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2012 Holiday Gift Ideas


Welcome to the first in a series of holiday gift guides here on BrooklynVegan. For this one we’ve partnered with American Express as part of their Points For Presents program. That means I’ll run through a whole bunch of my own gift ideas, like I would normally, but then I’ll show how you can pay with Membership Rewards points which you might be earning if you happen to have an eligible American Express card. Let’s get right into it…

Hurricane Sandy

1) Hurricane Sandy Relief

Don’t forget about those affected by Hurricane Sandy this holiday season. There are lots of avenues to help. I told my parents not to buy me any clothes this year, but that if they insist on shopping, to buy stuff for hurricane victims instead.

Another way to donate is with Membership Rewards points.

Gift Guide continued below….


2) Tickets

I may be a music snob myself, but I can accept the musical tastes of others, especially when those others are family members and I need a good gift. Any Justin Bieber, Barry Manilow, Sarah Brightman or Green Day fans related to you? Buying other people tickets always goes over well, though it can be tricky to figure out if the person is actually available on the date. If you think they’ll take you, go for Leonard Cohen or Fleetwood Mac.

You can use Membership Rewards points to buy tickets on Ticketmaster.


3) iPad

Maybe that was actually Apple Kool Aid I was drinking this morning, but I think everyone publicly or secretly wants an iPad. Well, except my mom. Not only did she get one against her will, she never turned it on once. Plus, whoever you get it for might let you use it. The price and shininess make it a solid gift for someone special while not being too expensive, especially if you saved up enough points.

David Byrne

4) David Byrne’s book How Music Works

I might not actually get around to reading it, or I might prefer to read it on my iPad, but in terms of books, for someone like me who reads sites like BrooklynVegan, this is basically the book I want (Amanda Palmer also recommends it).

You can get it with Membership Rewards points at Amazon.

LCD Soundsystem

5) LCD Soundsystem‘s Shut Up and Play the Hits on DVD

Speaking of the perfect gift for music lovers, especially if you happen to know they attended one of LCD Soundsystem’s final shows and don’t already own this documentary about the NYC band’s final show at MSG, Shut Up and Play the Hits is an excellent stocking stuffer and will look nice in any DVD collection.

You can get it with Membership Rewards points at Amazon.


6) Panasonic LUMIX® Camera

I’ve been buying digital cameras of all sizes since the olden days when a memory card could only fit a few pictures and it took like half a day to transfer the pics to your computer. I’ve tried many brands, and my best experience so far has been with a Lumix. I feel weird recommending something as personal as a digital camera, so do your research, but I do love mine.

You can pick one of those up with Membership Rewards points HERE.

Johnny Cash

7) CD Box Set

Possibly becoming a a bit impractical in this digital world, but the holidays are the season of the box set and every music lover loves a good box set, even if it mostly just ends up taking up room on a shelf. This year I’m excited about “Roxy Music Complete Studio Recordings” and “WILLIAM BASINSKI The Disintegration Loops“, but if I had to choose one for you to get me, I’d probably want the 59 CD (!) Johnny Cash ‘The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ (pictured above).

You can get that box set and more with Membership Rewards points at Amazon.


8) Beatles 16LP Vinyl Box Set

CDs are actually becoming extinct. And if the music lovers in your life – possibly your parents, don’t currently own copies of these classics, what could be a better gift than every single Beatles album on vinyl all packed up nice and pretty with bonus tracks and other fun stuff.

You can pick this up at Amazon with Membership Rewards points.

record player

9) Record Player

This is so they can play those Beatles records… and the many other records they’ll be purchasing over the next few years as the rebellion continues against the inferior, ugly and invisible (but convenient) MP3. Do your research, but on first glance I like the above-pictured Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable. Its Amazon reviews are really high and it’s got a lot more features than the cheaper version which is a better seller at Amazon. That includes the ability to connect it to a computer with USB and the fact that it can play 78s. It also probably appeals to me because it looks like an old Technics (RIP).

Pick one up at Amazon with Membership Rewards points.


10) Hasbro® Playskool Rocktivity Music SKOOL TABLE

I haven’t actually tried this “Rocktivity Music Skool Table”, but based on looks alone, I would definitely pick this up for any “age 6 months to 3 years” future rockers in my life, and for any of my friends looking to start a quirky indie toy instrument band.

You can pick that up with Membership Rewards points HERE.


11) Headphones

Everyone, especially people who take public transportation, work at a computer or who have a kid that owns a Hasbro Rocktivity Music Skool Table, need a good pair of headphones to listen to bad-sounding MP3s. Preferably you get the noise canceling type like the Bose pictured above. I always check ratings at CNET, and they say, “While they’re no bargain, the Bose QuietComfort 15s currently offer the best sound and silencing capabilities in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.”

You can get them with Membership Rewards points HERE.

Need More Ideas?

We’ll create a 2nd gift guide next week catered to you. To get a gift recommendation, send an email (subject: Gift Guide) to with a description of someone you need to a gift for. We’ll choose some, and though we’ll keep you and your gift recipient anonymous, we may publish the description you send to go along with our gift ideas. Send as many as you want, and stay tuned for that post next week.

I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about how to use Membership Rewards points. As such I was paid for my services as an ambassador, but all gift choices selected and opinions about the gifts and American Express are my own.

Happy Holidays!

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