The Best Ever Libertarian Gift Guide
“Eye-eye-eyeeeeee don’t want a lot for Christmas,” she said. “There is just one thing I need,” she said. It’s the secular holiday anthem for the ages. And it’s based on a lie.
No shade to Mariah. But we all know that the ambiguous you is not the only thing she needs, nor the only thing needed by the masses—who can often be heard belting “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in unison in the bars and show choir concerts across the country. You can’t wrap up a “you.” You may get annoyed when “you” refuses to turn off football in favor of Married at First Sight. (This isn’t personal.) Who is you anyway?
Since Mariah is no help, Reason is here to make it right.
We’re back with our yearly gift-giving suggestions, tailored to all ages, personality types, and affinities, to the practical and the bizarre and (most) everything in between. For the Reason fan in your life, check out our swag, from shirts and hats and onesies to mugs and phone cases and even a stainless steel water bottle. Wow! And for the ones you want to convert, give a three-year gift subscription for the low, low price of $37.97. (Shorter timespans are available for gift recipients with commitment issues.)
For ideas a little more outside the box—to fill the hole Ms. Carey left—we’re here for you. Happy giving! —Billy Binion, associate editor
For the dinner party host(ess) extraordinaire:
Inflation has made everything at the grocery store more expensive, but prices for meat and poultry rose even faster than average inflation for most of the past year. That means overcooking your filet doesn’t just risk ruining dinner. It’s a waste of money too.
Clearly, the stakes—and the steaks—have been raised. Now more than ever, a thermometer is the essential grilling accessory.
Meater connects via Bluetooth to any smartphone or tablet, providing real-time updates on the ambient air temperature and the internal temperature of whatever is on the grill. With it, the old “well, that looks done” method of grilling can be relegated to the dark ages where it belongs.
Even though it comes pre-loaded with the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended temperatures for each type and cut of meat, Meater lets you freely ignore the food bureaucrats’ often ridiculous edicts. That means Meater doesn’t merely prevent the dreaded overcook, but also helps you zero in on exactly how you like different meats prepared and consistently hit the sweet spot. —Eric Boehm, reporter
I recently rediscovered the glory of good old pepper. It’s underrated by many standards, which is unfortunate, because it’s flavorful, packs a punch, and has many health benefits. But that’s not all! It’s a gift for the diverse palate: Whether from Europe, India, China, (or a blend of them all), whether red, black, white, soft or hard, I love them indiscriminately. And thanks to a free(-ish) trade system, we can buy most of them in the U.S.
Which leads me to my gift suggestion: the Peugeot Olivier Roellinger Pepper Mill. It comes in red or black—doubling as a beautiful fixture on the kitchen or dining room table—and you can change the setting for fine or coarse grinding. Most importantly, this is the gift for the person who already “has everything.” Besides, it’s a great conversation starter if you say, for instance, “pepper and libertarians have a lot in common.” Spicy. —Veronique de Rugy, contributing editor
For the one who needs an aesthetic upgrade:
The “Come Back With A Warrant” doormat is a mainstay of liberty-minded home décor, and for good reason. It fulfills a utilitarian function—giving guests a place to wipe their feet—while also making your legal knowledge known to any state actors who might come a-knocking.
With many stylish variations of the, shall we say, un-welcome mat, there is a design for any taste. The basic version of the doormat is a classic—and it has adorned my entryway for two years, while staying in top condition. However, Etsy is replete with other options, from cutesy to, erm, aggressive.
I’m personally partial to another variation—this doormat reading “hippity hoppity, get off my property,” featuring a shotgun-toting cartoon frog. But as both a renter and a non-gun owner, it seemed a bit mismatched to my personal needs.
This holiday season, give the new home or apartment owner a gift that will both spiff up their doorway and remind guests—and government employees—that you are not to be trifled with. —Emma Camp, assistant editor
Give the gift of self-sufficiency—and a side of boho-chic ambiance—with a Burpee self-watering seed starting system. The self-watering tray and pellets of coco coir make growing plants from seeds a breeze, even for anti-green thumb millennials who still want their homes to loosely resemble a Pottery Barn catalog. Burpee also sells high-quality vegetable seeds, including container-friendly cucumber and bean varieties for those who don’t have space for outdoor garden beds. Growing your own food is rewarding, especially during an inflationary period. —C.J. Ciaramella, reporter
Buy it for $24.99mamzo
For the gaming evangelists:
If you’re looking for a way to sneakily teach your friends and family the ills of taxation and central authority, you need to gift The Great Dalmuti. The game goes something like this: Players try to shed all of their cards, and at the end of each round, those trailing in last must pay taxes to the top two winners. True to form, those taxes lock the losers in a cycle of losing and the winners in a cycle of winning until a revolution happens and power dynamics shift. With no official end to the game, it can be played until your non-libertarian friends and family members become so annoyed with the state that they become libertarians. —Addie Mae Villas, Burton C. Gray Memorial Journalism Intern
While man is still trying to get back to the moon, you can take your family a few million miles further this Christmas by giving them the gift of Terraforming Mars. As the name suggests, the board game tasks players with adding plants and people to the dead, red planet until it starts to look and feel a little more like home.
The libertarian in your life will have a blastoff assuming the role of a geoengineering mega-corporation that tries to fill the driest oceans, build the most domed cities, and smash the most temperature-raising asteroids into the planet’s surface. Ample opportunity for player cooperation will ensure the competition doesn’t get too heated.
The production value of the game pieces might leave a little to be desired. The real fun is found in exploring the imaginative game’s setting and endless victory strategies. —Christian Britschgi, associate editor
For the coffee connoisseurs:
Inflation getting you down? If you’re like me, you’ve taken to making a lot more treats at home this past year to save and scrimp. I’ve certainly been fine-tuning my barista skills as coffee prices rise at many big chains and local haunts. Just because the economy sucks doesn’t mean your coffee has to.
Enter Monin. The syrup company has a wide variety of interesting flavors, from amaretto to toasted marshmallow to tiramisu. I love to add the brand’s lavender and French vanilla offerings to my lattes, but you can truly have some fun customizing your coffees (not to mention your alcoholic drinks, lemonades, and Italian sodas).
At around $15 per bottle of syrup—a hefty one, at that—you can try your hand at café-caliber drink combinations for pennies on the dollar. Happy mixing! —Fiona Harrigan, assistant editor
In 1933, Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka Pot—a small, sleek, stovetop coffee maker—democratizing espresso for the masses. It’s cheap, easy to use, and makes a perfectly fine cup of joe. And thanks to Italian emigration and Alfonso’s marvelously mustached son, Renato, the device grew rapidly in popularity and remains ubiquitous in homes throughout Italy, South America, and Australia.
I’ve had one for years but have been using it more than ever for the same reason I’m recommending it to you now: Putin’s war in Iraq! (Oops, I mean Ukraine.) A one-pound bag of espresso at $15 yields roughly a month of my daily addiction: about a fifth of what I pay for the same dosage from my Nespresso machine. (Let’s not even talk about the $4 a day I was paying at Starbucks before the pandemic. Yikes!) And at just seven inches, you can have your bougie java wherever you go. No longer will you be that guy who shows up at the shared beach house with a legit espresso machine, a 26-piece set of Wusthof knives, and filtered ice cubes. (You could even take it camping if that’s something that someone ever makes you do.)
While the Moka Pot comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, I own the classic three-cup version. At just $30, you can gift this timeless beauty to all the caffeine junkies in your life. —Jackie Pyke, director of development
For the freethinking tot:
If you’re shopping for young kids, I highly recommend anything from Lovevery. The toys are made of high-quality materials, are aesthetically pleasing (no garish flashing neon plastic bits!), and are able to take a battering. Best of all, they’re designed around Montessori principles to support brain development and inspire independent play.
Lovevery sells some stand-alone toys—you can find some of these on its website, while others I’ve only seen on Target.com—as well as toy box kits tailored to children’s developmental stages. Each kit comes with six to nine different toys and costs $80 to $120 individually, or slightly less with a subscription (with new kits delivered every two to three months). —Elizabeth Nolan Brown, senior editor
Instead of that misconceived (and overpriced) model high-speed-rail train set, consider a copy of How To Build a Road, a children’s construction book that, true to its name, walks kids through the ins and outs of roadbuilding. (It’s more interesting than it sounds.) Alternatively, there’s the Lego City Roadwork Truck, which gives you another holiday excuse to teach a liberty-minded little one that government coercion isn’t necessary for successful public infrastructure projects. At a minimum, a firm foundation in road work terminology comes in handy when the future free thinker finds herself dorm room jousting with a “you didn’t build that”-kind of collectivist.
And while we can’t expect all to grow up and attain Bob Poole levels of transportation policy distinction, kids should at least know the difference between a bulldozer and an excavator if ever they’re to engineer that privately owned, market-priced (and pothole-free) toll bridge to a brand new Panamanian seastead around, say, 2042? —Hunt Beaty, podcast producer
For the survivalists:
No libertarian bunker is complete without a decent soldering iron.
Enter the Hakko FX600. Pair it with free online tutorials and tinkerers can quickly start turning boxes of old cords into practice projects.
For those who get good at it, fixing stuff will become a hedge against instability. Being able to put broken electronics and appliances back into working order during an emergency situation could literally save someone’s life. Or maybe even enable them to play GameBoy during the apocalypse.
They wouldn’t be able to keep up the salvage-hacker lifestyle forever. But it doesn’t take a doomsday scenario for some basic wiring skills to come in handy. It at least might help them weather the whims of a finicky supply chain, lest their replacement gadgets get stuck on a boat coming from China. —Adam Sullivan, digital marketing specialist
First designed by ArmaLite’s Eugene Stoner as a survival weapon, the AR-7 is an underappreciated semiautomatic rifle that has gone through multiple manufacturers over the years. This takedown rifle—the barrel detaches from the receiver and both can then be stored in the water-resistant stock—was featured as an assassin’s tool in From Russia With Love in 1963, but it works better in the hands of outdoorsy types for small-game hunting and plinking. I like to throw mine into a daypack when I hike and bike in the desert, along with a good supply of the small, lightweight .22 LR rounds it shoots.
My rifle dates back to when Survival Arms owned the design, but current production from Henry Repeating Arms is well-reviewed, though the magazines were redesigned and aren’t fully interchangeable with older models. Standard magazines hold eight rounds, but extended magazines can be purchased from other makers. —J.D. Tuccille, contributing editor
For the vice addict:
You can’t make a classic Negroni without Campari, and it turns out it’s pretty good in a movie, too. A lavish new book, Campari and the Cinema, traces the Italian bitter liqueur’s history on screen, from a 1984 TV commercial for the brand directed by Federico Fellini—it’s a love story set on a train—to a more recent short film, “Killer in Red,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino and starring Clive Owen as a bartender whose cocktails “express people’s destiny.” (He makes a lot of drinks that use Campari, of course.) One might argue that an oversized, brand-approved book like this doesn’t have much practical value, but practicality isn’t the point. This is a massive, gorgeous coffee table book that will appeal to fans of movies and Negronis—and even more to people who, like me, love both. —Peter Suderman, features editor
The home bars of true American cocktail aficionados may already be stocked with bottles of green and yellow Chartreuse, a liqueur first develope