The holiday music is playing in the malls, the commercials are on TV, and it’s holiday shopping season! Got a friend that you have no idea what to get them? This gift guide might help! Absolutely everything on this page is an affiliate link if I can help it, so consider that the blanket disclosure.

Christmas Eve in HDR


David Maister’s Strategy and the Fat Smoker. Unquestionably one of the best reads of the past few years. I try to live it professionally.

Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics in an Hour a Day and Web Analytics 2.0. Avinash is unquestionably the king of the hill when it comes to learning how to measure things. He tackles not only what, but why. Essential reading.

Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen is a must read if you want to learn how to communicate more effectively with presentations.


Osprey Slipstream travel bag. My highest endorsement of this bag can be summed up in one sentence: I haven’t broken it yet. It’s ridiculously durable, holds a couple of days of clothing and a laptop plus iPad, cabling, etc. I love it.


Canon Powershot S95: Canon’s little pocket point and shoot is ideal for one reason only: it goes as wide open as f/2.0, which makes it great for indoor use without a flash. You’ll be able to shoot with more natural and ambient light without having to resort to a flash than with other pocket cameras.

Nikon D90. I own this camera and it’s the workhorse of all my serious digital imaging. I shoot with the kit lens, which is good enough for most everything except very specific cases. It’s not light, small, cheap, or convenient, but it is extremely good at what it does.


If you run a laptop and do anything that is computationally intensive, get a Targus Chill Mat. I have a MacBook Pro made of aluminum, which is an ideal heat conductor. Unfortunately, Apple designed it so that the case radiates heat but not as efficiently as a fan. A Chill Mat underneath does an awesome job of cooling the machine down by 20 degrees or more.


Logitech Gaming Headset. Prior to this, I had the ClearChat headset, and that was not bad at all. Light, small, thin… and easy to lose. Which I did. I tend to be just absent minded enough to leave the “small, thin, ultraportable” stuff behind, so I prefer to buy things that are a little bigger, just so I don’t forget them in an airline seat. This USB headset is great for Skype, video, gaming, and music. It’s not small. It’s not light. It does sound great.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Out in just a week. Can’t wait.


Get an iPad. That is all.

If you get an iPad, get this incredibly sexy Aidacase, which provides a soft Bluetooth keyboard integrated with a case. The keyboard is small and squishy and better than the on screen one, but not as good as the hard dock version. That said, the hard dock version from Apple is a pain to lug around. Virtually every case out there is identical to this one because they’re all made by the same Chinese manufacturer. This is wonderful on the road.

I also own the Apple hardware keyboard iPad dock. I like it at the office as it’s a monitor stand and full size keyboard all in one. If you’re going to crunch a LOT of text, this is the way to go.

Business Stuff

As I’ve mentioned in my personal newsletter, two services I strongly recommend are SEOMoz for managing your SEO efforts and Elegant Themes for great looking WordPress blog templates. Both of these are high quality services, though I’m not sure SEOMoz would make a good personal holiday gift.

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you a happy holiday season, and hopefully this gift guide will be helpful to you.

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