1. The Rage against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens (2010, 224pp). Hitchens Minor (in age only) is a great writer and illustrates from the archetypal anecdote, the secret to his writing's power.
2. Knots. Bowline, sheet bend, double slip, stopper. tautline hitch. As listed here. The Ashley Book of Knots (1944, 620pp) too. A good pocket game for myself and kids.
3. Smartphones, and the Iphone in particular, with its apps (GPS, stargazing, Netflix, Facebook, flashlight, Yelp, Doodlejump, Blowfish) and camera. The phone is optional.
4. Le Grand Chef (S. Korea, 2007, 113min) A movie about history, tradition, a cooking contest, good ramen, and doing things right.
5. On Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History, and Culture by Harold McGee (2004, 896pp). Just what it says.
6. True Grit, (1968) by Charles Portis, recommended by Arden. Amelia liked it too.
7. Noodler's Ink ink (e.g. ultraviolet, Polar Blue, Brown, Eternal Hunterís Green) and the ebonite eyedropper pen. Fun to read about, too, at http://www.noodlersink.com/.
8. Cedar Plank Salmon A truly distinctive flavor.
9. The Search Committee (Marc Angel, 155pp, 2008). About a yeshiva choosing a new head--- pure tradition, or tradition plus engagement?
10. Children's chopsticks, connected. Try them for your two-year-old. See, for example, http://cn1.kaboodle.com/.
11. Lizzie Day. . On the 20th of each month we eat a food she liked, play a game Or look at photos to remember her and Grandma and Grandpa. A happy time. See the memorial site at http://rasmusen.org/special/memorial/mem.htm.
12. The Segway and its Chicago tours. Enormous fun on a moving two-wheeled balance beam by the Lake. Wish I had a flat enough commute to justify the $6,000. See Mysegwayexperience.com and Stevessegwaytours.com and this picture.
Other good things: Science World, Vancouver. Harry Campbellís Whatever Happened to Tanganyika? Janice Van Cleave's Constellations for Every Kid: Easy Activities that Make Learning Science Fun, 1997. 256pp. John Mortimer, Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders, The movie Up.
Last year it wasn't right to send out a list. But see Rasmusen.org/_amazon/special/xmas2009.htm.
Lists of good things from other years are at Rasmusen.org/_amazon/special/amazon.htm.