Gift Guides

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas, Clark! Whatever, Russ

. 4 min read . Written by Russell Smith
Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas, Clark! Whatever, Russ

Your 2021 Holiday Guide for Maximum Awesomeness

Perusing the internet, it seems the world doesn’t have enough gift guides floating around. To remedy this sad shortfall, you might consider one or more of these fine ideas.


Let’s be honest. If you received this newsletter, you have most of life’s needs and wants taken care of. The people and creatures aided by the charities below do not.

St John Center for Homeless Men

As you likely know, I have worked with St John Center for several years. The team provides desperately needed support for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. Please consider making a donation. Or, St John Center always needs supplies for its operations and the men. Current items in high-need include:

  • HotHands Hand Warmers
  • Gloves
  • Men’s boxers and briefs (M, L, XL)
  • Wool hats

Kentucky Humane Society

As temperatures plunge, please keep our beloved furry friends in mind too. You can donate here. Or they have a long list of items needed for the dogs, cats and horses, and for KHS operations.

Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana

My family and so many friends have suffered from cancer. Gilda’s does such special work in uplifting cancer patients’s and survivors’s spirits. Please consider donating here.

Stocking Stuffers

Pokka Pens

The ultimate in small, carry on-the-go pens. Including my personal favorite, the “Free Britney.”

Field Notes

Use that ole Pokka Pen to jot down notes on the granddaddy of pocket notebooks. I’ve carried one with me pretty much everywhere for 10 years. Carry one with you to record the sublime and the absurd. Or today’s grocery list. (I wrote this article in one.)

Sumo Grip Erasers

Erase and correct your kids’s math homework with the best eraser in the world.

Leatherman Free T4 Pocket Tool

Twelve useful tools in your pocket. Or check out any of the exceedingly useful tools by Leatherman.

Passport to Your National Parks

In 2022, get out there into the great outdoors. Visit some of America’s most spectacular places, its National Parks. And record your visit with a passport stamp. Sure, kids love stamping their passports, but adults do too!


No list from me would feel complete without books.

Mycroft Holmes

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Basketball Hall of Famer. Legend. Political and social commentator. Dancing with the Stars participant. You may wonder -- is there anything Kareem can’t do? Hasn’t done? And maybe you’re thinking, “Well, Kareem hasn’t written a Sherlock Holmes book.” And BAM! Kareem slams that idea shut with a whole series of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes books.  This book will delight and surprise you.

Super Natural Strength

“Maximum Bob” Whelan trained me in DC. He also helped me prepare physically and mentally for my open heart surgery in 2014. His book will have you ready to attack the iron like no other -- all with good form, focus on the big basic movements and putting your heart and soul into your battle with the iron.

The Landmark Thucydides

Some people consider Thucydides, not Herodotus, the first historian. He wrote his account of the Peloponnesian War “to last for all time,” and his lessons and warnings remain as relevant today as in his own day.

Around the Kitchen

Benihana Chef’s Hat

You do want to cook hibachi food at home, right? Flaming volcano and beating heart tricks, and all, right? Look like a pro and feel like a pro with this.

Louisville Tea Company Christmas Morning Tea

Revel in the smell and taste of the holiday season with this, my favorite tea from my favorite tea shop in the world. For the especially pointed-pinky-finger-out tea drinkers, try the outstanding Exceptionally Rare Tea Sampler.

Tech and Apps

I have to admit...I haven’t used this note-taking app...but it has me intrigued.

Apple AirPod Max Headphones

Comfortable, stylish, easy to sync with Apple products. Amazon sells it for much less than Apple.

Strength and Health

In addition to Bob Whelan, mentioned above, these trainers and instructors have changed my life. Let them help you kick some ass in 2022 and beyond!

Yoga Baum

Eat the Weights -- strength training

By Any Means Fitness -- personal training and nutrition

Hardgainer 2.0 -- strength training e-magazine

Podcast Ideas for 2022

How to Take Over the World

Disappointed you haven’t conquered the known world by age 23, like Alexander the Great? Hey, it happens. But you can relive his life and achievements, and learn from them, thanks to Ben Wilson’s outstanding podcast.

Fall of Civilizations

What goes up must come down. All great civilizations end -- sometimes from without, more often from within. Paul Cooper’s podcast explores these declines and dissolutions in terrific and expansive detail.


May you, your family, friends revel in the joy of this holiday season! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! And a wonderful New Year to you all!

(Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)


Image created by Midjourney.