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2011 Gift Guide: Best Stuff For Luddites

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Not everyone needs a Google Nexus. Some of you – and your friends – are happy to exist in a plane without technology, a world dedicated to quiet reflection and acoustic jamming. Here are some of our picks for the Luddites on your list this year.

There are no hand-hewn axes in this list – this is gear that will keep you living in the Hipster Age while still maintaining a connection to the past.



Field Notes Notepads – Price Varies – Sure, your Luddite friend already has an smartphone (they’re not a Neanderthal, just grumpy) but why not make his or her day with some notebooks from Field Notes. These handsome, rugged notebooks could like Moleskine in a fight and make you feel like a park ranger on the prowl. They come in multiple colors and styles and exude a sense of nostalgic utility that’s missing in the world these days.

Brooklyn Brew Shop Beermaking Kit – $40 – For years I’ve been recommending Mr. Beer as the homebrew kit of choice but experience has taught me that the best beer comes from real ingredients. These beer-making kits include a simple carboy, some grain and some hops. The instructions are easy to follow, fun, and delicious when complete.

The Faber-Castell Ambition Coconut Fountain Pen – $165 – A nice pen seems about as exciting as a pair of socks, but this is no ordinary pen. Made of repurposed coconut shells, this solid, handsome pen is just what your Luddite friend needs to pen his or her wild-eyed screed.

Forbidden Island – $14 – Who needs an Xbox when you have a few friends, a bottle of homebrew, and a a night of board gaming? Your Luddite friend will enjoy playing cooperatively with up to four other friends as you search a mysterious island for treasure. As my friend Lou once told me, “Wine and board games” is code for swinging!

Loog Guitar – $215 – Sure you can play “I Gave My Love A Cherry” on your dulcimer, but why not try playing Radiohead on a three-string Loog? The Loog is a mini-guitar designed for kids that is great for adults, as well. A simple, barre tuning makes it a breeze to play and it’s surprisingly loud for its size.

For some extra inspiration on all things gifty, check out the rest of our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide here.