Post-Holiday Gift Card Madness

Gift Guide

Another holiday has passed and hopefully you’re left with a pile of gift cards or cash so you can buy all the things you wanted, but didn’t get. Here are a few suggestions on what we’re spending our post-holiday cash on.

You’ll never need to buy another mat (Image Credit: Anthony Karcz)

LXXII Football Leather Yoga Mat
Suggested By: Anthony Karcz
Mfg: BallerYoga
Price: 1,000
Purchase: LXXII Football Leather Yoga Mat

Worried that muted purple PVC mats don’t make the right impression at the yoga studio? Tired of buying yoga mats every few months? Then maybe you need to take a close look at the BallerYoga mat — the biggest hunk of football leather you’ve ever had the pleasure of sweating all over.

A little longer than the standard 69″ mat, the BallerYoga “medium” mat in natural pebbled leather is a substantial 72″ × 24″. When I first unrolled it, I was struck by the quality of the leather. This is authentic football leather, the same kind used to craft balls and finished using the same methods. It’s a thick, tough, single sheet of leather. I was initially a bit put off by the lack of cushioning, as I’m used to PVC mats and the extra cushion they provide. Then I started using it and quickly stopped even glancing at my old GAIAM mat. The pebbled leather provides fantastic grip, even when performing tricky poses late in a session, when my mat can be a sweaty mess. And after some initial stiffness, the leather quickly became more supple as I used it. There’s still a noticeable leather smell from the mat after a month of use, but seeing as how I’m a bit of a leather fan, I don’t mind. Heck, I don’t even mind the affectation of the molded “laces”—it gives me a quick way to identify the “top” and “bottom” of my mat.

As you burn through the last of that holiday cash, be careful when deciding between the Natural and Red versions. While the Red version may be more authentic to an actual NFL football, BallerYoga doesn’t seal their mats with a topcoat (like they do for NFL footballs) so as to improve grip performance. This means that the dye isn’t colorfast and will wear off on you, your clothing, and your flooring as it’s used (so maybe the Red version is for poseurs rather than posers)?

If you’re an NFL fan or you’re looking to inject some decidedly unique flare into your practice (that will be with you for as long as you’re doing yoga – the mat is nigh-near-indestructible), check out the BallerYoga site.

Snorlax used Snuggle. It’s super effective!

Pokémon Snorlax Bean Bag Chair
Suggested By: Z.
Mfg: ThinkGeek
Price: $149.99
Purchase: Pokémon Snorlax Bean Bag Chair

It’s very important that divorced parents realize Christmas is not a contest. That said, this year I totally won Christmas! I surprised my kids with ThinkGeek’s Pokémon Snorlax Bean Bag Chair, and I have never seen two more delighted children. As massive as he is snuggly, this placid Pokémon is part furniture, part conversation piece, part playset, and the whole family will have fun lounging on (and, in my case, viciously elbow-dropping from the top of the couch) this unique bean bag chair. Of course, I had to pre-order this bad boy back in July to assure delivery by Christmas, and, while ThinkGeek isn’t currently taking additional pre-orders, you can at least sign up to receive an email alert when new stock is expected to come in.

Can you hear me now?

Suggested By: Z.
Mfg: Nyko
Price: $19.10
Purchase: SpeakerCom

No matter what new multiplayer online console title made its way into your house over the holiday season, chances are you’ll need a proper headset to help you and your teammates stay on top of the competition. Or will you? Nyko’s SpeakerCom is a great headset alternative masquerading as a low-profile controller attachment. Simply slide the SpeakerCom into the headset jack between the hand-grips on your PS4 or Xbox One controller, and you’ve got a clever, push-to-talk communication solution with its own independent volume control and built-in rechargeable battery–all this without the hassle of sweaty ears or funky hair! Also, in case you find yourself on my team in Titanfall 2, allow me to apologize in advance. [Review material provided by Nyko.]

Learn how to make a fire with this and you’ll earn serious camping cred.

Mountainback Fire Starter Set
Suggested By: Anthony Karcz
Mfg: Saddleback Leather
Price: 45
Purchase: Mountainback Fire Starter Set

So you’re simply over the crush of retail madness that we’ve been embraced in for the past two months and you’ve got to get out of town? Maybe escape to the woods for a bit (assuming you live somewhere that isn’t in the middle of a blizzard right now)? Might I suggest one more purchase before you chuck the iPhone in the glove box? Saddleback Leather sent me one of their more unusual products to check out – the Mountainback Fire Starter Set.

You might remember the Mountainback line from the backpack I reviewed earlier this year (that’s still going strong) – it’s their line of waterproof, waxed canvas products. Here, they’ve shrewdly taken their canvas remainders and carved them up into enough waxed squares to start a couple hundred fires. Along with that is a flint fire starter stick that has a magnesium fire starter rod embedded in a Padauk wood handle, along with a scraper to get the sparks flying. And if for some reason you get lost out there or use up all your scrap, you can shred the waxed canvas case itself and use that as tinder. It’s all secured with a thick Old Bull leather strap that’s long enough to press into service in for emergencies. The Fire Starter set carries Saddleback Leather’s 100 year warranty, so it’s safe to say you’ll be passing it down to your kids (unless you burn the whole thing, I suppose).

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