May 23, 2024
We're running a little late with our Holiday Gift Guide this year but there's still time to find that perfect gift for the national security professional in your life that is so difficult to shop for. We're going to take a little holiday time off to reset things, but we'll be back on 6 January 2022.  Happy Holidays from everyone here at WAR ROOM and here’s looking forward to a New (and better) Year in 2022! Sure, that’s what we said last year, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying.

We’re running a little late this year with our Holiday Gift Guide, but so is the supply chain—so there you have it. In fact, that sort of sums up the year we’ve all had. But don’t despair. The holiday season is here, and we think that spirit can stretch well into 2022. And even if COVID variants are still making it hard to celebrate with loved ones in person, we’re all pretty good at this remote thing, right?

Once again, the WAR ROOM Editorial Staff has searched high and low across the internet in hopes of finding that perfect gift for your favorite grumpy staff officer, angry military historian, or aspiring national security professional in your life—or maybe this year, you splurge and treat yourself.

Our suggestions seem to lean towards the historical (apparently there are a few of them on staff here), but we’re also trying to help out all of you who are STILL socially distanced and stuck at your desk (home or otherwise) with little travel in your foreseeable future. And we’ve tried to remember you parents out there that have spent so much of the year at home with your remote learners.

Happy Holidays from everyone here at WAR ROOM and here’s looking forward to a New (and better) Year in 2022! Sure, that’s what we said last year, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying.

As much time as we spend at our desks these days, anything that makes us chuckle is a worthwhile investment. When that colleague of yours on Zoom figuratively stabs you in the back, now you can reach over and return the favor in absentia. Et tu, Brute?

You know how all of the days sort of run together for the last 2 years or so? Is it Muesday or Wursday? Did I feed the dog today? Did I feed myself? Well now you don’t have to wonder anymore with this simple invention called the calendar. And this military history version helps everyone discover the events, weapons, battles, and people that have shaped the battlefield―and the world!

So you’ve made every recipe in every cookbook you have; you’re on a first name basis with the takeout delivery guy, and your waistline might be a little bigger than when this whole thing started. So…no promises on reducing the waistline, but how about learning something new while you’re cooking (and eating)? Learn where foods originated, tips and techniques for preparation, and about the brilliant cooks that work with them – it’s a great step towards understanding different cultures, and in the process, you might just become a better chef yourself.

Some of us are at an age where arguing just isn’t worth the energy it takes, and then there are the rest of you. Take one look at Twitter and it’s clear that there is a segment of the population that just loves to throw down. It’s also clear that a number of you aren’t any good at it. Well now you can hone your debate skills while partying with friends. Then you’ll be ready to really stick it to that faceless idiot that called you an offensive stereotypical thing the next time you see them in virtual space. Peace on earth, good will towards men (& women).

1789 was a long time ago. It was a whole different time. And if you’re willing to recognize that things were different back then, perhaps this book is for you. In 2018 Nathaniel Philbrick packed up his wife and his dog and hit the road to follow the path the nation’s first president, George Washington, took to talk to the new citizens of this thing called the United States of America. An honest account of a man who was of his time, Philbrick does a great job describing the nation and its first leader in the 18th century.

Back in 2016 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the National Geographic Society commissioned a survey to gauge what young people educated in American colleges and universities know about geography, the environment, demographics, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events, and economics. Of the 1,203 respondents only 17 earned a 91 percent or higher. Suffice it to say the other 99 percent didn’t fare too well. We don’t know if those stats have improved, but how about we get a leg up on world geography and involve the whole family in an activity that doesn’t involve the TV, the internet, social media or even a computer – a good old fashioned puzzle that’s wholesome fun for all.

Many museums and research centers haven’t fully opened up yet (or may be on the verge of closing again), and when you can’t go to the history the next best thing is to bring the history to you. This unique subscription service does just that. Each month you will receive an envelope containing a replica of a historical document. Each delivery includes detailed replicas of historical documents, like Albert Einstein’s correspondence with FDR or Rosa Parks’ police report when she refused to give up her seat on the Montgomery bus. Each letter comes with pertinent information to explain any additional context and cultural significance. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in historical events.

We would be remiss if we didn’t put in a shameless plug for one of our own teammates. Michael Neiberg has written an outstanding account of the diplomatic chess of World War II surrounding Allied relations with Vichy and Free France. If you still need convincing go give a listen to his podcast episode with Ron Granieri and hear them discuss relationships rife with bad assumptions, mistrust, failed promises and difficult personalities.

Yo-G.I.

Does the G.I. in your life or their family members need to destress and find his or her center. Two faculty members in our Department of Command Leadership and Management just started a non-profit to do just that. Maurice Sipos and Michael Hosie created Yo-G.I. — an online Power Yoga class that is free to the military community (service members and their families). They’re still in the early stages, but classes are taught on Zoom Tuesdays from 1700-1800 EST. They’re planning on expanding classes as interest grows, so reach out to them at giyoga.inc@gmail.com and join the class and while you’re at it buy a t-shirt to support the effort.

This one is a repeat, but we’re pretty fond of this organization. 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 . The mission of Girl Security is to close the gender gap in national security through learning, training, and mentoring support for girls and they are worthy of your support.

We do it every year, but it’s worth repeating. It’s the gift that keeps on giving to others. Give someone you love a lifetime membership in the USAWC Alumni Foundation, or get it for yourself. And if you’re already a member then be sure to stop in the gift shop on the first floor of Root Hall. The Foundation funds great programs such as scholarships and the War College’s annual National Security Seminar. (It also supports WAR ROOM. Thank you!)

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: Issagm via Wikimedia Commons

2 thoughts on “THE 2021 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

  1. “Of the 1,203 respondents only 17 earned a 91 percent or higher. Suffice it to say the other 99 percent didn’t fair too well. We don’t know if those stats have improved….”
    If only I could be in the presence of my highly esteemed Critical Thinking elective instructor as I read this aloud. Thanks for the chuckle and enjoy the holidays!

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