No and Low-Clutter Gifts For Apple, PKM, and Analog Enthusiasts
This is the stuff I’d want you to give me if I didn’t already have it
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Gift-giving can be an overinflated, prickly ball to run with.
Intellectually, I believe that gifts are a nice but optional way of expressing regard for someone. Emotionally, I can’t bear the thought of anyone not having a gift with their name on it to open on Christmas day! Birthdays are a different matter, because I’m strange like that.
Here are a few things that I’d love to receive as gifts, if I didn’t already own them. Maybe there’ll be something here to bring a smile to the face of someone you’re looking to please.
Logitech K380 Keyboard, Mac version
Lots of happy reviewers recommend this keyboard. It’s heavier than the Mac Magic Keyboard and it doesn’t have rechargeable batteries, but it seamlessly connects to three different devices, leaving the Mac version in the dust.
I thought I was buying this keyboard for my iPhone for times when travelling light, but I’ve ended up keeping it at home ready to connect with the press of a button to my iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The less hefty Magic Keyboard now stays connected to my phone, and travels with me in a Geekria carry case that fits either keyboard.
If buying the Logitech K380 as a gift, I suggest packaging some AAA rechargeable batteries to go with it.
Customisable notebook covers suitable for reclaimed paper
Beautiful notebooks make nice gifts, especially when paired with a lovely fountain pen and some high quality ink. Leuchtturm1917, Rhodia, Baron Fig, Moleskine, and the (just released, not yet available) iA Writer watermarked notebook. If you’re in the US, check out The Gentleman Stationer.
I use a Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines a Day book for my 5-year diary, and I’m just coming to the close of year 6, or the first space in my second book. Love it. For daily scrawlings, however, I prefer to use reclaimed paper.
Paper Saver- my daily driver. I’m a true convert to the freedom that comes from splashing my thoughts all over paper I don’t have to worry about wasting! Paper Saver have recently started paper made from stones, rather than trees.
Roterfaden — My one-day-if-only cover. It’s beautifully designed and masterfully executed, and the price reflects its quality (and then some).
Lochby — A good alternative to the first two. I might have bought one if the inside colour was more muted.
Midori Traveller’s Notebook
Zebra Mildliners — beautiful tones in these highlighters make them ideal for adding colour to sketchnotes that enhances without being distracting. The WKT7–5C-NTC is a good example of the kinds of colours you can find in this range.
Sticky notes in earth tones, like these.
Tombow grey brush pen N75 — recommended by Eva Lotta Lamm. I’ve taken her Domestika course, and credit her with giving me the confidence to draw my own pictures for articles like this one.
Setapp gift card
Choose from one, three, or twelve months access to 240 gifts in one. No one is going to use all of them, but everyone is going to find enough useful apps to make them very happy indeed! (Link below)
10 Setapp apps I use and love:
Mindmapping — MindNode
Speeding up a Mac, and generally keeping it in good health — CleanMyMac
Beautiful screen and window captures with simple markup — CleanShot X
Clickable, plain text links that can beam you directly to any folder or file on your computer — Hookmark
Organise fonts — Typeface
Accurate transcribing of speech in (practically) any language — MurmurType. In many instances I’ve found MurmurType to be more accurate than DeepL. Talk in English, hear and read your sentence in French or Chinese! It’s a lot of fun.
Download and trim online videos — Pulltube, Downie. I use them to create audio snippets for my language learning flashcards.
Clean up your Mac’s menubar — Bartender. I’ve tried all the free and cheaper versions; this one is the best.
Compress and resize PDFs and images — PDF Squeezer, Squash, Clop. ilovepdf and iloveimg are respectable, free online alternatives but the Setapp counterparts are better.
Format and save text — Popclip, Paste. I use these two utilities multiple times every day.
While Ulysses and Craft aren’t in my current rotation of apps, the PKM enthusiast in your life will be delighted to learn they’re included in the cornucopia.
Click here and use the code ELLANE to sign up for a 1-month trial instead of the usual 7-days, to see why more than 1 million people (including, more than likely, the person you’d like to buy a gift card for) think Setapp is awesome. This is an affiliate link. Purchases made via that link directly support me at no extra cost to you.
The Johnny Decimal Workbook
Johnny Noble’s method should be required reading for everyone who is in charge of organising digital assets of any kind. Seriously, if you’ve ever needed the latest version of a file and couldn’t find it within 1–5 minutes, you’ll benefit from getting familiar with Johnny.Decimal.
I’m slowly getting through the workbook, adapting the system to my own way of working and smiling every time I think, file xyz? I know exactly where that is!
Domestika gift card
I’ve collected more Domestika courses than I’ll be able to complete in the next year, but don’t regret buying any of them. Book binding, sketch noting, bullet journalling, productivity, photography, creative writing, illustration, craft — Domestika covers the interests of most people who enjoy learning how to be more creative.
You can buy individual courses outright with a gift card, or a month’s subscription to their pro level gives access to a changing range of courses, much like the changing range of Kindle books you can read for free when you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber.
Many courses are in languages other than English, but the subtitles are generally good. I find that having to read the text while watching keeps my distractible brain on task.
Voucher for a meal, event, task
Sometimes what people want the most is to spend time with you / their loved ones. I’m planning to give my daughters vouchers for a meal coupled with babysitting, so they can enjoy a nice night out on their birthdays.
If the voucher is for a task you’re offering to do for them, make sure the recipient knows you’re serious about it by following up to a) make sure it’s something they’re happy for you to do, and b) to make sure it actually happens.
To Give, Or Not To Give?
Whatever you end up giving (or not) to those you care about, it’s worth remembering that the gift of listening (without thinking about what you want to say next) can be worth more than all the above put together. People know when you’re fully present while they’re talking to you, and when you’re not. It’s a gift you can give over and over, no money or wrapping paper required.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, all!