A Bulwark Holiday Gift Guide
For all your last minute shopping needs
Hey all, it’s Hannah, filling in for Charlie this morning! Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Holiday Extravaganza livestream last night, if you missed it you can relive the magic here.
As we head into Year 3 of the pandemic, with yet another surge in cases hitting, it’s unlikely the new variants will lead to lockdowns again—but should we find ourselves stuck inside for two weeks that turn into months this is a gift guide with that contingency in mind:
Give the gift of time spared by avoiding the panic buying and empty supermarket shelves where paper towels should be by gifting an eco-friendly alternative. Instead of stockpiling toilet paper give the gift of cleanliness with a bidet.
And let’s be real, we exhausted all the entry-level grief coping mechanisms—sourdough starters and banana breads aren’t going to cut it this time around. The next obvious progression in domestic hobbies that were once essential skills for survival is knitting. Have a person in your life who has the 10-minute “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” on repeat? Get them a scarf or cardigan kit for them to make their own. Learning cable knits isn’t solely for Swifties though, from Chris Evans in Knives Out to Adam Driver in House of Gucci, fisherman sweaters are iconic and classic gifts.
Complete the cozy look with an oversized mug or teacup. While coffee gifts may be more popular, tea seems like the more fitting beverage for 2022 in the age of Amazon and life under Lord Bezos. Eula Biss writes in Having and Being Had:
[I]n the eighteenth century it became a staple for wageworkers. It woke them up for work and replaced the meals they no longer had time to eat. Brewing tea was faster than baking bread or making broth, and a weak tea was cheap enough to have instead. … By the latter half of the nineteenth century, the diet of the poor would be composed mostly of white bread, tea, and sugar—all once luxuries of the rich. … Tea was a poor substitute for food, but it was warm and sweet, a comfort and a pleasure. It was an everyday luxury afforded to workers by the deprivations of other workers. And it’s the colonial legacy we’re still drinking.
In the spirit of revolution, give your loved ones loose-leaf teas from the Boston Tea Party—a reminder that liberty started with a riot and of the American tradition of opposing tyranny abroad while ignoring it at home.
During our Bulwark+ livestream last night, the most agreed-upon fear for 2022 was not COVID-related, but that there will be war. The Russian aggression towards Ukraine and China eyeing Taiwan are both chief concerns, and despite ample (or over-)funding, there isn’t a lot of confidence in our military’s ability to meet either of those threats—never mind at the same time.
But one horror awaiting us that wasn’t mentioned that should have been is climate change. We’re going to see more extreme and unpredictable weather events like the snowstorm that ruined Ted Cruz’s Cancun vacation plans last year. Since the power grid is still vulnerable, and elected officials seem to be more interested in political posturing than protecting the people they were elected to serve, this holiday season is a perfect opportunity to lean in and just go full prepper. As videos on how to build makeshift stoves to survive potential power outages go viral, you can’t go wrong with a nice perfumed candle to give your loved one’s life-or-death crisis more pleasant olfactory conditions. Also consider an elegant candle-wick trimmer so that they can keep burning clean little flames until FEMA arrives, or doesn’t. If they’re able to get a real fire going, give a versatile hatchet so they can split their own kindling. You can also show your love with the gift of a portable kayak so your family will be ready when the floods come during hurricane season.
It’s understandable why someone might turn to the internet for escapism in these circumstances, but as more and more of life migrates online it can warp our understanding of reality. For the person in your life taken with NFTs, give them an art object to help ground them in the real world and remind them to touch grass.
With the pandemic dragging on and complacency setting in, keep the inevitability of death fresh with the gift of a memento mori. Those of you who are Catholic are on to something with begging saints to intercede on our behalf since it can seem like God abandoned us a while ago, so maybe he’ll listen to them instead. For the religious person in your life, give a relic to aid and inspire those prayers.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays! The best gift of all would be a subscription to Bulwark+ for your friends and family!