New York, NY – The holiday season is certainly a joyous time but it can be stressful when it comes to finding a gift for the special people in your life. Here are some last-minute gift ideas that will hopefully inspire.
The Internet has made subscription web streaming services as Amazon, Netflix (a godsend for movie buffs), and Hulu (which in my opinion has the best original programming as exemplified by “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Sarah Silverman’s talk show/sketch vehicle, “I Love You, America”), key rivals to cable television providers when it comes to competing for our disposable income for home entertainment.
Jumping into the streaming fray two years ago was CBS All Access which allows viewers to watch almost any show that was ever broadcast on the Tiffany Network just as Hulu does the same for a good chunk of the Peacock Network library. CBS All Access also contains every Star Trek episode ever made.
All Access is the exclusive home for the latest in the Star Trek series, “Discovery,” as well as for “The Good Wife” spinoff, “The Good Fight.” All Access is giving Hulu a run for its subscription money with edgy completely original fare as “Strange Angel” and “Tell Me A Story.”
Sports fans now have their pick of streaming services as well. The WWE Network has been around for a few years serving pro wrestling fans. A European company, DAZN, has jumped into the streaming game for more “legitimate” ring sports as boxing and mixed martial arts. Finally, ESPN this year launched ESPN+ in which you can watch niche live events as Ivy League football as well as get caught up any documentary in ESPN’s sizable “30 for 30″ library.
Devices as Roku, Amazon Fire, and Google Chromecast, when plugged into the HDMI ports on your television give Internet sites the same picture quality as those from TV channels. All of the aforementioned are quite good but I believe that you get more bang for the buck from Roku which carries a lot of OTT (over-the top) television channels as well as providing original content.
Technology has not only expanded television options, it has done so for radio as well. Como Audio’s Solo Tabletop Radio allows you to listen to radio stations around the world while iHome’s Voice uses Alexa voice command to let you request radio stations all over the US including Sirius XM (if you are a subscriber to it), Internet radio stations as Pop Gold Radio and Rewound Radio (free of charge), and every terrestrial radio station from CBS/Entercom and I Heart Radio.
Sure, you can google almost anything that you need to know these days but there is something comforting about having the facts at your fingers the old school way. The World Almanac 2019 is still the best paperback reference. Offbeat trivia buffs will enjoy Guinness World Records 2019 and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not 2019.
Two books about the entertainment industry I high recommend are “The King Of Content” (Harper Business), written by Queens Chronicle alum, Keach Hagey, about the intriguing life of Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone, and Dorothy Carvello’s “Anything For A Hit” (Chicago Review Press) which looks at the frequently sordid, but always fun, world of the record business in the 1980s and ‘90s with a n emphasis on Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
If you know someone’s size and taste, fashion is always fun. Abercrombie & Fitch (abercrombie.com) American Eagle, Vineyard Vines Lands End, Old Navy, Ace Rivington, and Haupt all make comfortable, stylish, and durable dress shirts.
UNTUCKit has quickly become a popular brand for guys in its less than a decade in business. Founder Chris Riccobono created shirts that were not only fashionable but were meant not to be tucked in one’s pants. It’s surprising that no one thought of that concept in casual comfort before Riccobono launched UNTUCKit in 2010.
Dockers is best known for its khaki pants but what you might be surprised to learn is that it manufactures rugby shirts which are perfect for winter leisure days.
Hush Puppies, who had a great run in the 1960s as baby boomers will fondly recall, has been revived big time. Not only is the company still making its classic casual suede loafer but it has expanded into dress shoes for men and women but it still puts a premium on comfort.
The arrival of winter means that hat, scarf and gloves season is upon us. Calypso St. Barth (which also makes fragrances), Bearpaw, and Ulu (uluboot.com) all make outerwear accessories to keep us warm on those Arctic days.
If you are looking for both warm weather and value during Christmas to New Year’s week then forget Florida and think about Southern California instead. This is a very slow time of the year for hotels there.
If you want to be in the heart of everything in Los Angeles, then stay at Ramada Suites in West Hollywood located right on Santa Monica Boulevard, Just down the road in San Diego, the Hyatt Regency La Jolla located in the bustling University Town Center neighborhood right off Interstate 5, has a heated Olympic-sized pool and Jacuzzi among many other amenities. Queens’ hometown airline, JetBlue, offers frequent service from JFK to both Los Angeles and San Diego.
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