Not sure about you, dear reader, but when I am not deeply contemplating my own mortality – to die, to sleep; to sleep: perchance to dream? – or superficially stringing together legal jargon—to breach, to sue; to sue: perchance with attorney fees? – I’m looking to avoid higher-level thinking.

What do I want Joe Biden’s re-election announcement to be? How do I want the rest of the Saints season to go? What day am I supposed to put out the trash, again?

As in most matters, who’s to say?

In an effort to cut out all that brain business, I have again extended an invitation (an, ahem, olive branch?) to the woman who can solve our most pressing present puzzles. Thankfully, my friend Kimberly (@_OliveJane_) returns with her Gift Giving Guide 2022.

Kimberly, what’s more improbable a year later: that I still have this gig or that you still don’t know your Amazon driver’s middle name?


What’s improbable is that I haven’t googled: “How to find out the names of my UPS delivery drivers?”


I think it probably begins with: “Hello. Sorry about any fashion-related hernia I may have caused you in the last year. What’s your name?”

And what a year it’s been! To flip the phrase, some things remain the same, but some things change. Last year I was paying roughly 25 cents per gallon for gas. Pretty sure. Any gift giving tips to support the ol’ pocket-book?


For many of us, inflated prices have us feeling a bit anxious and struggling to find gifts that fit our budget this year. To make your holiday shopping less overwhelming, I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas starting at under $20. All gifts can be purchased from the comfort of your own home, saving you gas money and the stress of dealing with traffic, impossible parking, and long checkout lines.

Gifts Under $20:

Maybe you have a Secret Santa obligation, annual friend gift exchange, or just like to have a few gifts on hand for emergency purposes. These Lulu candles look & smell expensive, but come with an Amazon price tag. Include this electric lighter and/or this candle accessory set, and you’ve got a fun and functional gift that will work for anyone on your list. This pair of slippers is an absolute no fail option and have been on sale for under $20 since Black Friday. Run!


I guess I should be happy that “emergency purposes” now means hoarding Lulu candles and not Charmin toilet paper. It’s the little, we’re-no-longer-in-a-global-pandemic things, right?

But that’s all that brightness I’ve got for this category. Suggesting that my reader(s) run in a pair of slippers is just asking for tort troubles down the (undoubtedly quite slippery) road. I have to admit, though, the slippers look comfy. Is this what the kids call hygge?


That reminds me! The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living is also currently on sale! Add to cart.


Takk skal du ha! (That’s “thank you” in Norwegian—for our one reader unfamiliar with the mother tongue of Magnus Carlsen.)

I’m not sure you know this about me, Kimber, but I’m currently living off of federal subsidized loans. And my wife’s teacher salary. And this blog. Also my Saints-win-the-Super-Bowl bet.

You get the point: I’ve got beaucoup money to burn. Anything in the economy-plus category?


Gifts Under $50:

Once this December heat wave ends, I’ll be hibernating with warm drinks, sweaters, cozy blankets, and anything else necessary to keep my gas bill down. For the coffee lover, this Chemex pour-over glass coffee maker is both aesthetically pleasing and nice to use on a slow morning or when hosting guests. Another option for the homebody, is this handmade chunky knit blanket or this 100% Muslin soft blanket, frequently on an Amazon lightning deal for under $30. This plush robe is currently marked down and would be a great option for a happy holiday hibernation. Oh, and I almost forgot to suggest this must-have bottle of Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon as a generous hostess gift option!


I looked up your “handmade chunky knit blanket.” Suspiciously, Amazon calls it “Bohemian.” Pretty sure there’s no Bohemia on the globe. Also, the low-battery light on my brain is blinking. Please pour me a glass of that wine.

While we’re drinking, anything to really impress—or through which to apologize to—the ones you love?


Gifts Under $100:

For those at the premium level, here are some gift ideas, the first two of which I’ve personally gifted in years past, under $100. The Fujifilm Instax Camera would be a clever idea for a new grandparent. Add in a scrapbook, and you’ve gifted them a fun project full of memories. Another thoughtful and memorable gift option is a subscription to Storyworth. Each week, the gifted family member or friend will receive an email with a question, prompting them to write about a memory or story from their past. After a year, all stories will be combined and delivered as a keepsake book that can be passed down for years to come. On a limited time deal, is the new, lightest and most compact Kindle, offering endless entertainment for those of all ages. When in doubt, this Portable Rocking Chair should win over any Mardi Gras fan. And if they aren’t a fan of hanging on the neutral ground, why are they even on your list?


As you know, I’ve tried out one of those rocking chairs in the Mardi Gras elements—the pistons are just asking to be taken for a St. Charles Ave. spin. So I can attest that the construction is even better than a Tulane frat’s fifty-foot-long tent—and a great perch from which to watch said tent crumble in the parading pre-dawn light.

While we’re on the Mardi Gras topic, I do have one gift idea. Now, I’m just a little blog boy, but I could think of ways these cloth event wristbands might make your festing that much fuller—or emptier, if you’re following my drift (and me to the bathroom line). And at 65% off, you know what to do: Run!

Kimberly, many, many thanks for sorting out all this gift giving for us. Give her a follow for your non-seasonal buying needs at @_olivejane_.

I think I owe you a pair of slippers.


From the sports desk, we can now report that the dream Argentina-France final is secure. With a 9:00 AM local kick (followed by a noon Saints game), look for a heavy vigil Mass crowd this weekend. Also look for some Pope Francis stories. Our Argentine pope likely will not weigh-in on the result during his pre-match Angelus, but he is a soccer/football/calcio fan. I enjoyed learning about his club, San Lorenzo de Almagro, which finished sixth in the table last season. Also, tune in Sunday to see if the Albicelestes pull a page from Celtic fans.