The Core77 Ultimate Gift Guide is one of the more popular pieces of content that we put together every year, both for our readers and those of us who have the privilege—and eye—for making the selections. In the interest of capturing the communal spirit of this year's Gift Guide, the contributors will be selecting a few of their favorite picks from their cohorts' lists alongside one of their own.
In other words, hint, hint.
Most stuff is junk, it just is. So when it comes to buying gifts, do the planet and your giftee a favor and get them something they'll actually use, rather than throw out or toss in a corner.
For this year's Gift Guide, I looked around my place for some of the most useful things I own, with a particular focus on objects that can not be replaced by other objects; meaning, almost everything on this list has a unique function or performs its task in a far better way than you could do it before that object existed.
None of the items on my list are sexy, so if you're looking for wow-factor during the unboxing, you've got the wrong list. But assuming your giftee actually does the things these objects were designed for, they will find themselves using them time and time again, and you'll get the credit for being one of those people that buys useful, kick-ass gifts.
To keep the Core77 Gift Guide going, we staffers were asked by the Core77 brass to pick some items out from other staffers' lists. I take this to mean that after picking these items, we'll then have them purchased for us on the company dime. Right? Boss? ...Hello?
From Glen Jackson Taylor's list, I'll pick the Sheffield Kevlar Shears. (Note that Glen has three names, like some kind of famous political assassin, and his gifts are also three-worded. Something is going on there.) Why shears that can cut through Kevlar? Because you never know when friends are going to come knocking on your door at 2am because one of them was shot and they can't go to the cops, and because you took a veterinary course in college you then have to put on a white lab coat and look nervously reluctant while you fish the bullet out with a pair of tweezers and drop it into a silver kidney-shaped bowl with an audible "clink." And you might need the shears to cut through their clothes. Of course if they were wearing Kevlar there'd probably be no bullet for you to remove, so, fine, maybe I didn't think this pick through... $76 at Best Made Co.
From Mason Currey's list, I'll select the 2014 Cat Calendar. I'm a dog guy and I don't like cats, but my dogs like eating paper, and I'm hoping they go for the cat calendar before they hit my copy of the Woodcraft catalogue. $50 from United Bamboo
From Bryn Smith's, list I'll pick the Zojirushi Tuff Mug. This was a four-part decision. It's 25% because I like saying "Zojirushi," 25% because I like when companies misspell simple words and come up with ones like "tuff," "kwik" and "u," 25% because I like cylinders, and 25% because this thing will keep beverages hot and I live in an apartment that doesn't currently have any goddamn heat. $32 on Amazon
Picking from our Managing Editor Ray Hu's list was a little tricker, because the man is a gnarly-road-rash-having bike fanatic with mostly bike-related items on his list, and I can barely handle a Citibike. In fact, just last week I almost got hit and I think a couple drops of pee came out, I'm not 100% sure and it's really none of your business anyway. But he has one non-bike-related item on his list, the Grid Linen Towel. I mean I already have towels, but when friends come over that have been shot I'm not going to give them the towels I shower with so this ought to come in handy. $28–120 from Outlier
Don Lehman's list was easy to pick from because he's got a booze-related item on it, and I loves me some booze. Not a fan of cocktails though—these distillers have worked for centuries to perfect their blends, then you animals go dumping your pomegranate juice and vanilla beans into it? Nevertheless, the Martin-Kastner-designed Porthole, a kind of transparent flask that you toss ingredients into to mix with booze, will go to good use in my kitchen: I have some friends with lousy taste in Scotch who gifted me with a bottle of expensive but sub-standard stuff, and I need to find something to cut it with to make it drinkable. On that note, do your friends a kindness and don't ever get them a bottle of Glenmorangie's Lasanta Sherry Cask Single Malt. It's vile. Without the Porthole, I'd just be saving this thing to use as anaesthetic in the aforementioned bullet-riddled friend scenario. $99 from Crucial Detail
From Eric Ludlum's list, I pick the Feuerhand Lantern. When the zombie apocalypse comes around, sooner or later I'll run out of flashlight batteries and at nighttime I'll need to see what I'm hacking into with the katana I keep under my desk. And if the zombie apocalypse doesn't come, I'll still use it, because I've always wanted to fearfully venture down my hallway wearing a nightcap and saying "Who goes there?" after I hear a noise in the middle of the night. $40 on Hand-Eye Supply
Michael DiTullo's list was the easiest to choose from: I want an Icon Thriftmaster. Sure, it's $225,000, but this is a wishlist, not a roadmap to my financially sensible future.
Next we've got Erika Owen's list, where I easily go for the Mason Jar Shot Glasses. Sure, drinking out of a Mason-anything has trailer park connotations, but it's classier than drinking straight from the bottle like I usually do. $16 at Firebox
Lastly we come to Sam Dunne's list, where I opt for the Slyphone. Now, having an attachment that lets you surreptitiously snap cell phone pics is creepy alright, but I would like some way to secretly record what is going on in my apartment, so I can later prove to the authorities that I was forced to pull that bullet out under duress. $19 at Minor Asset