The holidays are a time to look back and reflect on fond memories. As part of my yearly tradition of providing you with gift ideas, I’m also looking back at popular gift items from the past six years. You’ll find gift suggestions for some original items you may have forgotten about and older items that have been upgraded. I’ve included gift suggestions for under $50, along with playable and wearable gifts, and items for security, home, and the office.
Gifts Under $50
Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter
Smart TVs have advanced over the years; many are now equipped with screen-mirroring technology that allows you to display your phone screen on your television without the need for a wired-adapter connection.
If your television does not have screen-mirroring capabilities or if you plan on traveling and want to ensure you can watch your favorite shows, this gift idea from three years ago is still one of your best options. It works by plugging the adapter into your iPhone, iPad, or iPod and then connecting an HDMI cord from the adapter to a device for displaying.1 The adapter also has a charging port to ensure it does not run out of juice. Adapters are also available for other types of phones that are not Apple products.
Christopher C. Shattuck, Univ. of La Verne College of Law 2009, M.B.A. U.W.-Oshkosh 2015, is manager of Practice411™, the State Bar’s law practice assistance program. If you have questions about the business aspects of your practice, call (800) 957-4670.
Homesick Scented Candles
My favorite item from 2020, these candles2 feature scents inspired by cities, states, countries, and tropical escapes. You can also find themed scents based on the special moments in life, such as holiday celebrations and weddings. If you are a fan of astrology, check out the new collection of candles with scents based on the Zodiac signs.
Nolechek’s Meats – Old World Sampler Pack
The price for this package3 has decreased since I included it on the list two years ago, and you still get a great assortment of local sausages. Do not stop with the sampler pack; you can also purchase cheese, syrup, bratwurst, and bacon that can be shipped across the country.
Purchasing or Streaming Music
It is hard to believe how far the digital music industry has advanced since we originally suggested this gift six years ago. You now have the option of purchasing digital music gift cards for online stores such as Apple iTunes and Amazon. Another option is to purchase gift cards to the streaming services of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora, or SiriusXM. Keep in mind when shopping for music the difference between streaming services (listen to your favorite songs or stations) and purchasing music (own the music and listen without having an active monthly subscription).
The Lean Law Firm: Run Your Firm Like the World’s Most Efficient and Profitable Businesses
Price: Kindle $43.49
My favorite item from 2019, the book4 portrays a fictional law firm that uses lean-theory techniques to transform from barely income producing to successful. Lawyers often ask how they can make their law firms more efficient, and this book is a great starting point. The keys are capturing data points, setting goals, and constantly improving processes to increase efficiencies. The process of continuous improvement never ends, and this book provides several learning opportunities for law firms.
Nintendo NES Classic Edition Entertainment System
In 2016, we recommended purchasing the NES Classic Edition,5 originally priced at $60, that connects to your television or monitor via a HDMI port. The gaming system still includes 30 classic games (Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and Tecmo Bowl, to name a few) and allows you to save your progress as you work through levels. Only one wired controller comes with the system, so make sure to order another controller if you want to play against your friends or family. Even at the increased price over the years, this is still a fun way to spend time during the holidays.
Oculus Quest 2
This virtual-reality gaming system6 made my list last year and includes a headset, two touch controllers, and other accessories, all powered by your Facebook account. Get in a great workout, which you can track through the Oculus Move feature, while playing your favorite games. Many new games are added every year. Do not forget to pair your system with high-quality headphones for a better gaming experience.
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
It is hard to believe that five years ago we were talking about the PlayStation 4, and this year we are only up to the PlayStation 5.7 The newest model of the PlayStation boasts twice as much power in the central processing and graphics processing units and memory, when compared to the previous version of the system.8 You can also now enjoy 8K video output and 3D audio. Upgrade to the standard edition for an extra $100 if you need the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc drive.
Apple Watch Series 7
Both the Apple Watch (Series 4) and FitBit Versa have made major advances since they appeared on the list in 2018. The Series 79 new features include dust resistance, larger display options, and a thicker front crystal to improve durability. As with the Series 6, users receive blood-oxygen, ECG, fall-detection, and heart notifications.
Alternative: The FitBit Versa 3 Smartwatch is less expensive ($229.95) than the Series 7 while offering many of the same features (voice assistant, call, text, and app notifications, and health tracking). The Versa still does not have long-term evolution (LTE), so if its absence is a deal breaker, look to the Apple Watch or other competitors offering LTE.
Home & Security
This camera10 has made the list twice in the last six years and remains a great product for your home or office. The camera tracks motion and then sends alerts to your device if it detects movement. The movement-detection feature has been improved over the years, allowing the camera to recognize movements by people, animals, or vehicles and send corresponding alerts to your phone. You also have the option of upgrading to a subscription plan to store recorded videos for longer periods of time.
JBL Charge 5 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Did you purchase any of the speakers I recommended in 2018? If not, here are some upgrades to consider.
If you plan to tailgate, have a backyard bonfire, or gather with friends and family anytime soon, this waterproof speaker11 provides all the sound quality you might need. It also features voice-assistant integration, a speakerphone to take calls, and a power bank to allow you to charge smartphones and tablets. The battery can keep the music playing for up to 20 hours. This product, which has excellent reviews, can also connect up to 100 compatible speakers enabled with PartyBoost.
Alternatives: A great alternative for less than half the price of the JBL is the Anker Soundcore Flare 212 priced at $79. Anker provides up to 12 hours of playing time, accepts calls through its speaker, and can be connected to up to 100 Flare compatible speakers at once using its PartyCast technology. The speaker also features festive lighting displays and is waterproof.
Another great alternative is the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom 2 Wireless Speaker, priced at $99.99. This speaker is waterproof and drop proof and also floats in water. You can connect two speakers to each other to increase the sound. This product has a 13-hour battery life when fully charged.
K-Express Single Serve Coffee Maker
Three years ago I recommended a larger coffee maker, but this one13 can also be your primary source of coffee. This appliance serves single cups and offers three different cup sizes (6, 8, and 10 ounces). The different varieties and options will be appreciated, along with its compact design and size, when compared with other, larger coffee makers. If you need a simple appliance to get your coffee that does not take up a lot of counter space, look no further.
Davek Solo Umbrella
If you are in the market for a high-quality umbrella, don’t pass up this product (and the description below) from five years ago.
There are a lot of good umbrellas out there for reasonable prices (for example, the REI Travel Umbrella and the Lewis N. Clark Automatic Travel Umbrella), but if you are giving an umbrella as a gift, you may be looking for better than good. If so, the Davek Solo14 is your umbrella. With a leather strap, a zinc-alloy handle plated with brushed nickel, and a signature design of all black (unless you want different colors), it certainly looks the part of a luxury accessory. But, it is really the high-grade steel shaft, the fiberglass reinforced frame, and the auto-open-and-close button system that justify the purchase.
The Solo also sets itself apart from many other “fancy” umbrellas by closing down to a relatively short length of 11.75”. Best of all, the Solo comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. If you lose this umbrella, you can get a replacement at up to 50% off the regular price.
If you are tired of going through countless notebooks, consider this reusable notebook product15 I suggested in 2019. After you have finished writing notes on a page in the Rocketbook, you can take a picture with the Rocketbook App, which will download the notes from the page and send those notes to your cloud service provider. After the downloading and sending process is complete, you can wipe the page clean and start over.
I hope you enjoy these holiday gift suggestions. If you have questions about the technology or how some of these items may benefit your practice, please contact Practice411™ for a confidential consultation at (800) 957-4670. Happy Holidays!
Gift of Volunteerism:
State Bar of Wisconsin Programs to Help Your Community and Colleagues
If you are interested in giving back and donating your time to help others during holidays or any season, consider signing up to provide pro bono legal advice or brief consultations to other licensed Wisconsin attorneys.
Wisconsin Pro Bono Opportunity Portal
Lawyers have specialized skills and an exclusive license to help people resolve their legal issues. When you want to volunteer and give back, but need help finding the right way or the right opportunity to put your talents to work, visit the State Bar of Wisconsin Pro Bono Portal.
The centralized portal makes it easier for legal services organizations statewide to share their pro bono opportunities with lawyers and law students. You can browse and sort the listed opportunities to find ones that fit your skills, interests, and level of commitment. Visit www.wisbar.org/formembers/probono/Pages/Volunteer.aspx.
Wisconsin Free Legal Answers
Have you ever wanted to give back to your community and provide legal advice or services on a pro bono basis but felt like you didn’t have the time? Wisconsin Free Legal Answers solves that problem by allowing State Bar of Wisconsin members to log on any time and answer civil legal questions from low-income individuals. State Bar members can volunteer to answer questions by completing the attorney agreement.
Visit https://wi.freelegalanswers.org/ to find additional information regarding professional liability coverage, conflicts, and the attorney-client relationship and to sign up.
Wisconsin Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory
Are you willing to help answers questions from other attorneys in your areas of practice? Consider joining the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory. To be listed in this free directory, you must be an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, have experience in a particular field of law, and be willing to conduct brief consultations by email or telephone (roughly 10 minutes in length), free of charge, with other lawyers having less experience in that area of practice.
Visit wisbar.org/Directories/LawyerToLawyer/Pages/Lawyer-to-Lawyer-join.aspx to sign up.
» Cite this article: 94 Wis. Law. 49-52 (December 2021).