May 22, 2024

We know that holiday celebrations are looking a little different this year. The weather and decorations might make it look and feel like the season we know and love, but there’s something not quite right. Kind of like an under inflated candy cane balloon in the socially-distanced, one-block Thanksgiving Day parade. And that’s why it’s even more important to remember your favorite national security professional (or civic-minded little citizen)…even if they are a nightmare to shop for.

Well, never fear. The Editorial Staff at the WAR ROOM has scoured the interwebs for you to make this year’s holiday shopping a little easier. We’re including links for purchasing where we can (usually to a manufacturer or publisher—we trust you can do your own online price comparisons), as well as relevant WAR ROOM content.

Happy Holidays from everyone here at WAR ROOM and here’s looking forward to a New (and better) Year in 2021!

“How to Lose the Information War”

We’ve all heard a lot about Russia, #FakeNews, misinformation, disinformation and mal-information in the past few years. Nina Jankowicz‘s excellent book featuring five case studies is a great read on the topic. (She did a number of interviews on her virtual book tour if you want a taste of what you’ll read.) “Disinformation, in order to be effective, must be 90% accurate,” after all; and few do dezinformatsiya better than Putin’s gang. So anyone working in NatSec needs to be digitally literate in 2021 and beyond.

Founding Fathers & documents glasses

Ever dreamt of pondering democracy over a glass of spirits with one of the Founders? Until time-travel is invented and we all get to be Bill & Ted, you can at least drink out of glasses the Founders would approve of. There are 9 options priced at $15 each: 7 of the Founders, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Or pick up a few as you debate the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers!

Art Print from GirlSecurity

Is there is a young woman in your life and you want to make sure she knows that she can do anything? Are you in house full of boys? Let them see women as leaders and pathbreakers, too! Go take a look at Girl Security Shop. They feature the empowering art of teenage artist Eleanor Nicklin in prints, postcards, coloring books and even laptop stickers. The mission of Girl Security is to close the gender gap in national security through learning, training, and mentoring support for girls. And as you gaze upon these fine pieces of art you could read or listen to the features in our Women in Peace and Security category.

Little Passports

Travel might not be feasible for many of us wanting to protect our loved ones until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. So why not bring the world to the little ones in your life? Little Passports offers subscription boxes related to STEM, travel, geography and exploration.  The international box subscription, for example, can help an aspiring diplomat learn about over 20 countries. They also offer single-time purchase options like this travel game for kids about age 7 and older. You can also shop by age or price point and then print a gift message so your little ones will have something to open under the tree in case their first box doesn’t arrive until January.

Virtual Reality Headset

You’ve taken care of the kiddos by getting them their Little Passport subscription above now it’s time to take care of your cabin fever. If you can’t go anywhere, bring the world to your living room with virtual reality (VR). Oculus is one of the leading producers of VR tech and their latest offering the Quest 2 is getting great reviews. And there are more VR interactive apps arriving on the market every day. Don’t stare at four walls when there is a virtual world out there that can help you keep your sanity. And remember, travelling in the real world isn’t all the fun and games that you remember.

U.S. Army e-sports gear

Still don’t see what everybody sees in those silly video games? Well the military has finally realized the fertile recruiting grounds known as e-sports. The fodder for many a comedy sketch, e-sports have become big business. With a worldwide revenue in 2020 of $950 million and a projected revenue of nearly $1.6 billion by 2023, it’s time to get into that gaming network. Make sure to look the part with official U.S. Army e-sports gear.

Game of Thrones Box Set

We know it didn’t end the way we all hoped, and the endless GOT references seem to have faded somewhat from the discourse. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an incredible adventure. Immerse yourself again in the world of dragons and old friends like Hodor and Little Finger. Start from the beginning where you knew nothing like Jon Snow and learn the lessons of leadership, good and bad. Remember the value of fiction in helping to understand the real world around you. And with luck somebody somewhere will come up with a revised ending before you’re finished. Heck if you go slow enough the prequel is set for release in 2022. You may want some of this on hand just in case the release gets delayed.

Pandemic game

Okay, somebody on the team has a little bit of a twisted sense of humor, but I suppose if you’re locked down at home and you’ve got all of this new found knowledge about pandemics…maybe you could put it to use and stave off the boredom. For 2-4 players, you and family and friends can work together to save humanity in the 2008 bestselling cooperative board game! Four diseases threaten the world, and your elite team of specialists must find a cure for each of them before it’s too late.

Rare and interesting maps

We just told you last month, geography is an integral part of strategy so why haven’t you gotten yourself a new map? First go find an antique map for you or a friend so you can better understand the forces that shaped history. Then make sure you’ve got a raised relief rap so you know the terrain that lies ahead – because let’s be honest, you were never that good at overland nav and it hasn’t gotten any better with GPS.

Mugs for your at-home commute

And if those maps don’t do it for you then maybe this tongue-in-cheek mug will remind you of the upside of working from home – NO MORE MORNING COMMUTE. This humorous map-themed mug won’t help you remember why you walked into that room for the third time, but it might help you remember the extra time you have on your hands not spent on the tollway or the subway.

Samson Q2U USB Microphone and Mini On Camera Video Light

Look, this remote-operations thing probably isn’t going away anytime soon. Do yourself (and all of us) a favor and upgrade your home office A/V capability. Stop using your kid’s gaming headset. The Samson Q2U will dramatically improve your sound game and it’s a simple USB connection that doesn’t require any other equipment. As an added bonus, someday when you’re a guest on A BETTER PEACE: THE WAR ROOM PODCAST, our Managing Editor, Buck won’t have to work so hard to make you sound good. And the pocket sized Aputure MC digital light will do wonders for that pallid zombie look that everybody sees through your webcam. It’s even got special effects like fireworks, paparazzi and cop car that you’ll surely find uses for in your budding YouTube career.

Just in case you didn’t find anything to your liking in this year’s list, you can always check out our recommendations from other years here.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense. The recommendations in this list are for entertainment purposes and do not suggest any endorsement of the retailers by the government.

Photo Credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.

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