For the gadget-heads
Writers often work from “coffee shops overrun with plug-hunting freelancers and short on outlets,” says one SciLancer. Solve the problem and share the wealth with a plug multiplier–or two, or three. They come in white, but this festive squash-colored t-multiplier by Philips ($4.99) seems just the thing to tuck into your beloved writer’s Christmas stocking.
Belkin’s multi-outlet charger ($10.18) lets a budding Hemingway charge his smartphone, tablet, and other devices and protects his computer from power surges while on the road or hanging about in cafes.
These days writers are almost always expected to have photos to go with their stories. Sling the beautiful Panasonic Lumix GX7 onto your writer’s shoulder–and couple it with the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton manual focus lens for micro 4/3 mount.
For the caffeine-addicted
The writer in your life likely quivers with excitement on the eve of a reporting trip. Don’t let her mornings away from you be miserable. A cup of mud poured from a hotel brew pot can ruin an assignment. Instead stock up her supply of Starbucks Via (6-, 12-, or 50-servings per package; price varies). Don’t bother with the decaf. Alternatively, give a generous gift card to one of her favorite coffee-shop offices. ($50? Why not?) If she’s not a coffee drinker, these lovely little traveler’s tins of tea would do nicely.
Or save your coins and buy an espresso maker for the home. If you live with your writer and also enjoy the stimulating effects of caffeine, you will also benefit from this gift. The Lello 1375 Ariete ($199) has helped produce stories for Nature, Discover, and even our book.
And then there’s this ($13):
For the writer with big ideas
Face it, you never know when a great idea is going to hit. Pick up a pack of these Reindeer mini-journals ($2.99 each) and stash them everywhere–car, bag, coat pockets, garden shed, backpack… (There are also other styles if snowmen in August isn’t your thing.)
For traditionalists (or Hipsters), the “Expedition” edition notebook made by Field Notes (3-pack, $9.95) is a classic choice. This particular version can withstand the rigours of field reporting, so long as you’re not jotting notes in the hot spot of a wildfire (see video). Field Notes also has a beer-inspired line, which seems rather appropriate for journalists.
For the writer seeking balance
You can’t forget to take a break if you’ve got a timer on your desk. Any old timer will do, such as this Kikkerland Owlet Kitchen Timer ($3.06). Or go for the original: A Pomodoro time-keeper that forces you to buckle down in 25-minute chunks.
Deadlines = stress. Rejection = stress. Stress = tense muscles. Do you see where this is going? What writer doesn’t want a massage? Your mother may not think gift certificates are appropriate presents, but believe me, when they have the words “massage” or “spa” on them, you win that debate.
“Send me on a week to surfing camp and I’m yours forever,” professed one SciLancer. Need ideas? We’re partial to Las Olas (sorry guys, girls only). Or, keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit, you could send your writer to a 7-day board building class with Grain Surfboards.
If you want to make an impression
Scientific studies cluttering your dining table? Maybe your writer needs a place of her own. Have you considered investing in a yurt? OK, we admit, this is a bit of a long shot, but in a poll, 4 out of 5 science writers agreed that they’d take one. If the thought of writing in a corner-less room makes your head spin, we’re also keen on Minim’s Tiny Home.
And you can never go wrong with a gear bag*. Or socks. Freelancers really like socks.
Let us know in the comments what you hope to get–or give–over the holidays.
* Come back on December 2 for a much-anticipated bag round-up.