Welcome to yet another holiday gift guide. There is a proliferation of gift guides littering the internet like dog shit on a sidewalk; between November 1 and December 25 you can’t turn the corner on the internet without getting gift guide all over your shoe. But does anyone actually want any of this stuff?
No one really knows, it’s impossible to tell, and it doesn’t really matter. Gift guides are built around affiliate links, primarily to Amazon, that pay the website a small sum for sending you over to the shop and buying something. Get enough people to click your links, and you can actually pay for some real journalism maybe, or maybe a bonus for the CEO of whatever hedge fund owns your website. This is why every outlet falls over itself to cover the best Prime Day deals, and why the Wirecutter Union asked people not to shop through Wirecutter during their Black Friday strike this past weekend.
While I believe it’s possible to be both an ethical gift guide journalist and partake in affiliate marketing, this year’s inaugural Night Water Gift Guide will not feature a single affiliate link. I will earn no money if you purchase any of these items for your friends or family. In fact, the only payment I’ve earned from this gift guide is from our sponsor: Retirable, a retirement income management and financial planning start-up co-founded by my friend, and 19th subscriber to Night Water, R. Tyler End. Here’s a photo of us brokering this sponsorship, where, in exchange for mentioning Retirable, I received $25 and three cans of High Life:
I look forward to monetizing you all next year when I get my act together and sign up for some affiliate programs.
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
Some people believe that a proper gift is something that the giftee wants, but would never buy for themself. The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack is on this gift guide because you absolutely should never buy it for yourself.¹
If you have an iPhone released in the last year and change, a 12 or 13, you have a fancy new feature called MagSafe, which is essentially just a magnet built into the back of your phone that allows you to stick accessories to it. One of those accessories is this battery pack. It caught a lot of flack when it was first released, and rightfully so—it charges slowly, doesn’t have as much capacity as third-party batteries, and costs $100, easily twice as much as non-Apple branded competitors.
But it’s nice! It’s a sleek little thing that’s easy to carry around, unlike battery packs of yore. You barely notice it when you slap it onto the back of your phone. And when you plug it in, it turns into a fast wireless charger for your bedside table. If you’re the type of person who, like me, might just need a little safety net of battery juice to make it through an evening out on the town, the MagSafe Battery Pack is a great way to get that.
Is it worth $100? Absolutely not. But if you can get it on sale, it makes for a decent gift. Plus, the giftee will think you spent the big bucks on them at the Apple Store and value your relationship that much more.
Guevara’s Vegan Chocolate Babka
Food is a good gift for the hard-to-shop-for consumer. Best case scenario, they’ll love it, and worst-case scenario, they don’t feel that bad about throwing it away a few weeks later. Middle case scenario, they compost it, and it becomes the gift that keeps on giving!
Guevara’s is a killer vegan cafe in Brooklyn, with locations in Clinton Hill and Williamsburg. They make a delicious breakfast torta, addictive empanadas, and mouthwateringly good pastries. The cafe itself also has good vibes—it's full of plants and other vegan treats, and everything is pastel pink.
One of those other vegan treats is Guevara’s own vegan babka. Babka is a Jewish dessert, a kind of dense cake/bread hybrid, that can be filled with chocolate, cinnamon, or, for the goyim, buffalo chicken.² While a typical babka would include dairy and eggs, Guevara’s recipe is completely vegan. And, most importantly, it’s absolutely delicious. Even my non-vegan family enjoyed a pre-dinner loaf this past Thanksgiving.
Guevara’s offers both a chocolate and cinnamon babka, and while I can only personally attest to the flavor of the chocolate babka, I’m sure the cinnamon variety is good as well.³
A share of the Green Bay Packers
What do you get for the person who has it all? Well, hopefully they don’t have full or part ownership in an NFL franchise, because for only the sixth time in their history, the Green Bay Packers are offering up fans a share in the team. Unique in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers are a publicly owned non-profit, with over 361,000 part-owners of the team.
For just $300, you or a loved one can become one of those owners.
What does being a part-owner in the Green Bay Packers get you? Not much, really, besides a nice certificate, bragging rights, and a talking point for your resume. You don’t get special tickets to Packers games, VIP seating, or even a discount, but you do get to go to the annual shareholder meeting and buy special owner’s merchandise.
I asked notable Green Bay Packers fan and Certified Financial Planner® R. Tyler End if a share of the Green Bay Packers was a sound investment. “You shouldn’t think of it as an investment like you might a traditional asset,” he told me, “but it’s a great gift. You can bring up that you’re an owner casually in conversation and you get a nice piece of paper to put over your mantel.”
“Buy low, sell high” he added, though I must note that you cannot resell your share(s) of the Green Bay Packers and they can only be transferred to immediate family members. So if your giftee doesn’t like this gift, it will be a burden until their death.
What gifts would you guide people to?
There you have it, the 2021 Night Water Gift Guide. Didn’t find the perfect gift for your friend, loved one, co-worker, or Secret Santa? Surprising, given how extensive this guide was, but okay! Feedback noted!
Have a gift idea that you think Night Water readers would love? Throw it in the comments below.