2020 is a weird year to give gifts and expect anything in return. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force—evidently fuller force than before—many businesses have closed either temporarily or for good, and as a result, unemployment has skyrocketed and the economy has taken a turn for the worse. This holiday, I refuse to selfishly expect anything from anyone. As someone lucky enough to still have a job, I recognize my privilege and acknowledge that any material things I do want isn’t worth the financial burden it puts on my family and friends.
That said, I do want things, as do my colleagues here at The Inventory. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Even in a year defined by surprises, everyone has a wishlist of items that, in the final stretch, would make everyday life in “quarantine” a little less shitty, whether because it’s a genuinely useful product designed to improve quality of life or because it satisfies a specific hunger for joy in your gut. Along with the lovely humans—writers and editors alike—I’m proud to call my coworkers, this is our collective holiday wishlist, comprised of everything from realistically obtainable, inexpensive accessories to products most of us would have to take out a small loan to afford.
So while we’re not expecting you to cough up the cash and put a fleeting smile on our faces, all I’m saying is I wouldn’t complain if you did. Have something on your list you’d like to share? Leave a brief description, along with your Twitter handle, in the comments below and you might just get a shout-out to our nearly 50K followers.
Here’s to better things in 2021.
Sheilah Villari, Morning Deals Writer
Ahsoka Tano Plush | $23 | Disney Store
Every time I see her cute face on the Disney site I pine. I don’t in any way need a plush doll as I’m a full-grown adult, but Ahsoka Tano is so pretty. All the plush dolls in the Galaxy’s Edge collection are adorable. Lando, Leia, the whole crew. They even have a Bantha plush! As it’s Disney these are beautifully constructed with impeccable detail. I’m not ashamed to put this one my bed because I’m a huge nerd and Star Wars is a fandom I mainline. This Grand Army of the Republic commander will get all the snuggles she deserves.
RockLove Maleficent Crystal Ring | $115 | Amazon
RockLove does this amazing thing of creating fashionable ways to show your nerd love in everyday life. The licensed properties they’ve worked with have yielded some absolutely breathtaking items including this Maleficent crystal ring. I have not stopped thinking about this ring since it was released years ago. The other thing I like about them is they make rings small enough for me! I wear between a 4 and 5, and a lot of companies don’t make jewelry that size for adults.
This ring is solid sterling silver with a sparkly halo of white crystals around the large black oval crystal. Dragon detail is intertwined in the band to represent the hauntingly beautiful sorceress. If this isn’t a statement ring I don’t know what is. I can’t wait to show off my geeky love of such an iconic character. RockLove also includes a brilliant collector’s box with all their jewelry. This one will be adorned with Aurora, too, as it’s from the Sleeping Beauty collection.
Andrew Hayward, Contributing Editor & Producer
I spend most of my day in front of my laptop, kill time by looking at my smartphone, and, most evenings, play Rocket League or Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5. I also review phones and computers and all sorts of stuff. Let’s be honest: I do not need any additional screens in my home or near my face. And yet … if I could choose one more, I’d pick the new iPad Air.
Back in the olden days, I’d upgrade my iPad every year or two and use it regularly for work and play alike, but as iPhones grew larger, it stopped feeling essential for me. I still have an iPad Air, actually: the one that came out in 2013. It’s very slow. But the brand new, rebooted iPad Air? Well, it looks spectacular, borrowing the uniform bezel approach of the Pro models with a 10.9-inch screen, powerful A14 Bionic chip, Apple Pencil support, and cool color options. I probably won’t buy this thing for myself. I do not need it. Still, this is a wish list ...
Giovanni Colantonio, Associate Gaming Editor
PS5 DualSense Charging Dock | $30 | Target
As a new PlayStation 5 owner, I feel like a first-time parent. I want to spoil this dumb looking white box in every way possible with accessories I truly don’t need. The biggest thing I’m eyeing is a DualSense charging station for my new controller. That feels unnecessary, but the more time I spend with the console, the more practical it becomes. Currently, I’m charging my DualSense by plugging it into the console itself. There’s a big long wire going from the front of the system to my controller, which is a blight on my newly cleaned up cord situation. Cosmetics aside, some PS5 owners report that the front USB port has a tendency not to charge controllers at all, so a charging dock feels like a clean and reliable solution to make sure my DualSense is always prepared for a 10-hour gaming bender.
Snorlax Beanbag Chair | $150 | GameStop
I don’t know why I want a beanbag chair. Three years ago, I had the thought it would be nice to just have one sitting around as a cozy option for company. That somewhat useful idea has slowly morphed into a weird obsession that’s evolved into something of a bit. While there are plenty of nice beanbag chairs out there, my broken brain has fixated on one: this big, honking Snorlax chair. Is it sincere? Is it ironic? I don’t really know! Either way, I want to laze around with my Switch and sit on Snorlax’s giant beanbag belly like that one scene from My Neighbor Totoro.
Jordan McMahon, Tech Editor
MacBook Air With Apple M1 Chip | $1,000
I made the rookie mistake of buying a new laptop earlier this year, a few short months before Apple’s newest MacBooks debuted. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal, since my MacBook is pretty speedy and gets the job done. That said, it’s hard not to want Apple’s new M1 MacBook Air, which even at its base model, offers shockingly fast speeds and notable increases in battery life. Unfortunately, my impulsive choices leave me with few options. I could try to sell my MacBook Pro and split the difference, squeeze some cash out of Apple’s trade-in program, or plead for a benevolent loved one to plop one under my tree.
Ignacia Fulcher, Beauty & Lifestyle Editor
Solo Diamond Ring | $205 | Mejuri
As we’re going into this holiday season with dread, I’ve actually been buying myself presents to make myself happy. Call it a bad, capitalistic coping mechanism, but since I can’t go to a spa or MIA in the woods until further notice to unwind, I do what I can.
A goal of mine from last New Years’ was to buy myself more yellow gold jewelry. To this point, I’ve only had sterling silver or white gold, which, in my opinion, doesn’t look as great on brown skin.
So I searched for affordable options. One of them was Mejuri. A simple diamond ring set in yellow gold for my middle finger. It just goes to show ladies: men don’t need to put a ring on it—you can absolutely do it yourself! It’s only $205 and is made out of 14 karat gold. The diamond is small, but conflict-free because while I love to indulge, I still have standards. No blood diamonds will live on my fingers.
Rope Necklace | $209 | Kay Jewelers
In order to make it a set, I bought a 20-inch rope chain from Kay Jewelers for about $209. It’s also 14K and thick enough to make a statement, but not gaudy or too imposing. It’ll be great to start “stacking” my gold necklaces in length and texture as time goes on.
As horrible as this year has been, I’m happy to achieve at least one of my personal goals, and for that I’m thankful.
Bartesian Cocktail Machine | $350 | Amazon
With everything going on, who doesn’t need a drink? I happened upon Bartesian while putting together my lifestyle gift guide and was immediately enamored. It’s basically a Keurig, but for alcoholic cocktails. There are four bottles you can fill with vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum, or gin before adding cocktail “pods” in the machine. With a touch of a button, you get a perfectly mixed drink with your choice of strong, regular, light, and even mocktails for people who can’t drink but would still love to partake. I’m thinking of buying one for when I can finally gather with my people I miss immensely, but until then, I’ll be taking shots once the clock strikes 12 and calling my friends on FaceTime.
Gabe Carey, Content & Strategy Manager
Last Black Friday, I made the mistake of impulse buying a 65” Vizio M-Series TV. Now I know what you’re thinking, the M-Series has great reviews, how is buying one a mistake??? While the picture quality is fantastic for the price given the right color calibration, the OS suuuuucks. Don’t believe the marketing hype around the IQ Active processor either—its choppy performance makes the TV slow to function whether or not you have a separate streaming device hooked up. We have a 5th Gen Apple TV attached and the TV still crashes from time to time, shutting down in the middle of my after-work gaming session or even freezing up when I try to change inputs. A year later, I’m already on the hunt for more future-proof panel.
Seeing how much everyone I know is raving about the thing, including our own readers on Kinja Deals, my next living room TV will be the LG CX 65” OLED smart TV. Though it’s hard to come by due to its popularity coupled with COVID-19-induced commerce fulfillment shortages, you can still find it in stock at its former Amazon sale price—$1,897—on BuyDig. Availability limitations aside, the CX packs all the bells and whistles I’ll most likely need for the next 5-10 years. In addition to the obvious, like a 4K resolution and HDR10 support, it’s got Dolby Vision, a 120Hz refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync, AMD FreeSync, and Dolby Atmos spatial sound built into its 2.2-channel speakers. And by the grace of the gods, I will finally have a modern processor and up-to-date software that isn’t obsolete the moment it reaches my entertainment center.
Fiat 500 Diecast Set | $25 | Amazon
At long last, come spring my wife and I will be moving out of Manhattan and into the burbs. Well, deep Queens but still. As such, we’re saving for a new car, specifically a Fiat, my latest obsession. Even in my dreams, however, I fail to believe anyone would buy me a car. Apart from being expensive as hell, frankly I’ve done nothing to deserve it. What I do deserve is this Fiat 500 diecast set from ModelToyCars, which is currently on sale for $25 on Amazon and includes four Fiat 500 minis at 1/28 scale. This means that if someone bought me seven packs, I would have enough model cars to build the real thing, for only $175. Alternatively, since I dig a mint green finish, this one from Siku represents my taste even better and would feel right at home alongside my 50th Anniversary 2018 Hot Wheels Miata.
Horween Leather AirPods Pro Case | $24 | Nomad Goods
A few months ago I scored a free pair of AirPods Pro from a promotional event hosted by a digital marketing company at work, and although at first I was reluctant to attend, hey, free AirPods. Disappointed by the original AirPods, which I bought without thinking and passed along to my mom not long thereafter in favor of my trusty Bose SoundSport Free true wireless buds, I had low expectations going in. But now, NOW I’m almost never not wearing AirPods Pro. Whereas the originals lacked the rubberized tips necessary to keep them in my ears, these adhere to my canals reliably and without question. The W1 chip, the one part of the standard AirPods I did like, is still there, albeit in the form of the more advanced H1 chip that supports Hey Siri, boasts a longer battery life, and features Bluetooth 5. Active noise canceling and seamless pairing top AirPods Pro off as my go-to for daily listening, even if shutting out the haters absolutely pulverizes the battery.
That said, as the ol’ saying goes, nothing in life is free. Sometimes you pay by relinquishing your soul to corporations. These complimentary AirPods Pro I received are no ordinary headphones—no, they have an extra embellishment you won’t find anywhere else: the name of the company engraved on the case. As much as I despise repping a business whose 45-minute elevator pitch left a lot to be desired, some of the cases out there actually improve the look of even non-branded AirPods. Take the Nomad rugged leather cases, for instance, the same ones I wrote about for the Google Pixel Buds 2 back in April. Their simple yet modern designs will make you feel high class even though you’re only spending $35 on them ($24 for Black Friday). Made from premium Horween leather, these bad boys will cover up your AirPods case without obstructing the LED charging indicator light. And since I already have the Base Station Pro wireless charging station for my entire Apple ecosystem, I might as well get a case to match.