wearing it every single day). My favorite is the Sunday performance joggers, but you really can’t go wrong with anything they make and you can get 20% off your first order here.
- Blunt Umbrella: We bought our yellow Blunt Classic Umbrella 6 years ago and it still works as well as it did when we got it. It’s also incredibly wind resistant. I haven’t tried their Travel Umbrella, but it looks like it’s going to rain this week in London and I’m wishing I had one with me.
- USB Microphone: When I first bought a microphone for the podcast I ended up using it for all my remote work meetings too and got such good feedback on the audio quality (e.g., “wow, everything you say sounds so much better with that audio quality”) that some of my colleagues upgraded as well. A great starter mic is the ATR2100X, but if you want something even better, get the Shure MV7. And if you want an arm to mount it on your desk, I love the Røde PSA1.
- M2 Macbook Air: It’s hard to think of a better purchase I’ve made in 2022 than upgrading my laptop to the new M2 Macbook Air. It’s so fast and having 14+ hours of battery life is absolutely incredible.
- Uplift Desk: With so many of us working from home, it’s such a nice luxury to have a standing desk in my home office. They used to be so expensive, but Uplift has some reasonably priced option and they’re really well built. I know some companies will even reimburse you for home office equipment, so definitely worth an upgrade if you can get it free.
- Goodr Sunglasses: These are my new favorite sunglasses. I got a pair from Wealthfront as company swag and they were so good that I’ve since bought a few more for me and Amy. They’re 100% polarized, lightweight, stylish, comfortable and only $25. My favorites are the OGs, but they have a few different styles and a seemingly unlimited selection of colors. You can get free shipping and a 30-day money back guarantee here.
🏃 Health & Fitness
- Oura Ring: I know I’ve mentioned my Oura ring a lot, but it’s the one thing that I’m always wearing every day to track sleep, workouts, heart rate and HRV (the Gen3 also tracks blood oxygen levels). I’ve used up all my referrals, so if you know anyone who has one ask for their link to get $50 off.
- Eight Sleep Pod Cover: Traveling just isn’t the same now that we’re spoiled by our Eight Sleep mattress cover at home. It not only tracks your sleep, but it also automatically heats and cools your mattress in line with your sleep cycles to increase deep sleep and improve your overall sleep quality. Get $200 off here (that’s my personal referral link, but I’m actively trying to get Eight Sleep to become a partner of the show).
- Inside Tracker: I love getting more data on my health and I’ve been a fan of Inside Tracker since using earlier this year. After analyzing your blood, DNA, and fitness tracking data, they provide a personalized health analysis and action plan for the right exercise, nutrition, and supplementation for your body. You can also get 20% off here.
- Why We Sleep: You could argue I should put this in the “Learning” category below, but since good sleep is so important to your health, I’m putting it here. If you want to check out my favorite book on sleep, look no further than this excellent read from Dr. Matthew Walker (who I’ve been trying to get to join me on the podcast since I started.
- Peloton: Amy and I love our Peloton so much and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to work out at home. Even if you’re not a cyclist (I’m certainly not), it’s a fantastic workout that’s even better if you have friends with a Peloton to compete with. Get $100 in free accessories with your purchase here.
👨👩👧👦 Family & Kids
- Lovevery: We’ve had a subscription to Lovevery since our first daughter was born. Every few months they send award-winning, montessori-inspired toys to your home with a guide for exactly how to use them to help your child learn & grow. All their toys are designed by child development experts, well built and sustainably-made. Get $20 off your subscription here.
- StoryWorth: If you’ve ever wanted to capture all the stories and memories from your loved ones, this is a great gift. Every week for a year, StoryWorth will email your loved one a single life-related question like: “What’s the bravest thing you've ever done?” or “What’s the farthest you’ve traveled?” Then they compile it all into a hard-cover book that you can pass down for generations to come. Get $10 off your first purchase here.
- DeleteMe: It’s crazy how many sites are sharing your personal data (e.g. phone #, home address, relatives, email) and it’s a huge pain to get them to take it all down. DeleteMe does it for you, removing your info from hundreds of data broker sites. It might not be the most exciting gift, but I think it’s an amazing one for anyone who hasn’t done it. Get 20% off all DeleteMe plans here.
- 1Password: Until a few years ago my parents were using the same passwords for so many different websites, so I gifted them 1Password and helped them set it up. Since then I feel so much more confident about their cybersecurity practices.
- Aura Photo Frame: Digital photo frames have been around for years, but I haven’t found one that works as seamlessly as Aura. It’s so easy for you and anyone else in the family to share pictures (or videos) with the frame you give someone. We got one as a gift last year and then gifted one to my Dad this year and it’s been a big hit.
- Nugget: It’s part-furniture, part-toy, and all-around one of the best purchase we’ve made for our kids. We use it for story time, making a slide down the stairs, building forts and more. It looks like it might not arrive by the end of the year, but I’m still including it, because I’m sure it’d make a great gift for any kid.
- Escape Rooms: Ok, I love escape rooms. Amy and I have probably done at least 50 together and try to do the best room we can find in every city we visit. So if you’re looking for a fun activity for the family or a good gift, I highly recommend an escape room. There isn’t a perfect place to find the best rooms in a city, but based on my knowledge of SF escape rooms, these rankings look pretty good.
Board Games: I love board games and think they make great gifts, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites that I think are worth checking out. I left off a few of the obvious ones (e.g. Catan, Carcassone), but if you have any other suggestions for me, please send them my way!
- Coup: This one is hard to explain but it’s the first game we pull out when friends are over. If you’ve ever played Werewolves or Mafia, you’ll definitely love it, but it does require a bit of bluffing. You can play with 2-6 people and each game is quick.
- Ticket to Ride: Maybe I should have excluded this because it’s so popular, but Amy and I love it so much, I thought I’d give it a mention. It’s a fun 2-5 player game that you can play as a family and unlike some other strategy games, it doesn’t take hours to play.
- Pandemic Legacy: Season 1: I hope it’s not too soon to play a pandemic-themed board game, because this one is so great. It’s a rare co-operative game that plays a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book.
- Codenames: This one is great for groups and can be played pretty quickly. It’s also fun for team-building retreats.
- Jaipur & Splendor: This are two of our favorite 2-player games.
- Bohnanza: We end up playing this game a lot with family around the holidays, because you can have up to 7 players, you can play in under an hour and it’s not too difficult to learn the rules.
- 7 Wonders Duel: While we love 7 Wonders, we haven’t actually played this game. I’ve just heard so many good things about it, that I put it on Christmas list this year, so I figured it’d be worth sharing.
- Wingspan: I don’t have much interest in birdwatching, but during some quick research on the best board games I might not know about this one showed up on everyone’s list.
- All the Hacks: If anyone in your family loves learning, you should obviously send them the All the Hacks podcast or newsletter :)
- Masterclass: I could spend hours watching all the amazing classes they have and I’m confident a membership makes a good gift, because I gave one to my dad last year. There’s definitely something for everyone and you can get two memberships for the price of 1 here.
- Die with Zero: This book (and my subsequent interview with author Bill Perkins) had such a big impact on the way I think about life and money, that it had to be on the list. Highly recommend!
- 2 Hour Cocktail Party: Not only could you use this book to host an amazing cocktail party this holiday season, but it’d make a fun gift for anyone.
- Vagabonding: This book led Amy and I to travel around the world for 7 months, so it’s hard not to suggest it to anyone who likes to travel. It’s the book I’ve gifted others the most.
- CozyMeal Cooking Class: We’ve booked pasta-making, donut-making and an iron chef challenge with CozyMeal and it’s never disappointed, so if you’re looking for a fun gift for someone that lives in one of the cities they operate in, I think it’d make a great a great gift.
- Death & Co Cocktail Books: If you know someone who likes cocktails and books that look great on a coffee table, then any of the Death & Co. books would make a fantastic gift. My favorite is Cocktail Codex, which focuses on six “root cocktails” you can master that give you the knowledge you need to make so many more.
- AirTags: I don’t have too many “travel gadgets” but now that we have kids and end up checking bags on every trip, I always make sure to keep an AirTag in every checked bag. I haven’t had to use them to locate a lost bag yet (and I hope I never have to), but it’s so comforting to be able to see that your bags made it on the plane or to your destination before they come off the carousel.
- Stokke JetKids BedBox: This was an amazing gift to our daughter from my parents earlier this year and it’s been so awesome. It’s a suitcase with two amazing extra features for flying: 1) your kid can ride it, which lets us cruise through the airport and 2) it turns into an elevated platform that extends the chair to the seat in front, giving your kid their own first class experience. While over 50 airlines have approved it, United is the notable exception and says they don’t allow it on board (though I’ve heard it’s not always an enforced rule).
- Babyzen Yoyo: We finally bought this stroller for the trip to Europe we’re on right now and it’s been awesome! It’s almost never on sale, but I bought it on this site for $50 off the price everywhere else online.
- Away Luggage: Amy and I each have an Away Carry-On and it’s been a fantastic suitcase. It also happens to be Wirecutter’s top pick for a hard-sided carry-on. You can get $20 off your purchase here.
- Dagne Dover Bags: I think Amy’s given Dagne Dover bags as a gift more than anything else. Her favorites are the Landon Carryall and the Dakota Backpack. Get $20 off your purchase here.
- A Week on Necker Island: If you have 1.7 million points burning a hole in your pocket, Virgin just re-opened the ability to book a week on Richard Branson’s private island with points. I’m sure it’d be a fun adventure and this page has all the details, but realistically I’m not expecting any of you to actually do this (though if you do, please let me know how it goes).
💰 Saving Money When You Shop
- Cash Back Portals: I always like to check CashBackMonitor to see the best way to earn cash back or points when shopping online, but more often than not I end up just using Rakuten, because it’s easier and you can earn Amex points. If you haven’t signed up for Rakuten, you can get $30 free after your first purchase here.
- Promo Codes & Live Chat: I feel like it’s gotten so hard to find a working promo code to use online. RetailMeNot used to be my go to, but it seems like every time I try to find a working promo code it fails. The tactic that seems to work much more often is using the live chat on a site to ask for a discount, so give that a try!
- Gift Cards: Most online retailers don’t qualify for bonus points on credit cards, so while I could always earn 2x points on the VentureX, I usually try to see if I can buy a gift card for the retailer somewhere I earn more points. My two go-to’s are buying them at the grocery store (for 4x points with the Amex Gold) or on Amazon (for 5% back with the Amazon Prime Visa). Or you might get a better deal buying discounted gift cards from a site like CardCash.
💭 Parting Thoughts
Thank you so much for reading! If you have any great gift ideas you think I should know about please send them my way. Also if you have any thoughts/suggestions for me, please feel free to respond to this email and I promise to read and respond to every one.
Today, I’m grateful for the support of our partners Inside Tracker, Amazon, StoryWorth, Rakuten, Oura, MasterClass, DeleteMe, Goodr, Vuori, and Trade Coffee.