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Monday, November 30, 2020

Eric’s Holiday Gift Guide 2020

By Eric Harris

Are those sleigh bells jingling you hear? You bet your sweet ass it is. In response to California’s new “limited” stay at home order, the TTDILA team is expanding our Holiday 2020 coverage with even more gift recommendations! This week’s gift list includes gifts for musicians, home chefs, cowboy witch enthusiasts and more!

For the Musician

We have two musical instrument-related gifts this year. Warm up the sheet music – it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Capcom Series
Available December 2, 2020

At the top of the list are a pair of miniature synthesizers from Teenage Engineering’s new Capcom line of Pocket Operator synthesizers — the PO-128 Megaman, and the PO-133 Street Fighter. Pocket Operators are miniature music devices with classic video game sounds. Hadouken! Pocket Operators are fantastic, stocking-sized choices for the musicians or gamers in your life.

Moog Claravox Centennial Theremin
“Shipping” December 2020

The theremin is 2020’s spirit musical instrument. Touch free and physically distant! Socially distant, too! Theremin players can be absolute weirdos. I should know — I am one. The theremin is played without physical contact, and the instrument is perhaps best known as the sound of cheesy black and white science fiction and horror films.

The Claravox Centennial is Moog’s first high-end theremin since the Etherwave Pro model of the early 2000s. Claravox Centennial’s highlights include right-handed and left-handed antennae configurations, traditional analog and “modern” DSP sound sources, built-in analog BBD (bucket-bridge device) delay, and generous audio, CV, DIN MIDI, and USB connectivity.

Don’t forget the matching stand. Socially distanced Christmas carols will never sound the same again! Try cello sheet music if playing from the classical repertoire.

For the Home Chef

Stuck eating at home for the foreseeable future? Uninstall Uber Eats and level-up your (or your loved ones’) cooking game.

Thermopen Mk 4
Only from ThermoWorks or from authorized dealers.

You may have survived the COVID-19 pandemic, however, will you survive your own cooking? Upgrade your meat thermometer now! The Thermopen Mk4 comes in 10 festive colors and is the best instant-read meat thermometer on the market.

Cast Iron Skillet
$30 - $300+
Multiple manufacturers and vendors


Make 2021 the year of mastering a new type or cut of meat (or vegetable). Start the New Year off right with a 12" cast iron skillet from Smithey Ironware!

Looking for a high-end skillet, or something nice for the ‘gram? A well-seasoned and nicely polished cooking surface can be an absolute pleasure to use. As a side bonus, a handsome skillet from Smithey Ironware, FINEX, or Butter Pat Industries will make your likes and follower count explode. Explode! Explosions aside, there is something special about cast iron that makes for perfect searing and superb dish presentation.

New to the world of cast iron? If so, a $30 Lodge Cast Iron 12” skillet can change your life.

For the Cowboy Witch Enthusiast

Cowboy Cauldron Co.
THE URBAN COWBOY - 75lbs, 30-Inch Diameter

Cowboy witch? Yup, that’s a new category for us too. Honestly, we don’t know how to categorize this item. It is indeed a cauldron – that big pot that witches and leprechauns use in fairy tales. However, this cauldron has a twist. You see this is a cowboy cauldron. Apparently, cowboys are fond of cauldrons too. Gimmicky? Perhaps. However, this line of “cowboy cauldrons” from the Cowboy Cauldron Co. has a tremendous uniqueness factor. Buy one of these bad boys and you’ll have the hippest post-apocalyptic cooking setup in town! If the cowboy thing doesn’t work out for you or for the gift recipient, there’s always Halloween 2021 (just add fog machine and theremin for the coolest setup around).

For the Patrick Stewart Fan

Scully Gunfighter Long Sleeve Snap Front Western Shirt (Spur Western Wear)


Remember that time when Sir Patrick Stewart (aka Jean-Luc Picard aka Professor Charles Xavier aka King Claudius) went full-American and released a cowboy music album? Mix things up at your next comic book convention with non-Star Trek cosplay! I know! TTDILA staffers have tracked down the western shirt depicted on cover of Patrick Stewart’s Cowboy Classic Sampler, so that you (or your favorite Patrick Stewart fan) may share the unique stylistic flair of England’s most treasured cowboy singer.

Gunslinging not your thing? No worries. Stick with the western theme and pick up something nice for the missus (or husband). Make it so.

For the Outdoorsy person and/or Lumbersexual

Gränsfors Bruks
Gränsfors Scandinavian Forest Axe
€152 MSRP

Sweet beard, but if you’re gonna try to pull off the lumbersexual thing, you’ll need a proper axe to complete the look. Just kidding. TTDILA isn’t in the business of fashion just yet.

However, we are in the business of reviewing fun things to do, which include smashing stuff (Rage Ground), playing with axes (LA AXE), or both smashing stuff and playing with axes (Break Room LA). If you’ve enjoyed our coverage of Southern California’s axe-throwing scene, then consider including tree felling to your list of things-to-do and add a Gränsfors Scandinavian Forest Axe to your holiday shopping list today! The Gränsfors Scandinavian Forest Axe is beefy enough to handle most felling and limbing tasks and is a great addition to anyone’s outdoor adventure gear collection.

For the Pet Lover

The TTDILA team recently watched the 1997 action flick Face/Off during a zoom office party. Now we’re obsessed with custom-printed pet gifts, and that means we have two pet gift recommendations this year. These gifts both require images of the gift recipient’s pets which may require a bit of stealthy camera work or access to pictures.

Custom Pet socks

Give the gift of (human) socks custom-printed with images of the gift recipient’s pets!

Cuddle Clones
Golf Club Headcovers

Custom socks not going to cut it for the dog lover in your life? How about custom golf club headcovers made in the likeness of your, or your loved one’s doggo? It’s a fantastic choice for business colleagues and bosses. These golf club covers also work as Christmas tree toppers, wine bottle covers, and any other use where your need a replica of a pet’s head on a stick. Use your imagination and get creative!

For the Fitness Buff

Kabuki Strength Trap Bar

One of the things we miss most this year is regular gym access. If you’re like us, you've been working out at home in a desperate attempt to stave off the “Quarantine 15” / COVID “19 (pounds).”

We’re not expecting gyms to go back to normal soon, so until they do, the next best thing is a well-outfitted home gym. Time for some new equipment!

What you need is a trap (hex) bar! Basically, all trap bars do the same thing — however, the one you want is the Kabuki Strength interpretation. The Kabuki Strength Trap Bar has an open-ended design, built-in jack, variable handle widths, and interchangeable grip widths. It’s made in the USA too! The built-in jack saves a ton of time loading and unloading weights, and the optional 2” Love Handles will develop your kung-fu grip while simultaneously building beefy forearms — if that’s your thing. While a trap bar will not replace your conventional barbell, it will expand your options to keep your workouts fresh.

We hope you enjoyed TTDILA’s latest round of our Holiday Gift Guide 2020. We’re biased here, but we think these are killer gift ideas for these trying times. 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, and thoughtful gifts will go a long way. Make this year count. Happy hunting.